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Artist Spotlight – Nubim


There’s nothing better than the soothing sounds of Jazz and this can be found in the music by artist and composer Nubim.

Nubim, real name Soyoung Kim is a composer, musician and CEO of her own record label Joy-Tone Records. This musician has always had a dream to be an artist studying classical piano and painting. She studied architecture in college and whilst deciding on jobs to undertake she decided to become a composer. Knowing what she wanted to do, she studied jazz composition and jazz piano whilst she was in university. For Soyoung, composition is central to what she does:

“I feel composition is the primary and the most effective way to express various kinds of emotion in me. I have been seeking my own musical expressions based on the experience of studying architecture and painting. And to allow my music to be more expressive, with depth and greater emotion, I am learning to play Gayagum, which is a Korean traditional string instrument, and painting as well.”

I wanted to find out more about the person behind the music and how it played into her composition and was lucky to get an in-depth interview with her:

Mimi: How long have you been performing?

Soyoung Kim: From the time I was a college student, I formed a band to experiment musically and hold concerts. I have been received awards from several competitions, but my real career as a composer started when I participated in Midem, an exhibition for the music industry in Cannes, in 2006. I went there with my demo CD and being a musician and not a businessman. It was not easy to be recognized at first, especially because I didn’t have a real CD but only a demo CD and also I was not a businessman. On the first day, no one would listen to me, but finally I got praise from several European companies, press and critics, such as, “music with creativity and originality”, “new kind of music. This is Nubim Jazz” “Riesentalent aus Korea (a Korean artist who has great artistic talent)”, “a charming mix of jazzy, classical and film music”, to list a few.

After that, I established my recording label, “Joy-Tone Records,” in order to retain self-control over the whole creative process and PR management. I focus more on the creative work of composing music, than giving performances. I have released four albums and three singles, and I am currently doing three new experimental music projects. For diverse multi-artistic expression, I have collaborated with visual artists and musicians. Currently, I am an assistant professor of jazz composition at Seoul Institute of the Arts.

Mimi: Why Jazz?

Soyoung Kim: When I listened to jazz for the first time, I felt limitless freedom. But soon I learned that there are numerous kinds of ways for expression in music and I started to compose not only jazz, but my original music based on jazz harmony as well. I think this was a good start for me to compose music with originality and creativity.

Mimi: Is there a meaning behind the name Nubim?

Soyoung Kim: My artist name, Nubim, is a Korean word meaning ‘threading through’.
I hope to thread my way into the hearts of people and bring new light, as a ‘new beam’ [Nubim].

Mimi: How would you describe your music?

Soyoung Kim: As I studied in architecture before jazz composition, I have my own way to compose, that is, to describe a visual image into the sound. I prefer to describe my music as a sound painting, and that point helps make art accessible to the public.


Mimi: What do you want people to get from your music?

Soyoung Kim: For me, the main purpose of music is to positively influence the world through the sound from my heart. Ultimately, I hope my music would be hope and love to those who are in trouble. When I recall my past as a musician, it seems to me that I have walked a path that no one has ever walked before. Being responsible for all music process, from composing through producing and manufacturing, I achieved invaluable knowledge. I believe my life has been richer, both musically & spiritually, because of the hard times. I give genuine thanks to every moment. Most of the profit from my musical performances and CD selling has been donated to helping to cure hearing-impaired people. I believe love is what mends a broken heart and I hope my music would give hope and smooth over the hurts of the people.

Mimi: What shows have you played? Any international shows?

Soyoung Kim: In Nov.2004 I played a concert called ‘Pacific Basin Mix’, as a representative of the Pacific area in L.A in the USA. I also played another concert in September 2005 concert ‘Outside of the Universe’ at the Dongduk Grand Theatre, Korea. Finally in January 2006 participated in Midem in 2006 as the best result in the Korean booth.

Mimi: Could you please tell us about the albums that have been released under the label?

Soyoung Kim: The 1st album under the label is ‘Yellow woods’, mixing by Dieter Sailer at the Klanspur studio in Austria. For a more synaesthetic musical experience, visual images related to the songs are included in the album.

The 2nd album, ‘Between silence and light’, is a totally new arrangement of songs in ‘Yellow Woods’. Oboe, cello, accordion and percussions play the main role in the new arrangement, with the sprinkle of vivid piano and vocal sound. This album was nominated as the Best Jazz & Contemporary album at the Korean Music Awards 2011 with the praises, “In her music, elements from the jazz and the Impressionistic modal classical music is tightly weaved like woof and weft. On top of it, colourful and rich instrumental arrangement adds embellishment the weave of composition. Nubim’s music as ‘a sound painting’ is like an impressionist painting the vividly changing colour of nature on a canvas; a minimalistic version of Ravel’s work.” The third album is a modern creative hymn album; “Nubim’s Praise” was a rearrangement of hymn songs to more easy-listening songs. The fourth album was “Live in Serenity, Nubim,” a live recording at a Cathedral.

Her music is truly wonderful and there is a clear elegance and mastery in her compositions. Listening to her music there is strong sense of creativity and artistry. Nubim an artist that you should check out and keep on your radar. Check out some of my favourite songs below:

To find out more about her music check out her Facebook page here:
https://www.facebook.com/www.nubim.org
You can also check out her websites:
http://www.nubim.net and
http://www.joy-tone.com