Artist Spotlight: Nell

The artist this time is…


Nell is the name of a Korean “Indie” group, not an individual person.
There are four guys in this group and the band has been around since 1999.
This band was picked up by Kpop legend Seo Taiji in 2002.

Apparently, their name is based after an American movie of the same name. They feel the plot of the movie fits in with the type of music they make; a person in an isolated world.

This band is most memorable for Kim Jong-wan’s haunting, emotional voice.
Some of their songs seem to be slow, but suddenly pick up near the end with emotion. (Personally, I find it difficult to listen to most Nell songs without becoming sad because the majority of them have such a gloomy, melancholic sound).

Kim Jong-wan also composes and writes all the music. And, since the group isn’t really Kpop, it was created by friends… not manufactured by a company.

This year, they got a lot of attention with their music video for “The Day Before”.
The song itself appears to be about how the harder you hold onto something, the more it slips away.
Some people think it’s definitely about a break up because of the line “What about this break-up?” But that’s actually just one translation. The word translated to “break-up” could simply mean “separation” as well.
Kim Jong-wan said himself that the song is based on the title. [source]

The music video for this song impacted many viewers.
I think one of the reasons is because  both the acting and the song itself felt so real.

The theme of the video seems to be built around a poem written by John Berger in his book, ‘And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos’.
In the video, a man commits suicide after reading the poem from the book, called “A View of the Delft”.
He video tapes it and his friend goes to the spot he died to watch the film and kind of relive it, or pretend he’s a part of it.

There are two important lines that lead to this interpretation of the video. One is the lyric, “I wonder if we are sometimes standing in the same memory.” The other is from the book read in the video, “Those who read or listen to our stories see everything as though through a lens.” [helpful source]


Kim Jong-wan
December 24, 1980

Lee Jae-kyung
Lead Guitar
May 13, 1980

Lee Jung-hoon
Bass Guitar
November 11, 1980

Jung Jae-won
August 4, 1980


  • Lead vocalist Kim Jing-wan has been featured in two Epik High songs, “Let It Rain” and “I’m Happy”.
  • They’re now under the same label as Kpop group Infinite
  • All members have completed their mandatory military service



One thought on “Artist Spotlight: Nell

  1. Pingback: June 15: New Korean MVs | Dramas Whoo!

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