Fans of Korean music might have heard of pH-1, though Harry Park or even Junwon might not ring a bell. But in fact, they’re one and the same. pH-1 has been a leading voice in Korean hip-hop since he broke out into the scene.
Frequently spotted on Korean TV shows and an in-demand hip-hop artist, pH-1 is also a founding member of the hip-hop and R&B record label, H1gher Music alongside Jay Park and Cha Cha Malone with the aim to bridge the gap between American and Korean artists.
No stranger to collaborations and a recommended listen if you want good skin (according to his Spotify profile), pH-1 knows how to hook you so you’re constantly putting him on repeat. This holiday season, the hip-hop artist is releasing a new single, Lately but it’s not what you’d expect a festive song to sound like.
In an exclusive interview with Tatler, pH-1 dishes about the year-end song, his love for collaborations and how finds a balance between market appeal and authenticity.
Winter or rather, the holiday season is merry and joyful yet you chose to release a soulfully, sorrowful hip-hop number. Why is that?
I don’t like being obvious. It is very much expected that an artist would release a carol-like song during Christmas, but I always try to be a bit contradictory. The Christmas season might bring sadness to some people. I made this track for them.
Tell us the story behind the song and why the title, Lately?
The song is about a person that has recently gone through a breakup. He/she is “lately” finding himself/herself feeling down and empty without his/her significant other.
It’s not the first time you’ve combined English and Korean lyrics. Is that due to your Korean American background or are there any other reasons?
It is exactly due to my background as a Korean American. Mixing two languages is literally how I would write or speak to people. It’s the most genuine means of communication for me. It also works as an advantage for me because my fans, no matter what country they’re from, can understand the overall story and mood of my songs.
You’re working with Hoody for this track, tell us how that came about and how was it like working with her?
Hoody (Kim Hyun-jung) is a dear friend of mine, and I’ve been a genuine fan of her music since her debut. Whenever I give her a general theme for a song, she understands right away what I had in mind and amplifies it to make it even better. Needless to say, Hoody did an amazing job on Lately.