Not too long ago, I discovered this gem and I really wanted to share my admiration for her talent with all of you fellow, Korean enthusiasts because I think some of you may like this kind of music. Her name is Yozoh/요 조. Actually, her real name is Shin Soo Jin, but you know how it is, errbody gotta have a stage name. I would describe her musical style as a solid mix of folk and indie. I believe she’s signed under a less common Korean music company called Pastel Music that focuses more on a laid back sound rather than the loony K-pop stuff every single one of us gets addicted to.
She was featured in two collaborative albums wayyy back in September 2007 (St. Shop of Coffee Prince and 12 Songs About You) before making a more sophisticated debut on November 20, 2007 with a 10 track album titled My Name is Yozoh (with Small Acacia Band). I recommend that album right this minute if you’re unfamiliar with Yozoh.
First of all, if anyone’s under a music company with the name Pastel in it, chances are their music is going to be cute (informally pronounced: cuh-yooooooot). That’s what I get from Yozoh’s music. She doesn’t belt out crazy ass notes or anything, but she keeps the atmosphere more light-spirited at a level beyond soothing. Take “Rollercoaster of Love” for example…
Tell me you don’t feel like swaying along to that song? Or frolicking in an open field on a sunny day with clear skies (winds from SE at 5mph)?
There’s a simplistic quality in Yozoh’s music that makes me appreciate her work. It isn’t complicated, so it allows the audience (including myself) to find an easy path to connect with to these subtle melodies on a more emotional level, if you allow yourself that leisure. “Traveler” (2008), her solo album, features a continuing array of heart-felt songs, such as “Giant“. I’m not 100% positive, but I believe Yozoh wrote Giant in memory of her younger (or older?) sister who has passed away. I’m open to be corrected, but the lyrics “fly away” would definitely allude to such a fact if it were true (audio Link).
Yozoh doesn’t do promos so you’d have to do a little digging to figure out her repertoire. Anyway, I mention her today because a few moments ago I found this recent release of a Jaeju Boys song featuring Yozoh. (By the way, here’s a taste of Jaeju Boys, a male’s version of the kind of Yozoh sound that’s spewing through out this post Link) The collaborative song is titled 손잡고 허밍:
Oh, man, I was smitten the second the song finished. I have a real soft spot for this kind of cutesy, indie music. It may be because I’m drawn to slower tempo songs to begin with, so music with such a subtle sound and delightful melodies causes me to welcome it with open arms.
When you’re stuck in the saturated world of Idols and manufactured celebrities, it’s important to recognize and expand your musical experience to the kind of talent and texture that isn’t as visible on the surface. It’s hard to come by ladies like Yozoh, but once you’ve found them, it’s a delight to have when you feel like hitting the breaks.