10 Aug 2017
Eric Nam: I appreciate my male fans
Video: Genice Ooi
It was a sunny Saturday morning when we had our first meeting with Eric Nam, Korean-American singer-songwriter, for his first visit to Singapore since his debut in 2011.
With him breezing into the executive club lounge (flanked by his entourage, of course) at the Carlton Hotel five minutes prior to our scheduled interview time, we could already appreciate the effort put into being punctual when meeting the media.
“I’m so sorry, I had a fever last night and I’m having a really bad cold right now, so I can’t really think that well; I hope I make sense later on,” he apologised with an embarrassed chuckle before we started the interview proper.
Despite his condition, the 28-year-old candidly answered all our questions, which ranged from how he tries to draw a balance between meeting his fans and abiding by security’s rules, a mysterious collaboration that has been in the pipeline, and his take on how ‘kiasu’ and ‘kaypoh’ (‘afraid to lose’ and ‘inquisitive’ in colloquial English) he really is.
Read on for more.
10 Aug 2017
Who’s the mysterious girl group member that he’s waiting to collaborate with?
(Top: Eric with Jeon So Mi; bottom: Eric with Gallant and Tablo)
Given the long list of artistes that Eric has collaborated with – over in Korea he has worked with Produce 101’s Jeon So Mi, AOMG’s Loco and Epik High’s Tablo, among others, and internationally, Gallant, ARTY and KOLAJ, just to name a few – we wondered out loud how these songs came to light.
“Well, if we take away all the stuff that happens in between, it all started in one of two ways: either I’m a fan of them, and I send my stuff over, or someone was interested in my music, and they sent something over to me,” Eric chuckled. “Simply put, one of us was definitely a fan of the other.”
Sharing that he has a number of collaborations that are currently in the pipeline, Eric let on that there’s one collaboration in particular he hopes that will work out.
“I’ve been waiting months for this particular singer – I wrote a song and I can’t imagine anyone else but her singing it. She’s a girl group member who’s released quite a bit of solo material, but she’s just so busy that we haven’t found the time to make it happen,” he confessed.
When we asked for more hints on who this mysterious person is, he paused before grinning, “I don’t want to namedrop her during interviews and make her feel that I’m pressuring her to find time for me, so I can’t say any more, or it’ll be too easy to figure out who she is.”
(Continued on next slide: The struggle between pleasing security and meeting his fans)
10 Aug 2017
The struggle between pleasing security and meeting his fans
After arriving in Singapore the night before the interview took place, Eric chose to exit the airport through the normal exit, rather than to be whisked off by the CIP passageway (aka the VIP exit) that most artistes go through. Barricades were set up in the public area prior to his arrival, and fans lined the area eager to get a glimpse of their favourite star – and Eric knew it.
“It was kind of a blur, honestly. When I got into the airport, security was like, ‘We’re going to move very quickly to the car. Please do not stop. It’s very important.’ I was like, ‘Okay, yeah whatever’ but I always feel bad. I want to say hi so I did it trying not to make security upset,” he quipped.
Fans took to social media afterwards to thank him for signing autographs, shaking hands and receiving presents – which probably means that he managed to achieve his goal of interacting with them.
In particular, Eric mused that he has a special sort of appreciation for his male fans, who may not make themselves known all the time. “I don’t know what it’s like over here, but in Korea, there’s a certain kind of stigma against men who like male singers, so whenever I see them come out and see me, I really appreciate them for just being there,” he confessed.
As for tips on how to get his attention at a gig, Eric has just one piece of advice for fans who want to get his attention. “I really shouldn’t be saying this, but you know sometimes when it’s really quiet in the concert hall and someone just screams something really crazy like ‘I love you!’? That’s definitely the way to get my attention because it’s so unexpected and it does take quite a bit of courage to do that,” he grinned.
Now you know.
(Continued on next slide: The kaypoh, but not-so-kiasu side of Eric Nam)
10 Aug 2017
The kaypoh, but not-so-kiasu side of Eric Nam
Given that Eric has a couple of Singaporean friends, he shared that he’s rather acquainted with Singlish – or at least, part of it.
“They put a ‘lah’ behind almost every sentence, so even though I have no idea what it means, I just inserted it at the end of mine,” he laughed, when asked about his social media posts that included our unofficial national language.
We introduced him to two more Singlish words, kaypoh and kiasu and asked him about how much he identifies with these Singaporean qualities.
“I had a fever yesterday so I told myself that I’d take my medicine and go to bed. My team was like, ‘We’re going to go out, do you wanna go?’ and I was like, ‘I’d love to go, but I can’t.’ They started texting me pictures of them drinking beer and I had a serious (moment of) kiasu at that point because I wanted to go out, see Singapore and have fun,” he shared.
Eric continued, “Literally, last night I was telling myself, ‘I’m not going to be kiasu and I’m going to be okay with being in the hotel all by myself and doing nothing. I’m trying to get rid of all the kiasu in me.”
While he might be battling his inner kiasu demons, Eric is very much embracing his kaypoh side. “I think many artistes are like this when they put out a piece of work. You’d be kaypoh about how people receive it, and if they’re going to like it,” he mused.
He continued, “Are they going to be like, ‘It’s so good!’ because I’m in front of them, or are they like, ‘That’s legit good’ when they’re with their friends. That’s what I’m always dying to know.”
Click on for more photos of Eric Nam in Singapore!
10 Aug 2017
Eric Nam loves his fans, and isn't afraid to show it
10 Aug 2017
More hearts for you, because why not?