Kim Gyurang – artistically known as BUDY – plays subtly with the colors projected on a white wall, the seasons, and the minimalistic art of hers. All those characteristics turn even more distinctive when the song matches with the sweet yet intense voice. The musical arrangements curl up like vine on the poetic compositions, well, overall, singular writing.
When working with art – being responsible for its own musical identity – this impulse to show your singularities no longer is a convenient treat, and creating a distinctive identity becomes crucial. The sounds, aesthetics, inspirations, compositions, and videos create colors of their own, a synesthetic mixture which speaks for the artist, more than they can say. BUDY understands the importance of expressing herself and achieving recognition for the individuality of her creations.
Kim Gyurang began her career in the music industry in 2015, as a member of the group Girls Girls (여자 여자), but left the girl group a few months after the debut and came back to her own form of making art as BUDY. From her beginning as a singer, producer, instrumentalist, and songwriter under the Slow Town Music label, she guaranteed her position as an independent artist in every way.
On her YouTube channel, BUDY covers popular songs, such as Black Swan by BTS, giving them her personal touch: jazz chords, a new groove, and soul. That talent is making the songwriter and producer gain more recognition daily.
As part of a movement on Korean music that is in constant growth – k-indie – the singer knows that originality is relevant for blooming solo in such a big industry, packed with voices and competition. Because of that, it is crucial to be sure of their most prominent attributes and skills before entering the market.
In 2019, she released her very first full-album, Budy’s Midnight (available on streaming platforms and YouTube), a compilation of sounds and artistic aspects from someone filled with life and ideas. In 2020, the artist released two singles, for the bliss of her fans: Stray Cat and A Week. BUDY faces her compositions as perfect channels to spread great messages, referring to common day-to-day situations, but on the right hands – and perception – of someone creative receives a brand new meaning, like the message in Stray Cat: I’m free, not lonely.
BUDY spoke to KoreaIN about her inspirations and little pieces of day that make her being who she is. Check the full interview below:
KoreaIN: You’re being recognized for your work as a singer and composer, but your arrangement of instrumentals is also turning you into a popular artist. When was your first contact with jazz music? What are your favorite music genres to sing?
BUDY: “I naturally came to fall in love with Jazz music by listening to music from different artists. Then I got interested in the rhythms and chords that are frequently used in Jazz music, and I feel like I naturally express those jazzy elements in my music. I like all kinds of music regardless of genre, but I think the soul is the main thing when it comes to how to express the song.”
KoreaIN: Musically speaking, who are your main inspirations?
BUDY: “Although it’s difficult to pick only one specific artist since I listen to many types of music, I like Lauryn Hill or Erykah Badu because they have their own unique colors.”
KoreaIN: Is there any artist you dream of collaborating with one day?
BUDY: “I often think that I would like to work with many different artists since I’m a solo artist. As a vocalist, I would like to collaborate with a rapper who can add more colors to my music.”
KoreaIN: All your songs seem to have a very personal tone. Do you write about your own experiences or find inspiration in stories from your family friends as well?
BUDY: “There are a lot of songs that were written by my personal experiences or a philosophy of life. I think I’m affected by things I’m surrounded by or in certain situations.”
KoreaIN: Still thinking of writing inspirations, what gave you the spark for composing 고양이 (Stray Cat) and A Week?
BUDY: “I worked on the song Stray Cat with an inspiration that I had when I saw a black cat on the street one night. It was cool to see its confident and chic attitude, even though he seems lonely. So I put the message into the song that I earned from that cat: I’m free, not lonely. I happened to work on the song A Week inspired by the love letters my parents exchanged when they were dating. It was a letter that my mom wrote to my dad a week before he went to the army, and I was emotionally touched by her saying: take care of yourself and don’t worry about myself. Even though they were about to be apart from each other the following week.”
KoreaIN: For a certain period of time you were part of a girl group, what was the biggest difference you felt when you became a solo singer?
BUDY: “Although there is some pressure on me because I’m basically doing most of the things on my own, I feel it’s more achieving when I put my own color into my performance and my music in a way of presenting it.“
KoreaIN: What tips would you give to an artist wanting to work professionally with music?
BUDY: “We find music in our daily life and there are many music artists these days, which makes the music industry really competitive. My advice is: Work on getting your own unique color.”
KoreaIN: What are the main struggles of becoming an independent artist? What gives you the energy to overcome everything?
BUDY: “I think staying healthy and balancing between working and rest. I feel like I need a lot of energy because I need to manage a whole lot of different things by myself. However, I also gain energy from the enjoyment to do anything that I would like to express without any obstacles.”
KoreaIN: And personally wise, who inspires you to become a better person every day?
BUDY: “My beloved family is my driving force! And my motive not to collapse and start over no matter which bad things happen. My mother always enlightens me with her positive energy and wisdom that ‘we have to be grateful for what we are given’.”
KoreaIN: How do you feel knowing that your work is being recognized in countries on the other side of the world?
BUDY: “It’s really grateful and surreal that there are people far away from Korea who love my music. I translate and read all the comments every day. I’m looking forward to meeting my fans on the stage once the COVID-19 situation is over.”
To make her Korean and worldwide fans even more euphoric, BUDY said she is working on new songs expected for December. She will also soon make BUDY LIVE a big online event on YouTube to get even closer to admirers of her talent.