Third full-album “Yoon Mirae”.
We started the interview with a blunt question: “What would you have done if there had been no music in life?” Yoon Mirae (27) looked surprised at first, then she immediately frowned. “I can’t imagine that,” she replied. Music is like oxygen to Yoon Mirae. Ever since she was a kid, thanks to her father, she learned about music and has lived with music all her life.
“What if music disappeared from your life right now, in this moment?” we insisted with another offensive question.
“I already know about music. If it were to disappear suddenly of my life, I think I’d just go crazy. If music were to be gone of my life tomorrow, I guess I might fall into depression and go to a mental hospital.”
When she’s stressed or sad, when she’s happy or angry, Yoon Mirae expresses her emotions through music. At the same time, music tunes her emotions. Her emotions dance to the music. When she becomes happy or when she becomes sad, she matches the music.
This album is titled “YOONMIRAE”. She used her own name which reflected the sincerity she put into it. You can feel self-confidence from the title with her name. Her 3rd full album for which she even played the producer role is only about songs she wanted and loved. She’s receiving good reactions with her promo activities for “Did You Forget?”. She loved all the songs she made so much that it’s hard for her to pick her favorite.
“I did the music that I really like. I worked with people I love. Tiger JK, The Quiett, Ann, Yoon Il Sang. They’re all friends of mine. If I chose just one song, they would probably sulk (laugh).”
As soon as the album was released, the song that caught the media attention was “Black Happiness”. It’s a song about the pain she lived with because she debuted without being abe to tell her real age at that time and because she was mixed.
The narration in the middle of the song is made by her father Thomas J. Reid. “My sweet little girl Tasha, things can always get better. Don’t be discouraged, be strong. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Because there’s no such things that can’t never be done. You must keep your faith.” This is what his words are about.
The [Korean] words “Hello, I’m Tasha’s dad” he says with his deep voice sound clumsy, but his laugh is innocent. Yoon Mirae was with him in the recording booth and we can hear them laugh together.
The days of hardships
This father-daugther’s song is all about emotion. As she sings about her hardships during her childhood, there’s a dramatic effect about this short story of happiness, but the lingering impression of her honesty is even deeper.
The first time she stood in front of the public was when she was 15 and was doing activities for UPTOWN’s first full album. Her profile stated the age “19”. She wore heavy make-up to hide her black skin. She couldn’t be honest about this or that. Yoon Mirae approached the music scene with her strong rap that was refreshing. A lot of people were amazed by her, but she cried inside.
“I was 13 when I signed my first contract. I was a trainee for 2 years, then I recorded and went on TV when I was 15. People were tricked into thinking I was 19. It’s something that sometimes made me angry, sometimes made me sad… It was just frustrating.”
The lyrics of “Black Happiness” became an issue, but those were things she had never tried to hide in the past. When someone asked, she was honest about it. Her fans already knew these true things. In songs like “Life Scent”, “Wonder Woman”, “Memories” from her previous album, she had already talked about her own experience.
“I’m thankful for the attention, but the true message of “Black Happiness” is “I was able to overcome the hardships in my childhood because music was there for me”. I think it’s regrettable that people only focus on things like my hardships or the fact that I’m mixed.”
She was hurt a lot when she was a kid. Her friends made fun of her because she is mixed. She also fought a lot. She would go home and cried as she told her mother about it. Her mother would tell her “you’re beautiful”. While these words were nice to hear, there were many times when they weren’t much of a help because when she would go to school the next day, the same situation would happen again.
“Loneliness” made things even harder. She was born in Texas in the US, she lived in Washington and in Germany and often went back and forth to Korea. Moving from place to place so often made it hard for her to make friends. Even when she made friends, she would soon leave because she had to move somewhere else. That’s why it’s still hard for her to make friends even today. It’s a scar from her childhood.
“Loneliness was the hardest thing for me. Even when I managed to make friends, I had to leave them soon. I was really afraid of them disappearing of my life again. When I started my activities in Korea, I talked a lot with my managers. The managers often changed too, so…”
15 years-old. At an age when you’re supposed to go to school and enjoy your youth with your friends, she stood in front of the public. She couldn’t go to school. Since she didn’t have her parents with her, she didn’t even have someone to talk about her heartache.
More than loneliness, the thing that cruelly tormented her was fear. Would she have to leave the side of the ones she love, and would they leave her side? That was the anxiety she had.
Her hope is music
Music captured her heart. And people too. The artists from the Movement such as Tiger JK, Bobby Kim, Epik High, Yang Dong Geun, Eun Ji Won, Burker Kingz she makes music with are like a family to her.
“When those I love smile, when they look happy, that makes me happy too. It may sound fake, but I’m being sincere here. When something makes me sad, I can bear it, but when something sad or bad happen to those I love, it makes me angrier and sadder.”
During these 5 years, she went through a lot of hardships. It was so hard that she even thought about leaving music. However, she studied what she had been putting off all this time, spent time with her family and was happy. She passed her GED, she spent time reading books and she recharged her battery.
“I won’t be able to do a lot of promo on TV. It’s a good way to put your music out there, but concerts are what I really want to do. I want to be on stage and meet those who have been waiting for me until now. It doesn’t matter even if it’s a small concert.”
Yoon Mirae is a good singer. She’s said to be the best soul singer. Yet, she doesn’t want to cling onto this great fanfare.
“More than being known for being a singer with good technique or a singer who gives a good feeling, I just want to become a musician. I want to be a singer like Marvin Gaye or Sade. I want to make music that you don’t get tired of listening to even 50 years from now.”
Music wasn’t the only thing that made Yoon Mirae strong. Her friends and family, the people precious to her were a big strength. That’s why the title track “Did You Forget?” has a special meaning for her. The song might seem to be about two lovers, but truth is, it is not. It’s a song about her family and her friends, all the people precious to her.
“A lot of good things also happened to me during these 5 years, but I was going through a hard time and I thought that there must have been a lot of other people who were also going through a hard time, so I made this song. If you think about what’s really important to you and what’s valuable to you and you make efforts, wouldn’t this help you to find peace, even if it’s just a little? This is what I think. Let’s not forget about the people we care about. It’s the meaning of this song.”
As a form of conclusion to this interview, we asked her to say a word to other biracial peole who are having a hard time because of the unseen discrimination and unfair treatement.
“I do think things have gotten better since my childhood, but the road is still long. People no longer make fun of me, but there are still kids out there who are hurt by the gaze of people around them. I don’t know if my words would actually help. Just always remember that you are beautiful, ignore the people making fun of you, keep your head up… It’s something quite obvious to say, but I’m sincere. I hope you’ll have self-confidence because that’s what can make you overcome whatever anyone can say.
Original article: ladykhan