Soundcloud Gems: SAAY
International fans experience K-Pop differently than Korean fans. With the oversaturation of artists in the industry, it can be difficult to find upcoming, underground artists who have yet to break into the mainstream. Western music streaming services like iTunes and Spotify are doing a better job at incorporating extensive K-Pop catalogues, but for these lesser known artists, a site like Soundcloud helps connect them with their potential audience. There are so many talented artists swimming around this platform, so we’re highlighting artists that deserve your attention.
SAAY is a unique case. While the R&B artist is now signed to Universal Music Korea, she has remained criminally lowkey to the masses. We recently saw SAAY open for fellow R&B artist DEAN at the Los Angeles Korean Festival on October 6, and she’s definitely a captivating performer. But her music hasn’t broken into the mainstream just yet.
The songstress, whose real name is Kwon Sohee, however is fully aware of the industry. She initially debuted in girl group EvoL, who were active from 2012 to 2015. After a brief break, she released her first mixtape, The Zone, in 2017. Her debut single, “Circle” featuring Tish Hyman, is an all-English track made for those late nights when the desires for a significant other are overflowing.
It’s hard to compare SAAY to most Korean female artists in the game; she’s an R&B/urban-pop performer who can dance and sing in English. Several of her tracks sit on loud trap beats, and her sound is overall much more westernized than what’s previously been done.
Since signing with the major record label, much of her discography, like her 18-track album CLAASSIC that dropped this year, is not available on Soundcloud. But her mixtapes are still up for listening, which show how her sound has evolved.
If you like: Sik-K, Tinashe, Crush, Kehlani
“VLACK N VLUE”
Get ready to body roll. This track will make you want to break out your seductive dance moves (like in Kehlani’s “The Way”). The attention to detail on the production is most noteworthy, especially for a debut mixtape. It’s a song made for a strong female performance.
“VODKA & LEMON SHOT”
While the beat is much chiller, you won’t be able to help but bump to this groovy track. SAAY’s vocals tell a melodically interesting story reminiscent of late ‘90s and early 2000s chill R&B. It’s hard to not instantly be in a good mood when listening to the nostalgic instrumental.
“Wake Up!” is a bit more pop than her usual sound until the trap breakdown after the first chorus. The song’s structure is much more appealing to a Korean audience. Overall, the final track on her second mixtape, The Horizon, radiates good vibes.
Witness SAAY’s talent for yourself. In this unique release, listeners really get an encore; this track is a two-in-one package deal. The first scene demonstrates the performer’s dancing ability—a sound and visual that feels inspired by Beyonce’s earlier work. Then, the track cuts off and transitions with a muffled instrumental into an introduction that preps you with “Are you ready for the encore?” Discover the rest of the track yourself.