If there’s anything I’ve learned from covering pop music for over a decade, it’s that songwriters and collaborators are just as important as the artists themselves. Though they often work behind the scenes, this feature is a chance to shine the light on some of k-pop’s most innovative and accomplished producers and composers.
Years active: 2015-present
Associated Acts: Monsta X, MXM, Victon, Produce 101
His sound: Retro funk-r&b arrangements, fusing hip-hop beats with catchy instrumental hooks. 80’s synths, rhythm guitar and brass are all commonly used elements.
Why you should love him: An artist in his own right under Brand New Music, ESBEE has quickly established his place in k-pop by crafting a sound that fuses the old with the new. Though his songs could be considered trendy, they’re infused with a heavy 80’s influence that gives them a timeless appeal. He knows his way around a good groove, and that should prove indispensable once his agency fuses sub-unit MXM with Wanna One members Woojin and Daehwi to launch their expected boy group next year. I’d be shocked if ESBEE wasn’t one of their go-to producers.
Examples of his best work: