Jazz is a worldwide genre, but I don’t have a lot of genre knowledge other than a few popular historic artists. So when I came across Suwon Yim‘s Hide and Seek, I was really interested in knowing more about her background and how she started her interest in jazz and her other project, Fully Bold.
Can you introduce yourself?
Hi I am Suwon Yim from Seoul, South Korea and I love listening to nursery rhymes. One of my creative practices is to get inspiration from the scent and the color of nature. I love the greenery and it speaks so much to me.
Most people’s perception of jazz is a dark lounge with a vocalist, keyboard player, bassist, and drummer. How would you describe jazz to someone who isn’t familiar with the genre?
There’s no right or wrong answer to define Jazz, but I feel like it is a genre that you can express your musical thoughts in a white canvas. Whether you have a classical background or have a strong passion for rock and pop, it all builds up a conversation between the players and the people in the audience.
How did you get started as a keyboard player? Did it come from personal interest or parental talent searching?
I started to play and learn the piano when I was 15. It is pretty late compared to most of the musicians who start grabbing their instruments from an early age, but one day when my father played Keith Jarrett’s song on a CD player, from that point on I found my true interest in playing the piano and wanted to know the world of Jazz.
You released Hide and Seek in 2020. Where did the idea to record and release an album come from?
As I mentioned earlier, I always get inspirations from the scent and the color of the nature. The vivid colors and the swaying trees in the breeze offer endless ideas. And since I love composing music for kids, I developed one of my original children’s songs into a Jazz-oriented composition that all age can enjoy.
“Hide and Seek” and “Plane to Miami” feel like contemporary jazz, or at least the perception of what contemporary jazz would sound like, but “Dottori” has this separate mood and feeling to it along with the addition of vocals. Was this song composed differently?
Most of you people might not notice it, but the whole album was developed from my original children’s song. The direct translation of “Dottori” is “acorn” in Korean and I wanted to deliver the message of ‘Life is bittersweet’ by acorns falling off trees. it has a childish voice of mine, but contains deep moral messages.
Is there a song that you think wholly represents you as an artist on Hide and Seek?
All the of songs were written few years back and the oldest one is “Hide and Seek.” I strongly believe that this song represents me as an artist.
What is the perception of jazz within South Korea? Are there any musicians that people should listen to?
The perception of Jazz in South Korea nowadays is not as popular as pop or R&B music. One of my favorite musicians is Youn Sun Nah. She is an amazing musician, and her music has power that moves people’s heart.
What are your goals beyond completing your coursework at Berklee?
As I study in depth about music, I started to realize the importance of music and made my first priority to use my talent not just income or career but to heal people’s heart.
You’re also a member of Fully Bold and released an EP last year. Is Fully Bold another creative outlet or do you see it as your primary career?
We first started this duo just to enjoy and make dope music during our college years but after the call from Majestic Casual, we decided to take it seriously and slowly building up as a whole. To tell the truth, all the songs from the EP were composed two to three years earlier than the release date so…we are both really slow. Haha 🙂
Fully Bold uses a different genre from your solo work. Does it take a mental transition to move into R&B from jazz or are there similar elements?
To be honest, I never enjoyed listening to Hip-hop or Neo Soul music until I accidently encountered my partner at Bank of America while studying abroad in Boston. I usually listened to children’s songs and Jazz, but soon after I started playing with him, I had fun producing Hip-hop music fused with Jazz.
Little Fun Fact: The first song we ever made together was “Jetlag Love” in autumn 2016.
Where should listeners expect more music first – solo or from Fully Bold?
I’ve already recorded, mixed, and mastered few tracks to present, but waiting for the right time that nature speaks to me. So for now, Fully Bold is in the creative process so keep streaming the music out at the moment and more updates to come!
Anything to say to readers?
Just want to say that everyone has their own ability and potential so do not give up, be persistent and stay safe!