Enter the dragon

Merissa Tee put her Korean language modules at NTU to good use last September when she won a two-night’s stay at k-pop star G-Dragon’s studio and second home in Seoul, Korea.

During the stay, the art, design and media student and the other four winners from South Korea, Japan, China and Hong Kong presented gifts to G-Dragon (below). Besides handing him a portrait she painted of him, Merissa, also a singer-songwriter, penned an additional verse to the first Big Bang single, We Belong Together, and performed it for the popular rapper and fashion icon.

“He told me I have a really good voice and that I’m talented. Hearing him say that gives me the strength and motivation to keep making music,” says Merissa, who hopes to release an EP soon.

The contest organiser, Airbnb, said G-Dragon and his company chose Merissa as a winner after visiting her YouTube channel, mersietee, where she performs a mix of covers and original songs in English and Korean.

Merissa is fluent in the latter, thanks to her lessons at NTU. “The classes were very interactive and useful,” says the final-year student, who became friends with her Korean tutors because they shared the same interest in k-pop.

Getting more bang from her trip, she remains fast friends with the other four winners. Recently, the Hong Kong winner, who works as a tattoo artist, played Merissa’s YouTube tracks in the tattoo shop where she works, and sent Merissa a video of the music being played.

“I’m very touched by all the support I have received, not just from G-Dragon, but also from the crew and friends I made,” she says, adding: “It reminds me not to give up my dream of making music.” – Clara Lock

Watercolour paints for my artwork
Illustrated cards I designed and painted. These are sold at floral boutique One Olive
I paint all my name cards by hand, so each one is a little different
Buildings along the Singapore River I painted as part of my final-year project
On our last day with G-Dragon, he gave us one of his favourite colognes, Musc Ravageur. I use it sparingly, such as when I perform!
G-Dragon autographed this CD and wrote: “You’re so talented! I’ll support you! Hope to see you soon!”
The cologne, CDs and other gifts from G-Dragon came in this tote bag
My ukulele with G-Dragon’s autograph on it, which I’ve stopped using because I don’t want the ink to fade!