In August of 2014, Philadelphia-based rapper Decipher, who now goes by Danny Chung, released “Norma Jeane,” a soulful track featuring Ailee which has gone unnoticed.
Although it has only garnered about 8,000 views since its release, listeners have called the track “gold” and reacted positively saying, “It’s a shame that good music like this doesn’t get played more often,” as Chung asks us to all “remember to be human and understand that others are human as well.”
Chung decided to release the music video seven months after the initial shoot in light of the late Robin William‘s sudden passing in August. He talked of the actor’s kindness and genuine life saying,”There doesn’t seem to be a shortage of genuinely touching anecdotes of his generosity and kindness, ” but pointed out, “Who knew he had such demons inside?”
His decision to release the video was prompted by William’s passing because despite Chung’s insecurities, he wanted to, “Let us be us.”
We hear Ailee’s voice come through during the chorus as the two sing, “Never know what you got until it’s long gone, singing the wrong song, but it still sounds good to me.”
Decipher and Ailee’s unique relationship began when the two were recruited by rapper, producer, and the man who discovered Ailee, Johnnyphlo. The two performed their first collaboration on an original track, titled “Girl From Around the Way,” in 2006 which was released through SoundClick.
In 2009, Johnnyphlo, who’s given name is Johnny Jung, created MUZO Entertainment and recruited Decipher and Ailee, and the label became a large influence in the underground Asian-American music scene.
During their time under Johnnyphlo, Ailee and Decipher collaborated on a number of tracks including a rendition of Wonder Girl’s viral 2010 track “Nobody,” a cover of Asian American indie artist Jhameel’s “White Lie,” and their own original tracks, “Rollercoaster” and Decipher’s “Catch Me If You Can” featuring Ailee.
Decipher’s “Catch Me If You Can” was featured on his 2011 release “The Effect,” which includes collaborations with Angry Asian Man, Dumbfounded, and Jay Park among others. He has continued to make music and tour the country, collaborating with different artists, and last fall even visited Ailee in Korea! The two both posted photos on Instagram with fellow MUZO artist James Ha saying, “My brother’s of 10 years, Johnnyphlo and Soon Ho Choi, I want to see you [too]!”
Meanwhile, Johnnyphlo has signed with a Korean Entertainment label, and although he was set to make an official debut, he later became a producer and songwriter for his label instead of pursuing the idol life. Currently, he has continued to make music independently and has released songs in both Korean and English including a collaboration with G.NA last year.
The close bond between Ailee, Decipher, and Johnnyphlo seems to be stronger than ever despite the distance that lie between the three artists, and it’s good to see that they’re still collaborating with each other!