Aleebi is a singer-songwriter who released his latest single ‘Mobius 1’ in July. We were able to reach out and interview Aleebi about his music, his life and his message.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your most recent song ‘mobius 1’?
A: “‘Mobius 1’ is something I made in two days and I wrote about my struggle with depression and suicide. It’s a very raw song, and it has the most on-the-nose lyrics I’ve ever written in my opinion.
Funny enough, when I started doing music, I actively avoided writing about topics like this because I was very self-conscious about what my friends and people I know in real-life would think. But after a particularly bad bout of depression, I wanted to convey what I was feeling and I guess it reached the point where I just stopped giving a fuck about other people.
When I first dropped the song, I didn’t disclose any details on what it was about. Then one day I decided to post it to TikTok, and I had a flood of comments and DMs from people telling me they relate to my lyrics and that it somehow helped them. So, that’s cool I guess. Ultimately, I wrote it for myself, but if it somehow helps other people get through hard times then that’s great.”
Q: It looks like you’ve signed with record label OLOGY. How was that experience?
A: “OLOGY is not a record label, but rather a collection of creatives that routinely work together. Two of my good friends who I’ve worked with before, VUCHs, and JNYBeatz, are members of OLOGY proper. I’m more of an “honorary member” if anything. It’s nothing too serious but I like to shout them out which is why you might see me mention it from time to time.”
“Sad E-boy shit”
Aleebi is a Korean-American artist who grew up in Queens, New York and moved with his family to the Bay Area in California. He mostly does Hip-Hop inspired sounds, however lately Aleebi has started incorporating more indie pop and alternative rock.
Q: How did you start making music?
A: “Honestly, the way I started doing music was first by doing little minute-long covers only intended for my friends on Instagram. I realized it was actually a great way for me to practice my singing, mixing, and production, knowing that eventually, I’d want to make original music. Though I didn’t have the confidence back then to start. I used covers as a way to build my skills and ease into making something of my own.”
Q: Where does the name ‘Aleebi’ come from?
A: “It’s kind of stupid, but basically a long time ago my brother, whose name starts with B, made a little nickname for a game that we were playing together. He came up with ‘bumbleblee’. I thought that was cute so I wanted to try doing that with my own name, which starts with an A. I don’t know why, but the first word that I thought of was ‘alibi’, so I fit ‘A’ + ‘Lee’ in there to make ‘aleebi’.”
Q: How would you describe your own music?
A: “Sad e-boy shit mixed with Korean r&b, hip-hop, and rock. I honestly don’t think my own music is all that unique, but that’s something I’m trying to change as I continue to make more. I will say though, the past year I have been a lot more honest about my internal struggles, and have started to write about issues that are personal to me. So without sounding too cliche, I guess I’d also describe it as being honest.”
Q: How do you feel you’ve grown musically since your debut?
A:”I’ve definitely been humbled ever since I decided to pursue music. I feel that both creatively, and as a person, I’ve grown a great deal in the past two years alone. From meeting people like Keepitinside, who continue to inspire me and continue to push my technical abilities. I’ve started to experiment with a variety of sounds and genres, instead of just staying within a mainly hip-hop sound. For example, right now I’m trying to incorporate a lot more rock and post-hardcore elements into my music as that is what I grew up with as a kid. I think it’d be neat to try and combine those elements with trap drums.
Q: Could you tell us a little bit about the background of ‘Nandemonaiya’?
A: “It’s a cover of a song originally by RADWIMPS. It’s not an original piece that I wrote. That cover was dedicated to my girlfriend at the time, who recently went back to Japan after studying abroad for a year here in America. For some reason, I cried a lot while watching that film with her, so I guess I made it as a way of saying, “I miss you.”
Q: You sing in three languages; Japanese, Korean and English. Which is your favorite language to sing in and why?
A: “I don’t really know if I have a favorite language to sing in, because I’m pretty ass at all three of those. There are certain things that I appreciate about Korean and Japanese, that don’t really have a straightforward alternative in English. For example, Korean lyrics tend to lend themselves towards imagery and more poetic themes very well. Of course, you can accomplish this with English as well, but I find it’s a bit difficult to convey heavier themes in a more subtle way without being too wordy.
Music and Messages
Q: You write, compose and produce your own music. Do you usually start by writing lyrics, or do you create a beat and then take it from there? What do you feel is the hardest part of making music?
A: “Generally the way I write lyrics is by looping a certain section of a beat, then freestyling over it. When I get something that I like, whether it’s a concept or a line, I’ll write it down, then move onto the next line. Then I just rinse and repeat until I have a whole song.
It’s funny because sometimes, I find meaning in my lyrics retroactively (anywhere from days to weeks after I drop a track). So when I first release a song and someone immediately asks me what my lyrics mean, I’m just like, “take your best guess, cause whatever it means to you is the most important,” when really, I’m just trying to hide the fact that I don’t know myself.
The hardest part of making music is definitely producing. I wish I could have two versions of me, one that is strictly focused on producing sick beats, and the other me can just freestyle over them to make lyrics.”
Q: What is your favorite song or lyric you’ve written so far and why?
A: “My favorite song that I’ve made so far definitely has to be ‘insomnia’. Something about that track just hits me real deep, even though I’ve listened to it so many times. Everything from the lyrics, melody, and what I was going through at the time just makes this song have a greater sentimental value to myself. Not to mention my homie, Keepitinside, is also on the track and his part is so sick!
I really felt like his verse completed the song, I can still listen to that today and be like, “yeah, this shit bangs.” I remember telling him, “I don’t care how well this does, I’m just grateful you’re on it and glad that I’m releasing this.”
Q: What messages do you hope listeners take away from listening to your music?
A: “Honestly, I don’t think about this very often. I don’t feel like it’s my place to tell people what they should or should not take away from my music. I don’t want to influence what they might feel by saying anything. That being said, I’ll take this opportunity to be explicit about certain things: “Don’t be like me. Don’t listen to my music thinking ‘this is the right way,’ because it’s not. If you are struggling with something too difficult to handle alone, seek professional help.”