“You know, you could go to university anytime but this might be a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” Sion recalled his parents saying to him when he felt unsure about moving to Korea to pursue music full-time. Appearing on Rising Verse in 2022, Sion showcased his unique vocals and sincere lyrics through his performance of several unreleased tracks, including “Braindead Freestyle” (renamed “Braindead” upon release). Many people took to the comments to express their shock at his immense talent, and anticipation for his upcoming debut. Rising Korean-German singer-songwriter Sion spoke with EnVi via Zoom about his life-long passion for all things music, different themes explored in his work, and his growth as a new artist. 

A Hidden Musical Prodigy 

Prompted to reveal something unconventional about himself, Sion confessed that his lifestyle revolves completely around music and was unsure if he could reveal something fun enough. After careful consideration, he talked about how he participated in anything and everything involving music when he was in high school, ranging from the school band, to the kid’s choir. 

Music has always been an integral part of Sion’s life. At the age of five, he began playing the piano and violin at the discretion of his parents. “[It] is kind of stereotypical for an Asian to do but actually, I had a lot of fun doing that,” he exclaimed. Due to his skills at piano and violin, Sion initially wanted to be a classical musician, but when he started participating in music competitions, he realized that career path wasn’t for him. At the age of 14, he decided that he would focus on his studies and he believed his musical journey would be over for good. 

Photo courtesy of Beautiful Noise

Around 2020, Sion had the sudden urge to get back into music, this time with something different. “[…] Four years ago I wanted to sing and rap suddenly so I started rapping at first, and then my parents told me ‘If you [want] to do rap or singing, then it might be good for you to participate in some auditions, like The Voice of Germany’ and that’s how I got onto the show, because they applied for me.” 

Sion participated in the 10th season of The Voice of Germany and made it to the semi-finals. 

After his journey on The Voice of Germany came to an end, Sion planned to take another break from music, but it seemed the universe had other plans for him. “[…] I wanted to stop doing music. I wanted to focus on university and that’s actually what I did, but then my label boss, currently Mommy Son, contacted me on Instagram.” 

Sion joined Beautiful Noise and made his debut with his love EP on July 23, 2022. 

An Insight Into His Perception of The World 

On March 16, 2023, Sion’s sophomore EP Live was released to the world. 

When asked if living abroad had impacted his character and the themes he explored in his songs, Sion revealed that the Live EP (2023) deals with personal feelings he’s experienced like loneliness and homesickness. In a moment of vulnerability, he summed up his inner struggles saying, “I’m Korean but I grew up in Germany. I always had to struggle there with feelings of isolation. I look like a Korean, of course, [and] I think like a German almost, but it’s not the same. When I came to Korea it was kind of the same but the exact opposite… I don’t feel Korean yet even though [I’ve] lived here for three years.” 

The opening track on the Live EP was inspired by the culture shock that Sion experienced when he came to Korea. “I noticed that the people are very competitive here. Everyone’s working so hard, and before I came here I only heard about it so I didn’t know how it was really but… just by being here you’re kind of forced to do the same. So when I felt that energy, I had to write a song about that,” he said. 

Acknowledging the high suicide rates resulting from the pressures of Korean society, Sion explained that “Flying Fish” acts as a metaphor representing the people who take their lives to escape from the threats under the surface.  

“Grow” was revealed to be Sion’s favorite song from the album as it provided a cathartic experience for him. He mentioned how it was the first time he’d started out a song with the lyrics first and gave further insight. “It was a very special experience and it was the first time that I wrote a song that quickly,” he explained. “I almost wrote that song from verse one to outro in one day, and then the arrangement, of course, took like two or three days additionally, but it was a very quick process.” 

“Grow” is a song that talks about longing for his father’s presence and his looming feelings surrounding the concept of growing up. 

Battling Against Burnout with “O.o” 

Introducing his newest track “O.o,” Sion stated that it was a self-reflective song that he made for himself instead of worrying about others. He also gave insight into his experience with burnout. “Coming to the industry in Korea, I had very high ambition,” he explained. “I wanted to make this kind of music and that kind of music… and I had to care about what would chart and what would go viral — what would resonate with people — and that kind of made me tired without me even noticing it. So once I noticed it one day I was like, ‘Okay, I didn’t start making music to care about what would resonate with people. I started because I like making music. I like music as an art form in general.’” 

“O.o” acts as a wake-up call to remind himself that it is okay to take the road less traveled by.  

Developing As A Producer 

Adding to his long list of musical skills, Sion revealed that he learned to produce exclusively through YouTube. “Four years ago, I downloaded the software called FL Studio and then I just started crafting crappy beats — like hip-hop beats because I rapped back then… I didn’t stop making beats for [a] single day. And then I kind of naturally developed my own style.” He mentioned how everyone around him, including labelmate Zior Park, was surprised by how quickly he learned a new skill. In the past, Sion has shared sounds that he has made by sampling an IOS ringtone and Minecraft skeleton sounds. 

While planning his first solo concert, “Out of the Box,” Sion and his team thought it would be cool to show off his growing producing skills. “As a producer and singer-songwriter, there was kind of the obvious choice of also showing my producing abilities on stage,” he explained. “We kind of made a little side quest where I had to produce the song based off samples that my fans sent in previously in 15 minutes on stage, and also I did a DJ set at the beginning of the show for like 10 to 15 minutes.” 

Photo courtesy of Beautiful Noise

Artistry That Can’t Be Defined  

Talking about his style and the genres he likes to explore, Sion explained that his style is always moving. “When I first started, I considered myself more of an R&B singer. My love EP is mostly based on indie and R&B, and then on Live I kind of drifted off into more different genres — even pop, ballad and still indie, a little bit of rap… and then on “O.o” I did the complete opposite, like indie rock.” 

For his upcoming albums he plans to settle down focusing on only four genres including pop, folk, electronic and R&B. 

Follow Sion on Instagram and YouTube! Don’t forget to check out his music on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music

Interested in learning more about up-and-coming talent in music like Sion? Check out our exclusive interview with K-pop boy group Vanner here