Me and motley crew of Mad Love alumni have assembled to interview one of the faces of the K-POP wave currently taking over the world, Eric Nam, while on the Sydney stop of his world tour. We wait in a small room separated just for media -think green room, but far nicer- with bated breath, our anxiety slowly builds like the rising humidity around us. Questions start to swirl in our heads like “Will he like our questions?”, “Have we researched enough?”, “Will Eric want to hang out afterwards? “What does Eric want to eat?”
Within seconds of walking into the room, any lingering trepidation or nervous energy dissipates with Eric’s naturally disarming and warm presence. Carrying himself with a relaxed charisma that underlines his duality of being the boy next door and an internationally recognized superstar.
Nam’s charming and easy-going nature would almost have you believe that he was born to do this, that his path to success was a given when I reality it was everything but. As a Korean American growing up in Atlanta, Eric spent his early years and youth questioning where he fit in. With a burning curiosity to explore his personal identity while also pursuing his artistic dreams of being a singer, Nam strayed from the safe and narrow path and moved to his homeland of Korea to dive headfirst into its booming entertainment industry. Nam navigated the often rigorous and unforgiving Korean artistic scene of his homeland with the tenacity and drive of man with no Plan B. In his relatively short career Nam has already racked up a slew of hit singles, regular televisions appearances, once in a lifetime opportunities -like hosting NBC’s coverage of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics- and has just finished his critically acclaimed world tour.
With his success, Nam has begun to lay down the foundations of what a contemporary Asian music artist looks like, finding himself at a, particularly exciting crossroads. At once he is an instantly recognizable face in Korea and has the potential, talent, and catalogue to crossover into the notoriously hard to crack American market. While it is great that K- POP is slowly becoming widely accepted as a global genre of music with carving out its permanence in the west, it is still an uphill battle when it comes to representation of all races and cultures in the mainstream, and judging by Eric’s history it is one he doesn’t seem intent on giving up on anytime soon.
So shout outs to Eric Nam (@realericnam) and his team at EN Management for being so accommodating and making all this possible. Thanks to Will and Margaret from Half Symbolic Films for playing such a huge part in the production of this episode (they also distribute the most cutting edge films of Asia, and bring them to Aussie shores, find more info here) and to Michael Kim (@mkeens) for knocking it out of the park for his first ever interview!
P.S. Eric gave so many insightful and thoughtful answers that it was shame leaving anything on the cutting room floor, so if you’re interested you can find the uncut version here!
More art, more K-POP, more Mad Love! BAO!