by Kenny Kerner

For Korean-born Yuni, the awakening took place at the age of 21 in a small bar called the Slippery Noodle. But we'll get to that later.

Yuni began playing piano in school at the age of three. She really had no choice. Korean schools mandated that students acquaint themselves with the arts and those arts included music and martial. When she moved to America four years later, she continued her playing while living with her adopted American grandparents. As a child, she had almost no exposure at all to radio or television. "I was always considered to have prodigy-like abilities so my grandparents wanted me to continue with my classical piano training. By that time, I also picked up the violin and just kept playing and playing. I was just doing what I was told. I played violin in an orchestra or piano with an orchestra. I was also learning a brand new language at the time. I was just trying to survive and deal with the culture shock. Even radio and television scared me. I had never been exposed to them before."

All her life, Yuni was being groomed to attend Indiana School of Music, so from a very young age, her focus was set. "It was expected that I attend Indiana University so even during the summers I practiced hard. I finally received a scholarship to attend. I went there for nine weeks and then decided to give back the scholarship and quit. I looked around at the people that were there for years and they were really unhappy."

Name: Yuni
Residence: Indianapolis, Indiana
Occupation: Musician/songwriter/publisher
Joined TAXI: 1997
Songs Forwarded: 13
Deals: None

Having spent the better part of 15 years studying and being saturated with classical music, Yuni now decided to make the only decision she could: She sold all of her belongings and went hitchhiking! Huh???

"I never really thought about having a career in music. I did this for no apparent reason. I just left. When I got back from my hiking, I met someone in Arizona who had family in Indianapolis, so we went back together. We walked into this club and I heard this music being played and I really loved it. I never heard anything like it before--it was electric blues. This was the first time I ever saw electric instruments--guitar, bass, drums, being played. I was 21. My dad would play the radio and I heard songs by the Rolling Stones and the Who but It was real boring. I couldn't figure it out. I never put together that drums and bass and guitar made this sound. I was coming from total classical training. When I heard this, something clicked. I didn't know if it was good blues or bad blues. I just knew that I liked it."

That awakening at the Slippery Noodle was all it took to inspire Yuni to form her own electric band. She started hanging out at the bar and jamming. "I would get up on stage singing words I just made up and not even know how to hold a microphone. I noticed that during every song, someone would yell, "hit it." So I'm on stage looking at this guy and I yell 'hit it' and I hear this music start playing. I look over at the other side of the stage and this guy playing has this instrument with six strings. I look at the guy next to me and his instrument has only four strings. It all clicked--the higher pitched instruments played the solo when I yelled hit it and the lower instrument worked with the drums. I finally realized how a band works."

I must admit that Hollywood screenwriters would be hard pressed to come up with a more amazing story. Yet, this was all the incentive Yuni needed to go out and put together her very first band. And, I might add, her only band! " I never had aspirations of sending my music to anyone in the record industry to get signed. We played and put out our own record. The band is together now for 11 years."

Yuni was introduced to TAXI in 1997 by seeing an ad in a magazine. "I thought about joining TAXI when I decided to do a solo project. I knew they wrote critiques about songs and I was still trying to get familiar with the American song structure. I wanted to do rock music and that music got played on the radio so I wanted my songs to have that potential. With the blues band, we just enjoyed playing and never gave a thought to dealing with the music industry. I knew that TAXI would help me get contacts in the business."

Though most people use the TAXI screeners to forward their material in hopes of landing a lucrative record or publishing deal, Yuni uses the screeners' comments to learn how to properly structure rock songs for American radio. "I would get the listings that say they want songs like some of the contemporary artists and I wouldn't be familiar with the music of a single artist so I would just send in the music I had and wait to learn from the critique."

During her three year membership in TAXI (Yuni is still a member), Yuni confesses that she's learned a lot about songwriting and has even begun listening to the radio a little. "As an artist, I plan on growing with TAXI. They allow me to be more focused; to create boundaries for my songs so they are more accessible. TAXI gives me real workable information."









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