Philly musician pays tribute to Korean-American heritage

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Monday, May 23, 2022
Philly musician pays tribute to Korean-American heritage
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Judah Kim's parents realized the American dream when they emigrated from South Korea. Now, it's his turn.

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Judah Kim, an independent musician based in Philadelphia, pays tribute to his parents with every strum of the guitar.

"When I think about what they've done, I guess it's told me to do something amazing with my life," he said. "And that thing is music."

Kim's father was born in North Korea and eventually fled the country, taking residence in South Korea. There, he met his future wife through the Boy/Girl Scouts.

"Korea was so bad at the time," said Kim's mother, Deborah. "After war, no food, no water. A lot of stuff was messed up. So people wanted to go to different countries."

The Kim family chose to come to America. There, they sold bread and clothes on the street to provide for their 8 children. Judah was the seventh born.

"I think the thing that keeps me going is my mother's drive to just endlessly provide for her family," said Judah. "That's incorporated into everything from playing the instruments on my record, to recording, to learning to mix."

Judah has seen success in his musical career by licensing songs out to television shows with his first band, "Stonethrown." As an independent artist, he has reached radio waves in Philadelphia, Delaware, and the United Kingdom. He also has performed at Musikfest in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and will return there this summer.

This year, Judah Kim is releasing one single every five to six weeks. His latest, "The Real Kind," evokes emotions about his family's immigrant story.

"When I sing it, I think of my dad's spirit because he was always striving for authenticity and the truth," he said.

Judah hopes the lyrics will encourage people to appreciate what they have and spend time wisely with those who love and support them.

"It's living my life like my last day alive," he said, quoting the song. "Nothing can hold me back."

To learn more about Judah Kim's music, visit his Linktree page.

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