How I Snagged a Korean Indie Musician
This probably won’t be what you are expecting. I won’t be teaching you how to snag a Korean indie musician though the title would suggest just that. Over the years I have received a number of messages regarding getting lucky because I married a Korean indie musician and asking me how I did it as if there is some step by step way to accomplish such a feat. These questions remind me of the journalist from the Korea Times that interviewed me and asked why expat women didn’t want to date Korean men. The questions have this underlying idea that all men, all Korean men, all Korean indie musicians are the same and therefore I can answer these questions with one simple answer. Is there ever one simple answer? One simple answer to encompass an entire group of people? Hardly.
If you want to know how we started though, here’s how it went. Cheap drinks, cheap dates and lots of time together.
When we first started dating, I taught my husband the phrase “sugar mama”. He wasn’t some big star and honestly I don’t think anyone in his band assumed they would ever be rich and famous as they were/are indie musicians in Korea. Anyone in Korea knows that the musicians that get all of hte hype are the KPop stars. Indie musicians, even though they can actually sing and they can actually play instruments and they actually have talent, are pushed to the side for the pretty, thin and sub-par talent as long as that talent can gyrate their hips. My husband certainly isn’t against gyrating his hips. You should see him dance around our house. When it comes to the stage though, he’d prefer to show off all of the hard work he has put in to writing and producing his band’s original work, and I say rightfully so.
I was a sugar mama in the beginning though. I liked to go out and in my first couple of years in Korea, it wasn’t uncommon for me to spend a couple hundred bucks while I was out on the town with friends. Now, I think that’s absurd because if you go out Korean style, you definitely don’t have to spend that much. At the time though, my friends and I opted for the western bars and pubs and drinks that were far too expensive. My boyfriend had been living for years on an indie musician’s salary and was rather frugal. His band would have more concerts during the summer and then make that money last all winter until the next summer of gigs. He’d go out with friends, but not the way my friends and I went out. I got used to drinking beer outside of convenience stores with him, which is perfectly acceptable in Korea. We’d go to bars where we knew the owner because he played in the establishment and get free drinks. The experience dating him was a lesson in moderation and romance on a dime. I’ve never been one to spend all that much money but, like most expats new to Korea, I was getting my first monthly checks instead of hourly checks from part-time jobs. I’d had while in school and everything was just so cheap and new. Some nights I just wanted to go out listen to loud music and dance. If we were headed there, I knew I would be, and had no qualms with, paying for him to come with me. I’d rather be with him than not. It wasn’t too long though before they got their big break and were introduced to a TV producer that liked their music. Now, Every Single Day has written and produced music for multiple Korean dramas from their first being Pasta to other big ones including I Hear Your Voice, Golden Time, My Princess and currently Pinocchio. I’m not so much a sugar mama anymore but that’s how we started to some extent.
It was a joke between the two of us for some time and really it was based more on the fact that I knew exactly when I’d receive my next paycheck and how much it’d be for. When you’re not exactly sure when you’ll get paid, you don’t tend to spend money. At least he didn’t. Over the years, when I would introduce him or talk about him the responses were across the board. Often the first response to him being introduced as a musician is to ask what his day job is. No, he’s a musician that can make money doing what he loves to do, thankfully.
Another response I have gotten from women abroad, as I mentioned above, is to ask how I snagged a Korean indie musician. They seem to want to know what method works best. I honestly find this insulting. It’s as if those women think I managed to follow some step by step instructions to dupe a man or manipulate him into being with me. Let’s see, first we had mutual friends. We struck up a conversation… and the rest is history. I don’t and haven’t claimed to be some indie musician whisperer or an expert on relationships so, I tell them, you’re probably asking the wrong person. Dating an indie musician certainly has perks though from free concert tickets and backstage passes at festivals. I like getting backstage to use the bathrooms the most. With less people, they’re always much cleaner than the ones with the masses. He doesn’t work crazy long hours and has always had ample time to spend with me. Quality time together is a must for us. If you’re just in it for those perks though, I’d tell you to slow down, back up and think about what you really want out of life.