Three years after he first appeared on this pod, I check in with innovative violinist, looper, and vocalist Joe Kye to hear firsthand how this ongoing pandemic has impacted his personal and professional lives. Turns out, he’s transformed himself into an Asian American Mister Rogers! Intro: Socially Distant Jury Duty
Born in Korea and raised in Seattle, violinist-looper and vocalist Joe Kye has drawn rave reviews since launching his music career in 2013, “discharging world[s] of emotion” and delivering “divine messages” with his lush string loops and eclectic style (Guitar World). Drawing upon his migrant upbringing, Kye blends indie-rock, jazz, classical, pop, and world folk to create a unique sound that “leaves everyone in awe” (Sac News and Review). With his innovative use of digital effects and looping, Kye weaves together diverse textures, catchy melodies, and rich, sweet vocals to create songs that groove, uplift, and empower listeners: “A single violinist…one mesmerizing symphony” (Sacramento Bee).
After studying music and culture at Yale University, Kye left a career as a high school educator to pursue music full-time. Following the release of his acclaimed 2015 EP, Joseph in the Well, Kye toured the United States with performances opening for world-renown cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Senator Bernie Sanders, along with a nationally broadcast performance on NPR’s Science Friday. He has been a keynote speaker for Multicultural Week at the Urban School of SF and worked with the United Methodist Church’s General Commission on Religion and Race.
Previous collaborations include the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, the Sacramento Ballet, Alvin Ailey Composer/Percussionist William Catanzaro, and LA hip-hop artist Jason Chu. Kye has performed in venues like Benaroya Hall (Seattle), Community Center Theater (TEDx Sacramento), the Legislative Back-To-Session Bash (California), NAMM MainStage (Anaheim), the Baryshnikov Arts Center (NYC), and the White House. Kye is a Fishman and Neunaber Audio Effects sponsored artist, and has studied violin with Marjorie Kransberg-Talvi, John Kim, and Jim Mihara.