‘molasses’ : lyrics & process

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(shout out to Nicole Ji for making a little doodle for the song~)

So recently I’ve been fascinated by the word ‘saccharine’ (which means excessively sweet) (and also sounds a bit like Sennacherib which then makes me think of the poem) and also, I’ve been wanting to write a quirky/wonky/off-beat song and thus, one Sunday after church, I *finally* went to the computer lab in Voxman (the school of music) where every computer has the updated Garageband and other cool music programs and thus, ‘molasses’ was born.  Continue reading “‘molasses’ : lyrics & process”


Translating Butterflies: The Korean Version of dodie’s “Would You Be So Kind”


One night, when I was still feeling the effects of my late afternoon coffee, I had dodie’s song “Would You Be So Kind” stuck in my head and as I was humming it, I flipped some parts into Korean to see how they felt. I’m not fluent in Korean, but the words in dodie’s song were simple enough for me to translate with some degree of confidence. And because they felt nice in Korean, I kept on doing it and by the time it was midnight, I translated the entire song into Korean.

I stared down at the scribbles, a bit in disbelief that it was real. I always thought that translating a song would be so much harder, but with a mix of determination and the residual effects of coffee, I was able to push my way through the whole song without too much of a headache.

The next step was to record it and share it. But just the thought of it stressed me out, because I hadn’t tried to record and arrange something in a while because of technical difficulties (involving a silicone bead, broken headphones, and overthinking). But I told myself that 2018 would be different, that I would push myself and just try, at least, to put myself out there, step by step each month. I already did so with my poetry by submitting to the Iowa Chapbook prize and the Kundiman fellowship, so why hold back from my music (even though I felt like it wasn’t fully up to par)? Continue reading “Translating Butterflies: The Korean Version of dodie’s “Would You Be So Kind””

To Put Oneself Out There: My Music


When you see this picture, what does it make you feel? What part of you resonates with it, what does it make you want to do, where does it make your thoughts wander?

For me, at 11pm, this picture brought with it ukulele chords and a sense of reaching, stretching, like the elements of the picture were reaching for the horizon point rather than streaming from it. So I picked up my uke, pulled up Garageband, and recorded a loop of what I heard in my head, then sang over it. And played with some fun microphones and then one thing led to another and then, at 2am, I finished a song I felt pretty good about.

I don’t believe that I have talked much about my own music besides this random post in 2015 where I didn’t follow up with my words (typical). But from then and now, I have accumulated more songs that I wrote and my knowledge of GarageBand has grown and also just I’ve seen some of my friends put themselves out there and just be brave in doing that, in showing their brain children to the world, that I decided I should try it too.  Continue reading “To Put Oneself Out There: My Music”

The Growth of an Artist and the Honest Vulnerability of Their Work

Okay, for the record, I never thought that I’d be writing a blog post about Taylor Swift. And yet, when I finished my homework and checked YouTube and saw that she dropped her new single after a three year hiatus, I was curious and then promptly shook.

(man, I didn’t think I’d use the word shook in a blog post either but let me explain)

I didn’t see this coming. I don’t follow Taylor closely and I don’t really know what she did during her three year hiatus, except that one lawsuit against that DJ. I think there was some beef between her and some others? Not sure.

It seems like this is the product of fermentation of what happened because the words are hard hitting and the song is extremely well crafted. And very unlike anything we’ve seen from her before. Sure, there were other angsty-style songs but this style is fresh and more relevant to today’s music, so maybe that’s what throws me off? But also, I was getting kind of K-Pop vibes? More than that, though, the atmosphere the song created is really well done like wow.

And the artwork for the lyric video further accentuates the beating heart of the song and the repetitive nature of the chorus gives a glimpse of someone who was pushed over the edge, crazy, maniacal, but going to get what she wants, what she thinks she deserves as vengeance.  Continue reading “The Growth of an Artist and the Honest Vulnerability of Their Work”

A New Appreciation for Ballads

I used to not like ballads/slow songs. They were too slow and sometimes had no meaning or emotion. It seemed like some were slow because there had to be a slow song on an album, as if fulfilling some quota. I also thought that ballads were only for when someone was sad. Ballads were almost always about love, anyway. Why listen to someone mourning over one sided love over a breakup? Please, I don’t need any more angst in my life.

But now, I’m appreciating ballads more. When I do find a good ballad, I feel like it’s finding a shining jewel. The emotions are all there, sparkling and wrapped in beautiful colors that seep through the song. And then it’s not the emotions or the tempo that matter; it’s the combination of everything that makes it beautiful.

Continue reading “A New Appreciation for Ballads”

Wilco: One Sunday Morning Ekphrasic

ekphrasic: art created/inspired by other art

For my creative writing for the musician class, we listened to Wilco’s “One Sunday Morning” and wrote what came into our mind, or rather, what the song inspired us to write. This was the process of making an ekphrasic, which I actually did before with my Mozart poem story (click here to read a story about princesses, knights, and operatic love). “One Sunday Morning” was different, thought, because it had words and was a different genre.

Continue reading “Wilco: One Sunday Morning Ekphrasic”

Sam Kim’s “Seattle” Analysis

Sam Kim came onto the radar when he auditioned for Kpop Star, a talent search competition. He is my brother’s age (1998), extremely talented, and a Korean American. His Korean is not fully proficient and yet now, he is singing in the language and immersed in his heritage culture.

His story fascinated me. In his audition, while a judge is complimenting him, he shyly admits that he doesn’t know what the judge is saying. And throughout the show, he speaks in English most of the time, as he can express himself more succinctly. But now, he is in a culture and language far from his hometown Seattle. He has culture shock of going to his heritage. And yet, he pushes on.  Continue reading “Sam Kim’s “Seattle” Analysis”


I had just finished my Chinese history midterm and my hand needed to rest. So, I went upstairs in the local mall and grabbed a spot by the massive windows and opened YouTube and remembered that LeeHi had just dropped a song.

I repeat: LEEHI (aka monster rookie who has been missing from the scene as a soloist for THREE YEARS)


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This brightened by day. It was so refreshing to finally hear her gorgeous jazzy voice again.

Take a listen to her songs? Continue reading “THE RETURN OF LEEHI”

An Ending and A Beginning

Today I decided to drop my music minor. It wasn’t forced or weird; if anything, it felt natural. And the fact that it felt okay made me wonder about myself. Maybe I really am growing up.

This isn’t to say that music is childish. For me, I always kept the idea of maybe doing something with music at the back of my mind. I was fascinated by the music world, the performances, the endless rehearsals, the production, the creation process. It was my secret ambition, or so I told myself. One day, I’ll do music and it’ll be awesome and it’ll be the answer to all the confusion in what to do with my life.

But as I’m starting to delve into topics in Asian American studies and anthropology, things have changed. But it’s not as if these newfound interests of mine have ripped me away from music; rather, it’s like all along these interests were there and now I’m devoting my time to them and their beautiful complexities. And in the process of that, I’m realizing that I wasn’t destined for music.  Continue reading “An Ending and A Beginning”

K-Pop’s New iTunes Page

Before, I had to go search each K-Pop/Korean artist by name, and sometimes even by the Korean name. And before, keeping track with what was (finally) available on the American iTunes was nearly impossible (unless I wanted to check iTunes daily…).

But now. Finally.

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K-Pop has earned its own iTunes genre page! While I am very thankful that this has finally happened, I can’t help but stop and wonder if K-Pop, the magical, marvellous beast of sparkles, sometimes angst, and a good sprinkling of English words, is its own genre. I definitely agree that K-Pop deserved its own page because Hallyu (the Korean Wave)  is spreading like wildfire across the world, but what exactly is K-Pop?

Continue reading “K-Pop’s New iTunes Page”