Madison Park. If you don’t know the name, you better get to it, because this woman is breaking boundaries in the music industry. Based in Seoul, Madison Park has just launched her DJ and producing career with the release of her new single, “Hindsight.” The single combines the R&B vocals of Fiction (co-writer of K-Pop artist Tiffany Young’s charting single “Born Again”) with orchestral elements that all lead to a melodic future bass drop in the chorus.
At the age of four, Park studied classical vocal and classical piano, but once she turned 12, she began encompassing herself into the world of pop music on YouTube. Zedd’s “Clarity” especially had an impact on Park as it helped her discover her love of the EDM genre. While on YouTube, she found her passion for film scoring and music production and as she looked up videos of her favorite artists, she gradually learned how to speak English. She is now fluent in Korean, English, Japanese, and Chinese and has 14 years of classical piano training under her belt.
We caught up with Madison Park to ask her about her musical journey, the production process behind “Hindsight,” and how her background in classical vocals and piano has influenced her music today.
Hi Madison Park! Congratulations on the release of “Hindsight.” Could you tell us about the message of the song?
When I started making this song, I didn’t actually focus on getting any specific message delivered to the listeners. The lyrics and melodies just naturally came in and took their own places as we developed the song. The lyrics talk about being in a relationship with someone who has been hurt too many times to openly trust a new relationship. We decided to name this song “Hindsight” as we were writing the chorus. In fact, the music video director and I decided to physically show the lyrics of that chorus part in the music video, which turned out to be my favorite part of the entire video.
Fiction lends his vocals on this track. What was it like working with him?
We wrote this song exactly a year ago in fiction and his partner’s studio in North Hollywood, called taffy haus. Still, up to this day, I don’t think anybody can even remotely imitate the way he writes lyrics and top lines. I absolutely love his voice as well. Fun fact, the demo vocal that was recorded got override on Pro Tools for some reason, so fiction had to record the entire song again just based on his memory. While he was trying to remember the whole thing as he re-recorded, I was just sitting on the corner of their studio couch like a scared hamster and freaking out about it.
It came out amazing. We especially love the interesting sounds throughout the song. Can you tell us about the process of producing it?
I am glad that you recognized different sounds going on in the song! Getting the first idea of the song done only took about 2 hours, I believe. However, it was the small little details and perfecting the drop layers that took a lot of time. Especially for this particular track, it was extra hard to get the details right but RyU and I eventually figured them out, and also ended up adding a unique outro which is my favorite part of the song.
This is your debut song. What does it mean to you to finally have it out in the world?
I went through different managements and release plans before I finally put out “Hindsight” last month. So when I actually saw my track being played on Spotify for the first time, I was very proud of myself for being patient and using hardships to mature myself as an artist and have much more knowledge in the music business.
You’re working on EDM music now, but you first discovered your love of the genre when you listened to Zedd’s “Clarity.” What was it about that song in particular that appealed to you?
I wish I can quantify things in music and tell you what particular things appealed to me with exact numbers! For me, when I first heard that song, it was its melodies that gave me a new kind of hopeful and positive feeling that I’ve never experienced when I was studying classical music.
YouTube also introduced you to the pop music world when you were 12. What kinds of videos did you watch and what interested you about them?
I never “selected” the videos that I watched. I was also a very beginner in English, so I basically typed the names of my favorite film composers, DJs, and producers, and watched every video that popped up on the feed. A lot of them were interview videos, talk show videos, “how I made this song” videos and different production tutorials…etc. In the first few months, I obviously wasn’t able to fully understand what they were talking about in the video so I ended up just memorizing the whole monologue, dialogues and basically the whole video using my phone dictionary in one hand. It was both a sense of achievement seeing my English getting better, and the actual musical content that different artists, composers, and producers covered in the videos that fascinated me.
You also learned the English language by watching Ellen or Harry Potter. How difficult was it to learn the English language? How long did it take you?
I think it was relatively easier for me to pick up English faster than my other Korean peers, not because I was smarter than them, but because I never treated English as an academic subject that I needed to study. For me, it was just an extremely helpful mean to achieve my bigger goals, which also eventually allowed me to prepare for US college admissions and get acceptance letters from prestigious colleges in the US, including Ivy League colleges. So basically it was a 6-year long journey to learn English with YouTube, which ended as I graduated from high school and officially moved to LA to work on my music career.
You can now speak fluent Korean, English, Japanese, and Chinese. What made you want to learn this many languages?
Aside from Korean, I never got to choose any foreign languages to learn when I was growing up (FYI, Korean education system don’t allow students to choose their own subjects), but my school forced me to study those subjects as part of the curriculum, and I just studied really hard during those years and revised whenever I think I’m forgetting some stuff. My parents use Japanese words and phrases in the house so that helped too. In fact, after I got out of high school, I started teaching myself German just because I wanted to read Harry Potter in German, and I’ve been focusing more on learning more advanced German these days. I don’t think I would deny the fact that I just like learning new languages, but it wasn’t like there was an ulterior motive or anything. It all happened because I was simply having fun doing it.
How does your background in classical vocal and piano inspire your music today?
No matter what, I always start the initial idea brainstorming / writing process with my piano. For some reason, my creative energy just immediately comes out once I put my hands on the keys. My fingers usually lead the idea before my head starts to think, and I think this rather odd phenomenon happens for me because I’ve gone through such an intense classical piano training experience since I was 4.
Do you ever see yourself coming out of the production side and doing vocals?
I’ve only done classical vocal and transitioning it to a pop vocal is a completely different story, so I’ve never dug into that side. At the very moment, I’m focusing more on developing my own production style and sound, but I also know that I will eventually reach a point where I feel comfortable putting my own vocal on my productions.
Anything else you would like to add?
I’m working on getting more collab works done with other talented artists, so please stay tuned and follow me on Instagram @madisonparkmusic.