An interview with singer-songwriter, Hugh Keice

On Thursday 13th December Beyond Hallyu were fortunate enough to do a quick interview with UK-based Korean singer-songwriter Hugh Keice, shortly before his performance at an unplugged music night in Lambeth. Here we discussed his music, influences and plans for the future.
To start with how would you describe your music?

I would describe my music as pop music, mainly because I hope to reach many listeners with it. But I also do not wish for it to be pigeon-holed into one thing as it is a mixture of many sounds; soul, funk and some indie. I just hope that it will reach many listeners who will enjoy it.

How long have you been performing and creating music?

I have been creating music since I was a teen. In high school, I was in a band in Hongdae and since then I have continued with music. I work on the indie scene, a lot with music festivals, and since I arrived in the UK in 2009, I have released my first EP (in 2010).

Do you have any musical influences?

My main musical influence is John Mayer because he deferred so far from the music I played as a teenager. He is a great guitarist and putting aside his ‘personal’ deeds *slight laugh from Hugh*, he is a huge artistic influence on me. I would also say that artists like the groups Incubus and Coldplay are big influences and many soul artists.

Aside from musical influences do you have any favourite artists or groups? (They can be Korean or International)

Again I would have to say John Mayer. While in high school I listened to a lot of loud music, such as new metal, so listening to him was a nice change as his music is much more mellow and easy to listen to. This makes him an important artist to me.

How do you think your Korean heritage/background influences your music?

I think there are certain cultural influences in one way or another. I came to London by way of Germany and Korea. Having that said, I have a very mixed identity, which is always the main theme in my music. The upcoming EP “Slow Tree” in particular mainly expresses my thoughts on my own identity by which I try and show who I am, where I belong etc. I feel like I’m neither Korean nor European, but maybe a mix of both. Often I feel like something else. My music is very much my own style and non-objective though so I hope that comes across.

You are releasing an album at the moment; will it be in English or a mixture of English and Korean?

The album will actually only have one song entirely in Korean featured on it I believe, but at the moment I am not even sure of this.  I am hoping to be able to release the single at some point early next year.

A lot of people have become interested in Korean music, but mainly K-pop, do you find it hard to garner interest in your own music from people because of this?

I am actually rather grateful for the interest in K-pop as more people are now becoming interested in other Korean music and musicians due to this. Although I am different from the idols, as I am no longer young, still it is nice to be noticed by people because I am Korean and making music. So people will initially start with K-pop music and end up at mine.

Where do you hope to be in the next 5 years?

I hope to have money in 5 years to produce all the music and albums I wish to! I know this is a general artist feeling but budget is an important thing when it comes to making and releasing albums and putting on shows.

You can find Hugh and his music through his website. You can also follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Please support him as he is a very talented artist and here at Beyond Hallyu we hope to highlight brilliant musicians and their music outside of the ‘Korean Wave’. We ourselves as a site will continue to follow and support him closely as he continues to grow both in terms of musically and professionally. Thanks again to Hugh for taking the time to do the interview.

If you have any artists you would like us to interview please leave a suggestion and will attempt to do an interview with them.

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Co-founder and Editor at Beyond Hallyu
Lover of Korean hip-hop and indie music...and Unicorns.