Wilber Pan, also known as Will Pan (traditional Chinese: 潘瑋柏; simplified Chinese: 潘玮柏; pinyin: Pān Wěibó; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: PhoaⁿÚi-peh), was born on 6 August 1980. He is an American-born Taiwanese Mandopop singer-songwriter, rapper and actor, who started his career as a host of Channel V programs. In 2011, Pan was awarded Best Leading Actor in a Television Series for Endless Love (愛∞無限) at the 46th Golden Bell Awards, Taiwan's equivalent to the Emmy Awards.
In recent years, Pan's career extends into streetwear fashion and developing of mobile games. In 2009, he launched the streetwear boutique N.P.C (New Project Center) which he collaborated with China host Nic Li, in Shanghai. NPC also has its stores in Beijing, Hangzhou and at online shopping website Taobao. In 2010, Pan established his streetwear brand "Undisputed" and modelled for the brand's promotional ads. In addition, he is the co-founder and chief creative officer of software company Camigo Media which develops popular mobile games such as "Fish Off", "Pig Rockets" and "MeWantBamboo 2", that has achieved over 20 million downloads to date. In April 2013, Pan bought the shares of Brooklyn Nets which was previously owned by American rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z, thus making him the first person of Taiwanese or Chinese descent to own a US professional sports franchise.
In April 2013, Pan was ranked 76th on 2013 Forbes China Celebrity 100 list, and 44th on the income list which was based on his estimated earnings of $31.9 million yuan in 2012.
Pan was born and raised in West Virginia, United States and moved to Taiwan at the age of seven. He attended Dominican International School and Taipei American School and graduated in 1999. He was offered an athletic scholarship in basketball by a NCAA Division III college, but chose to continue his education at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (aka Cal Poly Pomona) in the United States. However, he left before graduating to pursue a showbiz career.
In 1999, Pan took part in singing contest "BBC Star" while interning at the Broadcasting Corporation of China. He performed "Can't Wait" by Steve Seungjun Yoo and Yuki Hsu in the finals and later went on to participate in NMG/BMG Los Angeles Singing Competition. The song which he performed, Alex To's "You Are Spoiled (把你寵坏)" won him the "Best Image Award". His performance at the singing competition caught the attention of Andy Lau's manager and he was subsequently invited to audition for Channel V's program host in Hong Kong.
In 2001, Pan signed to BMG and made his debut hosting "V Style Society" alongside with Jason Tang. In the same year, he acted in Taiwanese drama "Great Teacher (麻辣鮮師)" and contributed four songs in its original soundtrack.
In 2002, Will released his debut Mandarin solo album, Gecko Stroll, which sold over 130,000 copies in Taiwan. The album contains the track "By My Side" (站在你這邊) composed by Jay Chou and "I'm Not Afraid" (我不怕) composed by Chinese singer Anson Hu. He collaborated with Evonne Hsu on the track "Special Guest" (特別來賓).
He was featured in Alec Su's 2002 song "Playing for Real" (玩真的).
His sophomore album Pass Me The Mic was released in the following year on 19 September. The album includes his collaboration with Jason Tang on the track "Curry Chili" (咖哩辣椒). To promote his album, Pan starred in a five-part "music love story" (音樂愛情故事) which aired on SETTV variety show "Showbiz" (完全娛樂).
In October 2003, he held his first mini concert "Will's Show" at Nangang 101. A VCD, "Will Show Music Video Karaoke" which contains the concert highlights, was released in Jan 2004. In the compilation album "U Love" released by Universal Music Taiwan, he worked with Universal Music artists Energy and Evonne Hsu on the single "Universal Love".
He was awarded "Best Male Artist in sales records" at 2003 "G-Music Chart Awards" for Gecko Stroll.
He appeared as guest star in 2003 dramas Love Train (心動列車) and "Wu He Tian" (無河天).
In June 2004, he released a pictorial and conversational English book "Never Teach Me Grammar" (就是不想學文法). He co-wrote the contents during the period when he was hospitalised for knee injuries.
He was featured in American singer-songwriter Christina Milian's song Dip It Low (Asian Mix) which is recorded in It's About Time (Asian Special Edition).
On 7 August 2004, Will staged his first overseas ticketed concert "Cool Play Concert" at Singapore Indoor Stadium with Taiwanese artist Chang Shan-wei.
On 3 September 2004, he released his third album Wu Ha which features a duet, "快樂崇拜" (Adoration to Happiness) with singer Angela Chang. The album contains the track "我讓你走了" (Letting You Go) composed by Taiwanese singer Tank.
In July 2005, Pan released his fourth studio album The Expert, featuring Chinese singer Zhang Xianzi in the hit song "不得不愛" (Cannot Not Love). He convened a team "Pan@sonic" to assist him in album productions. The self-penned lead single "誰是 MVP" (Who's MVP) is mainly about an ambition to be the MVP in career and areas of interest. It also talks about Pan's emotional setbacks when he sustained serious ligament injury. The album also contains the song "跟我走吧" (Leave With Me) composed by singer-songwriter JJ Lin.
On 13 August 2005, Pan held a celebration show in Taipei, performing tracks mainly from The Expert.
In December 2005, he released a remix album Will Pan's Freestyle Remix 2005 which contains the remix versions of his previously released hits and a bonus VCD of "決戰鬥室" (Battle Room) special version MV and "一指神功" (Android) MV.
On 23 June 2006, Pan released his fifth studio album Around the World which includes 2 duets. He collaborated with Taiwanese seasoned singer Su Rui on the track "我想更慬你" (Want To Know You) which is about contradictions between a mother and son. The other duet "戴上我的愛" (Wear My Love) features Chinese singer May Wang. The MV of the title track "反轉地球" (Around The World) featured his "Pan@sonic" team members, Taiwanese well-known choreographer Rambo (藍波) and songwriter Jeremy Ji. The album also contains the track "Pan@sonic", composed by the team. "Pan@sonic" subsequently dissolved shortly after Jeremy Ji left to pursue a singing career.
Shortly after the release of Around the World, one of the tracks "著迷" (Mesmerised) was accused of plagiarism by netizens. The MV concept of the song was also accused of being highly similar to South Korean singer Rain's song I Do. The credited composer Guan Weitang (官煒棠) later admitted to plagiarising the 1998 song "Each Time" by East 17. He eventually made an apology, agreeing to drop his name from the credits and bear all legal consequences. It was reported that Pan expressed shock and disappointment over the plagiarism incident.
On 30 September 2006, Pan embarked on his first official headlining tour "Wilber Pan Around The World Concert Tour" which kicked off in Shanghai, China. Faye from Taiwanese band F.I.R. and singer Shin were special guests for the first stop. The concert tour went on for 16 months, from Sept 2006 to January 2008.
In September 2007, Pan released his sixth studio album Play It Cool. The album includes a collaboration with Mandopop singer Shin on the rock song "Shut Up". He worked with singer Tarcy Su, Taiwanese actress Angus Chang and Chinese actress Betty Sun in the MVs of "路太彎" (Road Too Windy), "說你愛我" (Say You Love Me) and "愛不離" (Love Doesn't Leave) respectively.
On 20 October 2007, he resumed his "Around The World Concert Tour" at Hefei in China, in line with the release of Play It Cool. Jay Chou was the special guest and they performed "聽媽媽的話" (Listen to Mother's Words) from Jay's album Still Fantasy. The concert tour was later held in other cities of China, before ending on 1 January 2008 in Guangzhou. He released a concert DVD "Wilber Pan 2006-2007 Around The World Concert Tour" on 20 July 2007 which contains live and behind-the scenes footages of the tour.
In March 2008, Will collaborated with Jacky Cheung and S.H.E on the track "紅遍全球" (Red Around The World) (Third Edition). The song is recorded by brand ambassadors of Coca-Cola, as one of the torch relay songs at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
On 18 July 2008, Pan released his first compilation album, Will's Future. It contains three new tracks, two medley remixes and 29 previously released songs. One of the new tracks, "夏日瘋" (Summer Craze), is the opening theme song of Taiwanese drama Miss No Good, which starred Will and Rainie Yang. The album also includes Will's first attempt in a Cantonese song which is the other version of ballad track "轉機"(Transfer). A second edition of Will's Future, released three months later, contains four instrumental tracks of Miss No Good and its insert song "同一個遺憾" (Same Regret) which Pan collaborated with Jeremy Ji.
On 22 May 2009, Pan released his seventh studio album, 007. It features a duet, "Be with You" with American R&B singer Akon. The MV of the track "雙人舞" (Pas de Deux), with production costs of NT$7 million, features South Korean actress Lee Da Hae. Pan also worked with Taiwanese actress Chen Kuangyi and Annie Chen in the music videos of "無重力" (Weightless) and "寂屋出租" (Silence Room for Rent).
Pan held his second headlining tour, I'm Will Concert Tour, between September to December 2009. The futuristic-themed tour began in Shanghai, China and final stop held in Taipei, Taiwan.
In 2010, Pan guest starred in Pandamen directed by Jay Chou, and acted in Endless Love with Sandrine Pinna.
In January 2011, Pan released his eighth studio album 808 which features the opening theme song, "我們都怕痛" (We Are All Afraid of Pain), of Endless Love. He composed five tracks on the album including "觸動" (Touch) which he collaborated with Nichkhun of Korean boy band 2PM on the music video.
On 18 June 2011, Pan was the opening act of the 22nd Golden Melody Awards (the Chinese equivalent to the Grammy Awards), held at Taipei Arena.
After starring in Endless Love, Pan was offered a number of acting opportunities, including the leading actor role of popular Taiwanese drama Love You. However, he declined the offers and cited that he will only consider roles which he is confident of performing up to his expectations. The role of Love You later went to actor Joseph Chang, who was also nominated in the same category as Pan in the 46th Golden Bell Awards.
On 21 October 2011, Pan was awarded Best Leading Actor in a Television Series at the 46th Golden Bell Awards, Taiwan for Endless Love.
In May, Pan was awarded three awards including "HITO Top 10 Songs" for the song "U U U" at Taiwan HITO Radio Music Awards. In the same month, he was named the ambassador of 2012 Asia Metro Street Dance Competition.
Between 28 to 29 August, Pan partnered with Google+ and YouTube, and held a 24-hour Google+ Hangouts On-Air, in line with the promotion of his new album. He is the first Chinese celebrity to public broadcast his life snippets at Google+ Hangouts On-Air within a 24-hour span.
On 31 August, he released his ninth studio album The Story of Billy. It features the opening theme song "華麗進行曲" (Extravagant March) and the insert songs "忘記擁抱" (Forgetting The Hug) and "專屬於你 " (Absolutely Yours), of Taiwanese drama Dong Men Si Shao. The MV of the title track "24個比利" (The Story of Billy) was directed by Hong Wonki and shot entirely in Korea with an all-Korean cast. He collaborated with Jeremy Ji in the MV of "華麗進行曲" (Extravagant March), and with Tiffany Hsu in the MV of "忘記擁抱" (Forgetting The Hug). He also worked with model-singer Dou Hua Mei in the MV of "專屬於你" (Absolutely Yours). The Story of Billy was the number-one album for 2 weeks on Taiwan's G-Music Weekly Top 20 Mandarin and Combo Charts and number one for 1 week on Five Music Chart.
On 26 September, he was one of the performers for the opening ceremony of the 21st Golden Rooster Film Festival held in Shaoxing, China.
On 9 October, Pan released the second edition of The Story of Billy. It contains the remix version of "The Story of Billy"(24個比利) and a bonus DVD with six music videos. On 13 October, he held a celebration concert at Neo19 in Taipei, which was broadcast simultaneously on his YouTube Channel. He performed all the songs from The Story of Billy, including a piano rendition of "24個比利" (The Story of Billy). Singer-actress Cyndi Wang made a guest appearance during the song "華麗進行曲" (Extravagant March).
At the 47th Golden Bell Awards held on 26 October, Pan and Taiwanese actress Tien Hsin (天心) presented the awards for the Best Leading Actress in a Television Series and Best Directing for a Television Series.
Pan's third concert tour, "Unleashed" Concert Tour, kicked off on 10 November 2012 at Shanghai Grand Stage (Shanghai Gymnasium) in China. For the first time ever, Pan took on the role of concert producer and is also involved in areas of stage, lighting and costume design, songs lineup and music arrangement.
The tour's first stop in Shanghai opened to a full house, and was attended by Pan's family members. He performed near to 30 songs of which more than two-thirds were his compositions. The concert was marked by 3D laser displays and an opening of Pan performing on a 3-storey high ball-shaped time machine. His N.P.C co-partner Nic Li was the concert guest and they sang a remix version of "Adoration to Happiness" (快樂崇拜), Party Rock Anthem and phenomenal song Gangnam Style. He ended the concert with an acoustic rendition of "24個比利" (The Story of Billy). The tour is slated to continue to various cities including Shenzhen and Taipei.
On 27 December, Pan and Nic Li officiated the opening of their third NPC store in Hangzhou. The event was graced by their celebrity friends including host Chen Chien-chou, Jason Tang and Hong Kong lyricist Wyman Wong.
At the 20th Chinese Music Chart Awards held at Taipei Arena on 29 December, Pan was awarded "All Round Artist of the Year" and "Most Popular Male Singer of the Year". He performed "24個比利" (The Story of Billy) that was awarded "Golden Melodies of the Year" .
Pan was one of the big winners at the 3rd Global Chinese Golden Chart Awards. He was named "Most Popular Male Singer of the Year" and "Best Stage Performer of the Year". His song "不想醒來" (Don't Wanna Wake Up) from The Story of Billy was awarded the "Top 20 Golden Melodies of the Year". He attended the post-awards concert which took place at Vancouver, Canada on 17 May.
On 14 April, Pan took home MY Astro choice for Best International Singer, Best Stage Performer and Top 25 Golden Melodies for the song "不想醒來" (Don't Wanna Wake Up) at MY Astro Music Awards, held at Putra Indoor Stadium, Malaysia. At the 17th Global Mandarin Chart Music Award (第17屆全球華語榜中榜), held on 18 April at CotaiArena, he was awarded "Best All Round Male Singer" and "Best Stage Performer".
On 21 April, Pan was award presenter and guest performer at Singapore Star Awards 2013. He presented the "Best Theme Song" award and performed a string of his hit songs.
In early May, Pan was named national anti-drugs ambassador of the year by the Ministry of Justice of Taiwan.
Pan's father, of Shanghai descent, is a business management and psychology professor. His mother, an alumnus of the prestigious Taipei First Girls' High School, is of Fujian descent. His parents were featured on the track "怎麼著" (How) from Pan's seventh album 007. He has a younger brother, Ben who is three years his junior. During the early years of his career, Pan used part of his takings to fund his brother's studies in the United States.
Pan maintains a relatively low profile in his personal life. His first girlfriend is a Chinese-Dutch schoolmate whom he briefly dated for a month. When he was attending high school, he dated a Japanese senior schoolmate, who is of mixed heritage and a year older. The three-year long relationship ended when Pan was about to make his mark in showbiz. In 2006, he composed the song "謝謝" (Thank You) to commemorate this romance which he described as "the most unforgettable relationship I ever had". In the early days of his career, it was reported that he had a three-year long relationship with his Great Teacher co-star Fan Hsiao-fun, and he had written the rap for her song "束縛" (Restrained) in 2002. Pan is also romantically linked to his former label-mate Zhu An Yu and singer Angela Chang whom he had collaborated on the song "快樂崇拜" (Adoration to Happiness). In 2010, the Taiwanese tabloids reported that Pan was dating his former schoolmate, Bebe Yang, the daughter of a real estate businessman and in 2014, the rumored relationship resurfaced after further reports suggested that they have been living together for a period of time.
Pan is an avid basketball fan since young. He was the captain of his high school's basketball team and a well known figure in school for his outstanding performance in the sport. He was awarded MVP in high school and it won him an athletic scholarship to further his studies in the United States. Though he did not take up the offer, he continued playing basketball during his university days and till today. Some of his songs were inspired by his passion for basketball, notably "誰是 MVP" (Who's MVP), "決戰鬥室" (Battle Room), "一指神功" (Android), "背水一戰" (Never Lose) and "光榮" (Glory). In April 2013, he bought shares previously owned by Jay-Z and became a 0.067% and minority stakeholder of Brooklyn Nets, thus becoming the first person of Taiwanese or Chinese descent to own a US professional sports franchise.
In 2009, Pan composed the mid-tempo track, "親愛的" (My Dear), which is the theme song of 2009 World Vision Taiwan (WVT)'s "Be Friends with Children of the World" campaign. The music video features the footages of Pan's visit to Honduras for World Vision projects.
In August 2012, Pan visited Guiyang in China to interact with beneficiaries of Music Radio "I Want to Go to School" charity project. As ambassador of the project, he composed the theme song "Love X Love" (愛X愛) and roped in various artists of Universal Music, including Fish Leong and Da Mouth, to lend their voices in the single.
In October 2013, Pan and his Miss No Good co-star Rainie Yang were appointed official co-ambassadors for the twenty-fifth edition of the "30 Hour Famine" event in Taiwan. Two months later, Pan and Yang went on a 6-day field visit to Niger to increase awareness on the plight of children whose survival is threatened on a daily basis.