Instrument: Drums, back vocals, composing
Genre: K-Pop with a touch of rock
Hometown: Born in Daegu (South Korea), currently living in Seoul
We invited A Yeon to represent Asia in Global Rockstar United, the tiny but powerful drummer of the pop-band Bebop, who was second in the Korean pre-selection of Global Rockstar 2014. Bebop is a three-member girl band from South Korea. A Yeon (drums), Joo Woo (guitar and vocals) and Ji In (bass and vocals) made their first steps together as a band by playing street performances in Seoul.
Bebop already recorded a single with the South Korean electro pop band Humming Urban Stereo and they also wrote the title song for the South Korean television series Pretty Man. They officially debuted with I’m the Best. I’m the Best is a catchy pop rock song about the competitive nature of young trainees and it is the title track of their debut album Between Calm and Passion.
A Yeon was the last Global Rockstar United artist to arrive in Vienna and she brought some additional points of view into a group that was already highly diverse. For example, she is an Instagram celebrity in her home country and her attention to social media is extreme, even compared to the most “social” of us. A Yeon is multi-talented in different fields, she can play the drums and the piano, she can rap and dance. Also, A Yeon doesn’t speak English, this means we communicated through a translator. To everybody’s surprise it was much easier than expected, especially when the topic was strictly about making music — to put in A Yeon’s own words “If we speak about music I understand everything. Music is a common language!”.
When and why did you start making music?
As a child I used to watch TV shows and dreamed of both singing and dancing. At age 6 I started piano lessons and my interest moved towards music. For the past six years I’ve been under contract to become an Idol, this is the South Korean way of creating pop stars. The project created the first all-girl formed band in South Korea. I was interested in playing the drums but I was naturally chosen for the keyboard because of my year-long experience as a pianist. Then, before the debut, the drummer left the band and I was given my chance – drummer girls are not easy to find, after all! As soon as I started practicing we discovered I am indeed very talented!
Live or studio, what suits you best?
Live! I like the energy and the feedback I get from playing in front of an audience. I also prefer when we play street performances over more staged situations.
Your favorite part of music production
Composing. Finding rhythm and melody are the tasks that fulfill me most.
The highest moment of your career so far
In spring 2014, I was playing at a street performance with my band and a random passer-by filmed me – only me – playing the drums. He put the video on YouTube and the video went viral. As we speak, the video has almost 2 million views and it was also noticed by Global Rockstar. This video is basically the reason why I’m here in Vienna and taking part in Global Rockstar United! I love the idea that all this happened without being arranged by my production company.
(NB We must confess that it was another video that made us fall in love with A Yeon, the one where she plays Metallica as if there is no tomorrow!)
Where would you like to live, musically speaking?
As a pianist with a strong classic training I’ve always dreamed of visiting Vienna. Being here is already a dream come true… I have to think of a new dream now! (giggles)
Your favorite outfit for a gig
I mostly wear black, with a wink of sexy and rock and roll.
Your favorite music instrument besides yours
The piano is something that belongs to my education, the drums are also my job. To relax in my free time I sit down and play a little guitar… I’d love to get better at that.
What is the most important skill required, besides talent, to become a successful musician?
First of all, practice. You must be perfect in what you do if you want to get results. Also luck plays a big role, but it is your responsibility to grab the chance and make something special out of it.
What keeps you up at night with regard to your music career?
In South Korea everybody in music shows look perfect, with impeccable makeup and stylish clothes. On the other hand I see that the public responds better to a more natural presentation. I’m somehow caught in-between… my personality is not just the sexy/crazy drummer I play on stage, it doesn’t reflect entirely who I am. I live in Seoul now, a huge city with over 10 million inhabitants, but I come from a small city. I still have a dash of accent that immediately gives me away as a little country girl! So personally I don’t want to be seen just as the cute little girl on the drums, I love to play hard rock – Metallica is a favorite – and I’d love to show everybody I’m also a tough girl!
(NB: The Global Rockstar United artists and team share a different opinion. A Yeon is tiny, that’s true, but when she plays drums she is powerful, not cute!)