[Exclusive Interview] ESKM Discusses the Meaning of His Single 'Stay'

ESKM is a Korean-American RnB singer based in Seoul. KpopWise got the awesome opportunity to speak with him to learn more about his artistry and get his perspective on his new song "Stay." 

Hello! Can you introduce yourself to the KpopWise audience? 


Hi! I’m the singer. I’m currently based out of Seoul, Korea, but my hometown is the DC Metro area in the US. 


When did you become interested in music? 


Growing up I’d always been very musically inclined. While my family isn’t the most musical family in the world, music was always a part of my childhood life and our house had lots of instruments. I honestly don’t know a point in my life where music didn’t take up a large chunk of my time. 


What's your inspiration? 

My biggest inspirations are the new songs I hear throughout the year, and the different scenarios I imagine in my head. I'm constantly impressed by the new music released and it’s honestly so inspiring. Covid was hard for me as a writer because an important part of my writing process involves taking solo walks while listening to new music and seeing human interactions. 

How do you describe your style? 

I’m all about the vibes. If I don’t feel the groove in a song, it won’t get released. My goal is for my songs to get people physically moving. Lyrically, while I don’t write all my lyrics, I tend to write about the types of situations I’d find myself in. I can be a bit awkward, especially when meeting people for the first time, so often that awkwardness gets written in. That’s simply me keeping it real. 

What is your creative process like? 

I’ve always focused primarily on melodies, which can cause my songwriting to stall at times. From the first stuff I seriously wrote with producers in 2017, to my newest song, I’ve constantly tried to expand and improve on my skills. I’ve learned so much about song production, and the mistakes I’ve made along the way are simply part of the journey. 

Normally I’ll find a bunch of reference songs that fit a certain vibe I’m looking for. It can be something from a drum pattern and some airy synths, to even a full song that I want to model my vibes off of. Even if I tried to copy someone completely, it’d be impossible to. My style inevitably gets imprinted on it. 

After that the producer I’m working with will generally send me somewhat of a shell of the song and we’ll go over what I like and dislike from that. 

My “fun” part comes next, I load it up and start writing the different parts and figuring out how I want to divide the song. I’ll sit down and sing various melody lines that might match, throw out all of them, rinse and repeat. All it takes is for one part (verse, chorus, bridge, etc) to feel right. That’s when I start writing some lyrics and figuring out if I want to do it in English or Korean. 

I write lots of what I call “dummy” lyrics. Sometimes they end up being real lines that I use, but usually they’re just random things I thought of in my head at the time to figure out the sounds and rhythms I want. 

My process is pretty compartmentalized from the producer sending me a beat, me writing my part, me sending it back to the producer, then jumping in the studio to record. 


Can you tell us about your single “Stay”?   

Stay was a really fun song to write. Writing for the song actually finished long before release. When I released my last song “Gamebreaker”, I had envisioned that song as being released and most pandemic restrictions being lifted not long after. Stay tells the story of how foolish I can be to think I know what the future holds. 

I turned 30 in March, and I was definitely thinking about that as I wrote the lyrics. I told my parents I’d stay in Korea for 5 years doing music, and then reevaluate the next phase of my life after that. This past April marked 5 years in Korea for me, and I have no intentions of changing what I’m doing. Music is like this challenge that I want to conquer. 

The song’s definitely a reminder of how much we change over the years, and yet how much we actually stay the same. I thought by this point I’d have a much more established music career and be able to have performances lined up for whenever I wanted. That’s not the case, but that also doesn’t mean I’m necessarily doing anything wrong. 

While that part of the song is very personal to me in that way, it also represents how I feel about my love life. How I’m not always ready to move on, and how I want the next person I meet to be the one who pulls me out of that cycle. I’m not the greatest with girls, so the song reminds me that whether in life or love I should not doing anything half-assed and jump in 100%. 


Do you have any other hobbies or non-music-related talents? 

Fitness is very important to me. These days I’m working a lot on my flexibility and I’m trying to do the splits!  

The other aspect of fitness is food. I’ve never been much of a sightseeing person, but I love to travel to eat. I’m really excited for health and safety to continue to improve globally so I can go discover great cuisine. I also enjoy cooking. A lot of people would laugh if they saw my YouTube recommendations since there’s almost no music and it’s basically just cooking and food videos. 

I also play some console games (PS5). I’ve never been great at games, but have always enjoyed playing. I’ve been going at it since the days of Atari. 


What can we expect from you next? 

Honestly, who knows? I have a background in broadcasting, so I’ve often considered starting my own podcast. I’m also always trying to do more video content, and I finally have the right people around me to encourage that. 

Maybe I’ll start streaming me playing games at some point? 

Of course, there’s always new music in the works that I can’t wait to release for everyone. 


What is a message you would give to your fans? 

I’m by no means a well-known singer, but I’m thankful for each person who listens to my music. It’s easy to get frustrated when I see listens or views in the single digits, but the fact that anyone is actively clicking on something I made is simply amazing to me. 

So, in short, thank you! The music I write is meaningful to me, and I hope it can be meaningful for you to. 

Anything else? 

Don’t have anything specific coming up, but I did recently release my stay music video! 

Follow ESKM! 


Listen on Spotify 


Listen on Apple Music

Thank you to ESKM for the interview, we look forward to hearing more from him soon! 

Ciera Reeves

Ciera is the founder of KpopWise. She has been a fan of Korean pop culture since 2005 and writing about it since 2009. Her bias groups are VIXX and OnlyOneOf. She is a 2nd-3rd generation K-pop fan, but she is actively keeping up with the current artists. twitter instagram

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