Ji-won Yoo (28) is an R&B artist, who you may recognise from the Voice of Korea 2020. With her soulful vocals, her voice is distinctly recognisable. We interviewed her to find out about her individuality, how she's been coping with the pandemic, and what types of music she's looking to experiment with in the future.
Disclaimer: These are very basic questions we ask every artist to get to know more about them in order to write our "Who You" segment on Instagram. All the artists often get similar questions. We would normally not release this as it's not a full-on interview but we thought it might be good to do so.
What is the meaning behind your name, Nody Cika?
I wanted to have a new name that no one had heard of before. I also wanted to pioneer music with my own colour, and to become a person that nobody can replace in my genre. It's a name created by combining "nobody like me" and "chic". When I made it, I wanted it to be a name that arose curiosity. Since I pursued "one and only" in my name, I started working under the name Nody Cika in order to become such a person.
Right now are you signed to a label or are you independent?
I was independent when I first started. Then I joined a great company in 2020, and I am now signed under Double X Entertainment (@xx_ent).
How did you get started in music? What motivated you to become an artist?
I've been singing ever since I was young. My parents objected but, after a lot of persuasion, they allowed me to attend a music academy when I was 20. I was then admitted to the school at age 21 with the recommendation of the head of the academy director for college entrance exams. I think that's when I started pursuing music seriously!
DALLA (달라) - Nody Cika
What would you be doing now if you were not a musical artist?
Um... well actually, whenever I get a question like this I find it hard to imagine. Still, if I didn't make music I think I would be helping my parents with their business.
What inspires your music and your sound? What did you listen to growing up that has made your music what it is now?
I get inspiration from my life. Among the songs I've written so far, love is the most common theme. I think it's because I've received a lot of love in my life. These days I'm more interested in movies and other characters than my daily life, so I'm inspired by them.
Growing up in Korea, I listened to a lot of Korean ballads. But in elementary school I started to listen to a lot of pop like Britney Spears, Mariah Carey, and Alicia Keys, as well as other genres and artists like Muse, Oasis, and Avril Lavigne, etc. I was influenced by a lot of pop artists in the U.S. who dominated the music scene during that time. I also remember watching a lot of pop music videos back then.
What's your creative process usually like?
It's never easy. I've written songs in a really short span of time, whereas some songs take ages to write. Generally I have to get in the zone and have a clear mind when I produce music. Usually a theme or some imagery appears in my head, and then I write the lyrics or melody accordingly.
How has has your life as a music artist changed this year because of the pandemic? How do you seek inspiration amidst the restrictions?
I often feel sad that I can't perform live in front of people, so that's why I'm trying to show a lot of my music in the form of videos. Because of the pandemic, it also seems like a lot of music activities are shifting towards being more personal than community-based. Nowadays there are many video chatting platforms so you can interact with each other on social media, but as a result I have to work alone which makes it difficult to meet people and exchange ideas. I miss being able to meet other people and perform in-person.
Do For Love - Nody Cika
Previously, you mentioned that "Do For Love" is a mix of electronica, rock, hip-hop and R&B, which is a sound that is not yet popular in the Korean music scene. What inspired you to make this track?
R&B is a genre that a lot of Korean artists have started to experiment with, but I feel like the public doesn't know the genre very well yet. I didn't have a specific purpose in making this track. I just worked with my team members to try and make a great R&B song!
"White Light" was released a few weeks ago and you were featured on it with Lanalogue. It appeared to be the first time the band had a female vocalist. Could you tell us more about that project?
Lanalogue is a rock band. The song was written, composed and arranged by them. I really liked the track which is why I decided to be a part of it. "White Light" is a song that combines more alternative elements than the usual rock music that Lanalogue has been producing. Lyoon, the band's main vocalist, evokes the emotion inherent in the song with his unique expression.
White Light feat. Nody Cika - Lanalogue (라날로그)
You've done numerous collaborations in the past. What do you consider prior to deciding which artist you'd like to collaborate with? How is the experience different from working on your own music?
I have mainly been working the R&B, but there are a lot of things I want to experiment with in the future. Even if it's not necessarily R&B, if the musical elements are unique and appealing, I'm open to experimentation and collaborations.
Which artists do you dream to collaborate with?
I'm looking for artists who have their own unique colour, and are clear with their artistic direction. I also want to meet more artists who believe in my philosophy of music. I want to be able to exchange ideas and conversations, and I feel like an interesting collaboration could grow from that.
What is your plan for this year? What can we expect from Nody Cika?
I plan on releasing a single every month of this year, which I've been able to achieve so far. My goal is to listen to more music, and to also prepare for an album. I will try to show more sides of me this year - I'm also constantly posting cover videos on YouTube, so it would be nice if people who enjoy my music could support me there, too.