Artist Spotlight: Milky Day Has No Regrets Chasing His Dream

By: Tiffany Vu
08/25/2023
en
Courtesy of Unbound Entertainment Group

Korean New Zealander artist Milky Day is a singer-songwriter and producer. His popular tracks, “You’ll Be Alright” and “Take it Slow,”  have over 47 million combined plays on Spotify. Described as an artist of hybrid genres, Milky Day is moving into the R&B space with his newly released EP Impulses. EnVi had the opportunity to learn more about the rising star through an email interview with him.

Humble Beginnings

Milky Day was destined to be in music. Classically trained in piano at the age of eight, the prodigy has always been musically inclined. His high school days were spent in choir, orchestra, jazz band, and barbershop. It’s no wonder that the artist majored in music and math at Amherst College, Massachusetts. College was where the artist dipped his toes in music production. “I discovered that there was no ceiling on how creative I could get. There was no sheet music, instructor, or physical instrument limiting what I was capable of making, and I could let my imagination run much more freely,” the artist recounts.

In a turn of events, Milky Day found himself at a crossroad after being let go from his job: pursue music or continue with the nine-to-five life. The decision was met with uncertainty. There was no set path for an artist and certainly no stable income in the music industry. He felt a career in music demanded a lot out of him emotionally. “It takes a lot of effort to stay self-motivated, especially in a creative field like music, where the work depends largely on how inspired you are or how you’re feeling,” he wrote. Despite his worries, he knew something deep down wasn’t right. Ultimately, he took a leap of faith and hasn’t looked back since. 

I have no regrets chasing my dream! 

Milky Day

Head in the SoundCloud

What is the Milky Day sound? Milky Day’s music cannot be boxed into any one category. The artist took to SoundCloud at the beginning of his career to experiment with his music. His earlier songs like “Bingsoo” leaned towards lo-fi whereas his track with Jimmy Brown was more indie. His experience on SoundCloud, from collaborating with various artists to experimenting with his own sound, was vital for him to grow as an artist. SoundCloud was where he honed his craft, learned from other artists, and “fell in love with the creative process.” 

Milky Day explains it best when he says his music is moreso “a result of all the music [he had] listened to or practiced in the past.” For instance, he names learning from his early collaborators as the most influential force in developing his own musical style. Additionally, remember eight-year-old Milky Day playing the piano? He did not leave the prodigy behind either. “All of the instruments or music I practiced growing up shape my sound,” he wrote. “You may hear chords or melodies with some of that classical piano influence in my music.” 

Milky Day’s musical style is constantly shaped and molded as the artist encounters new experiences. After moving to the United States for his bachelors, he discovered R&B. He fell in love with its “soulful melodies, deep basslines, and smooth production.” When EnVi asked what about the genre stood out to him, he stated, “R&B music just hits differently!” His new five-song EP strays away from his earlier lo-fi sound and leans more into the moody R&B sound. The artist’s emotional EP and new genre demanded the shift. “R&B music definitely suits the night time, which is when some of my best music is made. There’s something about late night that gets me more emotional.”

Impulses

Milky Day isn’t afraid of opening up to his fans in his new EP, Impulses. His previous tracks dealt with themes of love and heartbreak. This time, he’s trying something new. Milky Day calls Impulses “a journey of healing and raw honesty.” The journey getting to this album—a timeline of obstacles and turbulence the singer-songwriter draws from—wasn’t an easy one. The pandemic, especially, sent Milky Day into a creative rut. “I had gone through a pretty tough phase in my life last year. I had been laid off from my job, was recovering from a breakup, and adjusting to my life in a new country. On top of that, it felt like the world was experiencing pretty bleak events,” he shares.

At the heart of it all, he realized many people were going through similar experiences. Impulses hint at dialogues of purpose, loss of control, and longing. These universal struggles that make up the thematic arc of his EP offer fans a deeper look into Milky Day’s life. The EP includes  “Temptation,” which starts with “Waiting for better days,” to open up to fans on his loneliness. Similarly, “So Good” offers a glimpse of hope to fans.. The soul bearing artist felt it was necessary to share this part of himself with his fans. “I realized how important it is to express a wider range of emotions, including those that we may feel uncomfortable or vulnerable about.” 

Reaching for the Stars

With his earliest track on SoundCloud being released five years ago, Milky Day has come a long way. From jazz band to releasing his second EP, the artist looks back on his career and doesn’t regret a thing. EnVi asked if there was anything he would’ve told himself back then. “During middle and high school, I had a lot more insecurities about what other people thought about me, so I would be less inclined to take risks. In hindsight, I realize that the best time to take risks is when you’re young, as that’s when you have plenty of time to recover from any failures.”

As the artist continues to take risks and find his own sound, he strives to push the boundaries of music, especially as a Korean artist. Oftentimes, he finds himself grouped into the K-pop genre, despite his music being far from it. Although he grew up listening to Korean R&B and indie music, he names Bryson Tiller, 6lack, Chris Brown, and Frank Ocean as the inspiration for his current music. As a Korean New Zealander artist, he hopes to change the general public’s perspective of what Korean music can be. “I hope that I, along with other Asian artists, can show the world that our musical style is far more diverse, and that the genre we fall into shouldn’t necessarily be determined by our ethnicity,” he speaks candidly.

Stream Impulses here.

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