KRNB/SOUL RISING ARTISTS

The Rise Of JAE KIM

JAE KIM is a Canadian rnb singer. He’s of Korean descent, and some of his songs have Korean lyrics. He’s also a college student and juggles his student life and his passion for music. So far, he has released four songs:

  • Love Kills (2020);
  • Imagine (2021);
  • Waiting in the Summer Rain (2021);
  • and in june (2022).

He worked in collaboration with the artists b.li and AEON to produce these tracks. When I listen to his music, I feel like the instrumentals follow his voice effortlessly like the gentle ripples on a stream. But I wish his songs had more rnb harmonies.

On first listen, Love Kills and Waiting in the Summer Rain were my favorites. However, the more I listen to the four songs, the less I can choose. Now I would say that each has a part that stands out. So let’s look at these songs in more detail.

in june

This is Jae’s latest song. in june is produced by AEON and Cinna. I found the background vocals to be quite good. Soft and sweet. The chorus easily gets stuck in your head. Even if you don’t know the lyrics, you will find yourself singing:

Talk, talk, talk
Na-na-na-na-na-na-na
Block, block, block

In a TikTok video, Jae said in june is about “how much [he]’ve grown and changed as a person.” The song tells the story of someone who used to be afraid to open up to people. Love also means to be vulnerable, and no one wants to be hurt.

In June I’ll be thinking
“Maybe we could’ve had just something more”
But 그 한걸음 못 갈거야

[But I won’t be able to take that one extra step]

되 있는 나의 심장을 unlock 하고 싶어
[I want to unlock my guarded heart]

He eventually gains the courage to tear down the wall that stood between him and his lover.

Knock, knock, knock
You’re almost at the door
Block, block, block
되 있는 나의 심장을 unlock 해 버렸어
나를 받아 드려줘

English translation:
Knock, knock, knock
You’re almost at the door
Block, block, block
You’ve unlocked my guarded heart
Please, accept me in your heart

I think the speech construction is interesting because Jae is talking to three different people:

  • his lover;
  • his past self;
  • and himself.

In the first verse, Jae Kim speaks to the person he loves:

I’m kinda shy 이 상황 못 견뎌서 너를 못 봐
[I’m kinda shy, can’t handle this situation, can’t look you in the eyes]

In the second verse, he speaks to the part of himself that refuses to change:

Doctor 제발 과거에 갇힌 내가
[Doctor, please, to the me stuck in the past]

In the last verse, he speaks again to his lover:

힐끔힐끔 너를 보는 나의 시선 까지
다정하게 통화 하는 내 목소리

English translation:
From the way I look at you
To the way my voice softens when I call you

But then he talks to himself:

Looking back in June 알거야
여태껏 살아온게 잘된거야

English translation:
Looking back in June, I’ll know then
That I did a good job getting to this point

He ends the verse with a positive assessment of his evolution (talking to his past self):

“너는 참 잘 자랐다”
[“You’ve grown quite well”]

I guess we can call it a happy ending. 😊

Waiting in the Summer Rain

Waiting in the Summer Rain is produced by AEON. To my mind, this track is more pop than rnb, but I like it anyway. The piano synth that we hear throughout the song personifies the summer rain. At first, I thought the song was about a guy stuck in the friend zone. He’s in love with someone who is attracted to someone else:

I’m by your side, not quite your type
Gotta turn my head so I can see your eyes
But you’re looking elsewhere
Not at me but someone there

The girl is aware of Jae’s feelings but keeps him close enough to her that they remain good friends (probably because she put him in the “nice guy” category 😉):

Keep me not too far yet out of reach

Won’t you let me go my way 더는 못 견디겠어
[Won’t you let me go my way, I can’t take it anymore]

That’s how I felt about the song but if you want to know Jae’s explanation, check out his interview. 😀

Imagine

Imagine is produced by b.li. This is Jae Kim’s best vocal track (after Love Kills, of course). He sings with confidence. You can tell he feels the beat. The background vocals are pleasant to hear, and I appreciate the autotune effect (just right enough).

The song is about desire. You want someone so bad, but the person is not there, so you start using your imagination.

This vision cries and kills me
Just wanna try to leave it
Maybe you’d show up fulfill this
Imagination

I’m sick of it now
Want it right now
You’re running through my head

Maybe it’s my dirty mind, but I’m pretty sure he’s talking about…well, you know. Better to have naughty thoughts than dark thoughts: Seven days I’m busy, got no time for feeling dizzy!

My favorite part starts at 0:48:

Want you to be here baby why not chill with me just maybe
So far, you got me done
Maybe I should take a break I’m going crazy for a lady
Inside of my head, oh god (Running in my head)

Love Kills

Imagine and Love Kills sound more rnb than his other songs. Love Kills is also produced by b.li. I think it’s the best instrumental of the four songs. The melody is sad and sensual at the same time. It’s a real pleasure to listen to it. Also, Jae Kim shows us his vocal talent with this track. I didn’t know he could reach high notes with such control.

The song is about someone who realizes that his girlfriend is doing him more harm than good: “Manipulator, I don”t need ya“, “Quit playing with my heart“. It’s also about getting out of an unhealthy relationship and coming out stronger: “I’m more than you thought, untouchable so go back“, “Take some time to see, get to know the real me“.

My favorite part starts at 1:28:

Quit playing with my heart
Please, forget it all
Don’t you think it’s time you left
I’m sick of you
I’m through, with you
It’s clear, love kills

Jae Kim’s Writing

I noticed that three themes come up quite often in his lyrics:

  • the mind;
  • the gap between what we want and what happens in life;
  • and the opposition between the “true self” and the one that people see.

Let me explain myself. First, it looks like there’s a lot going on his head. in june is about taking stock of his evolution, and in Imagine Jae fantasizes about a girl. He’s either thinking or dreaming.

Got me thinking ’bout the way you
Have me I’m dreaming of you

하루종일 [all day, all the time]
in june

Dreaming off on my own at night
Looking at my phone I’m thinking

Imagine

If you look at the lyrics of Waiting in the Summer Rain, you’ll see that Jae is mostly:

  • watching his crush dating someone else (“But you’re looking elsewhere, not at me but someone there“);
  • waiting for her to choose him (“got me waiting, I’m staying“, “you’ll see me waiting right there“);
  • and staying close in case that happens and because he’s a good friend (“I’m by your side, not quite your type“, “always staying near right beside you“).

So there’s a whole world of dreams and thoughts, but no decisive move.

I’m kinda shy 이 상황 못 견뎌서 너를 못 봐
[I’m kinda shy, can’t handle this situation, can’t look you in the eyes]
in june

To me, Love Kills is the only song in which he acts confident from beginning to end. Imagine doesn’t count because the things he says don’t actually happen, this is all hypothetical (which brings me to my second point).

Sometimes there’s a gap between our desires and reality:

In June I’ll be thinking
“Maybe we could’ve had just something more”
But 그 한걸음 못 갈거야

[but I won’t be able to take that one extra step]
in june

Who has never felt this way? We want to do something without ever daring to do it. Maybe we’re introverts, maybe we’re afraid, for some reason, our will doesn’t match our actions. Sometimes the situation is just not in our favor:

Wanna be your one and only
But 늘 망해가 넌 날 안 보니 my babe

[But always feel like I’m falling apart since you won’t look at me, my baby]
Waiting in the Summer Rain

There’s also a difference between the true self and the one people see.

Don’t love the wrong me
Take some time to see
Get to know the real me
Love Kills

Jae Kim’s music encourages us to overcome fear and self-doubt and not worry too much about how people see us.

I’m curious to see what the future has in store for him. All his songs are available on streaming platforms. If you enjoy listening to JAE KIM, please show your love & support.

You can click here to read my interview with JAE KIM.

Want to know more about JAE KIM:
– YouTube: jaezfx
– Instagram: jaezfx
– Twitter: jaezfx_
– TikTok: jaezfx
– Twitch: jaezfx

Artists I’ve mentioned:
– b.li : @blll.li / YouTube: b.li
– AEON: @sincerelyaeon
– Cinna: @cinnasosweet

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