GAHO is a South Korean singer-songwriter known mostly for his everlasting OST songs, for example tracks for dramas ‘The Time‘, ‘Stranger 2‘ and ‘The Last empress‘. He is the master singer behind the song ‘Start over‘ for the popular drama ‘Itaewon class‘ with which he won the ‘Best Hallyu OST‘ at the 4th Soribada Best K-Music Awards and ‘Best OST‘ on 22nd MAMA.
In 2018 Gaho released his first mini album called ‘Preparation for a journey‘. And this year he released his long-awaited first full-album ‘Fireworks‘. Fans can enjoy his strong story-telling voice skills in twelve original songs. KMUSIC had the chance to interview this talented artist and ask about his newest work focus on youth, but also go back in time with him to his own childhood.
Can you introduce who Gaho is to our readers?
Hello, I am Gaho. I am a singer-songwriter who composes, writes lyrics, and produces. While doing various genres like pop, R&B, and rock I enjoy expressing it in my own colors and singing style which I like.
How did you come to pursue a singer career? What was your child’s dream career?
I started music in the 11th grade. At first, I was slowly starting to get to know and understand music. Soon later I thought seriously about making music as a career. The friends who were also working in the music field had a great influence on me. Since I was young, I thought it would be fun to do various things in arts and sports, but among them I was the most passionate to do music-related work. During those times, thanks to a friend, I started composing. At first, I only composed but later I thought it would be nice for me to sing the songs I made, and so I then became a singer-songwriter.
Can you introduce us to your first full album ‘Fireworks‘?
I am 25 this year and I thought ‘Fireworks’ is a word that can represent the 20s. Fireworks fly up high into the sky and for a brief fleeting moment explode glamorously above. I thought our 20s are a moment in life when you are shining the brightest. I thought I am going through the chapter of my life where I am going up into the sky. As it’s an official album there are 12 songs, and they all have different genres of music.
The songs on this album have a very interesting concept. Can we know more about this song?
The title song ‘Right Now’, like the other songs on the album, contains my thoughts and emotions. I wanted to express the different emotions (hope, love, friendship, passion, regret, emptiness etc.) felt by the youth in their 20s. That’s how I got the concept of youth. There are some songs that I personally experienced, some are based on my imagination after watching films and dramas, others are inspired by listening to the worries of my friends. As a 25-year-old myself, I tried to capture how I and other young people think and live their lives.
What is the title track about?
‘Right Now‘ was inspired by the fact that there are not many days when a person can feel strong and overwhelming emotions in their lives. I hope people can feel that strong moving emotion through this song. I think feeling moved during a special moment is one of the precious emotions. I hope this song can be the starting point for young people who are going through difficult times in their lives.
Which part of your own youth do you reminiscence the most?
In my last year of high school, I met my friends who did music and started music with them. By meeting these friends, I started to think about music a little more deeply. The times I did music with my friends while talking about music is the most memorable part in my life.
Which keyword would best describe your current stage in life (as a singer)?
I would like to say ‘fearless young man’. Currently, I am trying to accept everything and sometimes go beyond my limits to test myself to overcome my limits. So whatever obstacles I face, I will challenge it and even if I fall, I get up and try again.
You upload song covers on your YouTube channel as well which are heavily popular. Is there a song or artist you would like to cover or collaborate with next?
It’s Zayn, the former member of One Direction. He is a singer I like so much, and I also enjoy listening to music by Imagine Dragon, so I would love to collaborate with them if I have a chance.
You are also featured on many OST albums. Most of your OST songs are different from the music Gaho usually does. Is it sometimes hard to switch between genres for the songs?
It’s easier to sing my own songs because since I wrote it, I already know the basics on how to sing it. But for OSTs, I have some pressure to put certain emotions or vocal colors into the different parts of the music because the composer has a clear intention with the music. So it seems a little bit difficult. Still, I enjoy working on the OST (songs) because I can put another side of my tone and feeling into the music.
Which drama/movie did you watch recently, or which one would you recommend?
I recently saw the movie ’AI’ and I was shocked. The plot took unexpected turns. I think the people who watched it may agree, but I don’t want to give spoilers, so I recommend you check it out.
Would you rather go on an active vacation (ie. mount climbing) or relaxing vacation (ie. beach)?
I like the sea more. I think I’d take a trip to a hotel with a view of the sea. I like having a rest lying down doing nothing, and I like to have a cool view, so I prefer the sea more. It would be nice to work on a song there too.
What was your most favorite snack when you were a child?
In Korea there is a snack called ‘라면땅’ (ramen ttang). It’s a snack composed of uncooked ramen noodles with spicy flavors sprinkled on it and I liked it. When I was little, I loved noodles and so I liked ramen a lot too. I think I still cannot get over it haha. I still like noodles, but I can see myself gaining weight, so I haven’t been eating much these days.
Did you have a subject at school you enjoyed a lot or did not particularly like?
I liked PE the most since I was young. As a kid and I always wanted to move around and couldn’t sit still. I think I liked PE that much because I was very active.
If you would send a message to your young self, what would you write?
Hi, Gaho. If there is anything you want to do, I hope you do not mind what others say, just do whatever you want. Instead, you must work hard without regrets. You can live as you want but live well and take responsibility for your choices. Cheer up!
And any message to your fans?
Hello, I am Gaho. My first full-length album ‘Fireworks’ will be released. As a 25-year-old, it is an album that contains various emotions about youth with colorful music, so I hope many people can listen to it and sympathize with it. I hope the day will come when we can meet and greet in person soon. Thank you!
GAHO´s album ‘Fireworks’ is already out in stores and you can listen to the title track here. Follow the artist on his YouTube, TikTok, Twitter and Instagram to stay up-to-date about his future projects.
We would like to thank the artist and MJ Tonz for allowing us this interview.
Written by: Terry
Credits to: MJ Tonz for Global Promotion
Photos: from official artist SNS and PLT company