If you’re a K-drama fan, chances are you’ve heard Car, the Garden’s voice in some of your favorite K-drama OSTs. He’s contributed to the OSTs for Taxi Driver 2, True Beauty, Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha, Live Up to your Name, Dr. Heo, and many more dramas. The South Korean indie singer-songwriter’s distinctive vocal color and laid-back discography have captured the hearts of fans across the world. Asia Pacific Arts connected briefly with Car, the Garden ahead of his four-stop North American tour kicking off this April.
Despite being a seasoned performer and having recently wrapped up a series of successful shows in Korea, he admitted to being nervous for his first North American performances. “In Korea, people seem to think I’m good at [performing], but I don’t know if this will transfer to the American crowd. I hope they feel the same way,” he shared. His sincere performances won him the top spot in SBS’ debut season of The Fan, a program that highlights talented musicians outside the mainstream K-pop scene.
Part of his charm is his down-to-earth approach to being a musician: “I think being a musician is not that special. I don’t think you always need to be searching for inspiration or be too serious.” He still enjoys many of the same things that he used to before pursuing music, like hanging out with friends and drinking. Many of his lyrics draw from his “own experiences or friends’ past experiences,” and fans may see their own emotions and experiences reflected in the lyrics. For instance, his latest EP, Diamond, is his way of “apologizing to an old long-term relationship.” The album description simply reads “’Sorry’ and nothing else,” and many people can likely relate to the feeling of wanting to apologize to someone they’re no longer close to.
When asked about musical sources of inspiration, Car, the Garden mentioned Arctic Monkey’s frontman, Alex Turner, as a role model. “I was very touched by Alex Turner’s life story,” he said. “I find it truly admirable that, regardless of his popularity, he continues to be consistent in his work, and… there is a true evolution in [his music] as a result of his efforts. I aspire to live like him.” Turner is acutely aware of the siren call of fame and its impact on musical integrity, but he and the band have made it a point to follow their intuition wherever it leads.
Car, the Garden’s own intuition drives him to continually improve his craft, and he hopes to gain more recognition in the coming years. Check out our newsbite for details on his tour.