Born in Korea and raised in Seattle, violinist- looper and vocalist Joe Kye has drawn rave reviews since launching his career, “discharging world[s] of emotion” and delivering “divine messages” with his lush string loops and eclectic style (Guitar World). Drawing upon his migrant upbringing, Kye blends indie-rock, jazz, classical, and pop to create a unique sound that “leaves everyone in awe” (Sac News and Review). With his innovative use of digital effects and looping, Kye weaves together diverse textures, catchy melodies, and rich, sweet vocals to create songs that groove, uplift, and empower listeners: "A single violinist...one mesmerizing symphony" (Sacramento Bee). A powerful storyteller with an inclusive sense of humor, Joe’s performances weave his immigrant narrative through his show, inspiring audiences to compassion and empathy in these divisive times.
After studying music and culture at Yale University, Kye left a career as a high school educator to pursue music full-time. Kye has toured the United States with performances opening for world-renown cellist Yo-Yo Ma, comedian Hari Kondabalu, rapper Warren G, and Senator Bernie Sanders, along with nationally broadcast performances on NPR and BBC. His music has also been featured on the NPR Politics Podcast. Kye recorded his first TedX talk in November of 2018, and has been invited to speak on immigration, creativity, and cultural activism at schools, community organizations, and spiritual centers.
Previous collaborations include the Seattle Repertory Jazz Orchestra, the Sacramento Ballet, Seattle Artivist Sharon Nyree Williams, Alvin Ailey Composer/Percussionist William Catanzaro, and LA hip-hop artist Jason Chu. Kye has performed in venues like Benaroya Hall (Seattle), the Alberta Rose Theater (PDX), the Baryshnikov Arts Center (NYC), the White House, and the National Portrait Gallery (DC). Kye is a Fishman and Neunaber Audio Effects sponsored artist, and has studied violin with Marjorie Kransberg-Talvi, John Kim, and Jim Mihara.
Kye is currently touring in support of his new album, Migrants, released in 2018. Featured on BBC World News, PRI’s The World, and LA’s Music Friday Live, the new record has been praised as “lovely and nimble” and “delightfully unique.”
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