JinJoo Lee recently did a interview with cosmopolitan.com on how she ended up in DNCE, what its like being the only girl in the band, and what’s next for the band!
Check out the interview below!
So you came from South Korea to L.A. with just you and your guitar?
Well, that was miserable. I was very, very scared and afraid because I couldn’t speak any English when I moved here. I literally came without any plans. I learned [English] in L.A. when I was 19, and I found a music school in Hollywood. I started going there about a year later because at the music school they did auditions, and I did an audition and got a callback. Then [I did] a second audition and a callback and a third audition. I got the job, which was with Jordin Sparks, so I became a lady guitarist for her. She had toured with the Jonas Brothers in 2009, and that’s how I met Joe.
You also toured with CeeLo, right? And Charli XCX?
After I did the audition with Jordin, the director — that was the first time he saw me — every time, he was the director for every audition in L.A. He called me like, “CeeLo’s auditioning. Do you want to come play?” So I played and I got the job. And with Charli XCX, I actually got the gig from Twitter.
Yeah. What happened was [producer] Adam Blackstone knew me for a while and recommended me to Charli XCX’s tour manager, but he couldn’t find my personal info, so he tweeted me. So I got the job through Twitter.
“Cake by the Ocean” came out last fall, but it’s been so huge this year too. What was it like being part of DNCE when the single blew up?
I feel like I’m still dreaming. It’s insane. I came here as a visitor and became part of this awesome band, doing what I’ve been dreaming of. I feel like the luckiest person in the world.
Did you teach yourself the guitar?
When I grew up, my siblings were all musicians, and I was the youngest one. So they showed me a lot of great musicians and they taught me a lot.
What is it like being the only girl in a band that’s otherwise all guys?
It’s the best thing ever.
Because they are very simple. Guys are so simple and easy. I don’t know, I love working with guys. It’s always been like that for my career. I was the only female in the band the entire time, so I’m very used to it. I’m very comfortable, and they’re funny and silly.
Are they kind of like your protectors on the road?
Definitely. Nobody can ever come to me and talk to me ever. They’re protective, but they love it when I have fun.
Well, in all of the group photos, you always seem like you’re having the most fun.
It’s so hard not to have fun because these guys are very funny and silly, so they keep me laughing all the time.
Who would you say are your guitar idols?
There are so many. It’s so hard to pick one, but I’ve got to say Stevie Ray Vaughan because I grew up listening to him and learning his music the whole time. He’s my idol. I got introduced to a lot of blues and R&B and rock ‘n’ roll. Funk was big for me. It wasn’t popular [in South Korea], but our family was very into soul music when I grew up, so for me, it was natural because that was all they’d been listening to. They’d be playing it in the living room and watching the videos.
You have to know that you’re a role model for girls who want to learn to play the guitar. Do any girls come up to you at shows and tell you that?
Yeah, there are like so many girls texting me and DMing me and tweeting me like, “Now I want to play the guitar; now I’ve started. I bought the guitar, I’ve been practicing.” That makes my day. That’s awesome.
Do any of the girls try to get to Joe through you?
Now you’ve got to be the bodyguard like he is to you, right?
Yeah, we all protect each other I guess.
What does DNCE have coming up next?
We’re going to release our album this year — I guess in the fall or something — and we just released our second music video [for “Toothbrush”]. So we’re going to keep on pushing and we’re going to finish this tour in the summer. We’ll try to go everywhere that we didn’t go before, and just try not to stop.
Are you going to South Korea?
We’re planning on it. We’ll see.
That will be crazy for you, right?
Yeah, that will be crazy. I will probably cry the whole time. All of my family is there.
You don’t have an album title yet, do you?
We don’t have it yet. We’ll probably come up with something like maybe a week before. We’re all about happy accidents, so we’ll see what’s coming!