Daniel Pak has been featured in The Huffington Post, The Seattle Times, Seattle Magazine, and more. Check out the latest!
Would-be nuclear engineer spurns big money for life of reggae, youth mentoring
By Gwendolyn Elliott (Seattle Magazine, December 2017)
When Daniel Pak first stepped onto the University of Washington (UW) Quad as a prospective student nearly 20 years ago, he knew Seattle was the place for him. "It was a gut feeling," says the UW alum, who graduated with a degree in metallurgical engineering and was quickly recruited for a job with a six-figure salary as a nuclear engineer in O`ahu, where he grew up.
But he turned the job down to pursue his passion: reggae. He’d first grown to love the music during jam sessions on the beach in Kāne‘ohe, his hometown, and later ...
Reggae artist supports youth through music
By JaLynn Montes (Crosscut, October 2017)
Daniel Pak has been making music for the good part of his 37 years on the planet. While on hiatus from his studies in metallurgical engineering and on a visit with friends, he had an epiphany: music was meant to be the center of his life's work.
He was feeling "sick and tired of seeing the status quo," he says, "with oppression and violence being so pervasive; it [was] maddening."
Music, he figured, would connect him “with like-minded people who really want change to happen.”
Totem Star and Daniel Pak offer music, education to youth
By Ashley Archibald (Real Change, May 2017)
Watching the “Superhero” music video by local band Kore Ionz is a test of a one’s emotional mettle.
The pop feel, reggae beat and hopeful lyrics float in sweet contrast to the scenes playing out in front of the viewer: a police officer preparing to fire on a young person of color, rape and domestic violence.
“I will be your superhero / Fight the villains and save the whole world / Fly across oceans for you / I will rescue you,” sings Daniel Pak as each terrifying situation reaches its ultimate conclusion. Children dressed wearing capes and masks intervene in each situation.
Daniel Pak's mission to share music
By Sydney Parker (Seattle's Child, March 2017)
Growing up on the Hawaiian island of Oahu, Daniel Pak knew that music was in his blood. His father was a jazz pianist and taught him to play scales around age 6. In a few years, he had advanced to performing pieces by Mozart and Beethoven. But it wasn’t until he taught himself acoustic guitar at 13 that his passion was truly ignited. “That’s when I really found that music was more than just lessons. Music was something that would be with me every day,” says Pak.
Amplifying youth voices through music mentorship
By Erika Schultz (The Seattle Times, April 2016)
Music producer Daniel Pak helps compose a guitar accompaniment with Alyssa King, 18, on her R&B song “Bluebird” inside Totem Star’s recording studio at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center in West Seattle.
“Music is an outlet where I can express things that I can’t express to other people,” King said. “Oftentimes, I find myself writing about different emotions that I have that I always keep bottled up inside … Music makes me feel whole and alive and good.”
The freshman at University of Washington, Bothell, commutes more than two hours by bus to attend sessions at Totem Star.
Banner photo by Avi Loud