Yoon Mirae

Artist Spotlight: Yoon Mirae

When it comes to talented women in South Korea, Yoon Mirae is on, if not at the top, of the list. Singer, rapper, dancer, mc, mother, wife, activist—there’s hardly a title that Yoon Mirae hasn’t held since the 1990’s when she entered the Korean music scene. As one of the first rap and R&B singers in Korea, Yoon Mirae set, and continues to influence, the tone for the future of Korean music.

Born in the United States to a Korean mother and an African American father, Natasha Reid debuted in Korea under the name T, sometimes Tasha, as part of the original line up Uptown. Since then, along with being a talented solo artist, Yoon Mirae has been associated with various hip-hop crews in South Korea, including The Movement, Drunken Tiger, and MFBTY (short for My Fans Are Better Than Yours.) Each of these crews includes both Tasha and her husband, Tiger JK of the group Drunken Tiger.

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Yoon Mirae appears to thrive on collaborating with others, and her solo songs are nothing to scoff at. Nowadays, she’s been gaining a lot of attention for her soulful songs for the soundtracks of dramas like The Master’s Sun and It’s Okay, That’s Love. Such a prolific artist is hard to summarize in a few songs, but here are several songs that paint a picture of Yoon Mirae’s talent and her typical style.

Memories (Smiling Tears) came out in 2002, and is an early song that highlights Yoon Mirae’s rapid-fire rap skills and her R&B style that is reminiscent of some famous singers, particularly Lauryn Hill. Yoon Mirae’s songs are almost always inspiring, and Memories is one of her iconic songs with lyrics like “all the hopes and the dreams will survive.” It also has an example of numbers, which appear in several of Yoon Mirae’s songs.

Next up is Black Happiness, from Yoon Mirae’s 2007 album T3 – Yoon Mi Rae. This is one of Yoon Mirae’s most iconic songs about her heritage as a biracial artist in Korea who was met with racism since a young age, but turned to music to find refuge. Even though her father’s skin color was the “problem,” Yoon Mirae sings that her connection to music is thanks to him, and that music has gotten her through everything. Her aggressive rap complements her inspirational lyrics, depicting the struggle that Yoon Mirae went through while growing up.

They told me to wear a mask
They said my mom’s race was okay
But not my dad’s

I felt like I was in jail
And I leaned on myself
I spent endless, painful days
I ignored their warnings
And because I missed music
I tried to escape

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Get It In was the start of a new sound for Yoon Mirae. Mixing her traditional hip-hop sound with electronic music. Get It In, featuring Tiger JK and solo singer Jung In, has a club feel to it and ends with a pounding beat that Yoon Mirae rarely utilized in her earlier iconic songs. Released in 2011, the song is about someone searching for their own place in the world– continuing Yoon Mirae’s philosophical style. Personally, I interpreted the battle scene in the music video as the singer’s fight with the world around her to continuously improve.

2013 brought a new, more popular version of Yoon Mirae with the song Touch Love from The Master’s Sun soundtrack. Without her usual rap, the song doesn’t really feel like it’s Yoon Mirae’s style, but Touch Love just shows another side to Yoon Mirae’s talent, where she goes the typical Korean ballad route rather than sticking to a more Western-influenced style. The song won multiple awards, and Yoon Mirae also sang I Love You for It’s Okay, That’s Love OST.

And, finally, Yoon Mirae’s latest song Angel. Not only does she look fantastic in the music video, but Yoon Mirae’s powerful singing appears in a mature, heartfelt way. The song isn’t about a lover in specific, but the people who support you when you’re having a hard time. Yoon Mirae released the song after a year where she lost her father-in law (This article had previously said her father), was betrayed by someone she trusted, and started a new company, but even so she has people around her who help her keep faith during hard times. Angel’s meaning led it to reaching the number one spot of multiple Korean music charts shortly after being released this month.

Do you like Yoon Mirae’s style? What’s your favorite song. Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

  • ldn

    Her father is alive though…

    • Tamar Herman

      Thanks for pointing it out, Idn. You are definitely right and the article has been changed. The blurb published on the YouTube video said Yoon Mirae’s father died, but it seems to be about Tiger JK’s father rather than her own biological one.