SONAGI LEAD vocal, top prize at MBC University Song Festival and a splendid debut on screen: this might sound like a daydream for ordinary students busy taking courses, but not for Kim Hee-young (’00, Dept. of Political Science & Int. Studies), better known as Sunday Brunch, who made her debut with an album called 200km/h. Once a legendary singer of Sonagi, a main band dongahree in Yonsei Univ., she also performed in Akaraka in 2008. Although she decided to be a singer despite her major and university education, she is happy now to be doing what she wants. The Yonsei Annals interviewed her as a role model for Yonseians who are having trouble finding their own dream, under the pressure of society.
What influenced you to become a singer?
Ever since I was young, I liked music much more than others of my age. This is probably because, as my father was an audio collector, I had lots of chances to listen to music. Plus, I was a member of a band at Geochang High School when I was a student, which was very liberal and unsystematic. Actually, until then, I had no talent but just passion and interest in music. However, I could sing as much as I wanted after classes thanks to the free atmosphere, so I did not study much but enjoyed singing. I think that was when I made up my mind to become a singer.
Why did you choose Yonsei and your major?
When I talked with my parents about my future, my father persuaded me that he would not stop me from becoming a singer if I went to a university of high academic reputation. So since senior year of high school, I started studying hard in order to achieve my dream. Regarding my major, I wanted something that had nothing to do with mathematics, as I was not that good at it. Also, I wanted to think in various perspectives open-mindedly, and thought that I would be able to learn this through political science. Yet, I did not have interest in academic learning, since I sincerely felt that it was not my thing.
What were your special experiences as a lead singer, or a student?
During my college days, life itself was special. I had put all my passion into and led an active life in Sonagi since I was a freshman. At first, I was stressed from the fact that I had to perform in front of people, feeling oppressed by all the people in the audience. Yet, as the days passed, I gained more confidence, and was finally able to win the top prize in MBC University Song Festival. I had even received proposals from agencies. Due to such accumulated experiences, I did not feel that exceptional even after releasing my first album since it seemed like a continuation of my dongahree life.
Apart from Songai, there was nothing special about college since I did not really know the students in my department. Once, however, I had a chance to participate in Political Science Camp without knowing any of the other students there. Luckily, I really had a great time with many people and professors. I thought professors would not like me because due to heavy band practice, I did not study hard. Surprisingly, contrary to my anxieties, they really enjoyed my singing, and I became close with them. I keep in touch with some of the professors even until now.
Ideal as ambition, reality as difficulties
When I was a high school student, I was not yet sure to promise that I would become a singer. After entering university, however, I had many opportunities to become a singer, such as offers from agencies. I also got envious looks from those around me, and all of these made me lighthearted. Yet, all this excitement brought a confusion, and due to personal reasons, I gave up my dream at that time.
Although I abandoned my attempt to become a singer, I had a lingering affection for it. I had the belief that when choosing my job, I should be fond of and be good at it, and that it should be acknowledged by people. Only after this period did I realize that my dream met all these requirements. I started to reconsider my future deeply, and decided to challenge myself to become a singer again. However, it was just a start. After contracting with the agency and setting my foot in the entertainment field, I noticed that the atmosphere was quite different from what I was familiar with. Oftentimes, people and the things around seemed absurd and irrational as a result, and naturally, I felt excluded from these people and suffered hardships. This is when I learned how different the reality is from the ideal.
Aptitude versus academic background, what would you recommend?
I cannot simply say which is better since I myself was also in agony choosing my path before. I think it is up to each individual to decide what is more important to him or her, following one’s dreams or doing what society wants. Everyone is different, and I cannot devalue external factors such as the demands of family or social recognition. Perhaps students who attend prestigious universities, the so-called SKY, are more burdened with external factors when determining their future. If I had not gotten any prizes in contests and if people had not acknowledged my ability, I am not sure if I would have continued to try to become a singer. As the choice lies with each individual’s priorities, I cannot say which is right. At least for me, my own desire was more important than other elements, which is why I ultimately chose this path.
What is music for you?
While I studied politics in detail, I felt that it was just theory for the sake of theory. It seemed that I could not change the world with these vain theories. However, music is different. Music can affect people in various ways, such as changing their thoughts by conveying diverse messages through disparate genres, melodies or lyrics. Music is what fascinates my life.
Your future plan as a singer
While preparing my first album, I did not take much part in the recording production progress; all I did was to coat the songs with my voice. All the melodies and lyrics were provided by the agency, and were not of my own creation, so I even felt that they were not my songs. Currently, I am preparing my next album, and trying to write down the lyrics on my own, expressing what I want to say. Also, since the genre of my previous album was modern rock which is unfamiliar to most people, I will add popular pop sound to appeal more to the public.
Any last words to Yonseians
First of all, I would appreciate it very much if you would give me lots of love. (laughs) I often wander around Yonsei Univ. and see many students tired out from having to study so tremendously much. I feel sorry for them, trapped in their choking routines. However, I do not want to tell them to do what they simply like when deciding on their future, since it each individual must make their own decision. I advise Yonseians to ask themselves seriously what is more important for them. I hope they listen to their heart thoroughly, and make a decision that they will not regret.