Original Content
Posted by Lorr-Ye 29 days ago

[INTERVIEW] Meet min.a, a Korean-American indie-pop artist on the rise

Creative Direction, Editing & Graphic Design by Michael Tian; Photography by Myu Inoue; Hair & Makeup by Hannah Lauren; Styling by Tiffany Tong

min.a got her start on a tv competition, K-Pop Star for singers in South Korea. She's since branched into her own unique and moody sound at the crossroads of K-Pop and indie rock. In an exclusive interview with allkpop, min.a shares insights into her musical upbringing, influences, and creative process. From K-Pop Star to NYU's Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, min.a's journey is marked by authenticity. As she prepares to unveil her EP "are you watching at all?" in May, min.a promises a musical experience that resonates with listeners around the world. Read more below and be one of the first to learn about this artist on the rise:

allkpop: Hey min.a! Thanks for joining us in an interview for allkpop - we’re excited to spotlight you and get to know you more. Introduce yourself briefly to our readers!
Hi! I’m min.a, a Korean-American indie-pop artist based in NYC. My artist name is derived from my Korean name, “Minah.”

allkpop: I’d love to learn a little more about your background and identity. Could you tell us about yourself and who you are?

I grew up in a musical household, so music was always a part of my day. My parents say that I was always singing something. When I was 15, I auditioned for the South Korean competition show, K-Pop Star 3, and somehow ended up in the Top 8. I think that was a turning point in my whole career as a musician, because that validation convinced my parents that music wasn’t just a hobby for me. After that I went to NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music and have been working on my producing and songwriting ability, as well as developing myself as an artist ever since.

allkpop: Are there any distinct memories or experiences that made a huge impact on you as an artist?

My grandpa, who was a violinist, was my absolute hero growing up. I followed him everywhere, doing everything that he did…we were inseparable! Watching him play the violin with such passion is what sparked my love for music. I tried taking all sorts of lessons, but nothing stuck except for singing. My grandpa passed in 2019, which was the hardest year of my life. I want to make him proud by continuing to put everything I can into pursuing the craft of music that he loved so passionately.

allkpop: I’m sure a lot of our readers will resonate heavily with this! How has growing up partially in South Korea and listening to K-Pop influenced your own music?
K-pop was a really big part of my childhood and fundamental in the development of my music taste! I still incorporate the classic pop structure of a K-pop song into my own songwriting (i.e. verse 1 - pre-chorus - chorus - verse 2 , etc.) and stack harmonies just like they do in all of my favorite K-pop songs! K-pop bands/idols also have such elaborate visuals accompanying their releases which inspires me to do the same. It’s like they create a whole world around each release.

allkpop: Now transitioning to your first ever K-Pop single, “skipping stones” - can you share more about the inspiration of this track? How did the song come to be? What influenced you to create it?

When my friend Mira sent the beat for “skipping stones” I got so excited to write my first K-pop song. The song itself is about the uncertainty you experience at the end of any sort of relationship. You often feel regret, disappointment, or yearning for things to somehow repair themselves. But the unfortunate reality is that sometimes no matter how much you try to explain how you feel, the other person just won’t understand. When we fail to cross that bridge, it all falls apart.

allkpop: Share more about the genres of music you lean towards. You have a bit of a grunge indie rock vibe, was it always this way?

Not necessarily! I grew up listening to a lot of R&B and pop, which I feel like is present in my first ever single “by(e),” as there are a lot of chords and vocal runs that are common in R&B/pop. But going to art school exposed me to a lot of music I wasn’t even aware of, which eventually led me to the indie rock/pop sound I have now.

allkpop: The song is also paired with an MV. Can you tell us more about the creative direction of the MV and how the filming process went?

When I decided I wanted to create a visual for the song I knew that I had to work with my dear friend Grace Zhang, who was the director of one of my favorite music videos ever (the video for my song “headache”)” They’re always able to take my songs and create such beautiful work. I’m so excited for the world to see the video for “skipping stones”! The video is pretty DIY, it was just Grace filming on a Super 8 and another digital camera they own. Our sets were parks, my roof, and random sidewalks in Manhattan. We really just made the most of what we had to create a lighthearted visual that I feel perfectly fits the song.

allkpop: What do you want fans to take away from your music and MV most?

I just want anyone who’s listened to my music to feel like they aren’t alone! Every feeling has been felt before, and it’s art like music, tv shows, poems, books, etc. that help us process and grow through them. I want to be a part of that growth and comfort <3

allkpop: Now some fun questions! Share with us your top 3 K-Pop artists and why!

Number 1 is BTS. They paved the way for the international recognition of K-pop and make me feel so inspired to create my own definition of what “K-pop” means to me as an artist. I also just love their music so much! Number 2 is Seventeen. They have such a dynamic and unique sound! I truly think they’ve created their own special corner of the K-pop industry…I’m so proud of them for finally receiving their well deserved Artist of the Year at MAMA this year! Number 3 is MEENOI. First of all, I absolutely adore her voice and music in general. Secondly, her social media presence is so fun! Her YouTube cooking show Yorizori was so enjoyable to watch, I really looked forward to every week’s episode.

allkpop: Give a song recommendation of a track you’ve got on heavy rotation! K-Pop or otherwise.
I am currently obsessed with “Ticket” by MEENOI. It’s so catchy and the production is so well-done! I’ve been listening to a lot of the rest of her discography in general.

allkpop: Lastly, let us know what fans can expect from min.a next! Is it a tour? More music? Some secret third thing?

I’m releasing an EP in May!!! I am so excited for the world to hear it, it’s called are you watching at all? I’m not very good with confrontation and I sometimes let my feelings linger until they explode, which can cause conflict. This project is me communicating, ‘OK, I’m finally saying what I wanted to from the beginning. Are you paying attention?’

allkpop: And where can fans find you?

@minaleebae on all social media!

@minaleebae songs out in a few hours 🫶🏼 #singing #musictok #originalmusic #singersongwriter #indiemusic #indieartist #kindie #kindiemusic #kpopindie #songrecommendations #indiesongwriter #kpopfyp #kpop #kpopsong #koreanamerican #newsoundalert #originalsong #kindieartist #undergroundartist #undergroundindie #indiepopartist #indiepop #indiepopmusic #indiepopsong ♬ skipping stones by min.a - min.a

You can find her music here.





  1. misc.
4 5,378 Share 79% Upvoted
MrsYoo_Shi_Jin1,281 pts 29 days ago 0
29 days ago

Min.a's music is sooooo good! I found out about her randomly on my Spotify shuffle back in 2020. Her song Close is really good! She's a great artist, and I wish her all the best!

6 (+6 / -0)
pal-er-23 pts 29 days ago 0
29 days ago

Es bueno ver gente que toma su camino sin intentar parecerse a los demas.

3 (+3 / -0)


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