[July 2013] Lydia Paek – Interview for Cuvism [1/2]

Lydia Paek

She left a strong impression through her powerful dance in G-Dragon’s “One of A Kind” music video. She’s Lydia Paek. She’s a member of the Quest Crew that were the main dancers of LMFAO we got to known through the shuffle dance. Besides, through her Youtube channel, she sings various international and Korean songs with her own style and has a wide a fanbase. Born with a gift for music, she was accepted as a YG Entertainment’s producer. She’s currently working as a producer while she composes songs for 2NE1 and Lee Hi. Music, dancing, composing, there’s nothing missing here. She’s expressing herself through music. Fans have been curious about her all this time. Cuvism met Lydia Paek.

MUSIC PRODUCER
LYDIA PAEK

Hello. Please introduce yourself.

Hello. I’m Lydia Paek. Nice to meet you.

You’re currently a YG producer. You were a member of a US dance team at first. When did you start dancing?

I started dancing when I was 15 through the Step Off Church dance team at church. After that, dancing became a serious thing when I joined the Quest Crew and Boxcuttuhz (Lando Wilkins).

Was there a particular occasion for you to get into dancing?

I simply like music, so I was by myself and I wondered what I could do and I started dancing. At that time, there weren’t many female breakdancers, so it made it kind of more attractive for me. You can watch differents things on Youtube now, but I could sometimes researched on how to make a movement at that time.

You mean you learn dancing by yourself?

I learned breakdancing on my own. After that, I joined Quest Crew and I learned a lot by asking the oppas from the crew.

What do you think makes dancing so charming?

When you listen to a song, anyone can get to imagine something that matches the lyrics. I think dancing is the same. I think dancing can convey what music says. I think it’s even better that you can show it in a direct way.

I’m curious to hear how you got in touch with YG.

My friends Shaun Evaristo and Aimee Lee Lucas were dancers for Youngbae. We’ve known each other since we were in the US. One day, they told me they were working with YG and they introduced me to YG because they liked my voice. Then, YG got to see my Youtube videos and this is how the connection was made.

Were you contacted for your vocal skills?

They watched the covers I uploaded on youtube and their offer was from the vocal side indeed.

So I’m curious about how you began to compose songs?

When I was in Korea, I went to Teddy-oppa’s studio and Yang Hyun Suk-sajangnim came in. He asked me which song I was practicing these days, I sang while playing the piano. He listened and suggested that I try to compose a song if I was able to write a melody. From that moment, I started being serious about composing.

What was the first song you worked on?

It was Park Bom’s solo song “Don’t Cry” that was released in 2011. Teddy-oppa wrote the lyrics and we worked together on the melody. I feel like it didn’t take too much time.

Where do you mainly find the inspiration for your work?

I think the inspiration comes when I hear a track for the first time. From that moment, I think about an emotion and I start working on the lyrics and the melody.

Was there a song it was hard for you to work on?

Lee Hi’s song “It’s Over” from her first full album had this jazz feeling, so it wasn’t easy. So I kept praying/trying everyday and it came out well in the end.

[t/n: “praying” and “trying” are two different words, but you can use the same word in Korean and she’s religious, so I don’t know which one to use in English.]

The first time your face was known through YG was for G-Dragon’s music video for “One Of A Kind”. How did you get to be a part of it?

When GD-oppa’s album came out, he asked me if I could dance in the music video. I said of course I can do it. (laugh)

What do you think when you watch the music video?

Others might feel the same way. When I look at something I do, I’m embarrassed. (laugh) But when we were filming, I was really pulled in. When I’m praying, I always think “Lydia! let’s work hard because you were given a great opportunity”. So I think I was able to do it with confidence.

At that time, you showed a live performance for “Missing You” in “GD Friends Live”.

This was a suggestion from Sajangnim. It was a very good opportunity for me.

G-Dragon’s solo album was a hot issue. Which song(s) do you like?

From the lyrics, to the melody and the producing, I really like GD-oppa’s solo album. My favorite songs are “That XX” and “One of A Kind”.

After that, a lot of people were curious about you. What were the reactions around you at that time?

My friends enjoyed it and congratulated me. Sometimes, there were people who recognized me. It seems that my youtube fans liked it.

How do you choose the songs you cover and upload on youtube?

After finding a song I like, if I find the instrumental on youtube, I download it. I film the video with my iPhone. Sometimes, I only record the audio and I upload it with a picture when I’m running out of time.

I wonder if you practice before uploading your covers on youtube.

I sometimes practice for the songs I knew from before. If it’s a song that was recently released and I like it, I sing with the emotion I feel after listening to it for 30 minutes and memorizing the lyrics.

Do you have a favorite song among the covers you did?

I’d pick “Pusher Love Girl” I sang with Crush and “Suit and Tie” I sang with Tablo-oppa. I think I remember them more because it was fun to work with them than because the covers were good.

You also sang BIGBANG’s “Bad Boy”. When did you get to know BIGBANG?

At first, I was curious to find out about them because my friends worked with them. Once I started working for YG, I got to know them and we became friends.

I guess that YG producers usually give each other a lot of feedbacks.

We always give and receive feedbacks. If I’m curious about something, I ask about it to Teddy-oppa and GD-oppa. They’re always nice and answer to my questions. It’s not just about producing, their style, their personality are good too, so I’m learning a lot. Besides, YG people are overflowing with energy, I think it’s a great inspiration for me.

Recently, you made a fun cameo in CL’s music video for “The Baddest Female”. Is there an anecdote you can tell us about?

I was chewing gum while the filming was on standby. Chaerin told me to play the role of the one combing her hair in the beauty salon scene. But I’m not really good at acting. (laugh) Because it would have given this bad look if I was suddenly chewing gum, so I chewed gum when they filmed us. (laugh)

You did manage to look “bad” like the title of the song. (laugh)

Doesn’t each person carry this kind of image? (laugh)

It was your first attempt at acting, how did you feel about it?

I had never really tried acting before, so I just did it. My scene was short, so I was able to enjoy it with no pressure.

I saw the picture you uploaded on SNS with you and Mademoiselle Yulia. Did you become close while filming the music video?

We did. That day was the first time we met. I was introduced as Chaerin’s friend. She’s very talented and she’s vey nice. She also knew dancers I’m close with, so I had been wanting to meet her even before that.

The first time Cuvism met you was for the ALEA Playground Renewal party. You said you were there to watch Crush’s performance. What did you think of Crush’s stage?

Very charismatic. It was my first time seeing this kind of underground performance in Korea and it was great.

We had an interview with Crush. He said you suggested that the two of you work together after you heard Crush’s song.

By chance, I was at the Illionaire Records headquarters to chill and I heard Crush’s song through Mina-unnie (Mina Kwon)’s recommendation. I thought he was good. He’s young, so that was very surprising to me. We found out that we had similar tastes in music. I thought it’d be fun if we work on a song of the genre we enjoy, so I made him the suggestion. That’s how we ended up singing “Pusher Love Girl” together.

It wasn’t just singing, you also filmed a music video.

A lot of people helped us out for this song. Crush did the arrangement for the song. Yoon Suk Chul did the piano session. Park Ji Min and Irene made the video with us. Irene-unnie has always been interested in directing. Thanks to them, we were able to have a good result.

If you had to choose an artist you’d like to work with, who would it be?

Among foreign artists, I want to work with Jamie Foxx and Stevie Wonder. In Korea, I want to work first with YG artists and the VV:D crew.

I wonder if you have plans for a solo album.

There’s nothing set yet, but I’m thinking about it on my own. Because I’d like to release something like a mixtape.

What kind of concept should we expect if you release an album?

If it does happen, I want to do things my own way. I want to create a picture that people will see through my music.

Do you have a goal as a musician?

In Korea, there are singers who want to have activities in the US. However, I don’t want to work just in the US, I want to work all around the world. If I find success through my music, I want to help a lot of people. If I find success, it means the number of people listening to my music is growing. If it happens, I also want my songs to bring comfort and support to people. This is my dream.

Original article: cuvism
Picture by Lydia Paek@instagram
Translation: @onesunnylady
Edited by: @canoeknits

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