INTERVIEW | Singer Sam Kim talks about his career and new dance single 'Smile'
Ever since he went viral for his OST ‘Love Me Like That’, for the K-drama, ‘Nevertheless’, soloist Sam Kim has been dubbed the “OST King” and rightfully so. The single has bagged more than 62 million plays on Spotify alone and became viral on TikTok and Instagram Reels. Soon after the success of the single, Sam Kim seemed to have been taking many more risks as he announced back-to-back collabs as well as teased the release of his new dance single, ‘Smile’, produced by R3HAB.
On January 7, Sam Kim released the much-awaited ‘Smile’ in collaboration with DJ R3HAB, who worked on the production of the single which makes fans jump to the beats of the single. Ahead of the release of the single, Sam Kim took his fans on a musical ride as he released collaborations with other Asian artists. Back in November of 2021, Sam Kim released his collab single with Indonesian artist Raisa titled ‘Someday’, while he stunned fans by collaborating with Thai singer and actor Mew Suppasit in the single ‘Before 4:30’. Now, days after the release of his single ‘Smile’, Sam Kim got candid in an interview with MEAWW and discussed his career so far and his future aspirations.
'Someday': K-drama's 'OST King' Sam Kim collabs with Indonesian artist Raisa for duet
‘Before 4:30’: Thai idol Mew Suppasit and Sam Kim collab tops iTunes in 20 countries
MEAWW: Firstly, congratulations on your new release! Can you describe how your writing/production process went for this project?
Sam Kim: Thank you so much! At first, I wrote the song with a guitar; like I usually do. Then I sent it over to R3HAB and he worked his magic over it to completely transform it from the original. Very fun process!
MEAWW: How did your collaboration with R3HAB come about?
Sam Kim: My team showed me his music and I really liked it. I was curious what would come out if we worked together.
MEAWW: What is one interesting backstory behind a song that fans may not know about?
Sam Kim: Usually you record in the song's original bpm (tempo), but for this song, my producer Simon Pétren and I thought it’d be interesting to record it in a slower bpm and speed it back up to the original. What you hear is that effect.
MEAWW: What message did you want to communicate to listeners with this track?
Sam Kim: Sam Kim got funk!
MEAWW: If you could describe your upcoming track in one word, what would it be?
Sam Kim: Funkadellic.
MEAWW: You’ve gained a huge listening and fan base for your talents to convey emotional stories in tracks such as “Love Me Like That” while showing your versatility during R&B tunes like “These Walls”. What made you decide to now venture into creating your first dance music track? How did you find the experience?
Sam Kim: This actually wouldn’t be my first dance track! I have a song called ‘Dance’ and a song called ‘The Juice’ which I actually danced too. Overall even though they were all slightly out of my comfort zone I had a lot of fun writing and singing them.
MEAWW: Did you have any fears about diving into a new genre other than R&B and K-Pop?
Sam Kim: Not at all! I love exploring new genres, I think there’s always something to learn in each one. I have yet to learn my lesson in heavy metal though. That’s for another time.
MEAWW: As a musician, how does it feel working a dance music track when you have mostly worked on ballads, acoustics with your guitar?
Sam Kim: It was really refreshing to step out of my bubble for a little bit and dive into unfamiliar grounds. I end up learning and growing the most in these situations.
MEAWW: ‘The Juice’ was such a fun song and perfect for the middle of summer. You have truly mastered the R&B genre. What is a genre you want to try next? Which genres do you like listening to in your day-to-day?
Sam Kim: I would love to get into hip-hop. Though I don’t have the voice or delivery of a rapper, I really do enjoy listening to the stories of rappers with those qualities. Kendrick is my go-to.
MEAWW: We have to also talk about your viral OST ‘Love Me Like That’ for the popular K-drama ‘Nevertheless’. What was your response when you realized that it had become such a hit?
Sam Kim: I remember writing this song a few years back when I was going through a rough time and it's probably why I never thought to give it a chance. When I saw how many people could relate to the song the doubt went away and I think the 20-year-old me who wrote it finally felt accepted.
MEAWW: ‘Love and Relationships’ are the broad themes in a lot of your music and OSTs. What do you think it is about music that elevates a drama or movie further since you’ve lent your voice to so many memorable OSTs?
Sam Kim: Even though I can’t see the scenes my OSTs will play in beforehand, I try my hardest to read the story in the lyrics and deliver the emotions to the best of my ability. I ask the songwriter lots of questions such as should I sing this phrase a little softer? More powerful, sad? etc… The songwriters behind every such decision are the real MVPs.
MEAWW: You have worked and collaborated with a variety of artists. From Zico to pH-1 and Crush, are there any other Korean artists you like listening to nowadays or have been inspired by and would like to collaborate with them in the future?
Sam Kim: So many! I would love to do something with BTS as a songwriter, and collab with BiBi as an artist.. so many talented people to draw inspiration from.
MEAWW: Can you recommend some songs that you enjoy listening to these days?
Sam Kim: Silk Sonic. Anything by them. Being a long-time fan of both Anderson.Paak and Bruno Mars.. this project to me is a dream come true. A specific song I listen to when I feel like nothing's going right is Park Hyo Shin’s – "Breath". It never fails to remind me that I’m not alone.
MEAWW: What do you like to do in your spare time? What is your hobby?
Sam Kim: Love playing good ol’ fashioned FPS games. Lately, however, I’m more into single-player adventure games with a nice story to dive into.
MEAWW: You saw the globally popular 'Squid Game' drama, correct? If you could excel at one challenge, which would it be and why?
Sam Kim: With most of the games being based on luck, the only game I’m confident in is Red Light, Green Light. Mama told me never to fall for and chase after a girl who can spin her head 180 degrees and kill on sight but you know, love will prevail and all that.
MEAWW: As we enter the New Year, what is your main goal for 2022 and what would you like to show fans next?
Sam Kim: I can’t say because I don’t want to jinx it but I do have lots planned! It’s finally my year, the year of the Tiger and I want to make it meaningful!
MEAWW: Can you please share some words of love for your global fans?
Sam Kim: Thank you so much for all the support. Every each and one of you push me to be a better me and also show me love that I sometimes forget to give myself. I wish you all health and happiness in these rough times and I will see you all very soon. ♡