We had the good fortune of connecting with Jiwon Jeon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jiwon, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Finding good work-life balance wasn’t really a problem for me. Because I’ve long been aware that the sense of accomplishment from work has been a great source of happiness, and I was a guy who even enjoyed some hardship, I thought of suffering as a sign of hustle. When I was not sitting in front of the piano or computer, I felt guilt and stress. I believed that these painful emotions were the byproducts of my effort. These were thoughts of my 20’s. I was foolish enough to believe that making music was THE ONLY THING in my life.
But the truth was the opposite; work was just a part of my life, nothing more, nothing less.
I’m not saying that my passion for music is gone. Music is the biggest passion of my life, no doubt about it, but it’s not everything. Ironically, I found balance between work and life after I realized that music was not everything in my life.
I was desperately hanging on to music, but not anymore. I’m now living life musically. I don’t get stressed anymore for not making music all the time. Because my life itself is musical.
Every experience turned into inspiration and I needed time to internalize and translate it in my own way and transform it to music. Everything was so natural. I was forcing myself to do music 24/7, but after my eye-opening moment, every process became natural. Finally, I thought I could do music for the rest of my life. That is how I found my work life balance.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a composer who trying to capture a unique sound of myself. I mainly compose film scores and contemporary classical music. I’m also a composer/lyricst of kpop composer duo group ‘Yellow Lights’. All of my work can find on my website or youtube. My work ethic is very simple; be original and be on time. It’s a bit cliché, but I think it’s the fundamental key of working in the music industry. All artists will probably think, and aim, for the same thing but I always try to listen my own voice and represent it in my work; I would much rather recreate my own voice and hear that it sucks than replicate an unoriginal sound and hear that it sounds great. Of course, being told that my original work sounds good would be ideal. I think many of artists will agree that becoming completely honest in their art is very exposing and feels like becoming naked in front of everyone but that is the only way to be original. I need be proud, and confident, in my work in order to accept my fellow artists’ work without any prejudice.
My second ethic is a very fundamental part in my career. Finishing my work by the deadline. My mentor once told me, “If you are early, you are one time. If you are on time, you are late. If you are late, you are fired”.
I always worked with these two ethics in mind. Thankfully, those I have worked with have noticed these ethics and hired me again. For this, I’m very grateful.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Without a trace of doubt, Maury’s Bagels. It’s a cozy bagel place in the Silver Lake area, no questions about the food and the owner is extremely kind. I wish I could go more often. I usually stack up on a dozen of bagels from Noah’s Bagels but when I need some sunlight and break time, I always go to Maury’s Bagels. Also, I can’t leave out Getty Center. My father, who is an architect, always talked about this place. Getty Center was the first place that I went to upon moving to LA. As soon as I arrived, I understood why my father was in love with the place. The view was amazing, the place was full of art, and the atmosphere created by the people who enjoyed the place, everything was perfect. I strongly recommend you take a half-day trip to enjoy the place. Even while writing this, it makes me want to take a trip to Getty Center again.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people who give me encouragement and inspiration, but if I have to name one person who purely stimulates my passion for music, it would be jazz vocalist ‘Songyi Jeon’. I heard her tune, ‘Spring – Movement of Lives’ through YouTube when I was serving in the Korean military. She completely mesmerized me through her music. I went back to Boston for school after being discharged. At that time, Songyi Jeon was building her career in New York City. As a fan of her music, I built up the courage to reach out to her. We established friendship eventually, and I had the chance to attend her recording session, have a cup of coffee, and talked about music and life. She is currently pursuing her music career in Switzerland; I am still fond of her music and it inspires me so much. I encourage everyone to check out her album ‘Spring – Movement of Lives’. You won’t be disappointed.