The time is 9 in the morning. A clean cut looking chap who could easily pass off as hailing from the land of kimchi pushes open a pair of wooden door handles and the smell of freshly roasted coffee beans wafts out through those two glass panels left ajar. He perches on the bar stools not commonly found in your typical coffee shop and calls for a cold brew, just the sort of thing you need to start a dreary weekday morning with. We’re catching up with NYK (whose stage name is a combination of his initials, Nicholas Yung Kit, and which just so happens to echo the name he goes by, Nick) , an upcoming local R&B singer whose croons are so smooth they could rival Tennessee whiskey.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve got a single, FWB, coming out on the 4th of August, a week before Good Vibes. A second single is in the works as we speak, and I’ll be flying off to Sweden in October to work with some producers over there on it as well as my upcoming EP. They’ve worked with The Chainsmokers, Celine Dion and Girls’ Generation, so I’m really excited about that. Fingers crossed that it (the EP) will be out next year!
Tell us about FWB.
FWB is more of a representation of modern dating culture. Everyone wants things quick. They want sex quick. They want companionship quick. Nobody wants commitment anymore, and FWB captures all of that in one song. It’s gonna be very relatable to a lot of people.
Do you have any rules when it comes to FWBs?
I’m okay with anything really, but the only rule I have with FWBs is that I have to establish it from the beginning. The problem with a lot of FWBs is that it just happens out of nowhere and they don’t talk ground rules. Someone ends up catching feelings and the other person’s like, ‘this isn’t what I wanted, I don’t want it to develop further’ so if you have an FWB you should be clear about it upfront. We should have a mutual agreement, cause I don’t want you to get fucked over should the feelings turn unrequited.
Where’d you get your kimono from?
I was in Melbourne doing my Masters, and I chanced upon this shop in Queen Victoria market selling all sorts of cool, quirky antique and vintage pieces. This kimono really caught my eye, so I just headed inside and chatted with the owner about it. So this kimono is apparently handmade, and super limited. When I say limited, I’m talking about only one design per piece. She only brings in 5 a month, and the scarcity factor plus the fact that it was only about RM150 meant that I had to snag it. I think it gives off the perfect festival vibe.
What’s the best and worst purchase you’ve ever made?
Best purchase is undoubtedly my Gucci Ace sneakers. I went broke for months after that. I definitely can’t buy this kind of stuff every month. Worst purchase was a pair of cargo pants I bought when I was 14. It was camo and that says alot. It came with 4 pockets and there was one on the shin as well. Hey, it used to be the shit back then! I wore it with pride, alongside a pair of New Balance running shoes… which… would have to be my second worst purchase.
Where do you get your fashion inspirations from?
ASAP Rocky, Matt Healy from The 1975, G-Dragon, Dean and Zion T. I’m getting a lot of Korean influences. (Note: G-Dragon, Dean and Zion T are Korean artists. They’re great – don’t knock it till you’ve tried it)
If you could pick any famous person to date, who would you pick and how would your date go?
Can I even say that? What if she reads this? (laughs) To be honest, I have quite a bit of a crush on Narelle Kheng from The Sam Willows. We’re friends now so things are more chill between us, but prior to this I definitely had the hugest crush on her. The perfect date would take place in Melbourne. To start things off, I’d bring her for lunch in this cosy, hole in the wall Japanese restaurant called Tokyo Tina. We’d proceed to a speakeasy bar called Romeo Lane, which is literally a small lane. They do a mean cocktail there. I’d bring her for dinner at this other Japanese restaurant at Harbourfront. Nothing spells romance quite like eating by the water. For the finishing touch, we’d head over to the suburbs. There’s this vintage cinema in Elsternwick called Classic Cinema that I go to a lot. It’s everything out of an old school Hollywood movie, complete with the names of the movies plastered outside, and everybody’s favorite neon lights. Lastly, what better way to end the night than being able to take her home?
What saying do you think is absolutely bullshit?
‘Don’t expect anything so you won’t be disappointed’. That’s playing it safe. Given, it’s not untrue, but I think you’d live a pretty boring life if you just live by that adage.
What’s your favorite cheesy pickup line?
If I could be any part of a burger I’d be the patty cause then I can be in between your buns. Is your dad a baker cause you’ve got hot buns.
How long have you been performing for?
‘Legit shows’, the ones that really mattered — with Guinness and Future Sound Asia and The Sam Willows were around mid last year, so I’d say it’s been almost a year of solid performances.
Have you ever imagined yourself in this industry?
No. I grew up in that typical household where you don’t do music – it’s just not a thing. Anything shy of being a CEO or an entrepreneur is basically a big disgrace to your Asian ancestors. Eventually, I started getting more opportunities, the shows got bigger, and eventually Sony approached me for a record deal and it just sort of took off from there. Thankfully, my parents started being more lenient with it. At the end of the day however, I’m still a fan of stability, so I’d probably be working a day job. I’ve got a business coming up, so I’d have to juggle both that and my music.
Catch NYK’s set at Good Vibes Fest on the 12th of August, at The Ranch, Gohtong Jaya, Genting Highlands. To see more of what NYK gets up to, follow his Instagram here.
By Camillia Lim
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