We sat down with multi-platinum, 3X Grammy-winning audio engineer, David Kim, also known as "Yungin". Born in Korea and moving to LA at a young age, Kim shares his story of growing up in Koreatown, navigating the LA Riots, his love for football and sports, transitioning his focus to music, and working with his favorite producer (Hit-boy) and rapper (Nas).
Kim shares that music wasn't his initial dream, his love was sports. He set his eyes on playing Division I football with goals to become a professional athlete. Unfortunately, his dream took a U-turn due to a major injury which left him devastated.
With his athletic dreams taken away, Kim struggled through college that led him to drop out. He instead enrolled in Musicians Institute and excelled. Graduating top of his class, he set his eyes on the infamous Chalice Recording Studio.
Being denied an internship from Chalice 2 years after graduating, Kim decided to take matters into his own hands. Hopping on Chalice's Facebook Page, he messaged 3-4 Chalice employees hoping they would take a chance on him. He received a message back from Josh Cellars, who played a pivotal role in helping him get an internship at Chalice and the eventual growth of Kim's career.
A perk of being an employee at Chalice is the ability to use world-class studios if they're not booked. Throughout Kim's 4 years as an intern (1 year) and runner (3 years) at Chalice, he dedicated himself to the studio. Working from 8:30 am -6 pm as a runner, Kim would clock out and focus on his engineering skills from 6 pm - 2 am every day.
Kim finally received an opportunity to show off his talents once an assistant engineer got sick and never lost the job since. Kim became one of 3 main engineers at Chalice Recording Studios, working with artists like Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Ariana Grande, Nipsey Hussle, Hit-Boy, Nas, and many more. After receiving 2 Grammys for Kendrick Lamar's "To Pimp a Butterfly" and Nipsey Hussle's "Racks in the Middle", he was asked to work exclusively with his favorite producer, Hit-Boy,. Kim worked for Hit-Boy, which created the opportunity to work on Nas' album "King's Disease". They ended up winning a Grammy, Kim's 3rd.
Through all the impressive accomplishments David has achieved, he shares his struggles and the grind to live his dream. Thank you, David, for embodying the Smash Life mentality and being a role model to many of us!