10cm, real name Kwon Jung-Yeol, is a South Korean artist and singer signed under the company Magic Strawberry Sound. Formerly a duo with guitarist and subvocal Yoon Cheol-Jong, their name is a reference to the difference in height between the two members. They first formed in 2008, writing songs together and busking on the street and in clubs, before formally debuting in 2010 with the release “10cm The First EP”, earning them the “This Year’s Discovery Award” at the 2010 Mnet Asian Music Awards as well as the “Best Pop Song Award” at the 2011 Korean Music Awards. After the success of their EP, they went on to release the extremely successful single “Americano”, to date one of their most well-known songs.
In February 2011, they released their first full-length album “1.0”, containing another of their more well-known songs “Love in the Milky Way Café”. Following the success of this album, they released two further full albums, “2.0” in 2012 and “3.0” in 2014, as well as a second EP (aptly titled “The Second EP”) in 2013.
Through these releases as well as a host of singles, drama OST songs and collaborations with various artists and idols, 10cm established a signature sound and mood in their music; Jung-Yeol’s honey-sweet voice layered over acoustic instrumentals, held together by Cheol-Jung’s melodic and innovative guitar-playing and supported by Jung-Yeol’s jembe (an acoustic percussion instrument). Their songs are most often either ballads with sentimental lyrics, with Jung-Yeol crooning his lament over light band or acoustic arrangements (such as “So” or “It’s Snowing”), or sprightly acoustic pop songs with witty and frank lyrics (such as the refreshingly hilarious “What The Spring??” and third album opener “Burden of the 3rd Album”). They are also known for their occasionally racy and suggestive lyrics, such as in “Dreams Come True” and “Tonight”.
Having established a large fanbase and signature sound in South Korea, they became an undoubted pillar of the Korean indie music scene, and it came as a shock to fans when Yoon Cheol-jung announced his departure from the group in early 2017, citing health concerns as the main reason. Later in the year, however, he admitted to use of marijuana.
Despite facing a solo career after his teammate’s departure, other half Kwon Jung-Yeol decided to continue making music under the name 10cm, explaining in an interview with Dingo Music: “I thought that taking a break or quitting here because it’s hard would be irresponsible. And it would be such a shame for 10cm’s music to cease, so I worked even harder on the new album” (Source: Soompi, August 28th 2017). He has since released a fourth album “4.0” in September 2017, as well as a collaboration song “Bye Babe” with EXO’s Chen
Written by Vivien W.