Finding new Korean indie musicians is a daunting task. It’s difficult to gauge what an artist will sound like based off the name and simple explanation of the style. YUMI was described as indie, but the music is different from that simple description. Her singer-songwriter style is very melodic and haunting, at least to me.

I searched online for a way to contact her and found her on Facebook. Being kind of strange, I blind messaged her and asked if she would answer questions about her music and introduce herself to readers. After some translation help, I sent questions and she replied in a couple days.


Can you introduce yourself?

저는 혼자서 기타 치고 노래하는 YUMI입니다. 부산으로 중심으로 활동하고 있습니다.

My name is YUMI, a solo singer with a guitar! I am mostly performing in Busan area.

How would you describe your music?

제 노래의 주된 악기는 통기타이고, 주된 내용은 신변잡기입니다.
밴드를 하고 싶었지만 멤버가 없었기 때문에 혼자 연주를 하고 있습니다. 하지만 EP에는 밴드 형식으로 편곡하여 녹음하기도 하였습니다.

My main instrument is acoustic guitar and I sing about everything around me. I originally wanted to form a band, but I couldn’t really find someone so I am doing this alone. However in the EP, I arranged and recorded in a band format.

What are your influences?

다른 뮤지션의 노래를 들으며 영감을 받기도 하지만, 많은 부분은 제 일상에서입니다.
사람들과의 관계에서도 소스를 얻습니다.

Sometimes, I do get influences by other musicians’ music but most part, my daily life takes a big part. I get inspired by people and my relationships with them.

Do you have plans to record more music?

네 조만간 작업에 들어갈 생각입니다.

Yes – I am going to work on it very soon.

Is it difficult to be a musician in South Korea?

대한민국이라서 특별히 힘든 점은 모르겠습니다. 제 개인의 음악적 역량과 경제적 능력이 부족해서 힘든 점은 있습니다.

There is no particular “difficulty” because it’s Korea. However, I do feel a bit limited by my own personal musical ability and financial situation.

What do you think of the Korean indie music scene?

전 지방에 살고 있어서 한국 인디보다 제 고향인 부산 인디씬에 대해서 생각하곤 합니다. 이런 관점에서 이야기하자면, 지방 뮤지션들이 서울로 상경하지 않아도 행복한 음악생활을 할 수 있게 되었으면 좋겠다는 바램입니다. 여러 가지 사정으로 상당수의 고향 친구들이 서울에서 음악 활동을 하고 있지만, 저는 부모님과 친구들을 떠나서 살고 싶진 않습니다.

그리고 일본에서 생활한 적이 있는데 지방이었음에도 불구하고 많은 공연장과 공연진들, 그리고 관객들이 있어서 부럽다는 생각을 한 적 있습니다. 반면에 길에서 전단지를 나누어주며, 포스터를 붙이며 공연을 홍보하는 모습도 보았습니다. 저도 부산에서 한번 따라 해봤는데 예상외로 효과가 있었습니다. 한국이든 어디든 인디 뮤지션은 부지런해야 할 것 같습니다.

Since I live outside of Seoul, I tend to think about indie scene in Busan. In that perspective, I hope that musicians in smaller towns can perform happily and do music without moving to Seoul. Many musician friends did move to Seoul for various reasons but I can’t leave my friends and family.

I used to live in Japan for a bit but even though I was in more rural area, I noticed that there was many places to perform, staff who help, and also audience, which I did feel little envious for a moment. I also saw people giving flyers in the streets so one day I used the same method in Busan but I was surprised how well it turned out. In all, I think indie musicians need to be diligent whether you are in Korea or somewhere else.

What are your favorite bands (local or internationally)

좋아하는 밴드는 누가 있나요? (외국, 국내 포함)

Elliott Smith, Portishead, Cat Power, Love Psychedelico (Japan)

Is there any musician you would like to collaborate with?

Japanese producer, Kobayashi Takeshi

Anything to say to people who haven’t heard your music?

무언가 메시지를 전달하기보단 느낌을 공유하고 싶어서 노래를 만듭니다. 목표가 있어서라기 보단 써 놓은 곡들을 기록하고 싶어서 음반을 만들었습니다. 열린 마음으로 가볍게 들어주세요.

I make music not because I think I have an important message, but to share the mood. I make music to write down something I care as supposed “a goal.” Please enjoy my music with light heartedness!

Yumi on Facebook.
Yumi’s site.

It’s my first time reaching out to someone outside of Seoul and I know that there are musicians who play in Busan. I’m happy that indie music exists all over Korea and YUMI is a great musician to listen to.

Korean Indie Editor-At-Large The person in the background watching over everything.