SXSW Live Shot: artist So!YoOn! charms with electrifying guitar solos, rockstar aura

Angela Lim, Kaiya Little, Life and Arts senior reporters

Pounding bass vibrated through 3TEN Austin City Limits Live as overhead lights painted the room in shades of red and purple. So!YoOn! quietly stood behind the crowd moments before her performance, fitted neatly in an all black ensemble and shades, oozing with effortless rockstar quality.

SXSW’s JADED showcase, which took place on March 18, featured six Asian artists from all over the world. Lead vocalist and guitarist of South Korean band SE SO NEON, Hwang Soyoon, represented her group onstage with a seven-song set combining elements of alternative R&B and retro-soul.  

The artist opened with “So!YoOn!,” shredding a captivating, swanky solo on her golden electric guitar. Working the strings with her fingers, Soyoon’s body followed every note instinctively, drawing the crowd into her trance. Following up with “Lighthouse,” a song appearing on her upcoming album, the artist’s voice reverberated with autotune in waves of electronic synths.

“Are you all ready for more?” she asked the crowd.

The mood shifted when Soyoon sang the first lines of her slow jam “Zz’City” and smooth R&B track “Noonwalk,” her airy vocals and dreamy guitar melodies filling up the venue. The percussion-heavy “Mirae” erupted cheers from the audience.

With the crowd under her spell, Soyoon grooved as she sang the addictive hook of “Forever Dumb,” reimagining Sam Kim’s verses. The artist ended her 35-minute set with a serene, lulling performance of her most streamed song, “Wings.”

Coming down from the high of the performance, Soyoon’s power as a soloist rang clear as she surveyed the room with a grin stretched across her face, single-handedly occupying the expanse of the entire stage. Taking a bow, she introduced herself once more.

“I’m So!YoON!”