1. What made you want to break into the entertainment industry?
Ever since high school, writing songs has been an important part of my life. It’s one of the most exciting ways of expressing myself that I feel comfortable with. It’s also the type of passion that’s never completely satisfying, because there’s always the desire to write a better song the next time, or the next time. So, I’ve simply just been pushing forward with this pursuit that never feels finished, never feels perfected. But, it’s one that is extremely enjoyable to me.
2. Why of all places did you choose Korea to promote in?
While I was studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston, I developed many relationships with Korean students there. I became close with a few in particular and, based on my very positive experiences with them, decided to spend some time in Korea in order to pursue my music and to learn more about my friends’ culture. It was one of those moments when I was luckily and randomly introduced to a new culture and I almost felt the responsibility to deepen that exposure. Had I not, I would have always wondered what life would be have been like in Korea.
3. Did you graduate with a degree in music or was it in a different field?
I actually graduated from Oberlin College in Ohio with a B.A. in English. Then, I attended Berklee (Contemporary Writing and Production concentration) for only three semesters because, in the middle of my studies, I joined an American national tour with a hip-hop band, playing keyboard for them.
4. Do you plan on staying in Korea to promote?
My plans to stay in Korea are somewhat open-ended. I’m excited to continue pursuing my music there as long as it feels right. I’ve been feeling inspired and energized in Seoul, so I can only feel thankful for that.
5. Where did you get started?
My initial exposure to playing music came when I started taking jazz piano lessons in second grade. My teacher had actually been my sister’s third grade teacher a couple of years before, although he was also an accomplished jazz pianist, gigging and recording while he wasn’t teaching elementary school. He taught me all the basics and we’re still good friends to this day.
6. Who are you making music for (ex. Fans, family, friends)
I certainly have the very real desire for family, friends, and fans to appreciate and enjoy the songs that I write. But in the end, of course I’m only writing for myself. In other words, I write songs that flow naturally out of me. Sometimes people might say “oh you should write a song like this.” The problem is, forcing a certain feeling or mood into a song is probably going to result in a pretty sub-par song. In my experience, the best songwriting should be as natural and effortless of a process as possible.
7. What makes you different than Chad Future? (Another American in the Korean music industry)
I think it’s pretty clear when you listen to our music or watch our music videos that our style and taste come from very different places. I think the comparison, one which I’ve heard a few different times, is not surprising but also not a very well-suited one. While Chad seems to be more directly inspired by and knowledgeable about kpop, I didn’t grow up listening to it and don’t feel a strong connection to the genre. There have been many people who have labeled my music as “kpop,” which of course they have the right to do. However, for myself, I would never describe my sound in that way. I think it’s a limiting title and not quite representative of what I’m doing.
8. What do you focus on to reach your audience?
Whether I’m writing a song, making a music video, or talking in an interview, I’m just trying to be as honest as I can be. So like I mentioned before, this just means acting in as natural a way as I can. If I feel comfortable and excited about the message that I’m conveying, I think that’s the most important thing.
9. In 5 years where do you see your music career heading?
I’m happy to say that I have no idea! That’s what I consider to be exciting. I don’t know where I’ll be, but I know I’ll be writing music. More specifically, I hope to be recording and performing as much as possible.
10. Are you signed under any major Korean labels?
No I’m not and I never have been. Right now, I’m an unsigned, independent artist and I produce all of my own work.
11. How familiar are you with the culture?
I’ve been living in Seoul for the past two years and have really been enjoying myself. My Korean friends at Berklee taught me about Korean culture early on and I visited one of my friends, Sungtaek, in his hometown of Ilsan the summer before I moved to Seoul. I love Korean food and really appreciate old Korean-style houses called hanok. I also enjoy Korea’s traditional tea culture, as well.
12. Do you mind having many who may look down on you for “trying to be kpop?”
I don’t mind this because, like I said before, I would never consider my sound or style to be kpop. I certainly can’t control the way people experience music or express their desires to label and categorize. Nevertheless, regardless of whether or not I’m the subject of the conversation, people looking down on anyone for expressing themselves musically is a bit dangerous, I think. Music, by nature, is so derivative—musicians are always borrowing from each other and inspired by any number of things from the past. In many ways, this is what makes music great. But to consider musical genres as rigid worlds that only allow or are accepting of certain races and ethnicities…that doesn’t make sense to me.
13. Are there any future artists you want to work with?
In the Korean music scene, I really dig the producer Primary’s style and musical sensibility. Also, the female singer Suran is an emerging star whom I’d love to work with at some point.
14. How did you make your break into the industry?
A few months ago, I read an interview about one of my favorite piano players, Ben Folds. I listened to him a lot in high school and he was a strong source of musical inspiration for me back then. Anyway, in this interview, I appreciated what he had to say about “waiting for a big break” in the music industry. In his mind, it doesn’t happen like that. A successful music career can be seen as a series of events, one giving way to the next, in either a very logical or a pretty surprising order. “The big moment” rarely comes. It’s about a never-ending process of experimenting. I think that I’m still very much in the beginning stages of my series of events, but I’m excited to see where it takes me.
15. Finally, how much do you love working and doing what you do?
I certainly love it a lot and am dedicated to pursuing the craft for as long as I possibly can. There’s always another song to write.
You can catch Henry’s new song here on our website. We at KPOP 365 would like to specially thank him for the wonderful interview and wish him luck in furthering his career. Check him out with this crazy fun video below!
Source: KPOP365 Interview Staff