Korean artist nijuu invites you into her dreamy lullaby fairytale world on her new EP nijuu in the forest out this week on the state51 Conspiracy. It starts with the cinematic ‘Green’ that tip toes across fields, and includes the brilliant recent singles the infectious ‘Totti’ and evocative ‘나에게로 Come To Me’.
The new Ep in the forest follows her debut EP nijuu in the sea, a 7 track collection released in 2020 which included singles such as ‘Sand Castle’, ‘Blue’ and ‘Deep Down.’ nijuu explains that nijuu in the forest represents a natural thematic evolution from her first EP, and it embodies her heightened confidence and sense of self; “The key theme on nijuu in the forest is about ‘growth’ and about the journey to find a new place where I could learn more and be more independent”.
The making of nijuu in the forest saw nijuu draw on her community of musical companions, both from home and across the sea. Completed on her return to South Korea, its credits include a host of friends and new producers, as well as remote collaborations with her former bandmates in London. It’s a gorgeous dreamy tapestry of miniature lullabies guided by nijuu’s almost childlike bilingual vocal narratives that chart love, growth, nature and childhood and offers captivating thematic depths to explore. We caught up with nijuu to peel back some of the layers on her artistry.
Hi nijuu, how are you today?
Hi God is In the TV! I’m good thank you.
What’s living under lockdown over the last eighteen months been like for you?
To be honest, life is similar because I used to stay at home and write songs a lot even before lockdown. So, I just feel down for other people because they are unhappy.
What’s the status of the virus like in South Korea now?
It’s back and forth, in July the status looked really great so lots of people predict we don’t need to wear masks in August. But you know August was the worst month in South Korea. So I’m just waiting for it to be all gone.
What was the first thing you released? What’s the music scene like back home in Korea/Seoul?
The first thing I released is “nijuu loves you”, a Christmas song. It was an homage to “Jesus loves you” on Christmas. The music scene is great and full of people who really love music. The music scene in Korea also has had a hard time because of the virus. I hope the Korean music will be recognised by people around the world.
How would you describe your music in five words?
Dream, Grow, Journey, People, Love
I’ve read that you’ve spent time in London, is the bilingual nature of some of your lyrics inspired by your different experiences?
Yes, of course – I’m thinking in Korean, but singing in English, so it’s a bit more comfortable. I learned that they use a different system to pronounce, so I just wanted to mix them. I want to sound different and unique.
What would be your dream collaboration?
Matt Maltese, Sufjan Stevens, The Innocent Mission, Bedouine, BTS, Arlo Parks.
Can you tell us about your new EP? Would you say it’s an evolution from your previous work? Does the forest represent growth?
Yes, the forest represents growth. nijuu in the sea was about a little girl who just got separated from home, learning to find the way out of the darkness. If nijuu in the sea was like a little bird who just broke out from the egg then nijuu in the forest is about the little bird trying to learn how to fly and how to move its wings. Like learning to have more mature awareness (mentally, physically) to be a better person.
‘Come to Me’ is beautiful and intoxicating, how did that song start its life?
I was questioning myself again and again. And always I thought “I’m no one. I’m not special. I’m nothing.” And in 2018, I was walking on an uphill road, I saw the sunset and I felt like the light tells me “Come to Me, please come to me. You are not gonna be staying in the dark. If you feel nothing, that means you could be anything” and right after back to home I wrote the song.
I read that your EP’s were inspired by fairytales you have written. Can you tell us about the plots of those fairytales?
I want to show you guys music videos first. Is that alright? because it could be a spoiler when I talk about them first! Please look forward to music videos…
I was reading ‘Totti’ is about love and its duality, is it a reference to a universal feeling?
Totti is a very special song. I wanted to make it into a fairy tale story book. This song will embrace all the love and beauty of life like my Totti does. I think everyone has Totti in their heart, maybe everyone might call by other names. I just called him Totti. He or she could be your lover, your family, your friend, your plants, your cat or dog, anyone who you love, who makes you want to be a better person.
I’ve read that you like to collaborate with friends, does working collaboratively inspire you?
Yes of course, I’ve got so many talented friends. Hokma Kim drew all the artworks, and my bandmates in London and in Seoul. They are so talented and very passionate. I want to thank Joe, Alex, Jamie, Theo, Tallulah, Tom, Felix, and my Goldsmith Uni friends. D.O, Byunghyun, Sunglim, Yohan, Jisoo, Aesol, Dahee, Heejoon, Sujeong, Roet, Mingyu. I feel so grateful for them. Each of them helped me to make these EPs.
Are you playing any shows/festivals this year?
I’ll have a headline show in Seoul in October. I might come to the UK in January. I hope to play some shows in London as well.