[INTERVIEW] Singer-songwriter Seori talks about Shang-Chi OST, her music - The Korea Times
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[INTERVIEW] Singer-songwriter Seori talks about Shang-Chi OST, her music

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Seori / Courtesy of ATISPAUS
Seori / Courtesy of ATISPAUS

By Park Ji-won

The list of artists who were featured on the 18-track soundtrack for Marvel Studios's "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," the first Asian hero-led movie in the action film series, came as a surprise to many Koreans as the album, produced by Sean Miyashiro and 88rising, included a lot of Korean musicians, such as DPR Ian, DPR Live, BIBI and Mark Tuan of GOD7.

The biggest surprise was that singer-songwriter Seori, 24, who debuted last year, sang one of the main tracks, "Warriors," for the film with Indonesian rapper Warren Hue. The duo was a good match partly because of Seori's charismatic but haunting and ethereal vocal style

She recorded her singing in Korea, being remotely directed by 88rising, which is now in charge of promoting her in the U.S. and overseas.

"The collaboration was something beyond my imagination. As a fan who has been loving the Marvel series, it means a lot to me. So I wanted to be a good part of the film with good music. I enjoyed the process and feel happy for being able to get closer to the film. I think Warriors resembles the strong and beautiful martial arts action scenes in the film. So I tried my best to show the desperate and sensitive aspects of the song," Seori told The Korea Times in a recent email interview.

"After working with DAY6's eaJ for It just is, thanks to eaJ, 88rising learned about me and reached out to me for the Shang-Chi project."

This was not the first time the musician surprised Korean pop fans and the industry. Her debut EP "?depacse ohw," released in May 2020, already had a worldview, or concept, as depicted in the accompanying music video. Having such a worldview is rare for a solo Korean female artist ― although it is something K-pop idol group BTS has for its albums ― and so people in the local industry wondered about her production and where the artist came from.

Seori / Courtesy of ATISPAUS
Seori / Courtesy of ATISPAUS

Poster for Seori's solo concert
Poster for Seori's solo concert "Seori in the Night" / Courtesy of ATISPAUS
Seori was well prepared even before her debut. Beginning to write songs at age 18, she started to upload cover videos on her YouTube channel from 2019 and these soon went viral online. The video of her singing Abir's "Tango" gained more than 5 million views while others attracted upwards of 500,000. Some even compared her to singer-songwriter Billie Eilish for her style and uniqueness. A staff member of ATISPAUS, a new agency that was looking for an artist to be the face of the company, saw the videos and recruited Seori to become the first artist they began to promote.

Inspired to see the artist and her music as unique content, the agency decided to create a novel about a fictitious Seori and her worldview to differentiate her from other artists, noting that this comes from the music she creates from her inner thoughts.

"I wanted to become a singer-songwriter after I was inspired by the fact that many songs, which comforted me, were created by singer-songwriters. I like to write songs myself as I believe that authenticity matters. Usually, stories come from inside my heart and so it is hard to write something that is irrelevant to me."

Regarding her singing style, Seori said she was surprised by the positive feedback from listeners of her English pronunciation as she has never lived overseas, but did add that she tried to mimic the vocal styles she heard in the many English language songs she listened to when she was young.

Seori is now in the United States to participate in the "Head in the clouds Festival" organized by 88rising that will be held until Nov. 7.

"I will try my best so that many people can feel the meaning in my music and hope to collaborate with other musicians I respect … I want to continue to make authentic music while having a wide spectrum regardless of musical genres. But I want to become the musician with my style and sound."

Park Ji-won jwpark@koreatimes.co.kr

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