It was the bang that has been heard all over the world. It is a story that has inspired everyone for 20 years now. Ricky Martin released “She Bangs,” the first single track in his album “Sound Loaded.” Written by Desmond Child, Robi Draco, Glen Monoroig, and Walter Afanasieff, the contagious dance hit climbed to number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100, generously giving Martin his second-most successful single.
Behind “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” Making the Puerto Rican star a Grammy Award nomination in 2001.
The song was an addition to the Latin bang, which arrived on the eve of the Millenium. Still, it would be coming back four years after when an impressionable civil engineering student aging 20-year-old auditioned for “She Bangs” on nowhere else but “American Idol” and truly got it on his own.
In that single moment, with then-judges Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson watching bewildered, William Hung became an immediate phenomenon.
Hung confirmed his desire to make a living in the music business, fearlessly performing the song to an uninspired Cowell, who scrambled, “You can’t dance; you can’t sing; what do you wish me to say?”
Replied Hung: “I already gave my best, and I have no regrets at all.”
With that, Hung established a household name and a go-to punchline, like in “The Office” in 2005 when BJ Novak’s character Ryan gave statements to Todd Packer (David Koechner), whose license plate recites “WLHUNG,” “You a big William Hung fan?” (Watch it below.)
Hung went on to release three albums, comprising “Inspiration” and “Hung for the Holidays,” and even his movie, “Where is Mama’s Boy?” While he finally retired from music, his “Idol” working experience allowed him to book gigs as a motivational speaker by working for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as a crime expert.
After that, he served in the Department of Health. Nowadays, he continues to perform in public and is currently functioning on providing online gamers how to play Mahjong.
Nowadays, according to Hung, he still has no regrets. “It’s all about enduring to explore yourself, and experiencing what makes you happy,” he tells Diversity in a new interview.
“She Bangs” turned 20. How do you feel?
He answered that I’m thankful to have that song, “She Bangs,” by Ricky Martin because then I wouldn’t be where I am standing today. I just relished the song right since the beginning.
I thought it feels cool as it has very upbeat. It was exclusive compared to everything else I heard back in the initial two thousand. I overheard it on the radio, and I was fascinated by it right away.
When do you think about the audition? Was that your favorite song?
How does it all happen that you won the talent show in school singing with none other than the same song? So that’s what gave you the confidence to audition. It was very courageous of you to perform such audaciously.
Seeing back on your audition day, did the producers help you to go in with the judges? What were your expectations from them?
Not too much. I was holding, imagining in my head how I wanted everything to be. I didn’t expect whatsoever it would be the ultimate result, and that’s actually why I was able to stay optimistic despite the severe criticism of Simon Cowell.
And when you said and smiled, you did your best. It seemed like the jury kind of fell in love with you.
The way I looked at the judges, I felt like they played their roles to provide unbiased and truthful judgment. So that’s why I didn’t feel the necessity to be upset or angry.
That was a great example that you set for upcoming auditions, and then it set you on this whole other path in life…
Yeah, I had no at all expected that. I have just been positive and enthusiastic. However, the audition didn’t work out, I’ll go back as a normal student, but I somehow became an overnight celebrity on the flip side.
How do you become a motivational speaker?
I decided to get into motivational speaking around three or four years ago. I feel that I can make it a bigger influence through speaking, associated with just entertainment alone. I could still be amusing, but I want to have a message to encourage people to keep dashing their dreams.
And now more than ever, we required that inspiration since it is a hard world to survive in, through the coronavirus pandemic. I’m also very focused on gaming because that’s my passion right now. I am observing to impart people how to play Japanese Mahjong for the English spectators.
How does it feel to come face to face with Ricky Martin?
Well, I finally got to perform with him in 2018. So that’s like two years ago. And then my audition was in 2004. So that’s 14 years later. He said, “Thank you, and it was great meeting you.” I don’t know. It feels so surreal. He’s truly a nice person. My friend and I were very overwhelmed.
William has a story left to tell. What does it mean?
Though many people think he put on an act to humiliate himself, the truth was far from it. He desired to sing and get on stage. It is what our discussion is about.
Fast forward 14 years, William has released two albums but is viewed to try other things in life. He is working to be a coach to help others overcome adversity. He’s still thinking things out – and talking to him was attractive.