On one evening in Seoul, Korean solo artist NIve went on Instagram Live to share his very first album unboxing with his new EP, Broken Kaleidoscope. Excitement plastered onto his face, he eagerly showed off the album’s contents and shared that the EP’s physical pre-orders exceeded expectations – so much so that additional albums were ordered to meet the demand. “Thank you for being proud of me!” he beamed from the outpour of congratulations and positive messages in the chat.
“I wanted to escape from all the feelings I was going through at a particular time, so I started to organize my thoughts into song.”– NIve
And proud he should be. Released digitally on July 27, Broken Kaleidoscope is NIve’s first-ever mini-album and conveys his personal feelings and touches on topics that would normally be difficult to discuss. He likened the complexity of his feelings to that of a kaleidoscope, an instrument that can produce an infinite number of intricate designs by simply changing one’s perspective. He shared, “You can think of each song on this album as an expression of ‘one side of many sides’ that I go through with my emotions and thoughts.” With the idea of a “broken” kaleidoscope, he wants listeners to love themselves for who they are, imperfections and all, and live their lives. “You never know what you’re going to get with life.”
NIve went on to share how the EP was carefully curated to depict the “emotional rollercoaster process” of his life. “I wanted to escape from all the feelings I was going through at a particular time, so I started to organize my thoughts into song,” he shared. The song would become the opening track “ESCAPE,” the UK-hybrid pop-rock track that expresses the desire to escape from feelings of anxiety and hopelessness. “That led to ‘ESCAPE’ as the first song and it was just a natural progression from there with all the other songs.”
The songs are woven together as chapters of a personal diary. The rebellious anthem of “ESCAPE” is followed by the sentimental “Maybe I Wanna Die.” Integrating soft strings and wind instruments with faint ocean sounds, the ballad speaks to the desire to see the sun rise another day. In contrast to the song’s title, the song is about his will to live. The title track “I’m Alive” builds on this message, amplified by the heavy pop-rock beat.
While the first three songs approached the idea of overcoming adversity, “Perfect Dancer” sings along to a brighter tune. The pop track carries an upbeat melody complimented by a kalimba and the singer’s acceptance to continue living his life, imperfections and all. Lastly, the album comes full circle with the closing song, “To: My Dear Friend,” a track that serves as a letter to NIve himself. “The album concludes with me ending my struggles with a letter I wrote to myself in ‘To: My Dear Friend.’ This is a really precious and dear song to me and even gives me comfort when I’m having a hard time.”
It takes courage to be willing to be vulnerable and share your honest feelings with the public. “The album is really about being emotionally naked, so I’d be lying if I said I was comfortable while putting this album together,” he told us. In the Instagram Live, NIve also confessed to his fans that he was quite nervous about the public’s reaction to such a vulnerable piece of work. “But now that the album is out there for anyone to see, I somehow feel liberated and free.“
NIve, born Jisoo Park, developed a passion for music over time. While attending high school in the United States, he had his first concert experience at a Josh Groban show. “It was by far the most amazing concert I’ve ever attended.” While attending college in New York and building his love for music, he pursued a degree in classical clarinet before taking a break and exploring broader avenues to take his career further.
For NIve, his creativity comes when he is alone in his studio, citing 1AM as the “sweet spot” for when he feels the most creative. In 2018, NIve attracted global attention after releasing his debut international single, “Getaway.” The following year, he debuted as a songwriter and producer with his first credit placement in EXO Chen’s debut solo album with the title track, “Beautiful Goodbye.” Since then, he has achieved songwriting and producing credits on tracks with some of K-Pop’s brightest stars, such as Heize, BTS’ V, Paul Kim, and more. “I learned to be a better listener. For myself and for others,” NIve recounted. “Writing for other artists is writing their story rather than mine. And writing for myself is writing my story. So the perspective changes and it’s very important for me to recognize that switch when writing.”
Of all of his songs in his repertoire, he cited his 2020 Korean debut song, “Like A Fool” featuring Sam Kim, as having his favorite lyrics that he has ever written. In the song he sings, “I just wanna see your face tonight,” which he describes as simply a “pure, unadulterated emotion from what might be a one-sided situation.”
After witnessing his exchanges with his fans over Instagram Live, it was evident how much his fans had played a part in him continuing to pursue his music. During his career, the best compliments and advice that he has ever received were from his fans. “They told me that ‘It’s ok to be yourself and be vulnerable through music,’ no matter what I’m going through. Those words are so freeing and really help me to make honest music.”
As the interview came to an end, NIve had one final message to share with his fans, “I never imagined in even my dreams that I’d be appreciated by so many of you guys and I’m so very grateful to experience the kind of love I never thought I’d receive. I love you all and I hope you continue to support me. That way, I know I’ll be able to keep on going, writing and expressing myself in the best way I know how – through music.“
Make sure to stream NIve’s new EP, Broken Kaleidoscope on all streaming platforms and follow him on all his social media below!