Justin Park Shares the Very Personal Reason His Song 'MI VIDA' Incorporates Spanish Influences
There's a pretty personal reason why Korean-American singer-songwriter Justin Park incorporated Spanish lyrics and Latin beats in his stunning new track, "MI VIDA."
The song, and its sweltering music video, are out today, Feb. 18, and we were honored to get the chance to chat with Justin all about it. Keep reading to find out what inspired the song, and how the use of Spanish ties into his own family history and roots.
Sweety High: What was the songwriting process for "MI VIDA"?
Justin Park: "MI VIDA" came about when me and DIRK Pate got together for the second time to write a record. We had come across a very simple unfinished guitar loop with a beat that both made us a little too excited; that's how we knew we had our next record. What I had told DIRK that I was looking for was energy, push and something that will make my audience dance. That in combination with the Spanish vibes I think makes this record!
SH: How did you decide to incorporate a little Spanish and flamenco guitar sounds in the track? What do you think they add to the romantic feel of the song?
JP: So with this record, I personally wanted to call back to a bit of my musical influences from back in the day, like Usher, NSYNC and Carlos Santana, and by keeping that R&B-pop sort of structural feel, along with a bit of energy and romance with the guitar. I just felt like having all this together would make this song very universal and very easy for anyone to really like.
SH: What does the track mean to you, and what do you hope fans take away from it?
JP: "MI VIDA" to me means the world. For the first time, I get to talk about my life and where I'm from in such a personal way. Most people don't know this, but my mother's side of the family had immigrated to and lived in Argentina and Paraguay for years before coming to America. I remember as a kid seeing my mom speak Spanish fluently to figures in the city of L.A. Thinking about it all now almost seems like a dream. I hope that from "MI VIDA" my fans can take away from this song the persistence of love—love that lasts beyond all bounds, love beyond distance and love that is excited and never loses its flame.
SH: What's your favorite lyric from the song? Why?
JP: My favorite lyrics from the song are super simple because I like things for weird reasons sometimes. But I love a line in the second verse that mentions, "Diamantés, Dior for you baby," which is a very simple line. All I'm saying is "diamonds, Dior for you, baby." But just how that line makes me feel, is almost like a Casanova or a Fabio. That's why I like it.
SH: How is this different from what you've released in the past? Do you feel like your sound is headed in a new direction?
JP: Well, this is my first record that includes Spanish, let's get obvious out of the way. And also this was my first time working with Fish Herring, who did all of the production basically for this record. Fish is an amazing man with decades of guitar and music knowledge, and one thing I'm very proud of Fish for is having toured with Christina Aguilera and Madonna for years! I'd say that my music will always be changing, and music from a true musician can never actually sound the same. So to the good and to the bad records, I may make in the future, I welcome them both.
Love Spanish-language music? Click HERE to read our interview with Guaynaa on his steamy track with India Martínez, "El Payo."