Kathy Yaeji Lee, known as Yaeji, is swinging into 2023 with a new album, a tour, and “with a hammer.” The Brooklyn-based Korean-American musician specializes in a blend of house music and hip-hop accompanied by vocals sung in both Korean and English. She has been making music since 2016 and after getting involved in DJing, she released her first single, “New York ’93,” on February 29, 2016 under the record label, Godmode.
Born in New York but raised in Seoul, South Korea, Yaeji changed schools frequently and took to the internet to make friends, where she then discovered her interest in music. She soon gained a following after her first Boiler Room session that included her remix of “Passionfruit” by Drake.
Following the release of her debut album With A Hammer on April 7, 2023, Yaeji is now touring the U.S. and Europe on her With A Hammer Tour. Following her April 22 Coachella performance, Yaeji stopped at The Ogden Theater in Denver, CO, on April 25 to say hello to her onions (her fans) in person.
Onions filled the intimate Denver venue, buzzing with excitement as they waited for Yaeji to perform. After much anticipation, the venue went dark, and the crowd cheered. A giant backdrop screen lit up with a kawaii emoji face staring out at the crowd. It blinked with a mischievous smile. Slowly emerging from the shadows, Yaeji walked out toward the crowd. Backlit by the white screen, she went right into her performance of her song “Submerge FM” followed by her single “For Granted,” and her title song “With a Hammer.”
Possessed with performance adrenaline, Yaeji, accompanied by backup dancers, performed interpretive dances. The unique and intriguing choreography both complimented and contrasted the style and lyrics of her music. Yaeji and her dancers’ synergy gave story and body to every song. The fans howled in support as Yaeji unleashed her dance moves.
Low lighting and occasional strobes kept the event dark, mysterious, and intense. Somber and vibrant colored lighting matched not only Yaeji’s dancing but also the moods of songs like “In the Mirror” and “The Th1ng” from her 2020 mixtape album, WHAT WE DREW.
“[WHAT WE DREW] was like truly my diary entries … each track is a different entry, and I think that’s maybe why it resonated with people is because it was deep, introspective thoughts that I was just sharing.” – Yaeji on WHAT WE DREW for Dazed
Yaeji revealed a giant pink hammer from the back of the stage. She swung it around, played air guitar with it, and held it up joyfully for fans to behold. She expressed her gratitude for the love and support she has received over the years and how much this tour has meant to her. Yaeji went on to perform some fan favorites like “Raingirl” from her 2017 EP, EP2. Fans cheered elatedly for the entirety of the song.
After a few more sets, it was time for Yaeji to say her goodbyes. She conveyed how wonderful it was to be in Denver and to be on tour. She thanked her Denver fans for the opportunity and support. As fans were sad to say goodbye, they passionately cheered for Yaeji with appreciation. Yaeji continued with an encore of her 2018 single, “One More,” and yet another fan favorite from EP2, “Drink I’m Sippin On.” Yaeji said her final goodbyes to her fans and sent hearts to the crowd as she walked off stage. Yaeji has many more upcoming North American stops as well as across Europe. You can follow her on socials and music streaming platforms and keep up with her on her onion vlogs.