Choi Jin Ho, also known by the name ‘Haze Moon’ is a singer-songwriter who captured the attention of many with his appearance on season 4 of the Korean musical discovery programme ‘I Can See Your Voice’. He placed 4th out of 442 contestants, which is some feat! Many Korean fans complimented his ‘deeply moving music’ during his time on the show.
Haze Moon makes music that is grounded in the concept of sharing positive energy in order to heal the world by both soothing its sorrows and spreading messages of hope to those that listen to his music. His songs tend to focus on aspects of human emotion and broad social issues.
Haze Moon is a seasoned performer, having hosted multiple solo concerts and healing concerts, playing at festivals, fundraising events, and even appearing on several radio shows!
His ‘healing talk concerts’ are very commendable. This type of event targets specific groups of people, such as students preparing for their National Examinations or mothers to show appreciation for the work that they do and the responsibilities they take on.
We caught up with Haze Moon for an interview, to learn more about his music philosophy, outlook on life and inspirations!
Tell us more about you and the meaning of Haze Moon!
Hello, I’m a singer-songwriter. The atmosphere of my music fits with the image of the haze created by the moon, so I chose this name for myself.
How did you start on your path to doing music? And what was the first song that you learned to play?
I had to do my mandatory military service for 2 years and during that time I started to play the acoustic guitar. When I was around 24-25 years old, I was at university studying management. I felt like I had fallen in love with music so I eventually quit university. The first song I learned was a Radiohead song, ‘High and Dry’.
Where do you get your inspiration for songwriting?
From everywhere actually, from books, documentaries, travelling, people.
You became popular because of the programme ‘I Can See Your Voice’. How did that happen?
I was simply living my life before I appeared on the programme, playing some gigs in Hongdae. My life was a cycle of doing a part-time job with gigs in between. One day, the producer of the programme ‘I Can See Your Voice’ called me and asked me if I wanted to participate so I agreed. They told me that they saw a video of me playing on YouTube.
Your voice is very comforting and 3-dimensional. Your listeners can feel warmth while listening to your songs, particularly at night. Which of the songs (that you’ve self-written) are your favourites?
They are all my songs so it is difficult to only choose one! ‘Que sera sera’, I love that song and probably ‘Save Me’ as well. There is also a song that I love that I am editing right now, but it hasn’t been released yet. Maybe next February or March. Keep a look out for it!
You practised a lot to create a more perfected performance. How did you reach this point?
Performing is much more comfortable for me now. I used to suffer badly from stage fright in the past, forgetting lyrics on stage. I would lose the ability to control the melody and would become shy and self-conscious. I tried to get more experience to overcome this. I found different venues to play for free and places to busk. At night after finishing my part-time job, I would sing on any stage. It was really helpful. Now concerts and gigs are part of my lifestyle so I no longer have stage fright.
What prompted your decision to release a CD album?
I held three concerts last year. I didn’t have a CD out before that; I only had single and EP albums available digitally. I made it for the fans!
When you get very stressed or suffer from writer’s block, where do you recommend going in Seoul?
The Han river. It is the best place to go and chill, and you can drink beer there! You can enjoy a picnic or Korean fried chicken too – it’s a good combination. When I meet people and do something different, things that I like or want to do, then I will suddenly feel motivated to play and write. Music comes by just living life.
You play healing concerts and this is related to ‘odt’. Can you tell us what these things are?
‘odt.’ is a social venture. I established this company with an old friend. We were at a cafe talking about life and the future. We wanted to do something to make this world better, something meaningful so we started ‘odt.’ (One Day Thought) with the slogan “We Share Positive Energy”. We try to do meaningful things such as the healing concert. I came up with this idea because it was within my capability as a musician.
We searched for people who might need healing, like workers and students who are studying all day, and we invited the hardworking mums. We wanted to give them a boost with some positive energy and enthusiasm. We collaborated with different organisations to bring this event into fruition.
How do you manage these 2 separate things?
I think my first job is music! ‘odt.’ is done with my friend. He does a lot of the hard work and I am just helping him!
What is your end destination, what do you want to arrive at?
We have the same goal, to make a better place. This world is sometimes so bad so we wanted to share more positive energy. We want to establish a school in Africa one day but it is quite hard, it needs a lot of money. But it’s a dream, right? We can do a campaign in future I think. I want to harness good energy in my music and be a good musician. I want to use my music to heal people and also get involved in helping to prevent starvation and to save the environment.
What final message do you have for our Inspire Me Korea readers?
Please listen to my music. Search Haze Moon on Youtube, Spotify and iTunes. I am working hard!
(Responses have been edited for clarity)
Featured image and in-article images source: © Inspire Me Korea. 08.11.18.