Jihae’s music and interdisciplinary work in art and theatre reveals a wholeness that can only be reached with an intimately developed sense of global navigation.
She has independently released three LPs and an EP and is currently gearing up to release her 4th studio album, ‘Illusion of You‘, executive produced by Dave Stewart of Eurythmics, featuring a song she co-wrote with Stewart and the legendary Leonard Cohen.
Jihae was an opening act for Sean Lennon, Sonic Youth and Lou Reed and performed at the United Nations, Cannes Film Festival and Hillary Clinton’s global initiative, ‘2012 Hours Against Hate’ concert, at the London Olympics last year.
Also a multimedia artist, she develops art installations and founded an independent music and multimedia company, Septem. Always with a desire to infuse her vision with that of other like minded creatives, she has previously collaborated with two time academy award winning director/playwright John Patrick Shanley for the Fire Burning Rain Rock Opera (based on her previous concept album); Christopher Doyle and Gerald Byrne for the video art piece, ‘Interview’, which premiered at the Venice Biennale; and Marco Brambilla for his Ghost video art piece.
Jihae regularly donates her time and performance for many social causes including, Simon Says Sing For Peace.
I caught up with her during the making of her new album, and we took a little time out to reflect.
Jihae in conversation with Christopher Connors:
What is your current passion? How does passion drive your purpose?
My current passion has been the same for over a decade. It is music – song writing and creating art forms as extensions to the meanings of the songs. My passion is the engine that drives me. There is no true destination in a sense as each project in itself only arrives to a stop over then you get on again to the next. To find new ways of expression in its most honest and raw form is a repeating cycle as long as I continue to make albums. Each one has felt like a steps in process to self evolution.
What do you draw on from ancient wisdom?
For me ancient wisdom is no different from the wisdom of our time. It has always been about love and selflessness. I strive to be always loving and non judgemental.
What do you envision is tomorrows wisdom?
Replacing our misplaced loyalty to love of a chosen ideology, religion, nation, wealth or race and instead falling deeply in love of all living beings and things on earth.
Where are you at your most still (peaceful/tranquil/aware)? How does this place inform your creative spirit?
In solitude, after yoga and in nature. I’m not sure that my creative spirit can exist without it. I feel most of the waking hours of the day we’re so absorbed in all the noise through our digital gadgets we can’t seem to put down. It’s impossible for me to create when I’m not in my still moment.
How would you explain the realm of stillness or meditation? Why does it matter?
It’s in those moments, awareness and truths unravel which were probably always there. It’s important to keep going there just to stay true to myself. We share molecules and energies with our surroundings constantly. I see it like the necessity to sleep. If we don’t go to our quiet place regularly away from all the noise and pull, we will be eventually become delirious and not be of sound mind, not be ourselves but under the antenna of things that surround and affect us.
Do you experience unconditional love? Can you explain it?
There are rare times where I’ve felt unconditional love in moments of awe at the beauty of nature and sometimes in the act of seeking forgiveness. I’ve always felt unconditional love from my mother and continue to learn from her love of God which has driven her to live a life of sacrifice, always serving and helping others. I feel these types of people are the great examples of unconditional love.
Where do you go to get inspired? Physically and mentally…
I go to the mountains and to the sea to clear my mind, and go see art and theatre to see how others are conversing creatively. It’s good to see or hear nothing sometimes other than birds in the morning and crickets at night. Inspiration can happen at a drop of a leaf or from any number of emotional experiences. No one location is key, it’s more the state of mind.
Tell me about a great moment of inspiration for you? A life changer.
A few years ago a friend gave me a book called ‘Beast of No Nation’, then soon there after I watched a documentary, ‘Vice’s Most Dangerous Places on Earth’. Both had a common thread which opened my eyes about millions of children affected by poverty and war conflict around the world. The awareness of the horrific tragedy that has been on going for centuries really struck a chord in me. It’s not like it was some big news I had heard never heard before, but learning personal stories of children affected had such an emotional turn on me. I couldn’t digest for as long as the beginning of time as we know it, innocent children have been and are still suffering basically from adults’ detrimental hang ups. Kids have nothing to do with the crazy politics that keep them hungry in a world of surplus we trash daily, nor do they have any part in wars raged for any reasons or excuses and all that is behind the man made divides across cultures, gender, race and nations. I’ve turned a few pages of my outlook on life and the world, always trying to make sense of it all. Seeing it from an affected child’s point of view made me very sad, angry and ignited a deep compassion and awareness of how things truly stand. The less than one billion of us living comfortably are the minority. The rest of six billion people are struggling to survive each day.
We are out to shape the modernconscious movement, how would you add to its definition?
There’s a lot that can be achieved when like minded people put their energy together for a common purpose. What makes our modern times different is how quickly we can put our free thinking heads together and make change that much quicker.
How would you define beauty?
Beauty is energy. The positive kind.
What does the world need more of?
And less of?
What question would you like to ask me?
How can we engage the world to participate in nonviolent peace making?
By Christopher Connors