Pianist Yiruma is now a big name on the Korean music scene.
The 34-year-old composer, known for such massive hits as "Kiss the Rain," "River Flows in You," and "Maybe," has joined the ranks of talented songwriters after a number of collaborative works with Korea's renowned singers including a recent project with singer Baek Ji-young.
"Baek's new song ‘Hate' is for those who broke up around the beginning of the year, which seems more depressing and sad ever," said Yiruma Thursday in an interview at a cafe in Yongsan, Seoul. "I think her sorrowful tone of voice is just perfect for this song." The pianist has previously worked with such singers as Tei, Tim and Kim Hyun-woo.
"Hate" has entered the top 10 on various online music charts. It was co-produced by 2Face, one of the two-member songwriting team Mind Tailor that formed last year. "I always wanted to work with him (Baek) since I heard one of his works on Tim's fifth studio album. So I decided to team up with him, and I believe we have been doing a good job so far," the composer said.
Yiruma started to play piano when he was 5. He left for the United Kingdom when he was 11 and studied at specialist music school Purcell School and King's College, a constituent college of the federal University of London.
He released debut album "Love Scene" in 2001 and has gradually become known among music lovers and the general public.
"Personally, I don't want to choose where I stand between classical and pop music. I think my music lies between the two genres. If you want me to define who I really am, I would call myself a popular music composer but I would love to try a lot of different genres like contemporary music," Yiruma said.
The musician is currently in the midst of a tour in Korea. Titled "Stay in Memory," after his 7th album, the pianist has performed in 15 cities, and each of the dates sold out. His Seoul concert will be held on Feb. 2 at the Seoul Arts Center.
Asked about other artists he wishes to work with in the future, the composer said, "I would love to work with Baek Ji-young again and also Ailee. I love her distinctive voice. You know, it's almost impossible to find such a unique voice in Korea."
Yiruma is currently working on a song for four-member boy band 2AM's new album. "As opposed to Baek Ji-young's sad song, this new one will have a bright melody with meaningful lyrics. It is to be released around Valentine's Day. I hope everyone enjoys the song just like my recent hit."