Milky Day is Korean by blood, born and raised in New Zealand , educated in the US and is now residing in Australia to pursue music full time. His background giving us a taste of the music he brings to the table. He is making his identity by fusing traditional music elements with his expertise in mixing and engineering. The rising star has a diverse musical style that encompasses indie and R&B, featuring laid-back and relaxing songs that represent the emergence of bedroom pop genres among the Gen-Z population. The artist describes his musical journey as starting with lo-fi, transitioning to indie, and currently embracing R&B.
Recently, Milky Day and Filipino artist Denise Julia have released a collaborative R&B track titled “Let Me.” The song delves into their personal experiences, emphasizing the importance of connection and the yearning for romance. With its melodic composition, “Let Me” serves as an accessible entry point for a wider audience to explore R&B music.
The project involved cross-country collaboration, with Milky Day initiating the song in Australia, Denise recording in the Philippines, and Grammy-winning engineers handling the mixing and mastering in the USA. The lyrics of “Let Me” showcase a new side of Denise Julia, highlighting wholesome love and the joy of a night drive.
“Let Me” is a song that many people can relate to. Milky and Denise’s vocals are impeccable and the instrumental arrangement of the track is melodious and notable. It is a heartfelt, soulful masterpiece, a lesson in genre-blending—the result is an artful, mesmerizing record that explores the world of love in a completely new light.
In this exclusive interview, we talked about Milky Day’s upbringing, musical inspirations, support systems, creative process, and future plans.
Who would be your favorite artists or which artists influenced your music the most?
I’ve been inspired by a lot of DPR Live, and DPR Ian stuff. I think it helps that they’re from a similar culture as me. Honestly, there are so many I really like, like Frank Ocean. It’s pretty random. I draw inspiration from individual songs rather than from artists because I also personally don’t like to stick to one sound. I like to explore different kinds of genres.
Moving to the United States to attend Amherst College seems like a significant step in your musical journey. How did your time there shape your musical style and development?
When I was in the US is when I really got deep into music. After my freshman year in college, while I was doing my first-ever internship, I picked up music production. I downloaded Logic Pro and started making random songs. At that point, I wasn’t trying to make a career out of it. I was just trying to do it as a hobby and as the years passed by,
I started collaborating with people from school and people that I discover on SoundCloud. A couple of my songs actually did really well and then as my college years progressed, my music started growing and getting more traction. By the time I was graduating, my numbers have increased a lot and that’s when I started entertaining the idea of maybe I could do music in the near future. So yeah, college was definitely the time when I experienced the most growth.
Speaking of college, your family has a medical background, what did they think about you pursuing a Mathematics degree, and then pursuing music?
Honestly, they never really pressured me to go down that path but my mom definitely always dropped these little hints. She is like, “Hey, if you ever change your mind and you want to go to med school, then I’d pay for your tuition, you should do it.” And I just say no, I’m not interested. However, they were happy for me to do my own thing.
I ended up doing Math and music and did some corporate work almost 2 years after college. One thing my parents always reminded me during college and high school, is that music should be a hobby. I feel like that’s like an Asian parent thing.
They want you to make money and stuff. They’ll be like, “Hey, I know it’s cool that you’re doing music but it should be just on the side. Just a hobby.” It wasn’t until last year that I decided that I wanted to do it full-time.
When I told my parents that I wanted to do that, I was actually surprised. They were actually happy for me to try music. I think it’s because, over the years, I did it as a hobby and allotted a lot of growth until it reached the point that I could prove to my parents that I was good at music, that it was something I am interested in, and that I can potentially make a career out of it. I don’t regret picking it as a hobby.
I think it allowed me to explore other career opportunities in the meantime and also prove to my parents that music is something I’m taking seriously. I also have a feeling that my parents were open to me pursuing music, maybe because of COVID and stuff. It was a time when people started reflecting on what they value, and what matters in life. I think they realized I should just do what I enjoy instead of just make money.
Something very brave of you is that you quit your 9-5 office job to pursue music full-time? What gave you the courage to take that leap of faith?
I used to work for a start-up. A lot of them don’t end up succeeding, and that was the case for ours. I got laid off and there was a period of couple of months when I was searching for a new job and I was getting the same kinds of job posts. Because of my major, I was looking at corporate, consulting, business, and similar jobs. I was applying to them too and going to interviews but during that process, I realized, “Damn, I actually don’t want to do any of these.”
I’d be going to interviews pretending that I love their company, that I want to do that kind of work but I felt like I’m lying to myself. After a couple of months, I thought, this is the youngest I’ll ever be. This is the time for me to take risks. That’s why I made the decision that I’m done with that lifestyle and I’m ready to give music a go and so I flew to Australia and it’s been really good since then.
Since then, your musical style has evolved over time, from lofi to indie, and now settling into R&B. What inspired these shifts, and how do you feel about the direction your music is taking?
I think part of the reason why my music style changed is because my taste is changing as well. I used to listen to a lot of lofi indie and chill stuff and then some of my friends introduced me to R&B and I really liked that sound and tried it.
I think I definitely want to keep some R&B influence in my music moving forwards. I just really liked the moody, emotional, smooth sound that R&B has and I think it suits my voice as well. I also explore new genres. More recently I’ve been listening to a lot of house music and I’ve been trying to incorporate electronic elements to my production.
My taste is always changing. Sticking to one genre can get boring as well. I feel like certain genres have certain techniques that they tend to use. If I make the same genre for too long, it gets boring for me as well.
Lately, TikTok has been making music known around the world. Are you perhaps planning to put your music on TikTok or create a challenge? I personally think your song Mine is something that would do well in TikTok. I can actually imagine how the choreography would go. What are your thoughts on this?
I haven’t been very involved in TikTok over the past few years. I know it’s really important too cause it’s the new way to promote music. Part of it is because I don’t really want to be addicted to social media and I don’t really want to spend too much time there. Part of it was like I don’t really know what to do. I think it’s a good idea.
Ever since I signed up with Unbound, I have had a marketing team that helps me with social media. We’ve been posting reels and we have plans to promote stuff on TikTok so when I have some new songs coming out, I’ll probably use TikTok to promote my stuff.
As a singer-songwriter and producer, how do you approach the songwriting and production process? Do you have any particular rituals or techniques that help you get into the creative zone?
For me, I need to get into the right mindset and mood so I either listen to some music that I really like or sometimes watch videos of some producers and songwriters so that I can get inspired to get into the right mindset. And then I just start producing. Sometimes I use reference tracks, like tracks I want to draw inspiration from but 90% of the time,
I just start playing random stuff and playing around with different sounds and chords but I always start with music production before I start writing. If I have an instrumental track produced and I really liked it and it makes me feel some type of way or reminds me of certain memories and emotions, it’s easy for me to actually start finding the right words and lyrics for the instrumental.
What are your goals and aspirations for your music career in the coming years? Are there any specific projects or collaborations you have in mind?
Some of my goals are to perform more. I just had my first big performance just last month and that’s something I want to do more. I also want to make a lot of music videos. I think it’s cool when you listen to a song and it sounds nice but when you pair it with visuals it just totally changes the game.
Sometimes when I listen to a song and it just sounds okay, and then I watch the music video, I suddenly think it sounds way better. I also want to collaborate with more people as well. Not just artists but also designers, creatives, photographers, etc. I just really like working with people.
What message or emotions do you hope listeners take away from your music? Is there something specific you want them to experience or feel when they listen to your songs? Since you’re currently experimenting and all that.
Often times people message me telling me that my music has helped them through hard times. So I think my music gives a comforting effect to some people. So I guess I want listeners to know that when you’re going through tough times, like a breakup or if you’re stressed in school, hop into my music as a reminder that you’re not the only one going through that. We’re all human and we all experience hard things in life.
Speaking of difficult times, was there ever a time you wanted to give up music? What point was that?
There was a period when I didn’t release music for a year. I really wanted to because I know my fans are waiting but I think that was when I lost my job and went on a breakup. I feel like I wasn’t in the right mindset to be grinding on music. I was working full time at that time and it was hard to juggle music as well. I actually started enjoying music less, that’s why I stopped releasing it.
I questioned if it was something I wanted to continue doing but after I made the decision to do music full-time, I think I got a lot of my inspiration back and I traveled a lot more and that was inspiring too. Things change with time, tough times pass and time passes by and you have friends and families supporting you. Things get better.
Do you have a prospect fandom name?
I don’t know yet!
Finally, what do you have planned for the future? Is there something we should look forward to?
I think the collab is the main thing to look forward to at the moment. I do have an EP coming later but that’s still in the works, but yeah, just the upcoming music videos and performances coming.
“Let Me” is now available on all major streaming platforms!