Il Kwon Choi was born and raised in South Korea, where he became a self taught musician, without any formal music education, which is a contributing factor to why his music has always had it’s own unique flavor. He has always focused on his own vision and creativity, rather than fitting into trends and trying to be conventional.
He started playing at the age of 18, forming a punk rock band named “Bad Boy” which was signed to SM Entertainment… one of the largest labels in Asia. Shortly after their debut album released, “Bad Boy” broke up, due to creative differences. There were huge differences in Il Kwon’s artistic vision and that of mainstream pop music in Korea.
Il Kwon thought he would give up on music and did a tour of duty in the military, but when he got out of the army, he realized that he could not live without music so he started another band.
“Soreguitan” was the name of the band, and they played “Acid Jazz” Funk and Soul. Soreguitan was short lived, however, and at that point Il Kwon decided it was time to go solo with little more than an acoustic guitar.
The style was more mature and natural, based around the pure songs, rather than style. In March of 2010, under the name “Checkwon,” he released his first EP of original songs, “Happy Train,” on Sony Records.
Il Kwon became a Christian in 2006, and since then has tried to reflect the love and peace that he finds in the Lord Jesus Christ. Il Kwon feels that even if there is no explicit religious content in a given song, everything he writes is a form of praise.
When Jon Gillespie first contacted him to contribute to this project, he was hesitant because he had never worked in the traditional style before. Soon, however, he had an idea to write a song in the traditional Korean style, with lyrics written expressly for those who have had challenges to their faith in which their faith was almost destroyed, but they survived, with Jesus’ love.
“Now that they are weak in faith and easily falling ,they can utterly rely on god’s will rather than their own justice.”
Il Kwon says that he was writing these lyrics for those who are just like himself.