Soundcloud Gems: Summer Soul
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 catalogs, 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.
If nostalgia had a voice, it’d sound like Summer Soul’s. The airy dreaminess of her voice transports you to the past, but the modern minimalism of her songs’ instrumentals also make her super trendy, fitting the aesthetic of the Korean youth. She’s only 19 years old, but the independent singer-songwriter has gained recognition on Soundcloud, releasing a string of tracks over three years. She’s also part of the LIVOFFMIND crew which includes collaborators Ioah and K.vsh. Her catalog has something for anyone who enjoys chill beats. While the music may not be sonically complex, her distinct tone has made it easy for listeners to clearly distinguish her sound. Rather than conforming to the mainstream, Summer Soul seems to extract fundamental parts of Korean R&B/alternative music—muted pianos, attention to vocals, soft percussion—and strips it down to the bare minimum though always stringing together fresh melodies.
If you like: Hyukoh, IU, ZICO’s soft side, Zion.T, Rex Orange County, Jakob Ogawa
“How Beautiful” feat. TAEK
How beautiful this song and video are, indeed. Soul’s first official single is a bittersweet alternative rock track that literally feels like paddling through waves of nostalgia. It’s artsy and a bit abstract, much like Summer Soul herself, but it’s a great introduction to the artist’s style.
“Let Me Love You”
This reimagination of BTS Jimin’s “Serendipity” is actually how I was introduced to this artist, and she’s rightfully gained traction from it. She somehow makes the solo track even dreamier than it already was; her echoing voice coupled with the lovely lyrics feels like an old sepia-toned film capturing the highlights of a young romance. It’s the remix we didn’t know we needed.
“I keep on lovin u”
It’s easy to tell this charming little track was intimately put together. If the song was built upon, it could easily be converted to an uplifting tropical house track. The piano keeps the song organic, and the silence between notes speaks to the paranoia and loneliness sung in the lyrics.
“이사" [Prod. Suyoung]
The way the electric guitar is played in this song feels like we’re roaming the desolate beaches of Hawaii. Her voice blends with the guitar and fades into the background, adding dimension and depth to the track, making it feel as if she’s both across the room and whispering in our ears all at once.
I couldn’t help but to include this one as it’s one of my favorite tracks ever, and this remix is such a fun reinterpretation. The Internet’s “Dontcha” is a funky song that makes you wanna move, but Summer Soul’s version is made more for lounging around, just vibing to the groove. You’ll instantly feel your head irresistibly bobbing to the snaps in the background.
Find more of Summer Soul here: