First and foremost, many thanks to Twitter account @SimonGlominic for the A+ content and the frequent reminders that we are ALL indeed waiting for Simon D to return with a full album. Or a single. Or a feature. A selfie…something…
It is imperative that you have this song playing gently in the background as you read this:
Two of @SimonGlominic’s recent tweets led me to reflect on the rapper’s absence:
These tweets, in addition to thinking about my own hiatus the last couple months, led me to write this (dare I call it a “think piece”). After the announcement of the upcoming H1GHR Music U.S. Tour, one burning question remained in my mind: “Will Simon D be there??”
I am pretty sure Simon D’s last feature was on Dumbfoundead’s track ‘Hyung’ released in the spring of last year.
Of course, there are many possible explanations for why we haven’t seen and heard much from Simon in a while. I’m always amazed by artists’ ability to constantly produce new content while also dealing with whatever is going on in their personal lives.
For example, while this site is not income-generating and keeping it updated is not a full time job, it’s a hobby that can become quite time-consuming. As I type this, it is already 2 am and I should definitely be sleeping. There have been times when the pace of content I release slowed because of seasons of depression, or because I simply wasn’t in the mood. And there are periods like the past three months (HOW is it April already??) where I was simply busy with school and traveling and didn’t have the time I wanted to put into creating content.
Since Show Me The Money 5 and other television appearances, the easiest way to see Simon D has been to buy tickets to an AOMG show. Some fans got creative and tried to catch a glimpse of the artist using other methods and, well, they got in trouble with the law.
I could have written about the Korean music industry, how music promotion works there, and how that all connects to the expectations fans have in regards to the frequency of release of new content. Simon D hasn’t released new music since 2015 and that’s a big deal. However, I don’t think that’s the main reason why it feels like he’s dropped off the face of the planet.
It’s been more than half a year since Simon D mysteriously deleted all of his Instagram posts and became inactive. Before his sudden departure, the rapper would post photos every once in a while as well as update his Instagram story (my favorite clips were of his treadmill work outs with food emojis for captions – remember those??)
These days, you can occasionally spot him in the Instagram stories of his friends and colleagues, causing fans to simultaneously rejoice and lament. I still cannot believe Jay posted this ANCIENT photo on his co-CEO’s birthday…
In recent years, social media, particularly Twitter and Instagram, has become crucial in terms of being an avenue for artists to both promote their music and connect with fans.
Simon D’s absence is particularly difficult for overseas fans who rely even more heavily on an artist’s social media presence to feel connected to them.
Instagram revolutionized the artist-fan relationship with their ‘Live’ feature, perhaps most notably with the latest modification which allows users to invite other people to join their live broadcast. Dumbfoundead, Jay Park, and other artists have taken full advantage of this by accepting joint live requests from fans:
Because of this growing trend, if you’re not active online (whether or not you’re releasing new music), as an artist you run the risk of losing not only public attention but slipping in relevance. The only reason I created a Twitter years ago was to follow Taeyang, who at the time posted maybe once a month. If you’ve been paying attention to Korean pop culture or pop culture generally for that matter, I don’t need to go into detail about the role social media has played in Korean group BTS increasing in global fame in the last year.
It’s quite possible that the lack of new music from Simon D is what ultimately led to his lack of social media presence. How many comments from fans asking about a new album or the next comeback does it take before an artist cracks under the pressure?
Less dramatically, Simon could have simply woken up one morning and decided having a public Instagram account was wack.
We may never know.
What’s interesting is this: Simon D is NOT giving the people what they want, and yet anticipation for whatever he has coming remains. A few Korean artists I follow have deleted all of their photos before, only to start posting again not long after the wipe. Not many have completely erased everything. Somehow, with an Instagram account that follows no one, with no posts and no profile picture, Simon D has maintained a following of 1 million. The same number of followers as Oh Hyuk, lead singer of the band Hyukoh, who posts pretty regularly.
Jay Park has been busy with AOMG, ROC Nation, H1GHR Music, SXSW…who knows, maybe Simon D has had his hands full with CEO stuff. Maybe he is indeed working hard in the studio and one of these days, out of the blue, we’ll be blessed with a teaser (PLEASE).
In light of the current dynamic between fans and music artists facilitated by social media, two things are clear. Simon’s absence is deliberate and there’s a good reason for it.
And so, we wait.