Will Pan

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About Will Pan

American-born Taiwanese singer Will Pan rose through the male Mandopop ranks in the early 2000s with his blend of hip-hop-influenced pop and sweet balladry. From his 2002 debut Gecko Stroll, he rapped and sang his way up the charts, breaking into the mainstream mid-decade with the Top Three hits The Expert (2005) and Around the World (2006). With the release of 2007's Play It Cool, he scored his first number one album, a placement he'd hold with each subsequent effort until the end of the decade. Expanding his resume to include writing and acting, he also starred in multiple television and film roles, most notably as Po in the Mandarin versions of Kung Fu Panda and in the award-winning 2011 series Endless Love. Born Wilber Pan (Pan Weibo) in West Virginia in 1980, he moved to Taiwan as a child, where he attended bilingual schools until graduating in 1999. He returned to the United States for college, but left to pursue a career in entertainment back in Asia. He started as a host on Hong Kong's answer to MTV, Channel V, and from there, spun off into singing and acting. His debut album, Gecko Stroll (Universal Music Taiwan), landed in 2002. With a hip-hop-influenced sound similar to Jay Chou and Leehom Wang, he quickly amassed an audience with subsequent releases Pass Me the Mic (2003) and Wu Ha (2004), home to his hit collaboration with Angela Chang, "Adoration of Happiness." With each year came another hit album, with 2007's Play It Cool placing Pan at number one on the Taiwanese charts. He took a brief break from his solo material in 2008 to tour and collaborate with contemporaries like S.H.E. and Jay Chou. His first greatest-hits package, Will's Future, was issued that year. His seventh studio album, the appropriately titled 007, arrived in 2009; his second chart-topper, it included the single "Be with You" featuring Akon. When promotion for the album concluded, he returned to acting, starring in the television series Endless Love. The role would pay off in 2011 when Pan won the Best Actor prize at Taiwan's Golden Bell Awards. That same year, he released his eighth album, 808, home to the Endless Love theme song "We Are All Afraid of Pain." Album nine, The Story of Billy, was released in 2012. Inspired by Daniel Keyes' novel The Minds of Billy Milligan, the LP was Pan's fourth straight number one, supported by singles "Don't Wanna Wake Up" and "Extravagant March." Critical acclaim for the effort pushed promotion into 2013 and Pan's next album would not arrive until 2014. Yet another chart-topper, Crown & Clown included the singles "Clown" and "Snore," a collaboration with Rainie Yang. While rehearsing for the album's promotional tour, Pan sustained injuries that sidelined him until 2015. When he finally returned to the stage, the show was recorded and released as a concert film at the end of the year. In 2017, Pan switched labels to Warner Music Taiwan. His first offering for Warner was his 11th studio effort, illi. The aggressive, K-pop-influenced affair put him back atop the charts and spawned hit singles "Coming Home" and "Close Encounter." ~ Neil Z. Yeung

West Virginia, United States
August 6, 1980

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