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Jihae: An ‘Illusion Of You’ and ‘Utopia’

Photograph of the blog post author, Steph Oldfield

Steph Oldfield


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Dark haired women pictured is Jihae
Credit: Ogata

Prolific musician-come-actress Jihae’s ‘Illusion Of You’ has now hit over 81,000 streams on Spotify! Jihae stars as the ethereal Phantom Lady in Altered Carbon: Season 2’s debut episode, out on Netflix. Jihae’s was also a great addition to Мusic Gateway’s Promotion Roster!

‘Illusion Of You’, from Jihae’s album that features songs co-written by the likes of David Stewart & Leonard Cohen, is available to save & stream on Spotify. You can also catch it on the largest Altered Carbon soundtrack playlists!

‘Illusion Of You’, Performed By Jihae In Altered Carbon

Jihae performs ‘Illusion Of You’ during the opening scene of Season 2’s debut episode, which shares the name ‘Phantom Lady’. ‘Illusion Of You’ is featured again during the rolling credits at the end.

Introducing the Phantom Lady straight away, Jihae stands poised centre stage in a dimly lit, jazz lounge type of bar, draped in gold and glowing underneath a single spotlight. This role’s an exciting win for Jihae – extremely fitting for someone so serenely cool.

‘Illusion Of You’ is the ideal tone-setter; it sounds as though it was written specifically for the episode. Ominous lyrics & drums gradually build up, leading to the events that follow later in the scene.

“Wearing a metal dress in the winter snow is not as elegant as it looks.”

Jihae, dressed in a gold metallic hooded dress, is seen here standing under a spotlight on stage as the Phantom Lady in Altered Carbon
Credit: Netflix

Who Is Jihae: There’s More Than Meets The Eye

In case you’re not familiar already, Jihae is a multifaceted extraordinaire. She’s a singer, songwriter, all-round cool girl and (most recently) Altered Carbon’s very own Phantom Lady.

Jihae was born in Seoul, Korea. The daughter of a diplomat, she also attended school in Nigeria, Sweden and the U.S., before graduating with a BA from Emory University in Atlanta.

Demonstrating her strong head for music, Jihae went on to found her own record label; Septem. Here, she released her first album ‘My Heart Is An Elephant’, featuring iconic collaborations with Lenny Kravitz & Michel Gondry).

Jihae made her on-screen debut in National Geographic miniseries ‘Mars’, followed by a leading role in Peter Jackson’s ‘Mortal Engines’ as Anna Fang and ‘Altered Carbon’ as the Phantom Lady (most recently) .

Expert traveler”, “musician, artist, and philanthropist”, “multimedia artist” & “not your typical rockstar” are profiles that the likes of Vogue, W Magazine, Variety and Allure have attributed to Jihae. However, we’ve chosen one simple word to describe her: unstoppable.

Black and white image set under bridge features Jihae in foreground
Credit: Ogata

Мusic Gateway caught up with Jihae to learn more about the inspiration behind ‘Illusion Of You’, her experience as the Phantom Lady and her plans for the rest of the year.

What was the initial inspiration behind ‘Illusion Of You’?

“The illusion of love… This grandeur of a man I fell in love with, who turned out to be something else than I built him up to be. This led me to explore illusions of self-identity and group identities for the ‘Illusion’ album concept as a whole.”

What was it like getting to work with Dave Stewart & Leonard Cohen?

“Dave is a firecracker and a visionary. He’s always got a pulse on the next thing. I learned so much from him and he’s a super fun ultra-human.

Once Dave learned that my ultimate hero is Leonard Cohen, he sent me a poem they wrote together back in the 90’s saying, “I think you can do this justice”. I was in Harbor Island at the time, sharing a beach house with many friends during a winter holiday. I stayed in while everyone was out at the beach and wrote the chords & melodies to the poem.

Dave sent my live concert video of the song [‘It Just Feels’] to Leonard, who watched it and said “Beautiful and brilliant!’ They graciously agreed to give me co-writing credit on the song.

I had an email friendship with Leonard for a couple of years and we had agreed to meet for tea, but sadly we never made it before his passing.
His last words to me were: “I rejoice in your success!’ May he rest in peaceful bliss.”

How would you describe your experience of portraying the Phantom Lady in Altered Carbon?

“A blast… Although a cold one. Wearing a metal dress in the winter snow is not as elegant as it looks. But that gold dress really helped me get into the sleeve of the tortured singer (female Kovac), lamenting his long-lost love. All the people involved in the production were so caring and the actors were sweethearts, so it was a lovely experience.”

She performs 'Illusion Of You' during her role in Altered Carbon
Credit: Netflix

“I’m working on my 5th studio album, ‘Dreaming of Utopia’, and am at near completion on a standard covers EP, ‘Wild Is The Wind’, which will come out first.

I got inspired to make the EP after recording “I Got You Under My Skin” with Sune Rose Wagner for Altered Carbon and recorded 4 cover songs in that netherworld realm of noir, with trip-hop beats & bass by Shahzad Ismaily (Iggy Pop, Tom Waits); synth by Jason Linder (David Bowie); guitar by Avi Bortnick (John Scofield) and horns by Devin Brahja Waldman (Patti Smith, Thurston Moore).

I’m collaborating with a wonderful fine artist and good friend Yelena Yemchuk on creating neo-noir short films for the EP.”

Check out Jihae’s single Utopia – a heady mix of vocals with ethereal strings.


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