Yoon Mi-rae (aka Tasha) Returns to Her Roots

Yoon Mi-rae has returned with her third album after a four-year hiatus. “t3, Yoon Mirae” draws on the difficulties she went through as a child of an Africa American father and a Korean mother. “I’ve sung many songs, but never sung about my life. So this time, I wanted to tell my fans who I am,” she says. Her father, who was a radio DJ when serving in the U.S. Forces in Korea, provides an English voiceover. “I listened to my father’s music from when I was in my mother’s womb,” she says. “He is the one who awakened a sense of rhythm in me when I was a child. He had 30,000 LPs and threw a party almost every day. He was my music teacher, still is, and will be forever.”

Yoon displays the full range of her talents on her new album, which covers genres from hip-hop to soul and R&B. The rap she performs in songs like “Black Diamond” and “Pay Day” is thrilling. “Rapping sends audiences wild when you’re on stage. It accompanies an exciting performance and really energizes people. Singing a tune is a bit boring, I think,” she said. After all, she is the best female MC in Korea.

During her absence due to conflict with her agency, she toyed the idea of giving up. “It was so difficult to live as a musician that I often thought about giving up. But I couldn’t live without music,” she said. Being of mixed race, she is no stranger to difficulty. Yoon took a high school equivalence exam after she dropped out of school at the age of 15.

“When I came to Korea as a young girl, I had no friends and couldn’t speak Korean, so I spent most of my time in a game arcade,” she said. “The old lady who ran the arcade was my closest friend. Kids of my age only bullied me. They called me ‘negro’ and shouted ‘Yankee, go home’ at me. They told me to go back to my country with a ticket they were going to buy for me. I went to an international school, but there were only two students of African American descent including me, and I was still treated badly.”

Yoon confesses she always felt confused about her identity since she was considered neither American nor Korean nor African-American. “But to my amazement, after making my debut in the entertainment world, people treated me as just an entertainer,” she said. “I was puzzled at first, but now I’m happy about it.” When she started to work as a singer, she hid the fact that her father is an African American because her agency convinced her to do so, warning her of prejudice. “Tell them that your grandfather or grandmother was half African-American,” they advised her.

“When the success of half-Korean U.S. football player Hines Ward raised interest in mixed-race children in Korea last year, I was so furious,” Yoon said. “Were there no mixed-race children in Korea before Hines Ward? And have things changed now? No, it’s as if nothing has happened.” She herself plans to help mixed-race children in one way or another.

Yoon wants to be a musician free from obsession about success, but it isn’t easy because music is also her bread and butter. “I decided to be a musician because I love music, but as I get older there are times I have to play music for money. I want to make enough money by playing music to buy a house for my mother and treat those I love well. I hope to establish a firm reputation as a musician 10 years from now so that I can pursue music I really want to pursue without caring about the public response.”

Source: Chosun Ilbo

It’s so hard to find articles on Tasha these days because she had been absence for ages from KPOP. That’s why I’m saving this article in here. I heard from friends in the KPOP forums that her album is worth a listen – I haven’t heard it yet but I may try later.

I first heard about her when she was with the female duo Tashannie. At that time, Z Chen had remake one of their song, “Haru Haru” (the chinese title is “May I Love You”). Even though Z Chen actually followed the style of Moon Myung Jin who remade “Haru Haru”. Then at that time, she was having problems with drug use allegations. I didn’t do a follow-up on what happened to that allegations…>< …too long ago, couldn’t remember that well.


4 thoughts on “Yoon Mi-rae (aka Tasha) Returns to Her Roots

  1. lol.. what an interesting post. I am also of African-American/Korean descent and can understand considerably the amount of confusion she has faced growing up in Korea as a mixed child. Yun Mirae…Tasha Reid has always been a role model of mine. In my life…I have felt many similarities in our lives through her lyrics. However, growing up in America has priviledged me to grow and accept a broader range of social norms traditionally not seen in Korea. Having studied abroad in Korea…I could sense the difficulties she would have faced adapting to a culture in which looks and outward appearance is critical in first impressions. Her testimony and legacy is her strength to overcome and succeed. We a are spiritual family even though we never have met…yet even meeting face to face cannot discount from what we both have faced. I love her for her strength, respect her for her perserverance, admire her for her courage.

  2. Thanks so much for this article on her! ;D
    She’s a great artist (rapper and singer), and a great person too. I hope she’s happy now.

  3. Wow! Thank you for this article. She is an amazing talent with more substance than a lot of other entertainers.

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