Thank you for returning to the K-SPOTLIGHT and reading another article in the series! We hope that some of you were led here from our interview with singer-songwriter Choyoung (초영)! As usual, as part of our K-SPOTLIGHT K-indie special editions, we would like to highlight some of the music released by our favourite artists. For all the time that we have been following Choyoung’s activities, we have seen that she has been working continuously and diligently; uploading song covers, composing and releasing singles, and also regularly performing at a range of gigs and venues. Consequently, there are a variety of different videos to bring to you here, so we hope that many readers will see something that you enjoy and become new fans of Choyoung!
Support the artist by buying her music: her whole discography is available on iTunes, Google Play, or Korean sites such as genie. You can also stream using Apple music or Bugs. These links can also be found at the end of the article alongside additional information about Choyoung’s social media sites.
If you missed the interview, go back and read it by clicking here – Choyoung gave some very honest answers to our questions so it is one of those few times where our readers can gain more of an insight into the life of an independent Korean music artist. We recommend that you check it out!
Just as a little teaser, we wanted to include this video of Choyoung jamming with her friend DeeDee. Hopefully it will become a full track in future!
An introduction to Choyoung Ahn
Choyoung started music from an early age and later studied jazz at the Berklee College of Music. She has been part of a choir and a band, and done a stint as a backing singer…amassing plenty of different musical experiences already! From our interaction with her, she comes across as an open and receptive person. If you watch her live performances, you can see the point at which Choyoung becomes absorbed into the music and that this expression extends from somewhere personal. We feel that this is a marker of a good performer; someone who finds it within themselves to share a private emotion with their listeners. We admire that courage and ambition!
One of our favourite pictures of Choyoung performing at the Seoul Jazz festival 2017. Image source: Choyoung official Facebook.
A voice full of soul, that assumes many forms
Well, first of all, she has a vocal colour that suits a jazz style and this permeates a lot of her work. That voice can assume many forms; breathy and raw, smooth and comforting, soulful and passionate, lighthearted and playful…all examples found in her discography thus far. Choyoung is not afraid to explore other styles and genres, and write different songs (even for other people – she revealed this in our interview, which you can read here), which is something that we like a lot; it maintains anticipation and excitement for the fans whilst helping to extend her capabilities and musical development. Music enables Choyoung to tell a range of stories, and we think she is doing a great job. It is testament to her songwriting abilities that we feel emotionally invested after only listening to the first few bars, particularly with tracks ‘Mmm’ and ‘Anymore’ (which are our favourites from her discography!).
She has some great music out right now, and we have listed and linked some below. Read on for our track recommendations and please remember to support the artist if you like what you hear! Links to do so can be found at the end of this article, so scroll right to the bottom for those!
Music review and track recommendations
Mmm official cover artwork. © Choyoung. 15.11.2016. Credit: redcap2. Calligraphy by 수향.
We will start with one of our enduring favourites- ‘Mmm’ is a groovy, neo-soul track with a laid back summer vibe. This was a pleasant surprise and the first Choyoung song that hooked our attention; her vocals are so fluid and dynamic, yet the lyrics are much more pained than the melody would have you believe. Amongst the words, she berates herself for stupidity in a relationship, hints that her lover had some hand in betrayal and pleads him to let her go. It depicts a lesson learned the hard way, through some hurtful experiences, but Choyoung expresses this sentiment with style. More of this please Choyoung! 😀
We love the rhythmical playfulness that she uses and the attitude that is embedded into the root of the song. This type of track is so catchy and interesting! It makes a refreshing change from the usual music you find on mainstream charts. Definitely highly recommended, so make sure you listen to this! The MV is full of shots featuring sunshine and blue skies, but Choyoung and the male protagonist can be seen as being disconnected from each other, despite doing various activities together. Watch it below!
This is another song that we listen to often! The booming of the kick drum introduces this track with aplomb. Choyoung adopts some sultry vocals during the verses, the bridge sections have some unusual yet very interesting progressions, and when the chorus arrives, it is something wonderful to behold. If we were to try to describe it…it would be like someone scattering a handful of gold dust…everything just shimmers and glistens during this part.
The lyrics are a particular strength here, showcasing an ability to articulate the complexities of feeling unsure, and losing yourself within a relationship. ‘Anymore’ is another favourite of ours, so let us know what you think! Another MV is available for this track, this time featuring a subdued colour palette. The camerawork is often shaky and goes out of focus as Choyoung walks amongst the trees, which parallels the feelings created by the lyrics. It was a nice touch to capture rays of sunshine lighting her frame during the latter parts of the song. We recently watched a short clip of Choyoung performing a rearranged faster tempo version of ‘Anymore’ which was really good! Maybe in the future we will be able to watch a full version of it somewhere!
The piano features heavily in ‘Our Thing’, a playful track which touches on the excitement of discovering a connection with someone. The scat section in the middle was an amazing addition, with the vocal riffs bringing an extra special component to the song.
Also check out this outdoor performance of the song!
Lonely official cover artwork. © Choyoung. 09.03.2017. Credit: TAP LAB. Calligraphy by 김수향
This track was released as a single (in March), we recommend that you watch an early video performance of this song from last year because we liked this version! With the musical accompanying adlibs and all, this was an enjoyable watch from start to finish. This slower track has more of a basic structure, using recurring lyrics. You can also watch the official video here on Choyoung’s official YouTube channel!
What is Your Colour?
What is your colour 2nd maxi single album cover. © Choyoung. 03.08.2016. Credit: redcap2.
Dreamlike and jazzy, ‘What is Your Colour?’ was Choyoung’s second single. It is a track that washes over you in a good way. One thing to say though, it’s over before you know it, a short listen at around the 2 minute duration but beautiful nonetheless. The piano brings a mysterious quality to the music and the whole thing does manage to capture a magical sound. Once again, the video (watch it here) makes plenty of use of natural settings. Choyoung wanders both indoors and outside in a dreamlike state. She doesn’t open her eyes until she stumbles upon an old piano and gently places her hands on the keys. It is a good metaphor to symbolise finding music to be her particular colour.
To round things off, we wanted to pick some of her cover versions. After much deliberation, we opted for ‘Oasis’ by Crush feat. ZICO because we feel that it shows a lot of Choyoung’s early potential and ‘Just a feeling’ originally by S.E.S because it’s upbeat and shows off yet another different side to her.
This video of her cover of ‘Oasis’ just shows her singing with a pianist accompanying, but we chose this simply because we enjoy listening to it!
We love it when artists put their own stamp on songs and make them their own, and this is exactly what happens with this cover of ‘Just a Feeling’! Making covers gives musicians the opportunity to have a bit of fun and Choyoung just makes the vocal improvisation in her scatting seem effortless here (it’s a very difficult thing to do!).
Choyoung lives a life filled with music; whether she is songwriting, recording, teaching, performing or attending music festivals as an audience member – she is always doing something that is related to music. It just goes to show how much she loves it, and we do admire that about her.
We think that Choyoung shows the potential to be a great music artist; she’s already a confident performer on the stage, and she has shown glimmers of brilliance in some of her songwriting. She adlibs and switches things up at different gigs too, and that keeps things fresh – not only for herself, but also for regular attendees and fans. No matter what happens in the near future, we know that Choyoung is always going to be doing her best in getting her music out into the public domain. So why not follow her activities? We’re sure that you will find a song that you’ll like!
That brings us to the end of our article, it was a difficult task to decide which videos to feature but we honestly enjoyed all of these, so it’s worth your time listening! We hope that Choyoung will go on to even bigger and better things, and release even more music for us to enjoy 🙂
How to support Choyoung
Support Choyoung by purchasing her music!
There are many other songs to discover on Choyoung’s official YouTube channel and you can buy all of her singles to date on iTunes, Google Play, or Korean sites such as genie. You can also stream using Apple music or Bugs.
Follow her activities using the links below!
Choyoung’s website: https://jazzhiphopneosoul.wixsite.com/choyoungofficial
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/choyoungmusiq/
Official YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/choyoungahn
In-article image source: © Choyoung Ahn. Credit where indicated on each individual photograph. Images were reproduced from official social media with permission for use in this article.
© Choyoung Ahn music review. Inspire Me Korea. 22.07.2017