TODAY | January 11, 2014
>> reporter: you probably don't recognize him. he says no one at new york's columbia university does. but the psych major by day is away from campus life a.j. . the rap and k- pop star with a south korean boy band ukiss. his five albums have found 250,000 buyers and a growing fan base, primarily on the northeast. this serious university student is also an ambitious entertainer hungry for stardom.
>> after this performance, some people might recognize me, i hope.
>> reporter: he crowed on his twitter page about a newspaper profile, and in an earlier post, when classes had started, wrote " sooner or later , i will again pursue my dream, no matter what." in fact, his first american mini tour is now under way, and the psych major is, well, psyched.
>> i feel like i'm dreaming right now.
>> reporter: there's a bit of a " hannah montana " story line here. the unassuming student with a pop star alter ego, but a.j.'s korean american real- life story was hardly seamless. he dropped out of junior high , stumbled for years trying for a music career , and once he did get there, hired a tutor to help him finish high school and earn his way belatedly to columbia, a freshman at age 22.
>> dream come true!
>> reporter: right now, he lives in two worlds, and if that boy band thing doesn't turn into a solid career, he's not exactly south korea 's justin bieber, yet, maybe an ivy league psych degree will help him deal with it. for "today," mike taibbi , nbc news, los angeles .