Jen Moon‘s Moonology is an R&B-centered debut that showcases her voice and artistic range. It also expands on the library of Korean artists who live outside of the country and are creating art that’s inspired by a wide range of music, culture, and personal experiences. This newer generation of artists will be the wave of change and break existing genre standards.
After listening to her debut, I was curious to know more about Jen Moon (the artist) and Jen Moon (the person) and she graciously agreed. Find out more about Jen Moon and be sure to follow her and keep up with her next release.
Can you introduce yourself?
Hi! My name is Jen Moon, and I am an independent singer-songwriter based in Toronto, Canada. It was also my birthday recently so I just turned 21 woop woop.
How did you get started with music? Did you take the normal path of parental pressure to learn an instrument?
Music has always been a huge part of my family, and I’ve loved singing since I was a kid. I was pretty much forced to learn the piano, like many others, and eventually stopped because I hated practicing. However, I’m glad I learned the basics anyways because it helps a lot when writing songs.
Moonology is centered in R&B and soul and “136” feels a bit more pop, but going back to the beginning – how did you find your own voice? Or where did the decision to harness your vocals in this particular way come from?
When I first started singing, I mostly tried to follow the style of the artists that I looked up to and admired the most like Ariana Grande and Jasmine Sullivan, who both have insane vocals. I derived a lot of initial inspiration from them, but later on was more heavily inspired by other artists such as Alicia Keys, H.E.R, and Summer Walker.
More so than their specific techniques and styles, I think my admiration for powerful female singers in general really helped me to gain confidence in my own voice, and pushed me to step out of my comfort zone.
Is there an aspect of the R&B and soul that speaks to you as an artist? Given the chance, would you explore other genres?
Definitely. One thing I love the most about R&B and soul is how artists can tell stories and express such powerful and complex emotions through simple yet beautiful melodies and lyrics. But it doesn’t always have to be so deep, some of my favourite R&B songs are ones that are fun, lighthearted, and you can just groove to.
I like how R&B can be really versatile. And yes, I’d love to explore other genres if the opportunity were to arise.
Regarding Mooology, was there a decision to release an album so quickly as a newer artist? There were two singles, which are on the album, that released before it dropped, but many new artists might release a three-song single or a shorter EP first.
I don’t think there was a huge reason other than the fact that we just couldn’t wait to get all of these songs out into the world. Was it the smartest decision marketing-wise to release the whole album over the span of a few months?
Maybe not, but I was so happy and excited at the time, and the response to the album was still overwhelmingly great, so I don’t really regret the way we released it.
In your Spotify bio, it says that you produced Moonology. Was everything composed, arranged, mixed, and mastered solo or did you have any other collaborators? Was the album the result of a singular vision? Is there any change you would make after living with it if you could go back?
My main collaborator during the creation of Moonology was my friend, Drew Lee. He produced and arranged the songs, while I wrote all of the lyrics and melodies. We composed the songs together. The main vision of the album was inspired by the lyrics I wrote and the stories I had to share, but Drew and our creative director at the time, Joseph Kim, really helped me to dig and look deeper into myself and what it was that I wanted to express.
Looking back at the process, I don’t think there is anything I would change because every single thing about this album was so carefully thought out. But if I could, maybe I would make my song “Prayer” longer, because my parents always complain about how short it is lol. The way the song is now is how it’s always been, but before finishing the song, I debated on writing a second verse, which ended up never happening.
What’s your second favorite track on the album? Why is it second?
My second favourite track would be “Notice.” It’s really close to being my top favourite, since it’s the first song I ever officially released, but I love it just a tiny bit less than “Dream,” which has a special place in my heart.
As an artist growing in the digital age, it feels like everything needs to be packaged from social media accounts to being accessible on all the streaming services. Do you feel the added pressure of exposure? Do you feel like there’s a negative-positive feedback loop that younger artists are always chasing?
I definitely do feel some added pressure, especially in an age where apps like TikTok can determine which song and artist goes viral next. I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with social media and publicity, because while I know that it is crucial to keep up a presence in order to stay relevant, it can be quite exhausting.
Also, I’m not really sure what you mean by negative/positive feedback loop, but I do feel like obsessing over social media presence can become a vicious cycle of constantly trying to gain exposure when in reality it is very difficult to do on your own. There are also so many people out there who try to take advantage of young artists’ desperation and sell them fake publicity, which is a huge problem.
Korean culture is now a large export and has seeped into some aspects of international mainstream culture. But even in the mainstream, there is still cherry-picking and, in some cases, white-or-black-splaining about the validity of it, especially the origins of music. As an artist between these two worlds, do your roots have an impact on your artistic journey or is it a marathon where you’re building as you go?
I think my cultural roots definitely do have an impact on my artistic journey. Although I was born and raised in Canada, I was lucky enough to be well-exposed to the language and culture of my parent’s home country, South Korea, since I was younger.
Korean culture, language, and even music are huge parts of my identity and have impacted my life journey thus far, so I’d love to somehow incorporate those things into the music that I create in the future.
Do you listen to any Korean (in Korea or outside) artists regularly?
Lately I’ve been listening to Audrey Nuna who is a Korean American artist, her stuff is really dope. In terms of artists who are active in Korea, I listen to many, but some of my favourites are IU, Crush, G Soul, and BIBI. Of course, I can’t forget about good ole BTS (I’ve lowkey been a fan since 2013).
What comes next after “136”? More singles or something larger to follow Moonology?
I would love to release something larger, but it’s probably not going to be anytime soon. In terms of singles, I might just be working on a couple things, so stay tuned for that!
Any artists you believe deserve more attention?
Anything to say to readers?
If you made it through to the end of this interview, thank you so much for reading and getting to know me better! Huge shoutout to Korean Indie for giving smaller artists like me the chance to share my story. Make sure to check out more of their articles, and follow me on Spotify if you’d like to stay updated on future releases.