From day one of being welcomed into Jin's life, James Donnelly, wish granter and staff member at Make-A-Wish Hawaii, knew that this kid was special.
James learned about the struggles Jin faced including both a life-threatening heart condition and being bullied at school, and all he wanted to do was help. Despite Jin’s shy manner, he got to Jin’s heart and figured out what he wanted more than anything in the world: to write and produce his own original track, one that would help him rise above and use his passion for music as a tool to encourage, inspire and strengthen others who face similar battles.
“I felt like I needed to advocate for him to let others know what he has been through so that they would be more willing to guide him through his journey,” James said about Jin at the beginning of the wish experience. Soon, thanks to the help of James and many in the community, Jin would flourish.
Before Jin headed to Hollywood, he had the support of some amazing people right here in Hawaii.
Each person that Jin worked with gave him a different set of tools to help shape the person he has evolved into. The team at One World Tribe started the process by showing him that he could really lay down a track. Martina at UH School of Music let him know he has a voice. Crystal Pancipanci found the clothes to help him feel cool and Joe Marquez showed him through his camera lens that he really does look like a rapper. The biggest confidence boost was when he sat down with Sterling Higa and his two friends that perform slam poetry. They shared that Jin could connect with people just by sharing his honest emotions. - James
By the time Jin left for LA, he had built a new confidence that prepared him to record his own track at the famous Village Studios.
Once in the studio, Jin could hardly believe that he was standing in the very same spot where some of today’s most popular musical artists recorded hit songs. The Village paired him with Gabe Burch as the audio engineer for his time there. He broke down the plan for the three-day process. Day one, create the music; day two, work with a writer to craft lyrics; day three, tighten everything up. After a lot of hard work, the track was everything he envisioned it to be – it was perfect. “Gonna Shine” would spread a message of rising up in the face of adversity.
“Through the process of seeing Jin’s wish to completion, I was able to witness an incredible change in his confidence." It was a newfound strength you could hear and feel in his song.
But his wish didn’t stop there. After returning home to Hawaii, Jin was invited to Power 104.3 to release his new hit single on the radio! James went along for support, but Jin bravely went on air with KC and Tantra to speak about the meaning behind his song. “He held his own and didn’t need me to step up to the mic on his behalf,” said James. ”I was so proud of him.”
The bond between James and Jin is unique and something they both cherish. James gave Jin courage by always believing in him and guiding him through this unforgettable journey. And, in turn, Jin inspired James through his relentless pursuit of his dream to help others through music.
Special Thanks: Wish granter James Donnelly, The Village Studios, Gabe Burch, Martina at the UH School of Music, Crystal Pancipanci, Joe Marquez, One World Tribe, Power104.3, KC & Tantra, Sterling Higa, Jordan Guillermo.