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Meet Sonia Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sonia Park.

Sonia, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, but my inspiration in music has led me to relocate myself to LA for more musical education and experiences. I am now working as a LA-based Jazz pianist, keyboardist, music educator, and music copyist, specializing in R&B, Pop, Jazz and Fusion.

I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, but my inspiration in music has led me to relocate myself to LA for more musical education and experiences. I am a LA based Jazz pianist, keyboardist, music educator, and music copyist, specializing in R&B, Pop, Jazz and Fusion.

Growing up, I studied classical piano starting at the age of eight. Since a young age, I have made my first step into piano due to one of my friends. It was just one normal day where we were hanging out, but my friend had to leave early due to a piano lesson. She has offered me to shadow her for her piano lesson so we could play more after. I have enjoyed listening to music and it was a real shame that we couldn’t play any longer so I quickly accepted her offer. Music has always made my heart pound, and by observing her piano lesson, it truly has opened my eyes into an interest in piano. My interest and desire in learning piano did not stop, so I begged my parents for a piano lesson. Since then, I continued learning classical piano and developed more interest into pop and contemporary style music.

In September 2017, I began my journey to obtain a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance at Los Angeles College of Music. As I pursued my degree, my passion and skill in piano has made me obtain various types of scholarships and opportunities.

I’ve been working on numerous types of projects as a pianist/keyboardist/arranger and also in the process of working on my first album which will be released in 2021.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has never been a smooth road, I would say. When I moved to LA, language barrier was a problem for me. I remember I had a hard time ordering some burgers from Carl’s jr, getting on metros and finding right stops to get out of metro or even finding a place to live. All of what I mentioned happened within a week after I moved to LA. It was really inconvenient for me given that I lack the ability to communicate properly at the time, but it surely motivated me to learn English under a more rapid and intense manner.

Also, I had a hard time when studying in the college. Of course, learning in a language that is not my first language is already a challenge itself, but also the learning environment was different than what I experienced in Korea. I was in shocked that professors are encouraging students ask as many as questions during classes. It is not as common in Korea where the professor encourages the student to raise questions or start any kind of intellectual discussion. I know it might sound unusual compared to the way of learning in the US, but eventually, I got used to that too.

Can you give our readers some background on your music?
I am a keyboardist, music educator, accompanist, arranger and music copyist. For most of the time, I play and perform with other artists/bands. Sometimes I transcribe music, organize and make them into charts. Being gifted with perfect pitch really guide me through those tasks. I’ve been collaborating and performing with songwriters, producers, and singers. Other than that, I have also performed with LACM big band in UNC/Greely Jazz Festival in Colorado. I worked really hard since young and the hard work did really pay off. I scored 2nd place in SAC music Festival and later was granted full-ride scholarship in Seoul Art College in Korea. And later in my studies, I once again received both academic scholarships, Glen Ballard composition and production scholarship from Los Angeles College of Music where I pursue a bachelor’s degree.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Throughout my life, I was fortunate enough to meet great people as mentors. While pursuing my degree at Los Angeles college of music, they have always encouraged me, gave me advice, and also have gave great motivation and inspiration. In addition to the many mentors, I was able to meet great classmates who I can reach out to even outside of school to get musical ideas and inspirations. Instructors at college have also guided me well with positive feedback, but they have also addressed me with feedbacks where I could use as a springboard to develop my skills and knowledge to become an inspiring musician. Most significantly, if I didn’t get to listen to and get inspired by Stevie wonder and Soulive’s music, I might be still pursuing music as classical pianists. They have massively changed my music aspirations and have led me to pursue new goals.

In addition to mentors I have met at school, my family is also one of the greatest mentors, supporters, and cheerleaders. No matter what I do, they are always there to support me in every possible way. Without them, I might not be able to achieve my goals and education here in LA as a musician.

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