From being part of the Soompi coomunity to joining MBC’s singing competition to being a K-Pop star, Eric Nam has come a long away to be what he has always wanted to be – a singer. As a Korean-American, it wasn’t easy for him to become a K-Pop star but he believed in what he was doing and never let the obstacles to stop him. Thus, he began posting his own cover videos on Youtube channel and was discovered by MBC to join their singing competition “Birth of A Great Star 2”.

Since then, his life of being a singer in Korean entertainment industry kicked off with much fanfare, judging by the amount of fans that he has from all around the globe.

Eric Nam at MOC

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Music aside, Eric has been active on TV as a co-host and a reporter for MBC’s “After School Club” and “Session TV”. Due to his sense of humour and fun personality, he gained a huge following from people around the world including Malaysia. All thanks to M.E Malaysia, we were lucky enough to have a quick afternoon chat with him at Ministry of Coffee in Solaris Mont Kiara, KL before he performed for his first-ever showcase, “F.Y.I. On Stage with Eric Nam” in Malaysia.

Through the interview, we learned a little more about him: his obsession with coffee, his guilty pleasure songs, and his stage fright. Eric also got a taste of being a barista as he tried to make a cup of coffee during our interview. Here’s what went down during our coffee conversation:

H: Hi Eric, welcome to Malaysia! I heard this is your first time to have a showcase here! How’s Malaysia treating you so far?

E: Thank you so much! Everybody is just so nice and very warm welcoming, very accommodating so it has been very nice and awesome to meet my fans to have lots of fun.

H: Well, did you receive a warm welcome from the fans at the airport?

E: Yes, at the airport! I’ve been meeting the fans at the signing event and everyone was just so excited and I’ve been asked if I am more excited to see them.

H: Are you surprised that there are so many fans of yours in Malaysia?

E: Yes, yes. It’s been lot of people and big response and I know a lot of people were even studying for exams but they took their time to meet me so you know, it means a lot to me.

H: Okay so, your latest single “Ooh Ooh”, it sounds pretty different from the songs you’ve performed in the past. Just wondering, is there a reason why you wanted to try this new genre instead of other music genres such as rock music, etc?

E: You know, it’s just a fun genre and it’s the type of music that I like. There is a kind of “Bruno Mars” feel to it and I love Bruno Mars. Either way, it’s kind of like a merge to Bruno Mars’s songs and I kind of wanna do something that is different from the typical K-Pop scene and I tried to tie in more of a poppy sound with the Korean K-Pop sound. So, this song is the result of that. For me, I had a really good time making it and there are a lot of fun stuff to do so, yeah.

H: If you were given the chance to collaborate with Bruno Mars, what kind of songs would you want to produce with him (for example love song or break up song)?

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E: Oh my gosh. Umm, if I could pick, I would do one really upbeat, fun song and then one ballad. I don’t know, whatever he wants to do, I will do. Haha! Because I think it would be a lot of fun and we would have a lot of great fun – I mean I am worse than he is. He’s just amazing. So to be able to work with him, it’s actually really good.

H: Everyone has their guilty listening pleasure, in terms of music. What’s your guilty pleasure in terms of music? Like songs you sing secretly in the bathroom?

E: I’ll admit, I’ve been listening to Taylor Swift’s songs. I think she’s a good songwriter.

H: Like her latest single, “Shake It Off”?

E: Yeah, I think she has good, fun, and catchy songs. Same with Katy Perry. What I’m amazed about them is that they have seemingly very simple melodies but they are incredibly catchy. So it’s a very, very easy to sing along to, but everybody knows them and it’s catchy. That’s very hard to do. 

H: Okay now, let’s talk about your job as a TV co-host and reporter! You’re a co-host for MBC’s “After School Club” and Session TV (which started in April) and now “We Got Married”.  You’ve interviewed a lot of people, right? Do you still get nervous during the interview and do you still get stage fright while performing on stage?

E: I so do get nervous on stage. I don’t really get nervous interviewing people because I kind of go into the mentality of “just hanging out with friends, no big deal”. I think that helps because you know, they are just normal people and they just wanna have normal conversations. So, when you think about it from that perspective, I just don’t have that much pressure. If anything, I just to make sure that they feel comfortable and they get to say what they want to say.

H: How do you overcome stage fright?

E: I just do it. I just got to do it. There is no other real way to overcome it. I just got to run into it and do it.

H: You’ve mentioned in an interview that you wanted to do a travel or food-related show, right? Since you really like coffee, have you ever thought of doing a travel programme related to coffee, maybe you can travel around the world to try the best coffees?

E: Yeah. That would be awesome. That would be like a dream come true and it would be amazing. I don’t know if anybody would put that together, but I think it’s going to be a lot of fun if I were to do any type of food show, travel show, or something that I love. To think about it, I would probably gain a lot of weight too! Haha! But I think it would be okay if I were to host that show.

Eric Nam as barista
Eric Nam’s first attempt to make a cup of coffee

H: You know, I heard you are crazy over coffee (especially black coffee) – have you ever thought of being a barista?

E: You know, I’ve thought of it and I think it would be a lot of fun but I also know that being a barista is not easy. I like to make my own drinks at home, try out different combinations so it’s fun. 

H: Then perhaps would wanna do a side business by opening your own coffee shop like what some of the idols have done in Korea?

E: I mean I do but right now, I am just too busy. I don’t have the proper mind to do that right now so maybe in the next two years, if I do well, that would be a goal of mine. That would be fun. I think.

H: You are quite concerned about the global issues and you were doing a non-profit charity work in India even before joining MBC’s “Birth of a Great Star”. Are there any charity project you are working on at the moment?

E: To be honest, I don’t, right now. I just don’t have the time. I really want to but if I want to do something, I want to be committed to it. I don’t want to go in and out, and just show up and not show up. That’s the hard part because that’s something I definitely wanted to take more time to do but my schedule wouldn’t allow it.

H: But you did do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

E: Yeah but you know, that’s not much. You donate to it, you do the challenge, you raise awareness. It’s all easy and fun but hopefully I have time to do some more on-ground activities in the future. 

H: Ooh that’s nice 🙂 Okay, my time is up now but thank you so much for the interview!

E: Okay! Thank you so much! Thank you 🙂

Once again, we would like to thank M.E Malaysia for the invites to Eric Nam’s showcase and special thanks to Ministry of Coffee for providing us the venue to interview! Don’t forget to check out our Facebook album and stay tuned for the official photos of the showcase at M.E Malaysia’s official Facebook page!

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Adrina
Adrina was our former writer and now contributes to Hype. Find out what she's up to on her IG: @moonsglowslow.