An interview with musician Daniel Kim

Posted on January 23, 2009


I’ve had the honor of working alongside Daniel at Newsong Church for the past year. He not only is a passionate worship leader but a gifted song writer & performer (and a pretty decent Catan player!). I’ve learned a lot from him and I hope you will too through this interview… 



If you had to describe your artistry in one word, what would it be?
Song-writer & Singer

How did you develop a love for your art?

It’s slightly embarrassing to say but I fell in love with singing in middle school when I got into this weird but wonderful Korean pop music phase!  My friends and I would rush to one of our homes after school, pop in the latest VHS import, mimic all the dance moves and memorize the songs.  I even formed a duet group called “DS” and it stood for “Daniel and Steve”—we were awesome in our minds and thought we would go to Korea and pursue a career one day!  Thankfully, I snapped out of this phase and started to get into the world of grunge rock/alternative rock and followed bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, etc.  In the mean time, I also found that I enjoyed thinking up and doing voice-overs for retreat skits while incorporating random ideas.  Creativity got my juices flowing and I loved it!  It wasn’t until late High School when I wrote my first song and discovered that I really enjoyed creating melodies and lyrics.  My fire was fueled even further when I discovered the joy of hearing other people singing along with me to the songs that I wrote.  There was something very transcendent about the experience and now that “corporate” response is what I look for in writing new tunes.

What inspires you?
I think passionate people who are completely sold out to their calling in life are inspiring to me.  Two people that come to mind are Kobe Bryant and Bono.  Kobe because he is the best at what he does and you can tell that his life is about one thing and it’s the game of basketball.  His attention to detail and commitment to excellence is inspiring.  I am inspired by Bono of U2 because he has combined his love for music with his love for people and the marginalized groups around the world.  He has used his platform to be a voice for the voiceless and people listen because of his artistic (and commercial) credibility.  Besides people, I think excellence and originality inspire me and I am motivated to strive for those things.  



Describe your ‘creative process’.
Right now, I try to set aside Thursdays to make it my “creative day” where I spend time writing songs and putting some random thoughts on paper.  It’s been a very long time since I’ve written a full song because I have found that if I don’t complete a song in one sitting, it is rare that I will come back to the song later.   For better or for worse, it is just the way I’m wired!  So I have an iphone recording app full of song ideas; a verse here, a chorus there, riff ideas, etc.  Even though it’s difficult and very often frustrating, I’m trying to stay the course and keep putting myself in that space to create.  One of my latest songs were written with a deadline about 2 hours away—I was unhappy with what I had been working on for weeks so I put my guitar down to watch a Coldplay concert video in hopes of being inspired, said a prayer, and started going at it with my guitar, paper and pen.  Usually the melody and lyrics come at the same time and things just flow out.  I wrote the song within the hour, took it to the team, met my deadline and it was a “hit”!  Don’t know how that translates to a concrete process but I guess creativity and moments like these are often spontaneous and unexpected for me. 

What is a common mistake you notice during the create process.
I guess a couple common mistakes I keep making to this day are quitting too soon on a song and not hitting the record button and losing a spontaneous idea that comes up during a personal jam session.   I think it’s important to keep ideas recorded so that you can revisit them later.



How do you think your art form has evolved during this generation?
I believe my songs have changed and evolved lyrically while maintaining a sense of simplicity musically.  I don’t have a mastery of musical theory or chord structure so I’m writing my songs with my limited palette of guitar chords and sounds.  I think it’s important for me to venture into different sounds and genres so that I can look to create more sounds with a fusion.  I want my music to embody the things I believe in, and somehow communicate and facilitate a sense of freedom and love in all people. 

What’s the next season of creating look like for you?
I hope to be able to work on a studio album sometime within the next year.  My “musical best friend” is moving to San Francisco (ahem, Khalib) in a few days so it looks like my project will be on hold for now.  In the mean time, I will still be working on writing weekly and I am currently meeting with a group of song-writers once a month to create synergy in our personal as well as joint ventures.  Exciting stuff.   

Any other comments you’d like to share?

Your blog is rockin! 

Thanks DK for taking time out to share your heart and craft with us. Encourage Daniel by leaving a comment!



Any other comments you’d like to share?

Your blog is rockin! 

Thanks DK for taking time out to share your heart and craft with us. Encourage Daniel by leaving a comment!


Posted in: Creative Leaders