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ON THE RADAR: Minneapolis Artist Chad Atkins Gears Up For His First International Performance at South Korea’s Zandari Festa

Zandari Festa, South Korea’s largest music showcase festival, brings in over 250 acts from all over the world to perform in Seoul’s Hongdae neighborhood

Chad Atkins Photo 2 1152x768
Photo Credit: Kelsey Geiger

Last updated on December 17th, 2021 at 03:23 am

Chad Atkins writes love songs. Granted, the 24-year-old vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer is neither alone in this nor free of antecedents. Much of the poppier stuff he records and releases (as opposed to what he ends up scrapping, which is a lot) is unabashedly built on DNA from the deep end of the song pool first populated by the Postal Service and Owl City. But Ben Gifford and (especially) Adam Young’s lyrics and music to tend to run as chaste and convoluted as a Mormon tween’s LiveJournal in 2003.

Such is demonstrably not the case with the Lincoln, Nebraska native who first found inspiration in their work well before moving to Minneapolis a few years ago. While calling Atkins ‘Nebraska’s answer to D’Angelo’ might be taking things a bit too far (for now), truth is, his default mode is already skewing toward the sensual and direct in ways most pop EDM artists simply lack sufficient hormones (or imagination) to even think of emulating.

Also, in a subgenre cluster where singers tend to sound like either nice guys or party bois, Atkins stands out by not always coming off as exactly human. Dude’s voice is hella angelic––in a way suggesting that if, one night, he were to magically appear in your bedroom, calling the police might very much not be the first thing on your mind.

There’s more to Chad Atkins than killer hooks, a voice that could charm the fuzz off a peach, and raw animal magnetism, too. For one thing, the man knows his limitations as a vocalist and excels at enlisting the aid of people who can transcend them whenever his approach to creating music leads him to melodies, textures, timbres, and/or perspectives beyond the broad confines of his range.

“I spend most of my time in my apartment just playing around with sounds on my computer,” Atkins explains, “until melodies, chords, etc. start to take form, and then I start actually building the song as a whole once it has a complete framework. Lyrics usually come last, and I pretty much always rely on invention. I’ve only written one song––”Echo”––about a specific person from my past.”

Atkins puts a spectacular amount of work into his live performances as well, something he was able to showcase earlier this year when he performed a string of dates between Minneapolis and Lincoln on his Homecoming Tour, the first tour of his young but promising career.

There are a lot of things I love about performing live, but making different live edits for the songs is a really cool aspect, it lets you, like, partially remix the song in a different way. I’m also a huge fan of getting to play along to the songs live, and of course, seeing a crowd connect with the music is priceless.

Now, Atkins finds himself gearing up for something even more impressive than his first tour; performing internationally for the very first time. Atkins was chosen to perform a set at Zandari Festa 2018, taking place on October 4th – 7th in Seoul, South Korea.

Started in 2012, Zandari Festa quickly established itself as South Korea’s largest music showcase festival. The annual event takes place in Seoul’s Hongdae area, the epicenter of youth culture in South Korea and ground zero for the country’s indie music scene.

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For three days each October, Zandari Festa brings together acts and music industry professionals from around the world for concerts and conferences at more than twenty unique venues around Hongdae.

Along with showcasing established acts and exciting up-and-comers from South Korea’s burgeoning indie scene, with each passing year, Zandari Festa has placed a greater emphasis on becoming a truly global event.

As one of only two United States-based artists to perform at this year’s Zandari Festa, Atkins fully realizes the importance of this opportunity and intends to take full advantage of the five days he and his manager, Kelsey Geiger, will be spending there.

It’s already a huge honor to be a part of this ‘musical potluck’, but to be one of only two U.S. artists invited to the festival is absolutely mindblowing.

Atkins performance will take place on Saturday, October 6th at 7:30 PM at Seoul’s Club Steel Face. Club SF, an interesting and extraordinary live music club, is where the bands of Steel Face Records, including PATiENTS, Cockrasher, Dives, Bad Trip, Swindlers and more, perform. Unlike most of the live music clubs that are located in the basement, it is located on the fifth floor where you can take in a colorful night view of Hongdae.

After his trip to South Korea concludes, Atkins has plans to release a new single sometime in October and has been making connections with local musicians to create a remix of his album, Stories, enlisting their services to provide musical reimaginings of each song on the album. Although a release date for that project is not yet known, Atkins also hinted at a possible follow-up to his debut album next year.

Keep a close eye on Atkins’ social media pages over the next few weeks to keep up with his journey to South Korea, and to be the first to know when new music is on the horizon.

Written by Justin Bailey

Managing Editor & Social Media Admin for Music In Minnesota. Graduated Valedictorian of my class from IPR - College of Creative Arts with an A.A.S. in Music & Entertainment Business. ICON Award Winner. Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.


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