work samples - Joyce Kwon
Joyce Kwon - singer, composer & gayageum player making folk music for folks of the diaspora
Joyce Kwon, voicekwon, gayageum, Asian American, Korean American, New American Folk
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Work Samples

A World Without You

I composed and recorded the music and lyrics for “A World Without You,” the end credits song of the epic massively multiplayer online role-playing game. I worked with the narrative team at Guild Wars 2 to go over the main storyline and developed the song to fit the arc of the game. The song was nominated for Best Original Song at the 2023 Game Audio Network Guild Awards.


Below is a music video I made with my frequent collaborator and director Jon Pears. 

Jesus Christ Is Bored (not for release)

This is a not-yet-released track from my upcoming album inspired by Jungian thought. 

Joyce Kwon, voice
Ross Garren, keyboards
Brandon Bae, guitar
André de Santanna, bass
Gavin Salmon, drums & percussion

Music & lyrics by Joyce Kwon
Produced by Ross Garren
Recorded & mixed by Keith Armstrong
Mastered by Andrew Garver

Dream of Home

Below are two music videos from my album “Dream of Home.” You can listen to the whole album on most streaming platforms. The music video for the title track to my album “Dream of Home” screened at Asian American film festivals and was awarded Best Music Video at the Asians on Film Festival in Los Angeles and the Houston Asian American Pacific Islander Film Festival. The album also inspired a family arts workshop at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

The dream of home can be a nightmare. It’s possible that it’s a place that never existed at all . . . Still, Joyce holds out hope that there’s space for her somewhere, if only in the collective imagination of those marginalized in their homeland.

Motherless Child

American Traditional sung by a choir of Joyces


Musical Arrangement: Joyce
Music Producer: Ross Garren
Lyrics: Korean lyrics by Joyce’s mom, additional English lyrics by Joyce


Video Producer/Editor: Joyce
Camera: Heesung Kim

Little Bird

Song/Voice/Gayageum: Joyce
Music Producer: Ross Garren


Video Editor/Producer: Joyce
Director/Producer: Heesung Kim
Camera: Taegyun Kim


Video includes subtitles in a dozen languages from friends and fellow Americans who understand the feeling of being expats and singing of home.

Crescent the Chromatic Bear

“Crescent” is the name of the title track to one of John Coltrane’s seminal albums. I took Coltrane’s saxophone solo on “Crescent,” imagining a story about a crescent bear and his new friends and penned lyrics to the solo. The video is a recording of me singing over the recording, accompanied by some Microsoft Paint-esque doodles. Press the bear’s nose to play.

Eggs Singing “Ode to Joy”

This is my interpretation of Beethoven sung by a choir of a dozen eggs. I did everything from arranging the music and recording the egg voices and toy piano to animating the eggs and editing the video. This was made for my YouTube Kids channel “Poytiano,” started at the beginning of the pandemic to provide musical content and instruction to my young elementary school students.

Blush & Burn

Here’s a sketch of a song I wrote about my family history for a collaborative project with musician/scholar Julian Saporiti of No-No Boy, who tells hidden American stories. (I also contributed vocal harmonies on the song “Gimme Chills” for No-No Boy’s Smithsonian Folkways debut “1975.”) The video is queued to begin at 0:18 and the song concludes at 3:48. Please find the lyrics below.

Read in the history books
About those bold students
And ordinary citizens
Being extraordinarily brave


Martyrs for democracy
Rise up in Gwangju
Donate food and blood
Use pen and pipe, knife and knee


See the uniformed men
Armed with guns and bayonets
Close in on a face and see a boy wide-eyed
With dreams of studies and school


Proud son of a poor scholar
Deployed to squelch unrest
Leading a platoon
Orders “Don’t shoot, please don’t shoot”


In black and white photos see them blush and burn
In neatly typeset narratives read between the lines
Stories of those living their lives
No hero nor villain
Just daughter, brother, sister, son

Tells me she was a teen
The day of liberation
A sight she’d never seen
Running free for the first time


Everybody laughing, dancing
Arms sway above heads
Speaking our own language
What a foreign feeling of joy


With the Japanese out
Sympathizers disappear
Overnight orphans the three become
Now where do they turn?


Still a girl she makes a home
She cooks and sews and cleans
But there’s not enough
Her youngest brother is sent away


In black and white photos see them blush and burn
In neatly typeset narratives read between the lines
Stories of those living their lives
No hero nor villain
Just daughter, brother, sister, son

I also like to do crafts to complement my musical output 🙂

Pictured are prototypes of the gayageum bookmark that I designed, lovingly laser cut by my baby sister, who was then a student of math and technology with access to a Makerspace on campus. The bookmark was bundled with a list of books by Asian American authors recommended by my other sister, who is an advocate for Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the Bay Area, and sold out on my Kickstarter campaign.