Happy new year to our Inspire Me Korea readers! We hope to continue to feature special interviews and tell you about our favourite musical discoveries during the months of 2018 – please continue to support these amazing artists so that they can continue to make music! Our first artist of 2018 is FANXY (팬시), a singer-songwriter making R&B and soul music!
We encountered her music by the time she released her second single with its impressive music video. A few months later, this interview was completed, and we are pleased to finally present it to you all! FANXY is an all-rounder, not only does she compose, she is involved in the artwork and videos too. It’s great to see someone so passionate about so many aspects of being a music artist. We as listeners also get to experience a product that is more closely aligned with who FANXY really is, what she wants to say, and what she wants us to see. She’s someone with an interesting vocal too; she has definitely made a good start so far and we are excited to have discovered her early
FANXY is part of ‘Eastern Cloud’, which is a new label established by Postino. There are exciting things happening in the months to come in terms of artists, so keep your eye out for Eastern Cloud too!
Thanks go to FANXY and Postino for participating and facilitating this interview! We also thank the un-named translator who helped. There are so many interesting things that FANXY spoke about in detail when answering so we hope that everyone enjoys learning something new.
In a few days time, we will publish our music review about FANXY’s releases – we’ll let you know what we like and recommend! Remember to return to the blog to read it!
Support FANXY by buying her music! You can find it on apple music/iTunes. It is also possible to stream both singles on Spotify.
1. Can you please introduce yourself?
Hello, I am FANXY, a female R&B/soul singer-songwriter from Korea! I received an invitation for this interview after releasing my 2nd single “HUG”, through new label ‘Eastern Cloud’ during September. Although R&B does not have core originations in Korea, I am happy to have the opportunity to introduce listeners to my own expression and interpretation of music as a Korean music artist.
2. Where did the idea for the stage name ‘FANXY’ come from?
In Korea, the term ‘fancy’ has a fixed definition and is used to refer to things that are sweet, cute and charming. However, a few years ago I realised that the word was also associated with being attracted, being wanted or wanting something, so I thought it was a cool word to use and was appealing to me. It seems to express my inner self and my music very well.
I used ‘fancy’ as my artist name 3 years ago, until I realised that there were many others in Korea using exactly the same title. However, I felt the name was too good to be changed completely; since my music is mainly based on the R&B/soul genres, I decided that the letter ‘x’ would go well with it and replaced the letter ‘c’ to give my current name ‘FANXY’.
3. How did you start out and what made you consider a career in music?
The first time I experienced hip-hop/R&B music was when I did street dance to hip-hop songs during my teenage years. Back then I thought I was going to pursue a career as a dancer, but I started to get more and more interested in singing, rap and producing music. Consequently, my plan for my career gradually developed into being a musician.
4.What is your earliest musical memory and do you consider it an important moment?
The earliest musical memory that I have is my dad playing the guitar and singing folk songs. I was about 5-6 years old then. My dad would put on an old LP record every morning (instead of better audio systems) and play music – anything from pop to classical. Out of all the genres that he played, I liked the Carpenters and Michael Jackson’s songs the most. I think that was an important moment because I first discovered the type of music that moved my body and soul.
5. Did you always know that you were good at music? What do you think is the best way to develop as an artist?
To be honest, although I think I have some musical talent, everyone has a talent within them. As for musical skills, as long as you don’t give up and keep developing at your own pace, your skills will eventually build up. Therefore the most important part of becoming a good artist is to know and be honest with yourself.
“…the most important part of becoming a good artist is to know and be honest with yourself.”
6. What is the songwriting and production process like? How do the people in your team contribute to the creation of a new track? What do you think are the most important things to focus on when songwriting?
I will explain the steps that I use for my songwriting. When I write songs, I tend to retreat and work on them on my own, as if I am in a cave! I never start writing with a definite concept or goal in mind. Once I finish the lyrics, melody and sound designing, I send a demo version to Postino who works on them as a producer. After I select a song for release, I will edit parts with the help of Postino. These parts are usually those where I have put too much stress on or not enough at all. When all this is complete, he will polish it up with good mixing and mastering while I switch to working on the artwork for the album.
From my own perspective, in order to write songs well, you must look into your inner self and find the right method of expression. At the moment when the new song has been written, you need to have already discovered and accepted your emotions. The song is only truly complete when you have found the way to express those emotions using many sound sources. Ultimately, the most important thing is to have awareness of your own thoughts and emotions, and to acknowledge them.
7. What is it like being a producer/singer-songwriter? Are there any challenges associated with working with a label?
I would describe it as being like a conductor of an orchestra, because you need to balance all the different elements to be able to express something clearly. It’s not as simple as just writing a song, lyrics and improvising, you also need to understand how to preserve the natural source of the music and maintain the flow within the track.
Working and deciding on things on my own speeds up progress and minimises any conflict. My experience of being under management is that I feel that they prefer to look for good results rather than put too much importance on how I get there. You do need to constantly accommodate and have confirmation with management, so there would be some friction going on between us at times. However, if I hold onto your own thoughts simultaneously, and try to listen to others’ opinions and perspectives, not only can we get better results, but my personal ability and open-mindedness will also improve.
8. We were impressed by the MV for the 2nd single! How did the idea for it come into being?
I am one of the members of a longboard crew, ‘타야타지’which consists of musicians. I regularly go on longboard rides and it gives me energy and strength whenever I feel exhausted mentally. The song
‘안아줄게’is for the people that I cherish: those who make me relaxed just by being by my side. Having a great time with the crew members gave me the idea for the images that I eventually created for the music video. Clips of me actually cruising along on my longboard are included in the video!
9. Which of your own tracks are you most proud of? For what reason?
Hmm…it would probably have to be ‘Twenty’ from the album that will soon be released. Out of all the songs that I have written so far, this one best represents me without too much processing in the lyrics, melody and improvisation. I am afraid to show it to the world yet I am also excited, and for that reason my heart moves more toward this song.
10. What are your favourite songs to listen to by other artists?
Hmm…it is too difficult to choose…
After a long dilemma, I’ve chosen 3 songs that I consider ‘textbook’ and 3 songs that I listen to often.
The first 3 are: Erykah Badu – Apple Tree, Amel Larrieux – Infinite Possibilities and Jill Scott – It’s Love
The second set are: The Internet – Get Away, Willow Smith – Jimi and Sigrid – Don’t Kill My Vibe.
11. Describe a typical week for you!
My typical week would be 3 days giving music lessons to students preparing for their entrance exams, 3 days working on my own projects and on Sundays I rest. Of course, writing a song every week is not an easy thing to do, so I would also use some time to self-study to enhance my skills or do something fun that also helps me develop as a person. Since releasing my debut single in February 2017, I have been working on the music video, artwork for the cover and also written the introduction and outline for the album. Other than that, I was also active in making videos of a range of covers and performing live on stage. You can watch FANXY’s covers on her YouTube channel by clicking here.
12. What do you hope will happen in future for you and your music?
More than anything else I would like to have more and more opportunities to meet people through my music (whether that be online, offline or wherever). I also hope that this allows me to share emotions with them and vice versa, and that they will be influential. I would especially like to be able to encourage female artists like me, those who have a complex mind and are sensitive on the inside.
13. What do you think about the current music scene in Korea?
In general I feel pretty enthusiastic about it since I feel that even a small label or independent musicians can be equally well-known as those who are mainstream, and be on an equal playing field with idol music which is sponsored by large companies and management with huge investments.
However, there are still limits to diversity in genres of music these days. These are caused by Korean social issues – young people become suppressed by strict parenting when it comes to education, which makes it more difficult for them to choose music as a career. Most Korean parents these days still want their child to have a stable life and think that choosing music as a career can hinder them from attaining that stability. It can also be caused by competitiveness during the entrance exams to gain a place in contemporary music schools. Students tend to follow a certain genre that ‘fits’ so that they can keep up with the competition.
I think most Koreans are willing to listen and accept a variety of music genres seeing that Sigur Ros became a success here. However, it is actually difficult to find artists of a similar genre within Korea itself. I would say that the demand is high, but there is low supply. The social environment here makes artists more cautious about making music that they really want to make.
I am also skeptical about the distribution of streaming profits between artists and companies. We desperately need a well-run system that protects artists’ rights and profits.
That said, with trial and error I think the music scene in Korea is gradually improving. Many artists are trying to help with that improvement, and many more are coming out with a variety of styles and genres to fulfill the needs of listeners. Due to witnessing greater efforts to create good music, I still have hopes and expectations about the future of the music scene even though I have a critical view of it at the moment.
One of Fanxy’s hobbies – taking photographs! © FANXY. 15.11.2017
14. What are the best and worst things about living and working in South Korea?
The best and worst things about it is that everything is quick and fast.
As a nation that is powerful in terms of I.T, the internet speed is incredible and possibly even the fastest in the world. Korean lifestyles are also very convenient and lots of things are efficient. After coming back home from travelling abroad, I always crave a bowl of hot spicy noodles with kimchi, it’s a mesmerising taste! The food is good, and also the public safety.
The worst thing is that everything is TOO fast. Whether that is to do with work, the speed of taxis…even the pace of eating a meal is too fast. Once you are living in that type of environment, your mind and heart becomes too fast as well.
In an American series called ‘Flash’, there is a scene where the main character skims through a pile of documents at the speed of light. I was fascinated about the fact that not only his motions were fast, but his thinking speed and mind were fast too. I feel that Korean people act in a similar way. They always have to think and make decisions quickly. There are constant phone calls and sounds from notifications. My whole day seems to vanish from being busy dealing with this and that. It is difficult to find relaxation by living here. Once I start to become relaxed, it naturally feels like everyone else will be ahead of me in the game.
“After coming back home from travelling abroad, I always crave a bowl of hot spicy noodles with kimchi, it’s a mesmerising taste!”
15. Do you plan to release anymore new music this year? Would you like to write a full album or do you prefer EPs?
Yes, my third single ‘Twenty’ will be released on the 10th December. We have already completed the shooting of the MV! An EP will be released next year, in February, so we have been busy preparing for that. It’s not that I favour EPs over a full album, but for now these types of releases allow me to strive for perfection.
16. If you could only take 3 personal items with you onto a desert island, which would you pick?
I would bring a wi-fi modem, my MacBook Pro and a humidifer.
17. Do you have any other hobbies aside from music? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I am very interested in visual arts. I enjoy taking photographs with film and digital cameras and using software to enhance and play around with with the images. As I was involved in shooting and editing the MV, I developed an interest in learning about making videos. In particular, I am fascinated about arranging the music together with the video, and working on colour corrections and editing. These days I love to use ‘Final Cut’ software, and I am planning to splurge on an iMac so that I can work on colouring in more detail using ‘DaVinci Resolve’ editing software.
18. What are your plans for 2018? Have you decided on any promotions or activities?
My first goal for 2018 will be to release my EP.
I haven’t made any detailed plans for promotion yet, but I do wish to sing live and make more cover videos on a regular basis. Although I’ve already listed a lot, I want to be a bit ‘greedier’ and say that my big goal for next year will be to release my first official album consisting of new songs. I hope I can achieve it quickly!
(Responses have been partially edited for clarity)
Thanks again to FANXY for her hard work in this interview! Remember to join us again on the blog for our review of her music so far. Don’t miss out!
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Featured image and in-article images source: © Fanxy and Eastern Cloud. All images were provided by the artist via management for use in this article. All rights reserved.
© Interview with Fanxy. 18.11.2017. Inspire Me Korea.
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