Across almost all my social media, I try to keep an eye out for new music and artists to highlight here at Korean Indie. Maddie Park first came to my attention thanks to a TikTok she posted where she talked about starting her journey as a musical artist.

I decided to keep an eye on her as she released singles throughout 2021 and 2022, getting thoroughly hooked on her dreamy, melancholy song, “Lilies.” Maddie’s music tends to range from bedroom pop to R&B, and her latest EP fits right in with the rest of her discography. I’m honored and excited to have been able to get an interview with her just as her debut EP, text me, went live!

maddie park

Congratulations on the release of your first EP! Please introduce yourself to our readers.

Thank you so much! I’m Maddie Park, a Korean American contemporary R&B pop artist born in the Bay Area and currently based in Los Angeles. So excited to be here with Korean Indie!

Let’s start off with a fun question. Do you have a favorite song you’ve released? 

Right now, I’m very excited for everyone to hear ‘mine’ off the new EP. But every song I’ve released has its own little place in my heart!

You seem to take songwriting inspiration from personal experience. Do you have any musical influences that also inform your work?

Ariana Grande, SZA, and Jhené Aiko are all huge influences for me. During the process of writing and recording this EP, I was also listening to a ton of Summer Walker and Mariah Carey. So many artists inspire me every day, for so many reasons.

What does the song-making process look like for you? Has that changed since you first started making music? 

A lot of songs start out as a lyric that I just can’t let go of. That really embodies the emotion I’m feeling or the headspace I’m in. I’ll experiment with other melodies and lyrics in that same vein and go from there.

Since I first started making music, I’ve learned to be okay with letting a lot of the song take shape in the studio. Not planning every single harmony or ad-lib out beforehand, but going into the studio and allowing my voice to just kind of sing me, and seeing where it takes me.

I found you on TikTok which led me to your music. Social media sites can be double-edged swords in terms of the type of engagement you get. Do you think your experience building an online platform has been more positive than negative for your career?

Definitely. I’ve been able to connect with so many kind souls through social media, whether that’s other creatives and musicians or just people who resonate with my music and echo my energy.

Hate comments will always be there, and that’s okay. I’m just grateful to be able to share my journey online and have other people be a part of this with me.

Back when you released your single “Transparent,” you posted on TikTok that the year before you had received some hate on your debut release. How did you deal with that, especially since your social media presence has remained strong?

It was tough because it was the first song I’d ever released, the first time I’d ever even recorded an original song. So for the first step I’d really taken in my music career to be met with so much negativity was a bit discouraging.

But I knew I had to keep going, that I had more in me than just this one song. I worked hard to improve my voice, songwriting, and recording process, and I think I always will.

You also mentioned in that TikTok that you were proud of your progress – as you should be! How do you think you’ve improved most as an artist? 

Thank you! I definitely improved in terms of my vocal arrangements and production quality, but I think learning to love and trust my voice was the biggest thing, as crazy as that might sound. I used to be so critical of my voice that I think I held myself back.

I’m still very aware that my voice isn’t perfect, but it’s my voice! Everyone has one, and this is mine. I needed to learn how to embrace it in order to discover who I truly am as an artist. It’s still a work in progress, but I’ve grown a lot since I first started, and I’m thankful for that.

What ultimately led you to choose music over other careers? You mentioned on your social media that you have degrees from UCLA, and pursuing music wasn’t an easy choice. 

During my senior year, I was living back at home because of the pandemic, and I remember just feeling so empty. Like, what is all of this for? And I finally let myself wonder, what if I tried to pursue music?

It’s been my dream ever since I was a little girl, even though I never really admitted it to myself. And the more I thought about it, the more I knew I had to try.

What has it been like pursuing a career that your family didn’t initially approve of? Do you have advice for other aspiring musicians who may find themselves in a similar position? 

It’s hard because I want to make my parents proud. It’s not that they’re not proud of me now so much as I want them to one day look at me and my music career and just think to themselves, She made it. That’s our daughter. She’s really a singer.

If you’re in a similar position, my heart goes out to you. I hope that in the tougher moments, you remember what makes your heart light up, why you chose this, and what it means to you.

Over the past year, you’ve performed on stage and released your first EP. Do you have any special goals for the next year? 

I’d love to perform on stage again, and maybe make some music in Korea too…we’ll see!

Since it’s about to be released, what would you like people to know about your debut EP? How would you describe it?

‘text me’ is a confession and a plea, all in one. A love letter to long-distance relationships with family, friends, your partner, and sometimes even with yourself, encompassing all the emotions in between. 

Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?

Thank you for reading and I hope you have a chance to listen to my EP, text me. I hope that it makes you feel something, and I hope you’ll be a part of this journey with me. ♡

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aspiring museum professional, avid lover of music