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The Artist of 2018: Eric Nam

Why the Atlanta Born Entertainer Is the Cream of the Crop for 2018

As we enter the final purgatorial days between Christmas and New Year, I started to get reflective. 2018 has been a great year for music in numerous ways, but I was left wondering whether there was any standout artist or artists that truly made this year their own. To avoid getting into a cliché, hype-building scenario where I beat around the bush and end up shocking nobody because the article has a title, Eric Nam was without a doubt this standout artist.

To help explain my reasoning, I’ve handily provided a neat looking article that I hope you all enjoy; and as this is likely to be my last piece before next year, I hope you all have a happy and healthy new year.

Who is Eric Nam?

Born in Atlanta, the 30-year-old entertainer started his career on Birth of a Great Star 2, eventually signing to B2M Entertainment in September of 2012.

It has mostly been a tale of upward trends for the pop star since an initial struggle upon arrival in Korea, but from a major slot on the acclaimed Prison Playbook soundtrack, to a reputation as the go-to guy for celebrities being interviewed in Korea, right down to the track "Cave Me In" featuring Gallant and Tablo, a track which trended for 72 hours after its initial release, it’s fair to say Nam overcame all obstacles to lay the groundwork for future worldwide success.

However, it was as we approached spring time of this year that we reach one of the quintessential reasons Eric Nam is my artist of the year.

The ‘Honestly’ EP

To simply put it, this EP has everything. Songs like "Potion" have a powerful energy to them, uplifting your spirits effortlessly and allowing you to lose yourself in a world of your own, whilst track "Lose You" has poignant meaning layered behind smooth vocals and slick production. The EP shows maturity and a dignified class that many up-and-comers clamber to find, truly highlighting just how much of a born entertainer Nam is. It’s more than just a worthwhile listen, with it being a challenge not to be gripped from the first minute right down to the last second. 

The ‘Honestly’ Tour

Sixteen shows, a lifetime of memories. As a professional lurker on social media (that’s not as cynical as it sounds, I promise), I keenly followed along via hashtags this summer as Eric embarked on his North-American tour.

I didn’t once see anyone dissatisfied, and the amount of people touched by one man’s music was truly amazing to witness, even if it was only witnessed vicariously. It’s truly fascinating to see the type of relationship an artist builds with their fans, and being able to see through social media posts, recaps, and online reviews that Eric Nam has a tangible connection with practically every attendee at one of his shows is a true testament to the man as well as the artist. With a European tour to come in 2019 as well as a pair of solo shows in Korea, next year promises to expand on the captivating live shows seen this year.

Soundtrack City, Baby

Who doesn’t love a Soundtrack? If you’re someone who doesn’t, shame on you, and if you’re someone who does, chances are you might have heard "FLOAT," the Uber catchy, synth-driven song taken from the Hotel Transylvania 3 soundtrack. As a man partial to a fun sounding OST, "FLOAT" was a mainstay on my Summer playlist as well as several family member’s, and showed the diversity and versatility Nam possesses, with the singer seemingly being able to go from a serious love song right to a care-free seasonal toe-tapper at the click of a finger.

It wasn’t all animated films, though. The man of 1000 soundtrack features (six in reality) scored himself a spot on the OST for TV show Encounter. It’s a raw, emotional track that really emphasises the powerful and versatile voice of the 30-year-old, and fits with the aesthetic of the show perfectly.

It’s refreshing to see an artist take on so many different projects of various styles in a single calendar year, but it really shows that the Atlanta born entertainer is a hot commodity within the industry now, trusted to take on any role expected and maintain only the highest of standards. 

The ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Screening

To help with the success of film Crazy Rich Asians, Nam and his brothers bought out a showing in their hometown of Atlanta. The brothers were proactive about Asians being misrepresented and underrepresented in mainstream media, supporting the cause behind the film for all the right reasons, and helping to ensure a Gold Open.

To have such a busy and momentous year is phenomenal, but humble artist Eric Nam knows just how to make ends meet. Even writing this feels like a simple scratching of the surface. For example, there was nowhere for me to highlight the excellent "Miss You," and subsequent English version "I Don’t Miss You." It’s truly been an outstanding year for Eric, and with more to be excited for in 2019, I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner. 

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The Artist of 2018: Eric Nam
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