It was a warm late afternoon in NYC’s bustling K-Town with their clusters of young foreign tourists, as well as its never ending crowd of ajummas and adjusshi’s. With nothing but the bus,ling streets and the incapability of being able to find a suitable place to sit, we came across another well known Korean cafe/bakery, Caffe Bene, which too was very packed.
Henry Bloomfield isn’t some K-pop idol wannabe, he’s really just a guy that realized that music is his dream and is aiming for it with all he’s got, or as he put’s it, “A moving train and I gotta jump and see where it takes me.” At heart, Henry Bloomfield is a man trying to conquer the Korean language so it can surpass survival instinct to fluency, on top of finding his sound. If you sit two artists down, you will hear the same complaints, war stories, and how our love for the craft really brings out the OCD in us whether we’re lazy in nature or not.
“KISS A KUMIHO“: A Foreigner in a Foreign Land, Inspiration, and Reception
To kick it off, I asked him what attracted him to such an usual concept like a Kumiho, which is an ancient fox who takes human form most presumably a woman. He shared that it started off by his fascination with Greek mythology and learning about about all these ancient fables and how it transcribed him from living in Korea as an English teacher. He described Kumiho as sort of a Korean Medusa, which is what drew him to such an usual concept, as well as a certain K-drama that was released a few years ago by the title “My Girlfriend is a Gumiho.” Overall found the concept of a Kumiho musically inspiring especially since it gave him the chance to “up the ante” as Henry put it, on this tale that not everyone really knows about but has heard of: the tales of a Kumiho.
In terms of the reaction for his music video “Kiss a Kumiho,” he has gotten his fair share of good reviews especially here at Officially KMusic. On an international and domestic scale when it came to the music videos views he said, “Definitely some good ones and also some from people who are a bit confused, annoyed, offended even, but I am still waiting for what the Korean audience think. It’s just interesting on a platform like CJ, it seems that the people who are most vocal aren’t Korean. So it’s interesting to release or showcase a product that the people or audience are really expecting, but I am sure once they see my video it won’t be what they are expecting. So, it sets up an interesting set of expectations that aren’t being met like how do they react to that “wow this is really great I never seen like that” or It’s like “This is not what I’m looking for.”
Henry spoke about being a foreigner on the Korean side of the music industry and its pros, but his only challenge is the language barrier especially because its keeps him from experiencing the Korean culture the way he would like to. He gave an important perspective, that even though you are different in the music industry you can still offer something hopefully in terms of musical sensibility and concepts. Henry got more in depth and spoke about how many times he was told his sound wasn’t Korean, as well as fighting the temptations of turning into a puppet rather ten staying an artist, ” I been told often times that my sound is not Korean which Id agree with, and so it’s kind of a matter of trying to push the envelope at times and really stick to my natural voice which I have done and will keep on doing it. It’s the question of what will people think of it if they never heard anything like that before.” His music reflects his life in Korea not lyric-wise but the fact that he is trying to find middle ground in Korean culture. Music allows him to deepen his knowledge in Korean culture even though he can’t speak it well but is still determined to show his respect for the culture.
While it has been two years since Henry released an EP (mini album), he revealed an album is in the works and should be out soon stating, “Theres one more tune kinda following along the lines like an English/Korean hybrid. So that tune is being mixed right now, hopefully it’ll see a release during the winter. Other then that, I sort of been working on two other projects that are kind electronic dance and acoustic jazz rock type album. So I am definitely still discovering or rather finding my musical patent sound.”
Wait, so does that mean a rap or a dance number is in the future? Henry answered it with as much thought as he could stating, ” There could be, I’m kinda in the exciting part of trying things out and if they don’t work thats ok. Defiantly not sticking to one type of strategy.”
As an artist, he revealed he’s ready to take on issues in his new homeland regardless if it may or may not be received well, but is trying to get to the heart of certain matters that haven’t been touched or don’t want to be touched yet. Henry hopes to reach newfound heights, and not do anything repetitive instead of approaching the same concept so many has done before him already. In terms of crossovers such as a J-Pop or French debut, it will be awhile before we see one, because right now his main focus is trying to master the Korean language and would be a bit unrealistic to go attacking another one before he’s mastered the first.
Henry couldn’t give an exact answer on artist, rappers, or producers he would like to work with besides Primary, whom he praised for his work. Since Henry isn’t familiar with K-Pop, I came up with my top 20 artists that I would like him to see him compose and produce with K-Pop and U.S-wise:
1.Lana Del Rey
6.Minji of 2NE1
8. Cha Cha Malone
9. Lydia Paek
12.Taeyeon of GIRLS GENERATION
14.Jonghyun of SHINee
Overall, Henry revealed a bit of self-reflection and that is he doesn’t see himself as a pioneer for foreigners like himself, but as someone who is chasing their dream and doing what they have to do to make that a reality. Another thing Henry mentioned that stood out throughout our interview, was the change he saw within himself not as an artist but as your average guy especially in terms of building up confidence and feeling capable to handle the impossible. For Henry at the moment while he certainly feels at home in the United States, Korea is really where is mind is, and where reality hits him in terms of his music’s future. For the future of his music and his sound. Henry bluntly stated, “If it doesn’t feel right or I feel my sound isn’t being appreciated, I’m not gonna change but find another part of the world that will.”
Check out his music video “Kiss a Kumiho” below and be sure to keep an eye out for a future album sometime this year or next year:
For my first interview this wasn’t at all nerve-wracking compared to the auditions and having to perform in front of people who matter, but enlightening as how hopeful it sounded. Henry Bloomfield is definitely an artist for the simple fact as how he is using his environment to reflect his music and isn’t trying to take the easy way out while throwing in buzzwords like sarang or aegyo, but rather build a bridge between two languages while respecting two different cultures.
Be sure to keep an eye out for his new single that will be released sometime later this year and his upcoming mini album.
Video Source: CJENMMUSIC Official
Interview conducted by: Izzy Lopez
Edited by: Laura Dees
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