The world awakens when the light breaks through. When the color returns – and: the dream shatters. On her new album "Waking World" Youn Sun Nah designs and explores regions she has never entered before: For the first time, the celebrated jazz singer from Seoul is completely responsible for the songwriting. It turned out that way because there was no other way: writing as a way out of the darkness, as a means against stagnation.
The result is 11 haunting compositions that make up her eleventh studio album: "Waking" World. "I always thought I wasn't even ready to take on the role of composer," says Youn Sun Nah, who released her first album 20 years ago.
Since then, she has mainly interpreted the melodies of others – most recently, for example, those of Leonard Cohen or Motown icon Marvin Gaye (on the previous album "Immersion," 2019). So now exclusively original compositions: Songs that oscillate between lightness and painful insight, that always bear her signature – in the broadly defined space between pop gestures, folk intimacy, surprising jazz instrumentation, condensed "less is more". "Waking World" unites vignettes of her world that are illuminated to different degrees:
"It's not even just about songs, but rather about fragments of a story, like sequences that follow one another directly," she says. She deliberately avoids classic song structures, building the pieces more like poems "inspired by individual images." "First, I deal with harmonies. Then with the melody. And only then does it become the turn of the lyrics."