Blogs by InnovatorsBox®

Meet Serin Oh: A Musician with a Bucket full of Joy

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This is InnovatorsBox’s “IB Backstage series, where in celebration of InnovatorsBox’s 6th year anniversary that’s coming up in November 2021, we are highlighting the stories of our incredible team members.

Serin Oh is a joyous, energetic soul with this unique energy that just seems to brighten people up. We met while I was teaching and running a custom leadership program at the Council of Korean American for the next generation of Korean Americans leaders during the pandemic. As music lovers and creatives alike, we were drawn together by our love of artistry and creativity. Since then, it’s been nonstop collaboration on creative video editing, storytelling, and now Serin is a key artist in InnovatorsBox Studios as a music supervisor & singer/songwriter.

In my Q&A with Serin, we explore several topics from why she does what she does, what piqued her interest in being a singer/songwriter, where she finds her ideas, who inspires her, and more. I can’t wait for you to get to know Serin who brings her love for music and life and her joyous personality wherever she goes. 

Monica: How would you describe yourself in three words?

Serin: Joyful, Quirky, and Welcoming

Monica: Why is creativity important to you?

Serin: Creativity is the key to living and it reminds us that life goes on beyond what we believe are concrete rules. It reminds us that there are other possibilities for how things can exist – far beyond a routine of predetermined societal rules.

Monica: What was your favorite project, experience or memory working at InnovatorsBox?

Serin: One of my favorite memories working at InnovatorsBox is our quarterly group calls, facilitated by Monica, with everybody on the team. When we are in these meetings, it almost feels like we are there in person with one another. They allow us to connect and be a part of each other’s lives so much more than just through email or Slack alone.

Working remotely has its benefits but it’s also easy to forget the amount of amazing people we have on the team. And these quarterly calls unite for a cause, and allows us to celebrate the wins and make plans for the future.

Trend about work:

Monica: Why did you want to become a singer songwriter?

Serin: I’m not sure if I chose to be a singer/songwriter or the career chose me. It’s funny because sometimes it does feel like the latter – but in all seriousness, writing has always been my release and escape from reality.

As I began writing songs, it felt like I found this secret passage to speak my thoughts freely without making anyone (including myself) feel uncomfortable! I hope to spread the truth of love and joy through my songs.

Monica: The music industry has changed a lot. What changes are exciting and worrisome as up and coming artists in how things are changing?

The increase of DIY artists becoming full time artists through platforms like TikTok and YouTube are exciting.

With the rise of DIY artists becoming full time artists through platforms like TikTok and YouTube, it is exciting to see that there are new opportunities for those who may not have been able to get into traditional art academies. 

On the flip side, however, this presents a problem when record labels snatch up these budding stars – before they have found their own authentic voice as an artist – so that they can mold them into what they think will sell better in today’s market.

Monica: Where do you find your best ideas for your songs and music development?

Serin: Frankly, I find the best ideas when I am rooted in my faith because it reshifts the way I look at the world, therefore it changes the way that I write.

Monica: What is one thing that people are surprised about getting to know you?

Serin: That I think as much as I do (haha). I believe my frequent bursts of laughter often give off the impression that I am a bit of an airhead but once people get to know me, they’re pleasantly surprised at the depth of conversation we end up sharing. And I guess that’s partly why I’m a songwriter.

Monica: Who are musicians or creatives that inspire you?

Serin: The musicians that usually inspire me are third culture songwriters. Right now, I have been hooked on Rina Swayama, BIBI, Nathy Pelso and Little Simz– loving these powerful women.

Monica: How has the pandemic made it better for music development and future to go? Why?

Serin: It has taken the stigma off online collaborations and normalized zoom songwriting sessions. The overall sentiment with independent musicians is that people are eager to work with new creatives, which means more opportunities for other unknown artists will likely pop up more!

It normalized zoom songwriting sessions and therefore took off the stigma on online collaborations.

Getting to know Serin:

Monica: What advice would you give your younger self?

Serin: No one is watching, so go freely and learn to be yourself.

Monica: What is a book that you couldn’t stop reading?

Serin: Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee. I devoured that book in about 2 days.

Monica: What are you listening to lately?

Serin: I’ve been listening to Nathy Peluso. She’s a South American artist currently based in Spain and dripping in charisma.

Monica: What are you watching lately that you really enjoyed? Why?

Serin: THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE. If you live in a country that “won” the second world war, I will most definitely recommend watching. It makes you rethink your perspective on what we view as socially just, morally good, and the overall system that we think is built to benefit the people.

Monica: What is your favorite way to decompress? Why?

Serin: Whenever I need decompressing, all it takes is one song by an up-and-coming artist performing live on YouTube for me to feel like myself again; full of joy and life! Searching for new artists to fall in love with rejuvenates my passion and gets my heart singing.

No one is watching, so go freely and learn to be yourself.

Monica: If someone is visiting Ohio for the first time, where would you recommend they go, eat, or do?

Serin: I would first ask why they’re in Ohio (lol) and then recommend hiking around the Glen Helen Nature Reserve in Yellow Springs, get some authentic homemade ice cream at Jet Freeze in Dayton, and go eat classic American food in Columbus or Cincinnati (or go to the House of Thai in Dayton for delicious Pad Thai).

Monica: If you could travel anywhere and do anything, where would you go and what would you want to do?

Serin: I would like to go to North Korea and be able to explore the nation. Specifically, I would love to watch performances by the Pyoungyang National Orchestra and have honest conversations with the locals. 

Thank you, Serin, for being the beautiful soul that you are. You’re an amazingly talented musician and your music is a gift.

I look forward to continuing to work together to bring more of your incredible compositions for the world to enjoy.

To connect with Serin:

Website www.serinohfficial.com

Twitter @serinohofficial

Instagram @serinohofficial

About the Author

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

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