Words by Marissa Dodge Bartlett

In Korean mythology, the creation of the universe began with the goddess Mago who gave birth to two goddesses named Gung-hee and So-hee. The musical universe you're listening to began with a small goddess named Sung-hee. You may know her as Kimberly Michaels, but she first came into the world as Park Sung Hee in Seoul, Korea, near the Han River. She was found on the same day she was born, in a basket on the steps of an old building in the heart of Seoul city.

 

Six months later she was flown across the ocean to her adoptive family, and the very different world of Minnesota became her home. It was there Kimberly discovered her resonating love for music and her first instrument, the piano. Her parents sensed her ear for music and enrolled her in Suzuki lessons at age four. Her innate appreciation for music was evident even then; this intuitiveness, combined with her natural feel, is ever apparent in her singing. Music seems to flow naturally from and through her, and like the Four Rivers in Korea, the four musical rivers of R&B, Soul, Pop & Rock move fluidly, yet powerfully, through her music and her soul.

 

There are as many layers to Kimberly as there are meanings to the Korean word, Han: among the meanings are sadness, sorrow, regret, or an obstinate urge to right wrongs; but the meaning that resounds for Kimberly is that Han, like music, is held close to the heart, hoping, and patient. In Korea, it's said that Han becomes part of the blood and breath of a person just as it becomes the river of life that we navigate…the river we came from and return to. Han and music course and flourish in Kimberly's blood and in the breath of her voice as she sings from her soul - a soul that she describes as "old and worn, reincarnated, colorful, expressive, loving, forgiving, lifting and lightening." We can think of this when we listen to her song "Thankful," for all we go through, shapes us and brings us here.

 

As much as the river is part of Kimberly's passage, so are the stars reflected on its surface. The meaning of her birth name is prophetically clear: Sung-hee means "a star shines" or "a star is bright." As Sung-hee has followed her stellar course, note by note, song by song, her listeners have followed her luminous path and have been hoping for the release of this recording. A diverse and meaningful collection of songs, her CD Simply titled “Kimberly Michaels”, is her soul's affirmation to the world she's traveled through and sung to for so long.

 

When she asks the profound question, "Whose Child Am I?" she finds her own answer; Kimberly belongs to the Universe, her spirit from God, her soul from Korea, and her heart from her Minnesota home.  She's a daughter of music, and a sister in song; a creative artistic spirit and an honest communicator who reaches out from the realms she's traversed.  To all those souls who might feel they have no roots, no family, no home, no love, or peace in spirit - and to those who feel they do - she reminds them to be thankful for what they have, and to celebrate each step on our various paths. Our creation is a daily process, in increments we evolve to our ultimate composition. Writing music began for her as a small, quiet child at her piano. Kimberly's voice and songs resonate with the ageless poetry of hope for all people, and the deep belief that no matter how far, wide, or serendipity the voyage, there's always something more than imagined waiting at the end of our journey.

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