Samuel Seo started his debut album with the line “Last Name Seo, First Name Samuel” to remind people of him; and remember they did.
Six years and three records later, the singer-songwriter is one of the most sought-after artists on the Korean music scene. Samuel is often referred to as a “brilliant musician” and has made a name for himself with his musical abilities and his unmistakable artistic identity.
The 29-year-old spent most of his childhood moving around the world from Korea to Japan to North America before eventually settling in Korea. The singer grew up in so many cultures and backgrounds and often found himself lost in the crowd.
Turning to music as a source of inspiration and refuge, the singer navigated the world with rock and metal acts Slipknot, deftones, grain, and system of a Downas well as rap and R&B artists Common, Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, and The roots.
From a young age, Samuel knew that he wanted to be a musician, even if his parents weren’t fully on board. “As a kid, I thought I was going to be a singer in a band, but my parents were very strict about education. They wanted me to either become an international lawyer or a local judge in Korea,” says Samuel train.
“I remember telling everyone I wanted to be a lawyer, but inside I wanted to be a musician. It was a dream that I could never speak to my parents with at the time. But when I came back to Korea at 17, all I knew was that studying was not my thing. I started protesting, working part-time buying instruments and paying for a music academy. Music was probably the only thing I could focus on more than anything, working and enjoying at the same time, and it still is. “
Samuel entered the music scene for the first time in 2014 with several singles and mixtapes and even joined some artist collectives. For a while it seemed like the singer’s passion for music would not get him anywhere. He struggled to make ends meet, considered quitting the music and was soon working on his final release – his debut album, Frameworks.
“Back At the time, I was just an employee of a Japanese restaurant and I was actually considering quitting music because I needed a stable job with constant pay. Music didn’t really pay me, so when I was working on the album I thought that this could be the last album of my life as a musician, “says the New Dress Girl act.
To Samuel’s surprise, however, the album earned him that Best R&B and Soul album Award at the Korean Music Awards 2016.
“W.When they called out my name for that award, I ended up thinking this might work and since then quit my part-time job and focused more on music, “he says.
After the success of his debut album, Samuel released several more records, many of which were critically acclaimed, and performed on stages around the world – from Korea MU: CON to Hong Kong Clockenflapand should even appear last year The great escape In the United Kingdom.
He has also become a producer and a frequent contributor to many artists such as Penomeco, Lok, Yerin Baek, Jeon Ji-Yoo, and more. Most recently, Samuel won Best R&B album of the year at this year’s Korean Hip-Hop Awards.
Samuel has achieved so much in his career, but regardless of that, the hit maker sees his greatest achievement in finding a sound that stays true to itself.
The artist was inspired by his many musical influences and nomadic background and embarked on a rocky journey to find not only his sound but also his artistic identity. Similar to Samuel’s childhood, his music has changed little over the years, from electronic to hip-hop to synthpop.
“H.I want to grow up in Japan while I’m still thinking about how to speak my mother tongue and move from there to Korea, the USA, Canada … it all happened so quickly in such a short time. Most children would have been emotionally set as to their identities, but I was not and was confused by all the things that were united in my head, and so my life went on. [even in my music]”says Samuel.
“I wasn’t really ready to agree on a certain thing even after people knew me as a musician. I got confused and released all of these albums although I wasn’t sure it was a difficult experience. But now I know I like it. My taste in music and I can categorize the field I want to dedicate my life to, namely neo-soul. ”
After a difficult journey of self-discovery, Samuel has made it Cement a musical direction that not only reflects who he is but also the message he wants to convey to his listeners.
“The journey from my official debut in 2015 to my last studio album was always about finding my pure taste in music. I would say I’m finished now, ”says Samuel.
The hit maker recently released his second mini-album UNIT IIand served as the successor to his first UNIT Project in 2018. The 8-track record is the first step in Samuel’s newly discovered musical direction. Unimpressed by ideas of popularity and trends, the artist takes risks in his new record. Playing on elements that are completely new to its current discography.
“”I want to spread the things I enjoy and tell people that [trends are] not everything, and that there is more to it. While my music may not be the answer, I’m only here to show people that finding music is more fun. I know my moves as a musician are risky, but with this album I wanted to take a step that not many artists in my country are taking“says Samuel.
In the future, the ‘Cloud’ act still has a lot to offer that it has to present to the world. Samuel never wants to settle down and plans to develop his music and art regardless of trends and fashions.
“I’m not trying to attract attention. The good thing about me is that I don’t care about trends, just my own taste. Personally, I am a fan of artists who hold onto their own thing for a long time, whether they are huge or not. Now that I know what kind of sound I want to spend the rest of my career with, I want to be the type of musician who doesn’t change but evolves, ”says Samuel.
Listen to Samuel Seo’s UNITY II here.