"Nothing but Music"
Singer-songwriter Gaho, Lim Ji-sun (Dance, ’09)
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Singer-songwriter Gaho, Lim Ji-sun (Department of Dance, ’09), is a singer who sings love in a calm yet very sophisticated voice. One of the rising artists in Hongdae, Lim was in fact a dancer for about 20 years in the past. She started dancing from a very young age and thought she would naturally follow the path of being a member of a dance company like a lot of her friends. For Lim, choosing to write and sing songs was more than merely switching her major but was following her belief about what was right. It required enough courage for her to do so. Lim definitely had many ups and downs in the past 5 years since she started to officially work as a singer-songwriter. Her stage name Gaho, meaning blessing of God, shows how much she hoped for the best of luck since she started to make music as a career.
Delivering Love Stories in Tranquility
Lim officially started her career as a singer-songwriter in 2011, two years after she graduated Hanyang University (HYU). “When I was in my 4th year, I felt much doubt about my major. I could easily foresee the ‘reality’ of becoming a dancer- that my abilities wouldn't be up to becoming a successful dancer. I wasn’t 100% sure that I could neglect that fact,” said Lim. After graduation, Lim wanted to give herself some time to ponder about her life and career. Her first obstacle came with tinnitus, an ear malfunction that made her hear ringing and buzzing sounds that only she could hear. “I was diagnosed with a sudden sensorineural hearing loss that occurred due to stress.”
“Despite this, I was still interested in singing and music. I was deep into indie music and was a huge fan of the Korean singer, Nell. He inspired me to sing my own story,” said Lim. Her condition deterred her from working the best she could. Lim could only rely on sounds that were louder than 120 decibels. “I had to solely depend on loud beats that was made by drums to sing and play piano along with it. After about 6 months of working as a singer, I found that I could slowly but more clearly hear sounds better. I thought it was a miracle. I remember myself crying from pleasant surprise.” Currently, she can only hear sounds with her right ear but is trying to retain the current status with constant care and medication.
Step by Step
Making music was just a hobby for her at first, as she had a very shallow knowledge of music and composition. Lim’s method of composition began from recording melodies of her humming and then transforming it to a score with the help of her friends who majored in music. “I knew it was a rather reckless choice for me to take as a means of living, but singing and writing songs soon became the biggest motivation and joy of my life,” said Lim.
After releasing about four albums and digital singles, Lim was faced with another stumbling block. “I felt insecure about my career. I was at the end of my 20s, and I saw all my other friends getting married and settling down unlike myself. I was afraid that my career wasn’t going to be able to support my living,” said Lim. Such thoughts almost led her to make her 5th album ‘I will only cry for 4 minutes’ as her last one. “I thought that album would be the last, but I was lucky enough to find a company that was willing to support my music production.” After a contract with a music label, Lim could concentrate more on her work with less financial burden that she had had before. Lim became more confident about her music and also became more professional with sessions and bands that came along with her in her performances.
Derived From Real Experiences
“A lot of my songs were written from my own experience, which recorded thoughts and feelings when I was heartbroken because of my relationship with my lover,” said Lim. As she tends to work when her emotional state is most intense, Lim mentioned she usually works with her other musician friends late at night. Among her songs that express complex emotions after breakups, there is one that is noticeably bright. “The song ‘Do you feel the same?’ was the song I wrote when I met a guy from Sweden in Korea. He invited me to Sweden with his own expense and traveling to Sweden with a person I cared a lot about was one of the most delightful moments in my life. I recorded melodies and lyrics, and made a song out it when I came back to Korea.”
After Lim’s most recent album ‘Suddenly’ that was released in September, she is currently working on a new album that is to be released in December. ‘Your Night’ will be an album with four lullaby songs for adults. “I hope my songs could lead people to fall asleep well by releasing the stress they had that day,” said Lim. Also, Lim is undergoing steady vocal training to improve her singing skills and voice to become a better musician. “I know I have a lot of points to improve on, and I am willing to do so to become a musician that can impose a strong impression on people,” concluded Lim.
Yun Ji-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos by Kim Youn-soo
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