Regular FeaturesPeople/Yonseian
Spring Special: Singing the Welcoming of Cherry BlossomsArtists who sing melodies as sweet as the spring breeze
Kim Min-seo  |
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승인 2017.04.05  20:56:25
트위터 페이스북 구글 카카오스토리

    SPRING IS here and so are two unique artists who sing lyrics and melodies that signal the coming of cherry blossoms. In welcoming spring, The Yonsei Annals interviewed O.When, a rising rookie who is gaining popularity from a growing audience, and Eddy Kim, a representative acoustic artist who sings the sweetest melodies, to hear their stories and find out how they are preparing themselves for spring 2017.

Rising rookie: O.When 
Annals: In 2015, you came to Seoul to make your debut. Everything must have been new and strange to you. What was the hardest part in adapting to such an unfamiliar environment?
O.When: I did not come to Seoul with an indefinite plan. I knew where to apply to start my music career. Long before I came to Seoul, I had a great fervor for music ever since I was in elementary school. I wanted to write, play, and sing music. Such passion drove me to apply to DH Play Entertainment, an agent that my favorite artist Bily Acoustie belonged to. I made my way to Seoul from Gimhae as soon as I got accepted, and there I received vocal training and produced my album. Although it took time to adapt to the new conditions and environment, I do not really consider it as a hardship since I loved every bit of that process.
Annals: You are renowned for being a genius singer-songwriter. Is there anything you specifically keep in mind while composing music or lyrics?
O.When: Since I do not take a systematic approach while writing music, I do not focus on something specifically while writing music. I just instantly take notes on the melodies and lyrics that come into my mind whenever and wherever. Then when I get back home, I tend to put them together and compose a song.
Annals: Since you are well-known for being an acoustic artist, are there any other music genres you want to try this year other than acoustic?
O.When: In 2017, I want to try more songs with sticky grooves. Since most of my songs are slow and lyrical, I hope to try genres I have not tried before, such as pop with exciting melodies or songs that are slow but have jazzy vibes.
Annals: The ability to play an instrument plays a significant role in composing music. What instruments do you play?
O.When: I play acoustic guitar while composing songs. I always take notes on melodies and lyrics on my phone.  I just got my hands on an electric guitar, but I still have a long way to go. I also play keyboard when writing songs. For instance, I play the keyboard for the song “Wonder Hole.” I just hope to learn and experience various instruments and genres as much as I can.
Annals: What is your favorite song from your own album?
O.When: I would say “Today.” It is one of the most genuine songs I have written, where the lyrics transparently reflect my feelings and experience.
Annals: What were your hardest and happiest moments so far since your debut?
O.When: I do not think there were any hard moments. I love and enjoy every bit of my busy life and I cannot stand idling around; I am just grateful for everything. Everything still feels like a dream to me and I appreciate the smallest attention people show towards me. It is really hard for me to pick the happiest moment, but if I had to pick one I think it would be my first mini concert in 2016. The fact that the audience came to the concert hall just to see me sing was overwhelming. Everything is going faster than I thought and I am simply grateful for everything that is happening in my life.
Annals: You successfully started your music career by busking on the streets before your debut. Could you give a few words of advice for students at Yonsei university who also dream of becoming a singer by taking their first step with busking?
O.When: One thing I realized through my experience of busking is that many people tend to simply copy the specific style and techniques of the song they cover. Instead of doing covers, I recommend writing your own songs with your own unique style. It sounds difficult but what I really mean is that you should just sing your experience genuinely and whole-heartedly without excessively showing off sophisticated techniques for a show.
Annals: The year 2017 has begun and is now ready to greet spring. Could you tell us your New Year resolutions and what you are looking forward to this year?
O.When: Although 2016 has been busy enough for me, I hope to have a busier year this year. I hope to diligently write more songs people can empathize with, and also look forward to more active communication with fans this year. As a rookie, there are not many things I can ask for. I am already honored and grateful to live a life where I am loved for doing what I love. 
* Box 1:
To me, Music is my dream and my life (나에게 음악이란꿈과인생”)
My favorite songs are “CannonBall” by Damien Rice and “Bom nal e noon e boo shin” by Bily Acoustie (내가 즐겨 듣는 노래는 데미언라이스의 "캐논볼 빌리어코스티의 "봄날에눈이부신”)
Songs I recommend for spring are “Picnic” by O.When and “Um-nae” by O.When (봄에 어울리는 추천곡은 오왠의 "피크닉 오왠의 "없네”)
Spring is all about Eddy Kim
Annals: In 2012, you first made your appearance to an audience through an audition program called Superstar K – Season 4. Could you tell us what motivated you to apply for the audition program?
Eddy: For one thing, I was always passionate about music since middle school. I knew music was going to be my career, but I did not know that the start would be this program. When I was serving in the South Korean military, Mnet gave the soldiers an opportunity to appear in their audition show. It turned out, Mnet was collaborating with the Ministry of National Defense to advertise the new military uniform on their show Superstar K. Anyhow, my military colleagues who knew that I was studying at Berklee College of Music encouraged me to try out for the audition and that was what I did. I did not apply with great determination. Rather, I simply wanted to know how people felt about my music.
Annals: As a student of Berklee College of Music, you are known for being an elite musician. Do you acknowledge this?
Eddy: Well, it is true that I have studied music for quite a long time and have benefited from the education I received at college. When I was young, I learned all sorts of musical theories and genres, including classical music and jazz music. I think such a wide understanding of various music genres has allowed me to produce my own musical color today.
Annals: What was the most meaningful experience at Berklee?
Eddy: I would say learning harmonics. It facilitated the process of composing music and I was able to gain a broader understanding of music through it.
Annals: You claimed that your favorite genres are R&B and jazz in the program, but you tend only to release songs that are comparatively acoustic and balladic. Did your favorite genre change or are you planning to release jazzy music soon?
Eddy: I am composing music regardless of genre these days. I still love R&B and jazz, and I personally believe I am best at these genres too. However, since I am a pop singer, I cannot merely neglect my audience’s preferences and music trends. I am striving to add aesthetic features in my songs while considering the style audiences want. It is hard, but producing songs people want to hear from me is what I have to consider the most as a pop singer. 
Annals: Is there anything you especially focus on while composing music? How do you compose the melodies and write the lyrics to your songs?
Eddy: Before my debut, I tried to add fancy elements when writing songs. This is because I wanted to sound professional while I was singing to myself. It is similar to people wanting to look fancy and proficient at their main interests. Hence, I used to write lyrics that lucidly reflected my emotions with techniques that appeared professional. When my music was released to the world and received positive responses, I was overwhelmed by the attention given to me. So, I could say such a style that I incorporated into my music is what I try to pursue when writing songs, since many people, thankfully, love it.
Annals: What is your favorite song from your own album?                                                                               
Eddy: “Jo-hwa” from my 2nd album. It is not widely known, but it is the deepest song I have produced. The lyrics reflect the people who live in society today and how they always produce their fake selves to present to others. They are like jo-hwa, or a fake flower in Korean. They fake their smile, they fake their laugh, and they fake at doing just fine when they are not.
Annals: Your lyrics carry unique sentiments that are very distinguishable from those of other artists. What inspires you to write such lyrics and what do you when you cannot think of any?
Eddy: The frameworks of most of the lyrics come from my experiences and memories. I try to arrange such episodes in a novel-like manner in an order I want to narrate before writing the lyrics. In the case of lyrical inspirations, I get inspired by the most random things during the most unexpected moments. For example, the lyrics to one of my songs called “Sober up” were inspired by a glass that was lying on the table. I imagined a story related to that glass and came up with the lyrics of a man who refuses to stay sober and drinks away the pain of a breakup. I think I tend to put myself in the shoes of a different person or a different situation and expand that thought into lyrics.
Annals: As a singer-songwriter, you are known for being good at playing guitar. How did you start learning guitar and are there any other instruments you wish to learn?
Eddy: When I was in middle school, I started to learn guitar and jazz piano. These two instruments are what I use the most when composing songs. In case of the guitar, I got better at it while serving in the military in South Korea. Since I had nothing else to do during leisure time, all I did was play the guitar. I am now interested in playing brass instruments, such as the horn. I find them attractive.
Annals: The year 2017 has begun and is now ready to greet spring. Could you tell us your New Year resolutions and what you are looking forward to this year?
Eddy: I am definitely preparing to release more albums this year, since I have not produced any of my own in the past two years. I am planning to produce more 70s and 80s style pop music, and I wish to further empathize with the audience through my music this year.
Annals: There are numerous students at Yonsei University who also wish to pursue music as a career. Could you give a few words of advice as an artist to students for whom you serve as a role model?
Eddy: There is no definite answer. Just give everything a try. Keep chasing your dream. If you think it is the right path, it is all yours. Keep chasing.
* Box 2:
To me, Music is spring (나에게 음악이란 "힘든 겨울을 보내고 따뜻해지는 순간, 봄")
My favorite song is “Age” by Yoon Jong-shin (내가 즐겨 듣는 노래는 윤종신의 "나이”)
A song I recommend for spring is “Closer” by Travis (봄에 어울리는 추천곡은 트래비스의 "클로서”)
*                         *                         *
Music plays a decisive role in determining the mood and the atmosphere of the season. Since spring is officially here, it is time to add O.When’s and Eddy’s melodious music to our playlist and to experience the sweetest blossom of spring.


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