Photos: CHITWN MUSIC
We don’t know about you, but to us, eight years is a pretty long time to wait for something; but as they say, good things come to those who wait. That length of time is just how long Korean singer-songwriter Sam spent to make his official debut.
While he has yet to hit it big, his four singles that have been progressively released since February last year, with a full album slated to be released before the turn of the new year.
“It was a very long time,” he admitted, “I think every minute of it was the best because I really needed the time to fully understand the kind of music I wanted to do and who I wanted to do it with”.
At the tender age of six, Sam’s family went through a financial crisis and “my parents felt like they had to look for another dream, so we moved to Chicago in 1995. We started with nothing and through all those different experiences I think my music grew; even though we weren’t financially stable my mum always put me through music – music was the first thing for me so the writing I do is really based of my family.”
His upcoming tracks, which will be included in his year-end album, include tunes inspired by his migration to the US, the struggles he went through as a Korean-American growing up in a foreign environment and the trials and tribulations his parents went through. “They immigrated for my sister and I – I feel like I am their dream and as a new generation I really want to make it up to them”.
With him alone in Korea and his family halfway around the world, Sam shared that the only hard part about his trainee life was being apart from them. Having spent that time honing his skills before stepping out into the spotlight, the artiste naturally saw fellow trainees make their respective debuts, something that he philosophised was all a matter of timing.
“I felt like that there was a timing for everybody – I was sure that I was going to do what I wanted to do; I didn’t know if I was going to make a lot of money or get famous but I definitely knew that I was going to do what I wanted to do. I was happy for them because it was their timing and right now it’s my timing”.
Despite that, Sam did have his share of insecurities – when he would debut, whether he would even get a chance to debut are just some of the things that would cross his mind.
“Every time I had (any insecurities) the only thing I could do was to make more music. Just to make myself more sure – it’s not like my mom could tell me or my friends could tell me. The only thing that could actually tell me that it was going to be okay was my music so I just wrote a lot. Every time I felt uncertain I would just go back into the studio and every time I recorded a new song it made me feel more sure”.
His methods of self-assurance certainly paid off, with the musician having enough songs to provide for his upcoming artistes. Among his stable of budding talents are a hip-hop duo, solo artiste K.SHIN, a former idol group member who will be making his solo debut, a female group and possibly Tiny-G’s Mint.
As someone who was pushed by his former company to take on the idol route by sending him to acting and dance classes among others, Sam put his foot down and parted ways with the label to start CHITWN MUSIC – somewhere he felt he could make the kind of music he wants to.
Those around him warned him that “it’s hard to do promotions in Korea but I think that’s all (nonsense). After I set up my own company, I learned that (it’s possible) if you’re honest with your music and there’s talent, respect and trust. I got the spot on SBS’s The Show ourselves and I didn’t use a single dime (to get it)”.
While we may only have brushed the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the complexity of the Korean music industry, we’re looking forward to even better things from this earnest talent and his artistes-to-be.