A-Yeon is a Korean drummer who has taken the world by storm with her heavy metal covers of Metallica and Guns N’ Roses.
After being discovered as a street performer, A-Yeon’s fast rise to fame has seen her gather over 35 million YouTube hits and recently release an acclaimed debut solo album – Midsummer Night. The energetic and charismatic drummer now has her sights set on showcasing more of her many to talents to audiences around the world.
Q: You started out playing piano. When did you first get behind a drum kit and how did you learn the craft?
A: Yes, I learned to play piano when I was young. I still play sometimes.
I started playing the drums five years ago when it took my interest. At first, I practiced by browsing on YouTube and learning from the best drummers around. The piano and the drums are very different instruments, but I could understand the drums sheet quickly and copy the music easily.
Q: Videos of you as a street drummer went viral and thrust you into YouTube fame. How did it feel being ‘discovered’ in that way?
A: I never imagined I would be famous. I just wanted to work hard and maybe get the chance to perform in front of people. But then people started to get interested in my work and many people began to recognise me. I was happy and tried to give back more enjoyment.
Q: Obviously, a lot of people could connect with a beautiful woman playing kick-ass covers of Metallica and Guns N’ Roses. Have you always embraced being different in that way and standing out in what is largely a male-dominated instrument?
A: I didn’t chose the genre deliberately to stand out. I just naturally liked the heavy metal genre because of the Metallica.
Playing a male-dominated instrument is definitely difficult, but I was able to embrace the difference and overcome any difficulties. I am so proud of my achievements so far and grateful to all who have influenced me.
Q: What have been some of the biggest challenges in your career so far?
A: Every time I hit the drum, I consider it as the biggest challenge in my life. However, I am very satisfied with my job. I must say, I am happy to be able to share my talents in the music industry and I think I’m in a better place now than ever before.
Q: What would your advice be to young drummers, particularly females?
A: Drums are a very attractive instrument. Just savour every moment you play with them. You don’t need to feel like it’s a hard instrument to use and learn. If you feel a little exhausted, just play your favourite song with excitement and enthusiasm.
Q: If you weren’t making music, what do you think you’d be doing with your life?
A: I can’t imagine myself in a different career path. Since I was very young, it has been my ultimate dream to make or produce music. I always used to watch musical shows and Lee Hyori is my biggest influence.
However, if I wasn’t a drummer now, maybe I would be in the house, doing household chores and taking care of my pet cat.
Q: One of my favourite covers you did was of Dua Lipa’s ‘New Rules’. What is your favourite cover that you have done?
A: Thank you for liking the cover of Dua Lipa. I’m also a fan of Dua Lipa and it’s a great song. But my favourite cover is Welcome To The Jungle. It is one of my favourite songs and it is very exciting.
When I posted the video on my Instagram, Guns N’ Roses liked my video. It was a lucky day for me and I was in seventh heaven.
Q: We recently had the release of your first solo album ‘Midsummer Night’. How special of an experience was that for you?
A: In the past, I released several albums and drama OST but this is something very special to me because it is my first-ever solo album. So, after much thought and effort, I tried a tropical genre that fits well in the summer season and matches well with my voice. I travelled around Guam and Saipan, and did my best to capture that spirit.
Q: What has been the highlight of your career so far?
A: Two years ago, I did a lot of activities in China. In particular, I was on China’s most popular TV program, Cheoncheonhyangsang, where I had an interview and played the drums. It was an honour and I got to meet my Chinese fans after the broadcast.
Q: We are now starting to hear more of your beautiful vocals. Do you feel like you are evolving and entering a new chapter in your career?
A: People may have only seen my videos as a drummer but I have also showcased my vocals. I am not just a drummer; I am a total entertainer. I believe I still have a lot of talents to share in the future.
Q: K-pop group BTS are a gigantic global hit and recently sold out shows in the U.K. What are your thoughts on their success?
A: I‘m also a fan of BTS. It is such a cool and awesome group. There must be a reason for their success, and it must have been because they worked so hard.
Q: Do you have plans to one day tour internationally and potentially perform in Europe and the UK? We would love to have you here in England!
A: I really want to go to England. I hope this interview will be my stepping stone to be recognised internationally, especially in Europe. I’m very excited to meet my British fans and perform there as soon as possible. I hope you’ll invite me!
Q: What can we expect from you in the future?
A: You can expect me to be a better performer than I am now. I will also work hard on improving my acting skills so people can see me on the big-screen.
Q: It is funny you mention acting because you have a cool-ness and charisma that almost reminds me of Kristen Stewart. Is there anyone in particular you would love to collaborate with in the future?
A: I’m delighted to know that Kristen Stewart and I share some of the same characteristics as performers. Thank you for the huge compliment!
Anyway, I would love to work with Hugh Grant if given a chance in the future. I love his films, especially Notting Hill. He has a very infectious smile and is definitely an excellent actor.
Q: Lastly, do you have any upcoming projects we should be keeping an eye out for?
A: I’m going to film in the U.S. next year. It is another big challenge for me, but I’m working hard for it. I hope to meet you again with more good news.