I am personally very excited to kick off 2018 with an exclusive interview with, Dear Liry, a true hidden gem who’s recently charmed the music scene with her first ever debut. I waited months, thumbs twiddling, greatly anticipating the release of Dear Liry,’s debut, which was released May 20th, 2018. Upon first going through the four tracks of her EP, In This Lifetime, my ears were met with her charming, breathy vocals, endearing lyrics and melodic hooks. Today is also the official release of her music video, “In This Lifetime,” which can be viewed at the end of the interview, below.
Dear Liry, is Lydia Baik, a California native, who recently began her music endeavors not too long ago.
I had so much fun putting these questions together so you can walk away with a glimpse into who this incredible talent is. But first, to enhance and enjoy the full experience of this personal read, it’s going to require you going to this link, press ‘play,’ to let Dear Liry,’s music be the soundtrack of this personal interview.
Ready, set, PLAY.
Here we go!
1. Can you explain the meaning behind, Dear Liry,?
Dear Liry, is a play on my given English name, Lydia and Korean name, Baik Rokdam, and the word ‘lyric.’ Baik Rokdam is what everyone used to call me growing up. It’s the name of the crater lake on top of Halla Mountain in Jeju Island. My two brothers are also named after korean mountains haha. ‘Dear Liry,’ initially came to me as an acronym, and this whole idea of remembering the purity of my childhood self when everyone used to call me by my Korean name. “Lake, I Remember You,” I thought to myself one day.
2. The first track off of the EP is titled, ‘Elizabeth.’ Who’s Elizabeth?
I wrote the song for my college roommate and friend, Elizabeth! She was having a really hard time (you know, life and such) and I wanted to write her a happy song. It’s funny, even though I wrote it for her, I’ve had a lot of people tell me that they love that song! And the same goes for me, sometimes I’ll be in the dumps and listening to Elizabeth just makes me smile.
3. How did you become involved with music?
I’ve always been a choir kid, all throughout middle school, high school, and even my college years. And in high school I started writing songs in the parking garage below my family’s apartment. That’s where I wrote the beginnings of, ‘Still Don’t Know’, actually! I spent a lot of time after school just jamming to my favorite tunes on piano and guitar, and writing songs about my then teenage adolescent life experiences. It was definitely my outlet, one of the only ways I knew could process my life in a safe place that I carved out for myself.
After that, I moved to the Central Coast for college, and it was such an incredible experience. I can’t believe I did it, but I would play live shows like every month, sometimes twice a week. I would busk on the street downtown, play on Dexter Lawn, play in the stairwells, on the bus, in coffee shops, at open mics, at the bars, in parking garages, at talent shows and concerts, in practice rooms, and in the hallways, My goodness, I was always playing. That’s where I learned to share the music I wrote with other people. From my freshman year onward, there was just something so inviting about the people that I met at Cal Poly. Even though it’s been like 4 years since I left, I’ve always felt encouraged to keep singing, writing, and sharing because of the people that I met there. Three songs on my EP were written during those years! Many more actually, but three of the ones we produced for this EP.
4. When was the moment you realized you wanted to release an EP?
One night just last year, I finally felt ready. I was on a call with a friend and told her that I would love to get into a studio and have someone help me through the process of recording, but I didn’t know how to make that happen. In years past, the not knowing where to start, really ate at me, but this time around I felt more eager than scared. So, I threw up a prayer up that night, and I kid you not, literally the next morning, a friend from college hit me up on Facebook and asked how my music was going. He didnt know what was even happening with me but contacted me in hopes of connecting me with a producer that he thought I’d work well with.
He connected me with Tyler from Irongrove Studio, out in the Seattle area, who actually ended up producing my EP! My friend played the middle man, and I started crowdfunding almost immediately. A lot of the people I’ve met in years past were so generous to come through for me, with financial backing and sweet messages, and we were able to fund the EP in just a week’s time. Not gonna lie, The whole process has felt pretty divine. A divine grind.
5. What is the overlying concept of your EP and what do you want listeners to walk away from the songs?
A lot of my songs come from a place of struggling with belief and hope. Belief in a better day, belief for a better season, belief in a God who can love me through the hard times, belief in belief… I don’t know… Just processing I guess. In a way I hope that my music can bring joy into people’s lives, and that people would be encouraged to process their own lives with sincerity and kindness towards themselves too. But honestly, its cool if they just like how it sounds too, haha.
6. You designed the album cover! What was the inspiration behind it?
I had this dream once and I wrote a little poem about it…and then I guess I wrote the song, ‘In This Lifetime’ about it… and then I made the album art to match the same feelings and imagery in it. Here’s the poem:
“My life is as this, dropping from mountaintop to green pasture in a split second. Frightened, but look, the clouds! For years they have awaited my arrival!”
7. Your EP released May 20th, 2018. Now what?
YASSS. Holy smokes. Now that my EP is released, I feel so liberated to keep at it. I’m the type of person who has a million projects going at once, so having my EP off the table and into the world, is like a huge green light to go full force into my other projects. I would love to play more live gigs. It’s such a different world, being able to share and emote your music and lyrics for people live. I truly enjoy it and feel at home in front of a mic and audience. Through this EP project I also got like a 101 in music production, and now one of my big goals is to self-produce my next batch of songs. Currently learning Ableton… slowly, but surely.
8. Where is one venue you’d love to perform at?
Hmm… Oh, one time I saw Jacob Collier playing at The Great American Musical Hall In San Francisco. It was such a sweet venue with chandeliers, a dance floor, and all.
That would be fun to get to play on the same stage that he did! Also, perhaps an outdoor festival with a live band! More than a place though, I would love to open for some of my favorite musicians like Jens Lekman.
9. In what ways would you like to grow as a musician and a songwriter?
I want to grow in music production and composition! I’ve got the words, but need to put music to them! Also, I’ve been slowly starting to become a gear-head and I would love to get my hands on some Iive looping and vocal processing tools. I’d love to play with a live band, explore different genres like my rap persona, and just keep evolving, never boxing myself to one sound.
10. As a creative and one that produces content, it’s common for artists to have fears or insecurities about their work. What are some things you wrestle with and how do you keep yourself in check?
Personally, if I don’t have a deadline or people bugging me and asking me, when’s this or that coming out, I would probably never release anything. My crutch has always been a mix of perfectionism and laziness when it comes to actually getting my work out there. Perfectionism makes it hard to share. And laziness makes it hard to start or complete things. I’ve learned that it’s good to have understanding people in your corner to be a catalyst for where you might be lacking. But I’ve also learned that the good stuff, the gold, the prize, is pretty much found in secret, when you put in as much effort as you possibly can when no one is looking.
11. Any last words for readers?
If youre a songwriter, or a poet, or whatever creative you may be, to keep at it. Keep an archive of your work even if you think something is unfinished or if it sucks. You never know when you can use it. Also, dont get overwhelmed by such perfectionism and great vision. Be faithful with the tools and connections in front of you, ask better questions regarding the little steps you can take or things you want to learn, and just start anywhere. Thanks for reading, and good day!
Dear Liry’s, ‘In This Lifetime,’ EP is available for purchase and streaming at the following sites: iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, Amazon. Click here to listen.
2. In this Lifetime
3. Mr. Trouble
4. Still Don’t know
“In This Lifetime”
For more Dear Liry, go here: boop!
*Photo courtesy of Chamonixfilms and jonjonmac
If you enjoyed the interview with Dear Liry, check out the interviews with the following artists from 2017: