Eric Nam is a Korean-American pop singer from Atlanta. He’s currently lives in Seoul, South Korea, where he found fame as a K-pop star. He was named “2016 Man of the Year” by GQ Korea, and Forbes named him one of their “30 under 30 Asia.”
But his success in Korea has been complicated a little by what he wanted to do with his career versus what he felt he was allowed to do. As his career as an artist has evolved, he’s gotten closer and closer to making the music he wants to make. In November 2019, Eric released Before We Begin — his first album entirely in English. In this episode, Eric Nam and producer Rabitt break down a song from that album called “Love Die Young.”
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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need to hire you need indeed, irked on is a korean american pop singer from Atlanta. He currently
as in Seoul South Korea, where he's found fame as a k pop star. He was named to that
Sixteen man of the year by Gq Q and for
named him, one of their thirty under thirty for Asia, but Eric
thus in Korea, has been complicated a little bit by what he wants to do with his career versus what he's felt he was allowed to do
as his career as an artist is evolved, he's gotten closer
and closer to making the music he wants to make.
amber. Two thousand and teen Eric released before we begin his first.
entirely in English. In this episode,
Eric Numb and producer rabbit breakdown, assault,
called love die young I've been in Korea NAM about,
eight years now and it's kind of like an accident that happened.
And I ended up becoming a k pop singer
I know I think it took everybody by surprise
because originally I was supposed to be a strategy consultant at Deloitte and life happens.
Ended up on a tv show similar to X. Factor in Korea got to the top five signed. A record deal quit my job
and then I started putting out albums. My stuff is very pop western
points in western driven and,
in Korea. There
weren't, a lot of acts that were really pushing that sound,
since the onset of my career. You know I walk into the label in there. I. What do you want to do that? I wanna do like Bruno Mars, Maroon five
in the center of the road top forty pop, and they literally looked at me like what is that? Who is that they were baffled, cause they're like nobody's doing that? Why would we do that? They're like
you're, going to just u korean career, music and
being so hungry to be a part of the industry and wanting to put out an album. I think I made compromises early, so I could say, will try the crew
anyway, so nice and do what you want Emily boom.
You know the american system is like. We see your color, we see your talent and like we want you to be you, but in Korea a lot of his like you're, a blank slate.
And whatever we make you into. We want you to be that and a big part of,
I that I had increased was like my pronunciation is imperfect and so
you don't understand what you're saying as your pronunciations and great you can email the way we need you to move, so they would
But you sound too white. You sound like butter, they always say butter as it like to be the most America.
Because we always cook everything about her like then, why are you making me
this type of music we should be doing
that's more authentic to my upbringing,
to what I feel comfortable, it was like at a point where
like songs, just aren't cutting it for me, like I, don't feel comfortable and it's
not true to who I am, but it took years for us to get to that point and so
I think it's just a matter of time for people to get used to Eric NAM is now singing fully in English. Now
this song came on the back half of a songwriting proposed to me. I've been lucky enough to have time to come, to allay and to write with songwriters, and I just kind of have session are up for me
but the week sometimes I'll do two a day and I'm just in and out trying to meet new people right and try to see who I really connect with from a songwriting perspective. In this case, the main producer on this is rabbit. I met Eric three years ago. My girlfriend
she introduced us. She said that session up she's in an hour, and she said
there is this really cool korean artist, who she believes is gonna cross over to America,
She thought that it was a really cool project to be part of when we first started doing love Diane
I think this is our third or fourth song
we already kind of known each other for a little bit and we just kind of vibe.
Let's see what he kind of wants to talk about. That day,
only thing that I was feeling was exhaustion and burnout and a lot of stress
I just finished tour in Europe, and I was just exhausted
I walked in, and I said I just want to write a sad ballad and I want it to be
Channel heavy and just make people
want to cry or like feel like they got punched in the face with emotions so
around the piano. I had so much. I think pent up inside of me of just feeling burdened by all
the things I have to do in that I had to do and that really hit me at the end of that to her cuz. I was like what would happen if I stopped working. What would happen if I just like, fell over in like passed out cuz I was just exhausted
it like. I couldn't work forever. He invited Charlie
starter and Jackie young into the session as well, Charlie and Jackie.
Our two songwriters that I've worked with previously. We,
started, putting down words in different lines and trying to play with what fits and what doesn't dozen like
is this really speak to what the message wants to be and miserable
being very like I'm burned out, who wanted to make
into like a love song. Inspired from a place of like,
one or the other feeling exhausted from the relationship, and so that's how we got the first line of the song,
what happens when it's over when we breathed his last breath
and we love each. Can you tell me so
in the sense of a song, it's about a relationship, but when I take a step back,
I look into what it really means to me. It's about passion, it's about inspiration and your career and life
Korean there's. This word it's called Hon and it's like this deep.
earning in like hassle
passion it has to do with for me,
way. I think of it. It's in intensity across different emotions, and there is like a lot of heightened drama in korean ballads, so in the pre course
The first line is flowers in your hair. Now on our grave and a little bit of pressure is all it takes, she didn't know he shattered that we'd break and it's that type of rawness and that intensity. That to me, feels
kind of like HUN
little the pushes on the tanks.
saying that melody with, like the flowers really falling and the melody falling together ecologists, made
that's and everybody was like that's it and with
tar coming in there. It gives
it's like a steadying factor as like the melody itself is like this falling down
dating kind of thing
we should never thinking this way,
don't ask society to stay stay. This one starts out seeming like it's going to be just a ballad like a really sad ballad, but then it picks up after
the first hook and we have like a bass and some percussion instruments that really drive it forward
Ballads tricky its
and of hard to make ballads
wanted to add some rhythm to it, and I thought it'd be cool to have like an organic percussive element and
I love the sound of muted piano. I have the board of the piano taken out cuz, it looks really cool, but it also records better like that
So I put my hand on the strings of the piano and
He's kind of muted and then you play a no, and I think I recorded that on my phone.
It's like this muted, weird clunky piano,
sounds like how this could turn into a song
but he has a way of just kind of taking now
he threw it into Ableton and basically cut it up.
change the pictures of it and made it like a percussive instruments.
And I wanted to put those in spots where it just moved the solid forward, without just putting
I had thought or changing drum pattern to make it more busy. I wanted
the simple, but had it
swinging pluck things. It's that
Hayden's in that rhythm. That kind of gives the song that's like meaning for like wobbly,
kind of emotion.
And every chorus. I try to add just one little thing to make it a little bit bigger than the last chorus, so I just opened on, which is a great plug.
Like two years- and they have this section- called pliable textures and it's just really creepy
ominous sounding things and
It goes throughout the song and in the final course it becomes a fawn part
please, don't let to please
I'm gonna love some
the end of the hook
don't let it be! We wanted it to be something that people could kind of like latch onto and like seeing as well
and when I write I like to imagine, my life shows as well to give moments where audience members can kind of just hum along easily or like attach themselves to a certain part of
song and then I was like wait, and I want to build this into ass cool of a gospel choir kind of feel as possible.
and so as it goes on, it really builds into this very large sweeping
in China Sound please
I'm gonna, do it
it'd. Be, please don't let so the game
vocals are myself rabbit and Charlie, and
the three of us running around the room in different places in different corners, looking at walls and looking at the ground, yelling love to
over and over and over again
the and then we have like quote unquote:
the Eric Non Choir of me just doing so many different variations of it.
do you your vocal range? I dunno, it's pretty high, I think cause he's pretty high on the yeah. It is pretty high
Ask me how I do that, because I don't know I just rubbing
dress. I think I got hit this somehow, but it's funny because you don't think you're going to hit it
what you do and when you do it's exhilarating. I cut my chops vocally while I was in Korea order
take money. I was doing a lot of side work for a bunch of these idle kids. I was
being demo vocals for them and then I would go in direct their vehicles for their albums and then I would also to the course in the background locals for them, and so
learning to fit other people. Singing styles allowed me to really test the limits of my local capabilities
it's frustrating while you're in it, but you then try all sorts of different body techniques. So it's. How am I going to take my bread?
in and what part of my body am I going to hold tight as I let this air out
Is it going to come from my head voices come from my chest for it's all
all sorts of things, and so I have a million things going on in my head and when I figure it out, it's like Eureka,
Are you Kpop Idol?
I don't I want to say no, I
want to say that I'm just
american pop singer songwriter? That is what I
I do. That is what I want to be. That is how I would like to identify courier and K pop was the place that really gave me the opportunity to dive into music to develop a career, to hone my craft and like create a platform for myself and for that I'll be
forever appreciative, but when I have the label of K pop it pigeon holes in
It limits what I am capable of doing in the west he's cape up.
Guy from Korea whatever, but in korean
like cheesy american guy, who came here to like try to do a music career. So it's now about like how do I redefine it? How do I make my own growing
as a korean American and being first generation immigrant family you're left with a lot of conflicted, feel.
internally. I remember having a point in middle school, where I talk to my dad and like
what I am like, I'm korean, but I'm also not
american, but I'm also not we'll
If in like a weird middle place and had it
hard time figuring out what that meant. So
For example, I went to the two thousand and two World CUP in Korea
went to the? U S, Korea, game and
didn't know how to feel everybody.
going by like. Are you going for career going from the US? I was like I dunno like I'm both but, like I just don't know how to feel about it. I literally painted my face: half and half, because
didn't know how to react and funny enough the game ended.
Thai one to one
at a certain point I was like this is just the way we are. This is the
say that most of us,
Have to deal with living,
growing up in the states as First Jenner.
Should Amber get children, and once I accepted that I was like I'll do whatever I want. I like what I like that's the way it is getting to a place where you're comfortable with you.
in your voice as an artist as a creator? It took a long time for me to get to that point because
as a musician who does not make his own tracks and who has not been trained to create
if it were seeing or whatever. So
second guessing myself and it's a lot of questioning. Like am I qualified to make
suspicion. Probably not, but then end.
But he can create music and anybody can
a song, and it's that often tissue
and that rawness are really kind of drives people to feel something. And now here's the love die young by Eric NAM and its entirety.
What happens when we breathe,
Then we love each. Can you tell me,
When the memories fade away. Can you tell me what happened
precious all shouted depletion never think awaited society to some some man.
My dreams come true.
then I'm scared, we're gonna, kill me. It won't happen.
Some of the tree joy baby, to lay saw that I ask
We should bear that negative stance of flowers in your precious
should have known me shatter break
Isn't this danger a danger
song exploder dot net to learn more about Eric NAM? You also find a
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Transcript generated on 2022-03-27.