Harvard student goes viral on Tiktok after posting original musical – NBC Boston


A Harvard University student has gone viral after posting a video of herself on social media singing songs she wrote that sound remarkably similar to those in animated films .

Julia Riew, 22, from Missouri, is the voice and brains behind a new version of Korean folktale character, Shim Chong.

“Shim Chong, herself, as a character, was really kind of a princess that I always wanted to see grow up,” said the theater and music manager in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Riew started writing musicals since she was 15, she said. She took a year off during the pandemic to work on Shim Chong, writing an entire play and producing 23 full tracks to accompany it.

“After I finished my first full track, I downloaded TikTok, made a video, and then posted it,” she explained.

The next day, she had 10,000 subscribers.

Before starting each song, Riew transforms into his animated alter ego using a Snapchat filter in his videos.

At Shim Chong, she found a way to connect with her Korean heritage, she said.

“This story really spoke to me, in particular, because of this journey of Shim Chong in hopes of reconnecting with her family, with her father in particular, and reconnecting and returning home,” Riew said. .

That connection resonated with audiences around the world who watched her videos on social media, inspired by the woman who breathed new life into the character through music.

Since posting that first video online in January, Riew has continued to share her passion for music and plays, even writing a musical about her favorite Korean grocery store at Cambridge H-Mart.

“My dream is really to help contribute to a movement of cultural appreciation in media, theater, film, music; all these different art forms,” ​​Riew said.

Riew hopes Shim Chong can make it to the big screen one day.


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