We’re listening to Yaeji’s single “Drink I’m Sippin on” from her second album simply titled EP2.
Yaeji has a funky approach to house music, creating a style that’s just, well, Yaeji. Her airy vocals flow easily from Korean to English and back again. While her voice isn’t the belt-it-out, soulful voice we normally gravitate to, it’s surprisingly calming, soothing even. Mixed with her simple house beats, her voice is kind of sexy, in a kooky way.
The new single is in both English and Korean but that’s what makes us slide to it. The chorus “그게 아니야” / “Geu-Gae ah-nee-ah” (“That’s not it”) is super catchy. It’s a guaranteed sing-a-long, no matter what language is your first. Yaeji basically sums up why we love music from around the globe in her GENIUS interview:
“It’s very much a feeling, and language is so limiting. To limit those feelings into words is really hard, which is why it helps for me to use two languages, because I feel I have a larger spectrum of tools to work with to describe what I’m trying to say, but it’s very much a feeling for me, too. It’s hard for me to put it into words, which is why I often abstract a lot of my lyrics.”
What do we listen to that’s not in English?
A lot, actually. Maybe it’s because we work with international young artists that we’re exposed to an eclectic mix of music. (Thanks, students!) Our playlists include Italian hip hop, Kpop, French soul, German rap, lots of reggaeton and anything with a fresh beat that grabs us and makes us move. When we heard J Balvin on 97.1, we double checked whether it was our phone or the radio. Slowly, too slowly in our opinion, the U.S. musical tastes are growing up and out. The U.S. market is huge and we can handle (good) music from all over the universe. Bilingual music may help, collabs with the Queen B and Justin B will definitely help – hello/hola “Mi Gente,” “Despacito.” But no matter what the language, good music is good music. We’ll leave cracking the U.S. music market to the experts and just tell you about some awesome new music we’re listening to.
Here’s a bonus, a nice treat, Yaeji’s Drake “Passionfruit” cover.
Keep making music that makes us move.
Francesca del Console is an arts manager at L.A. Cultural Exchange, a young artists program under the Artists Exchange Group, Inc., an arts marketing firm based in the NoHo Arts District in Los Angeles, CA. She and her team bring U.S. and international singers, musicians, dancers, actors and visual artists to Los Angeles to study in high school and train in their art. They provide the total L.A. arts experience for their students.