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Eric Nam Talks “Honestly…” & Aspirations in fanmeet in Singapore

By Anna Cheang

Back in Singapore for the second time on an official visit since his concert in July, Korean-American singer Eric Nam returned as a guest to grace the first anniversary celebrations of dal.komm COFFEE, a music cafe chain from Seoul. While he did not have a full concert this time, Eric held a mini-showcase for his fans where he sang his hit tracks such as “Good For You,” “Can’t Help Myself,” “Beautiful (Eng. Ver.),” as well as his title track “Honestly…” from his latest album of the same name.

By Anna Cheang

With his latest album, which he took over two years to create, Eric shed his “guy next door” image and opted for a more realistic, if flawed, persona. From tackling issues like growing tired of a partner but not knowing how to break things off amicably to dealing with difficult breakups, Honestly… is raw but highly relatable, and tells an unconventional story about the process of a breakup, rather than the sadness of heartbreak or the concept of being in love that most songs dwell on. At the media conference prior to the fan event, Eric explained that this album is “a piece of art that really shows a different side of my music and personality, and stories that are a little different from what I have been telling so far.”


Also on Kultscene: Eric Nam’s ‘Interview’ Album Review

His inspirations for this album came from everyday life, from his personal experiences and those of his friends. “We all go through the same things in life. We go through different versions of it but the points and the main stories of it are very similar.” It might have been too real and uncomfortably familiar for some, however, as he explained that he faced a lot of opposition in the creation of this album due to its subject matter. “They kept asking me if I was sure I wanted to go in this direction.” Despite the demanding and fighting he had to go through, Eric persisted because he wanted to break free of the box his one-dimensional nice image had confined him in. “As an artist you have to stay true to what stories you want to tell and show some creative development as you go on in your career. I didn’t want to feel stuck and stalled at one point in my life.”

 

By Anna Cheang

The highly pop-like and experimental nature of the album is also a break away from the gentle ballads or R&B style songs that Eric has often been associated with — a very big step that he felt was necessary for him to take. Listing popular hip-hop musicians in Korea such as Dean, Zico, and Crush, he explained that while many musicians ventured into the previously unfamiliar path of hip-hop and eventually made it their own, not many artists in Korea have done that for pop. “I wanted to make that lane mine,” he confessed, especially since he is a huge fan of pop music. For instance, Eric’s favourite track of the album, “This Is Not A Love Song,” which he performed acapella briefly during the event, is a laid back but pop-infused and catchy song. Many of the songs on this album, in fact, are this way; they have fun melodies “that make you wanna dance” but have lyrics which are at times aggressive or filled with pain and regret. This dichotomy was intended to cause listeners to think and reflect on their own feelings, and was one that Eric and his team enjoyed exploiting as they created the album.

By Anna Cheang

While Eric has already collaborated with many artists such as Gallant, Tablo, KOLAJ, and Arty, among others, he revealed that future collaborations are in the works. Following the release of Honestly…, which was a turning point in his career, many artists, songwriters, and producers have also been approaching him for future projects. Of these, he has been talking to his friend of two years, American singer songwriter Khalid, for a while now, and he hopes that something would come out of it soon. In the meantime, he is also talking to Latin artists about doing a Spanish version of one of the songs in this album, which would further expand the diversity and versatility of his current music style.


Also on Kultscene: Weekly K-pop Faves: April 9-15

When asked about a beverage that describes himself, Eric aptly chose a shot of espresso because it is a main ingredient that can be used to create so many types of drinks. On expressing his desire to go out of his comfort zone and beyond his original identity, he said, “I like to think of myself as an artist that could fit into many different genres and parts of the world.”

A self-proclaimed bold individual, Eric hopes to be able to continue down this path of pop music, despite the many obstacles he will face along the way. While international fans have responded positively to his new music style, he acknowledged that he has to keep putting out this sound for Korean fans to get used to and accept it. Making music is and continues to be a difficult job, but Eric has his family and friends to thank for helping him to stay grounded through it all.

Up next for Eric is his Honestly North American tour, which begins on the 5th of June in Los Angeles. Here’s to a successful tour and more great music ahead!

Were you at dal.komm COFFEE’s 1st Anniversary Event? What did you think of Honestly…? 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.

Weekly K-pop faves: April 9-15

April picked up in a big way over the last week with releases from some of our favorite K-pop artists. In this week’s K-pop faves list, the KultScene team wanted highlighted some music from soloists and boy bands alike.

“Honestly” by Eric Nam (Released Apr. 11)

Eric Nam made his long anticipated comeback with his first EP in two years this week, and the amount of effort he put into it is evident, especially from his title track “Honestly,” which he co-wrote and composed. A departure from his usually sweet and gentle image, “Honestly” features the stronger use of electro-synth to create a colourful track that allows Eric to show off both his moves and his vocals. Accompanied by a vibrant music video filmed in Mexico, the track is very dynamic and sets the tone for the rest of the EP, which is a masterpiece in itself.

—Anna

“Me & U” by Super Junior (Released Apr. 12)

This week, the legends Super Junior came back with a repackage of last year’s Play. Along with the latest single “Lo Siento” and all the previous songs, Replay has a few new songs, including “Me & U.” This song perfectly blends the pop sounds we know and appreciate Super Junior for modern lite-R&B. “Me & U” perfectly exemplifies how the group, with all the members over 30 and a 13-year-old career under their belt, are moving forward sonically. It’s a great spring song to bop along to.

—Alexis

‘Yet’ by Drunken Tiger (Released Apr. 13)

The king is back, and he’s going hard as always! I am not a “today’s music sucks, bring back old school *insert music genre name*” kind of person, but wow, how I missed Tiger JK’s powerful deliver and deep lyricism. Since “Yet” marks the last album he’ll release under the name of the group that changed the scene for rappers in Korea, he surely has a lot to say – and he says it with a furious, cathartic flow, with the little “drunken” vibe that is his trademark. It is a blessing to see Tiger still going strong, almost 20 years after his debut. I’m all for having different styles and generations shining together. If hip-hop has welcomed new trends, it is because people like him paved the way for the genre to be what it is today, and Tiger’s story is definitely one worth listening to.

—Ana Clara
What was your favorite song of the week? Let us know in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

Eric Nam’s ‘Interview’ Album Review

Eric Nam

Popular Korean MC-singer Eric Nam recently came back with his mini-album “Interview”and is maintaining a high spot on local music charts despite strong competition posed by other returns by idol groups such as GOT7. It’s great news for a largely underrated singer like Eric Nam, especially because “Interview” is a marvellous album that’s proved its worth in the chart rankings.

“Interview”

This opening track kicks off the album brilliantly with a “feel-good” vibe that is complemented by Eric’s smooth voice and muted instrumentals. The lyrics wittily describe the first meeting of a guy and a girl by framing it as an interview, which is clever in itself because Eric has conducted numerous interviews throughout his own career. It’s adorable yet romantic to listen to, much like the creative lyrical video that accompanied the song.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdwpPr3Li_0&w=500&h=281]

”Good For You”

The cheerfulness is dissipated by the time we reach the single of the album but it is no less well done than the first track. With a soft and jazzy piano introduction Eric carries the song in a relaxed manner, fully expressing the simple lyrics of the song. The song is quiet for the most part, but at the emotional climax of the track Eric displays his trademark high notes. The music video for this track is shot beautifully with a very romantic and vintage lighting. The main story of the video centers around three particular characters; a tired ballerina, a worn out barista and a hopeless office woman. As Eric croons his song over the radio and the three characters listen to it they are encouraged and energized. While not fully relevant to the song itself, it makes for a sweet plot and a great watch.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb0fKaENYI4&w=500&h=281]


Also on Kultscene: Girl Crush: KittiB

”Stop The Rain”

“Stop The Rain” is a marked difference from Eric’s usual laid back style but it’s a difference that is much welcome in this album. It starts out softly but the tempo is upbeat from the start and intensifies as the song goes along. The chorus is structured in an unique way but is catchy and addictive. With meaningful lyrics that speak of failure and hope along with Eric’s powerful vocals, this is easily the best and most memorable song of the album.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcRmCd7jkOQ&w=500&h=281]

”No Comment”

Rounding out the album we have a song that returns to how this album started but in a more depressing and somber fashion after the excitement of meeting someone for the first time fizzles out betrayal and heartbreak start to creep in. This is exactly what Eric tackles in his last track. The skilful use of the phrase “No Comment” draws back to the initial idea of “Interview” this heartbreaking track pulls out all the stops in the form of emotional high notes, string instrumentals and a quiet closure.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WHHxlpuEzc&w=500&h=281]


Also on Kultscene: Battle of the Underappreciated K-pop Groups: A.Cian vs. Lip Service

Overall Thoughts

Eric Nam has effectively outdone himself with this short album that managed to stay cohesive and keep a high quality throughout. I’m looking forward to his future releases (and am desperately hoping that he will gain more attention with this album) and his continued growth as a musician.

What did you think of his album? 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.

Breaking Down KCON ’15 LA’s Red Carpet Looks

RED CARPET KCON LOOKS
Red Carpet fashion is always fun, but when it comes to a K-pop red carpet, we never know what we are going to expect. With no assigned dress code on KCON’s red carpet, the interpretation of fashion was open to the imagination of the artists’ stylists. Some opted for classic suits, while some looks seemed to come out of fashion editorials and others simply wore their performance outfits for that night of the “M! Countdown” concert. Here is this year’s break down of KCON ‘15 LA Red Carpet looks.

The Classic Suits

The easiest look for men on a red carpet is to go with a classic suit, but there are always some things you can add to make you stand out. Roy Kim kept it simple with a navy suit and paired it with a grey mandarin collar shirt and white sneakers. It was a very safe choice that transitioned perfectly onto his performance in the concert.

Photo Alejandro Abarca for KultScene

Photo Alejandro Abarca for KultScene

Son Ho-Jun, for his part, opted for a classic dark navy suit. The jacket had black detailing under the lapel that offered a modern take on the classic look. He paired it with a white shirt that featured a black collar and kept it crisp with a white skinny tie. The actor looked very happy and confident with his outfit, and made all the fans of “Reply 1994” scream and shout for him.

Photo Alejandro Abarca for KultScene

Photo Alejandro Abarca for KultScene


Also on KultScene: KCON 2015 LA’s M! Countdown Concerts Recap

Eric Nam’s bright and contagious personality really shone through his clothes. He wore a blazer and dress pants, but sported them with a casual shirt and sneakers, making him look fresh and modern but still appropriate for a red carpet. Eric is known for this kind of look, so this was no surprise for his adoring fans. Eric looked sharp and very handsome and created a great atmosphere on the red carpet that made everyone in the audience have fun and enjoy his three minutes in the spotlight.

Photo Alejandro Abarca for KultScene

Photo Alejandro Abarca for KultScene

In SHINHWA’s case, the group’s stylist made bolder choices. From Eric’s red jacket, and pairing black trousers with blue blazers on Jun Jin, the choices were daring but very fun. The member’s perfectly tailored suits looked incredible on them and made all of the Shinhwa Chanjos (SHINHWA’s fans) go crazy after their long wait to see this legendary group.

When Super Junior came out, everybody in the audience went nuts! The boys looked incredibly handsome and chic in their suits. The black suits fit well on each member, and everyone added their touch of their own personality to it. Heechul added his trademark style with a face mask that read SUPER JUNIOR” and paired it with amazing shoes that featured gold metal accents. Eunhyuk and Kyuhyun were the only ones that sported red bowties that made them stand out from the other members. Moreover, Ryeowook was the only one who wore a different jacket with a white trim on the lapel, but it still managed to look cohesive with the rest of the group’s styling. Super Junior was definitely one of the best dressed at KCON’s red carpet.

We all already know that Daniel Henney is a gorgeous man. But with the look he sported on the red carpet, he made everybody in the audience fall in love with him even more. The cream suit paired with a white shirt and black patent leather loafers was a risky choice, but it turned out to be a home run for Henney. He managed to look elegant and casual at the same time by opting out of a classic bow tie or wearing a tie. The look was minimal and clean, and it clearly made a fashion statement in the red carpet.

Photo Alejandro Abarca for KultScene

Photo Alejandro Abarca for KultScene

There’s really not that much to say about Kim Soo Hyun; he is simply perfect! For his very short appearance in the red carpet, his stylist dressed him in a beautiful classic three piece black suit. He looked like a prince out of a fairy tale. His hair was pulled up, letting us see his gorgeous eyebrows and facial structure. Plus, the oversized black bow tie added a little fun to his look.

True To Their Concepts

In comparison to the men who were generally decked out in suits,girl groups usually dressed in costumes or their current concept of the album that they were promoting. SISTAR sparkled in their red carpet outfits. Hyorin, Bora, and Soyou opted for sequin daisy dukes in silver, gold, and emerald green, while Dasom sported a sequined long sleeve crop top, making the girl group look cohesive and performance ready. SISTAR wore these outfits to the concert and, literally and metaphorically, shined on stage.

Following their recent concept for their comeback “Heart Attack”, AOA sported their cheerleading outfits. The orange V-neck crop top with white and black trim was balanced perfectly with the circle wrap skort with orange piping. The outfits flattered each member and the color combination (even if it was a very Halloween palette — made the girls stand out.

The ladies of Red Velvet went a more casual and normcore route in their styling. They all wore tennis skirts in different colors, paired it with school athletic tees. Seulgi and Wendy wore baseball caps that made them look really cool. The pastel color palette looked great on the members and made them look very relatable and down to earth. They managed to look fun and young while still following their “Ice Cream Cake” concept.

The Fashionistas and Avant-Gardists

BLOCK B’s stylist really had fun with each member. Everyone was dressed in a different style that still showed each boys’ personality and fashion sense. Jaehyo wore one of the most coveted fashion items for this season, a Moschino by Jeremy Scott soda sweater. Zico wore a Thrasher jacket full of patches, tank top, and sweatpants, making him effortlessly cool. P.O. looked amazing in his suit and B-Bomb rocked the culottes in a very cool way.

Furthermore, GOT7 graced the red carpet with looks especially created for them by designer Ko Tae Young, who held a mini fashion show with the group during the convention. Bam Bam wore an amazing coordinated bomber jacket and shorts that were styled over ripped jeans a longline T-shirt and amazing Chelsea boots. JB looked very handsome with his hair up, oversized sunglasses, and patched military jacket. Mark stood out in a sleeveless jacket, showing off his arms, and paired with white culottes. While the rest of the members were styled in similar fashion, the group looked cohesive and ready for a fashion editorial.


Also on KultScene: Inside KCON LA 2015 [PHOTOS]

MONSTA X is another case like Block B. Each member had a different styling that showed their personalities really well. They had a more urban and streetwear inspiration for their styling, which made them look edgy and cool. The best look was Hyungwon’s long parka with the amazing Raf Simons for ADIDAS sneakers. Wonho and Minhyuk almost looked like twins, but still managed to bring out their personalities through their styling; Minhyuk looked cute, while Wonho looked sexy. Jooheon looked handsome with his red hair and a pink snapback. Shownu, Kihyun, and I.M.’s styling was a little bit more simple than the rest of the members, but still made them stand out and look cool.

Zion T. & Crush were two of the coolest men to grace the red carpet. And even if Crush’s look was a little bit more casual, the one who stole the show was Zion T. We all are accustomed to the amazing avant-garde looks and silhouettes he presents with his daring fashion choices. He looked simple yet fashion forward with his wide legged black culottes, a simple black T-shirt layered with a printed dress shirt (which had the same print as Crush’s dress shirt), an oversized blazer, Vans sneakers.


Which artist was your favorite in KCON’s ’15 LA Red Carpet? 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.

K-Pop Idols Who Need to Release Holiday Songs

This Holiday season we all need some music to fit the mood. It’s about time that some K-Pop idols release a Holiday song or even a Holiday CD. The idols listed below are known for being able to sing in both Korean and English, which is beneficial for this particular concept considering there are a lot of Holiday songs originally sung in English. English or Korean, or another language, it would be great to see these songs happen this year.

Eric Nam

eric nam holiday songs

via jjigaehouse @Tumblr

Eric Nam is well known for being the main host of After School Club. His quirky and fun personality keeps fans engaged and entertained throughout ASC and the After Show. Not only does Eric have the personality, and looks, but his voice is spectacular. Winter Wonderland, The First Noel, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) and others would all be great choices for Eric Nam and he would be do justice to all of them.

Also on KultScene: Best English Covers By K-Pop Artists

Ailee

ailed holiday songs

by kpopcorngifs

Ailee could ace any Holiday song coming her way. Her voice is so powerful and regal that any song would sound great. But a few that would sound amazing are Silent Night, O Holy Night, and the Holiday classic All I Want For Christmas Is You. She has actually already sang the latter song choice, but I wouldn’t mind a solo performance where fans can really feel her power.

miss A

suzy holiday songs

via TAEMON

miss A is a group that doesn’t have many comebacks and are extremely talented. Instead of a full on comeback before the Holidays, we’ll settle with a song or two for the season. Carol of the Bells would really show off their abilities vocally and would sound great with a girl group at the helm. It would be hard to pull off, but miss A can definitely sing Carol of the Bells beautifully. For a more fun route, they could take on Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree as well. The fun and upbeat Holiday tune would be much more fun with miss A singing it.

CNBLUE

cnblue holiday songs

via cnbjonghyun @ Tumblr

CNBLUE would be a great group to add a rock vibe to the Holiday classics. They really could pick any Holiday song and pull it off. They have the looks, the sound, the talent, and the vocals to make any Holiday song a smash hit. Little St. Nick, Feliz Navidad, and Jingle Bell Rock are a few classics they could rock on a small stage or a huge arena.

Also on KultScene: The Colors Of K-Pop: Red

Mamamoo

mama moo holiday songs

via @lovelyhari99

The all female rookie group would bring Holiday classics to a whole new level. Their sultry and soulful voices would only enhance current classics, such as White Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock, and more. Mamamoo would have the best stage for a Holiday classic. I can see it now, they would be in a red dresses with white faux fur trim and their makeup and hair would be spot on (as usual).

The ultimate Holiday gift would be if all of these artists got together to create a Holiday CD and collaborate on a few songs with each other. If only, if only.

What Holiday songs do you want to hear from the K-Pop world, and who do you want to sing them? 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.