In Part 3 of our "I Am a Singer" Indie Daydream, The Korean of Ask a Korean!, who has been writing a series on the 50 most influential K-Pop artists, provides his top five indie picks for "I Am a Singer".
With my picks, I tried to make the most compelling show possible. That is to say: this is not a list of whom I consider to be the five best indie artists. Rather, this is a group of artists who would create the same kind of excitement and buzz that "I Am a Singer" created when the show first launched, not only through their talents but also through their personalities and diversity of styles.
Having said that, here are some of the people who did not make the list for some reason or another:
Jang Kiha (장기하)
Jang is omitted because he debuted in 2005. This omission kills me, because in terms of pure talent few can match up with Jang Kiha.
Omitted because it has two vocalists instead of one. Another tough one, because the importance of Deli Spice in Korean indie rock history cannot be overstated.
Jeju Boys (재주소년)
Also omitted because the band has two vocalists. Is this rule really necessary?
I love Nell, but Widhi already picked Nell. There is nothing that prevents me from picking Nell, but why repeat picks when there is an ocean of talent to choose from? Let’s just enjoy a good song from Nell and move on.
Alrighty then, let’s get right to the picks.
Pick #1: Lucid Fall
Jo Yoonseok may be the most interesting man in Korean indie scene. Not only is he a gifted singer/songwriter, he has a doctorate in chemistry. Although Lucid Fall’s style may be a little too calm for TV, Jo’s former band Misoni (미선이) had plenty of interesting and dynamic numbers. It will also be an interesting test for the show itself: can the audience tolerate a string of very calm and sensitive songs?
Pick #2: Kim Sarang (김사랑)
For a good TV, the show has got to have high-energy performers. Kim Sarang is a solid choice to provide that high energy, hopefully coupled with interesting electronica tones from his first album.
Pick #3: No Brain
Here is another high-energy band, with semi-legend status to boot. Along with Crying Nut (whom I considered to be too big to be included in this list), No Brain revolutionized punk rock in Korea since their debut in 1998. If nothing else, they sure know how to play with the crowd.
Pick #4: Yoon Mirae (윤미래)
Yes, I know this is pushing the meaning of the term “indie.” But "I Am a Singer" has been sparse with rappers, with Bobby Kim being the sole representative of the hip hop community. Putting up a legit rapper and a talented singer like Yoon Mirae would serve the show well.
Pick #5: Lee Sangeun (이상은)
Here is our “hyper-legend” pick, without which "I Am a Singer" is no more than your regular old battle of the bands. It is difficult to overstate just how far ahead of the field Lee Sangeun was when she abandoned her fairly successful idol-like career and instead dedicated herself to making incredibly avant-garde music of the kind never seen in Korea before. Because of the range of crazy that Lee can bring with her music, the range of possible things that could happen is infinite. She might become the most celebrated indie singer of Korea, she might be pelted with rotten tomatoes on the stage, she might have a series of forgettable songs before getting eliminated around third round. No matter what happens, it will be riveting.
Agree with a pick? Feel like we're missing somebody? Leave a comment on our Reader's Choice page with your top three indie choices for "I Am a Singer"!