Our Artist of the Week is Yaeji, a Korean-American producer, vocalist and DJ based in Brooklyn, New York.
Since the release of her first original production in 2016, Kathy Yaeji Lee has quickly cemented her status as the It Girl of underground electronic music. Her mellow, almost ethereal vocals and her fresh lo-fi beats have ensured that she’s already one of the most talked-about producers on the scene. If you’re looking for some new, unique vibes for your playlist, look no further than the sounds of Yaeji.
Yaeji has the midas touch - everything she touches turns to electronic music gold. She’s transformed bangers such as Drake’s “Passionfruit”, Charli XCX’s “Focus” and Mall Grab’s “Guap” with remixes and covers that have since gone viral. We’re also looking forward to her collaboration with Charli XCX, which will be featured in Charli XCX’s new album Charli set to be released next month.
We’re infatuated with Yaeji’s music because it’s so wonderfully versatile. Are you feeling cheery or a little down? Are you currently itching to dance, or do you want to curl up in bed and daydream to some lowkey beats? Yaeji’s music ticks any and all of your boxes - her smooth bops are equally appropriate for all moods, seasons and energies.
Here are our top 5 signature Yaeji tracks:
1. One More
““One More” is about enduring and coming to terms with pain until you have the strength to forgive and move on.” - Yaeji
Yaeji’s most recent single is a sleek and understated track featuring her signature hazy vocals. Though her voice remains soft throughout the song, she expresses her anguish through punchy lyrics in both English and Korean, such as “so I can fall and hurt and learn but you don’t need to change a thing, that's how it is”. We can’t help but listen to this crisp, moody tune “One More” time, over and over again.
2. Drink I’m Sippin On
Blending intricate elements of house and hip-hop music is something Yaeji does well, and “Drink I’m Sippin On” is a great example of this. We love how she regularly incorporates lyrics in both English and Korean within her songs, subtly transitioning between the two languages with her distinctly breathy vocals. Watch Yaeji explain the meaning behind this catchy tune in-depth below 👇
3. New York 93
The title of “New York 93” references Yaeji’s hometown and the year she was born. There’s a sentimental vibe given off by this track as Yaeji croons about the memories she can’t seem to recall - “My memories / There are almost none / I don’t recall living in this city”. The trance-like beat and her soft, sultry vocals make for an alluring track that is, as it always is with Yaeji, a pleasure to listen to.
“Raingurl” is the song that catapulted Yaeji’s musical career, and it’s a universal banger. It’s essentially a track about partying and having fun, but with an introspective twist. Yaeji raps lyrics such as “가만히 서있던 자리 (Standing still in the same place) / Nobody can really find me / 창문없는 방이 작지 (The room without windows is confining) / But ‘when I am set free’ defines me”, weaving between Korean and English seamlessly while perfectly encapsulating the isolation one can feel even within a crowd. This celestial, bass-heavy bop is both a blessing and a curse - once you hear it, it will be stuck in your head for eternity.
This dreamy tune is the first track of Yaeji’s debut EP Yaeji, and is a great introduction to her unique sound. There’s a certain warmth to the beat that verges on hypnotic when paired with her soft vocal murmurings. The music video, which was directed by Yaeji herself (we love a visual artist!), features shots of Yaeji cheerfully exploring Seoul interlaced with various shots of New York City. There’s something magically comforting about “Noonside” as Yaeji waxes nostalgia about her cultural relationship with both cities.
What’s your essential Yaeji track, TasteMakers? Be sure to MAKE for Yaeji now to see her in your city ✨
🔽 Yaeji makes a track in 10 minutes
🔽 Yaeji’s Boiler Room DJ set