David Choi is a Korean American musician and YouTube video producer whose songs and tracks have been heard on NBC, FOX, VH1, MTV, A&E, E!, Travel Channel, Style, PBS, Food Network, Disney, and retail stores all over the USA! He performs a mix of original songs and covers of pop hits. He continues to tour and share his music with people from all walks of life to every corner of the world. He released his third album, “Forever and Ever” on October 25, 2011 which is now available on iTunes. Having the opportunity to talk with him while he was in the midst of touring was a rare opportunity I just had to take. Read below for the full interview…
You are smart enough to know how to use the internet as a tool to promote you music. As a musician in this technology generation, did you have any hardships growing up trying to find an audience before the internet really took off?
David: Well I actually grew up in the internet age. I started using it when I was in 7th grade and it’s been the reason why I even have a career in music. I started off wanting to be behind the scenes songwriting and producing. I only started performing in front of an “audience” when I started YouTube back in 2006. It was all for fun until I decided to pursue it full time.
As a child, my parents enrolled me in piano lessons and I didn’t enjoy it very much at all. You were in the same boat as me but you seemed to have prevailed while I ended up quitting [laughs]. Why did you decide to stick with it? Was the demand of your musical family a factor?
David: It was definitely because of the family. I remember telling my parents that I wanted to become a violinist while in the back of my mind, I was saying I wanted to be a full time video gamer. I do appreciate it now of course.
You are embarking on a tour this winter all the way up until early April. What can fans expect from a live show from you?
David: Just the same ol’ David Choi you see in the videos. I try to make my shows interactive and I enjoy talking to them while I perform on stage. It’s like talking to family I’d like to think.
When you are on tour, what is your favorite thing to eat?
David: Oh man…I feel great when I’m able to eat healthy food. Most of the time on the road, there’s a lot of Subway, pizza, and fast food.
With the popularity of reality shows like The Voice, American Idol, X-Factor, etc. do you ever get pressure from your friends and fans to appear on one of those shows?
David: My friends don’t ever tell me to do any of those shows but I do get fans telling me to audition once in a while. I tried America’s Got Talent once and it was just a weird experience.
Your album Forever and Ever is a fantastic album that deals with love, human connections, and feelings. How does this particular album differ from your past LP’s? Was this a particularly hard album to record that reflects real life experiences?
David: Human connection is a huge part of life so I think that explains a lot of songs that deal with that topic. All my albums have that sort of element in it so other than the productions and styles being different, the real life stories still remain. I look at releasing stories in songs as a way to let go and move on. It sort of stays in the song…like a photo.
You also release your albums for your Korean audience as well. Do you find your Korean audience to be a different kind of beast? How difficult is it to record a song that resonates with both sides of the world?
David: Interestingly, my fans all over the world are pretty consistent. They are usually all polite and nice people. I’m pretty lucky for that ha! I believe music is universal so it doesn’t matter what language it’s in. I also believe some songs have the power to move with melody even if you can’t understand the lyrics.
What was it like last year touring Southeast Asia? Do you have any particularly memorable stories you could share with us?
David: Southeast Asia was quite the experience. The diet was different (but good) so I had to adjust to that, if you know what I mean. When I played at Hard Rock Cafe in Jakarta, I was so relieved because they had hamburgers and fries just like all Hard Rock Cafes do all over the world. I really appreciated fatty American cuisine in that moment. I was pretty shocked with the response from SEA considering I’ve never been. The tour also opened my eyes to the world we live in. Americans are lucky…and spoiled.
Performing a cover song is a very tricky manuever since the fan base is already established. What is your creative process behind deciding which song you want to choose, and coming up with your own arrangements and style to make it your own?
David: Well, I think whatever cover I decide to play, it’s going to be in my style no matter what. I think because I’ve been doing music for a while, it’s a bit hard to get out of whatever style is instilled in me. Of course, it changes over time, but I have heard that I do have “a sound“.
Swicthing gears, we have to ask…do you have any favorite Asian films?
David: OldBoy – classic.
Your song ‘So Weightless’ from your previous album was featured in the new movie ‘Dancing Queen’ which was released at the top of the year. Are you open to doing any (or more) original songwriting for feature films in the future?
David: You know, I usually never really write with the objective of placing a song on a film. I mean if I got the opportunity to do so, I’d do it. Getting placements with songs I’ve written for myself is like a big bonus. It’s already cool enough that people are listening to my music!
Want to keep tabs on David Choi’s musical adventures? Follow his cookie crumb trail below to find his CD’s, and tour dates:
Tour Dates (click date for tickets):
3/16 – Atlanta, GA – Red Clay
3/17 – Charlotte, NC – Casbah
3/18 – Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506
3/20 – Baltimore, MD – Soundstage
3/22 – Washington, DC – Jammin Java
3/23 – NY, NY – Highline Ballroom
3/24 – Philly, PA – World Cafe Live
3/25 – Teaneck, NJ – Mexicali
3/28 – Boston, MA – Cafe 939
3/30 – Toronto, ON – Annex Wreckroom
3/31 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom
4/1 – Ann Arbor, MI – Blind Pig
4/2 – Chicago, IL – Schubas Tavern