Artist Spotlight on Singer & Composer Wonmi Jung
My background includes Pop, Jazz, Brazilian Music Choro, Korean Folk, Poetry, Visual Arts, and Theatre.
When I sing, I choose the expression and texture often inspired by Korean folk music and Theatre.
However, I am not limited by musical genre, and this is evidenced by my performances for numerous distinguished organizations including the Korean American Cultural Foundation, Immigrant Family Services Institute, and National Museum of Korea Theater Yong.
I have also had the opportunity to collaborate with a diverse range of musicians including DoYeon Kim, Chase Morrin, Isaac Levien, Jacob Shulman, Caio Afiune, Rapercussion and Iña.
I possess a rare quality as a singer, because I also can expertly create different sound textures by mimicking animals and nature sounds such as wind, sea waves, and many others. For me, singing is not just an artistic expertise, limited to high notes or perfect breathing control, but more importantly, a way of depicting and expressing human life in a diverse way.
When it comes to my composition, I am inspired mostly during improvisation.
As a piano player as well, I sit at the piano and start playing and singing in a flow, then the chords, melody, rhythms, and lyrics just come to me. It often discloses thoughts or feelings of my subconsciousness. My composition, “Mice Hole” and “An Attractive Star” are great of examples of the musical complexities I explore.
What have been some of the biggest shows or performances you have done or most special moments while performing?
The most special and memorable performance of my career thus far was last year at TEDx San Diego, one of the most distinguished organizations in the U.S.
I was invited to compose and perform with Chase Morrin, award-winning pianist and composer.
The theme of the event was “Revelation: The Revealing Foundations of Life,” so we composed two songs for the event, entitled “Rooted Feet” and “From Us to Somewhere Else.”
Chase Morrin, himself, asked me to develop the lyrics for both songs centered on the theme, which was a true professional honor.
To be asked to write the lyrics for the very songs we would perform at such a distinguished event felt indicative of my artistry, creative flexibility, and strong knowledge as a composer.
Another reason my performance at TEDx was special was because due to...
my extensive teamwork with Chase Morrin, who at the time, I had already been working with for about three years. Our way of making music together is special.
At concerts, we perform standard songs in our own organic way without any plans and magic always happens. We trust each other that much.
The TEDx event was actually the first time we wrote music together and as we worked on it together, it became evident that our way of making music had completely evolved in an inventive way that is rare to see in others.
If you listen to “Rooted Feet” or “From Us to Somewhere Else,” you will notice that the songs are nothing like you’ve heard before.
What are some of the top venues you have performed at?
I have performed at TEDx San Diego, Times Square in New York City for the Taekwondo Festival as a member of Jayu Quartet, and the Museum of Fine Arts for Make Music Boston as a member of Bata Boston.
I have also also performed internationally at Korean National Theater Yong, National Assembly of the Republic Korea, Seoul Provincial Assembly, and Seoul City Square Youth Festival.
Being able to perform at the renowned venues mentioned above with my musicality was a honor.
What are some memorable solos?
In 2016, I was invited to perform my composition “Lost” at Korean American Cultural Foundation of Boston.
I wrote the piece in 2014 dedicated to the victims of the Sewol Ferry Accident in Korea. I was never brave enough to perform the piece in public due to the ample sensitivity of the subject.
But with Jayu Quartet, I was finally able to perform the piece and I am now glad that KACF gave me the opportunity to do so.
I see that my role as a musician goes far beyond performing music for fun but delivering the messages that need to be heard and healing people who are in wound. That is what I want to do with my music. - WJ