Born in Queens, but raised in Korea and on the East Coast, Yaeji experienced considerable alienation during her childhood. She’s put that to good use as an adult, and channels her outsider spirit into her music, which rather than alienate, draw in listeners. Her latest hooky electronic pop track, ‘Waking Up Down’, out now, is from the ‘What We Drew’ mixtape, her first release on UK indie label, XL Recordings, which she shares with the likes of Radiohead, FKA Twigs, and Adele.
Yaeji is no newcomer to the music scene, she released two EPs in 2017, and produced remixes for Charlie XCX and Robyn, as well as headlined two worldwide tours. She was also included in BBCs Sound Of 2018 list, and featured on the cover of Fader.
‘Waking Up Down’ is typically DIY for self-taught producer Yaeji. Initially a reluctant singer, who covered her inexperience by singing in a soft, whispering style, she’s now embraced it and made it her signature.
Yaeji blends bedroom style pop with an underground club vibe, and intersperses both English and Korean lyrics, addressing the victories to be found in conquering the challenges of becoming an adult. The track is both intimate and yet confident; it’s at the same time equally appropriate for a dance party or for chilling out alone.
Woofa is a character designed and illustrated by Yaeji, and he features in the video for ‘Waking Up Down’, which has been produced by Vancouver animation house, Studio Yotta. The studio is known for their work with Adult Swim, Run The Jewels’ ‘Oh Mama’ video, which starred Rick & Morty, and the opening clip for Sega’s ‘Sonic Mania’.
The video for ‘Waking Up Down’ follows Yaeji and Woofa, and the pair journey through the process of adult life, set out like a game, where they encounter characters like Coach Bird, Worm, and Chef Eggman. As they meet each character they level up and absorb them into their crew. The clip takes its inspiration from classic anime openings, and is an homage to teamwork and the feeling of being blown away by your own successes, no matter how small they may appear to others.
Find Yaeji online on her official website.