[CONCERT] Indie singer Sim Gyu-seon's solo concert leaves audience in tears

Indie singer Sim Gyu-seon performs on stage during ″The World Before Us″ concert held on Saturday at Woori Art Hall, southern Seoul [GYU / MOTIVE PRODUCTION]

Singer-songwriter Sim Gyu-seon provided a safe space for the audience to soak up their emotions, through the power of her song and lyrics.

“Let’s feel safe in this moment,” Sim said during her concert held on a gloomy Saturday evening.

The solo concert, titled “The World Before Us,” was held at Woori Art Hall in Songpa District, southern Seoul on Nov. 4 with more performances to come on Nov. 11 and 12.

Hundreds of fans gathered, eagerly waiting the annual event. The last concert was held on Oct. 1 and 2, 2022.

The concert, scheduled to run for 160 minutes, lasted more than three hours. During the three-and-a-half-hour performance, Sim delivered 23 songs from her discography, as well as her latest full-length album “#Humankind.”

Sim surprised the audience by starting the concert with “Song of Ash Gray” (2015), which she had not performed in years. It was followed by songs such as "Question," “Demian” (2014) and “The Night Garden” (2022).

Sim’s soulful songs flooded the concert hall with emotions, and the room was filled with people wiping tears from their faces — and even more so when the singer burst into tears herself during the performance of “Arari” (2017).

“Arari” is a song centered around the sad emotions of someone who's been left behind. The song expressed the emotion of “ han,” a feeling of deep sorrow, sung to a melody reminiscent of traditional Korean instruments.

“Every time I sing this song, I always burst into tears,” the singer said, stroking her face. Taking a pause right after the song started she said, “This song is quite personal to me. I don’t know if I said this before, but it’s about my mother.”

“Everyone asks me why I stroke my face with my hands at the beginning of the song,” she added. “When I was young and crying, my father always put his hands on my face and stroked my cheeks, which in the end made me laugh. It's been a habit ever since then when I feel like crying on stage.”

An impromptu performance was given as well, while the singer took a minute to fix her makeup. Her band, starting with the keyboard, played a jazzy sequence to which the singer scatted along when she came back. The audience clapped along to the tune and cheered the unplanned performance.

“Looking back at the past few years, the world has become a place that calls for some crying,” Sim said. “Today is the day when you can cry without any hesitation. I’ll be the excuse.”

It was evident that audiences were touched by her music.

“After listening to the song’s background story, I was even more absorbed in the song 'Arari',” an audience surnamed Lee in his 20s said.

“Her comments during the concert are what make the concert extra special,” a fan in his 20s surnamed Kim said after the concert. “She doesn't just introduce her songs but also sends a message to the audience, making us feel like we are understood.”

Sim Gyu-seon debuted in 2010, this year marking her 13th anniversary. She is now a veteran singer in the indie music scene. She is known for her songs “Please” (2010) and “The Moon and Sixpence” (2015). She is often called a “singing poet” by listeners as she shows empathy toward people and delivers words of comfort through her lyrics.

Her latest album “#Humankind” was released on Oct. 9.