In honor of AAPI, Asian American Pacific Islander, Heritage month I’ll be starting a little series where I’ll highlight a few different AAPI artists.
To start off this series, I’d like to introduce the Hojean or Justin Hojean Yi. He’s a 23- year old Korean-American R&B artist that got his start by wanting to perform a song for his crush at his school’s talent show. After playing up on that stage and seeing the reaction of the audience, he knew that being a musician was his passion. From that, he found his niche in writing love ballads and R&B tracks. He was initially an indie singer, but once he began experimenting with the R&B genre he felt that he preferred it a lot more.
The Georgian artist is a singer, producer, songwriter, and visual artist, who takes part in all creative aspects of his music production from lyrics writing to song cover art all from the comfort of his home.
What I admire about Hojean is his love of making music not only for his fans but as a way to support his parents as well. His entire life is writing music and his passion for spreading his musical diversity for his fans to experience the feelings he feels while writing his songs. Hojean has mentioned many times that he was always a creative person growing up and would doodle in his notebooks in school and sing at church, in a way he was always meant to make music and share his art.
A few of his most popular tracks are “Over 85”, “Pick Up Your Phone”, “You Feel Like” and of course his newest single “Bluffin,” which I wrote a review of.
His song “Memory” is a personal favorite of mine. It’s an upbeat song about moving on and letting go of the past. It was a track he had written after taking a nine-month hiatus from creating any new music– a product of his anxiety in a sense. A culmination of his feelings that had been developing while he was in a slump. But one day he walked into a thrift store and bought an electric guitar on a whim. That electric guitar lead to this song being written and now has become a significant part of his music production.
As a visual artist, I felt a connection to this song the most because I had been in an artist’s block myself. Painting was something I had a hard time doing during the school year during the pandemic because I constantly felt like my art didn’t compare to other artists, similar to how Hojean had felt about being a musician. Imposter syndrome– a common dilemma. Once listening to Hojean’s music one summer afternoon I started scribbling in my notebook and listening to Memory got me out of my slump as well.
If you want a change of pace or want to listen to music that makes you feel like you’re floating down a river on a sunny afternoon then Hojean’s music will make you feel just that.
Hojean will be releasing his first EP sometime this year so be sure to keep an eye out for it!
Check out Hojean’s Spotify page to view his entire discography.