Premiere: The Bittersweet, Haunting Pull of Jong SL’s “Driving Away”

Jong SL © Cameron Rollins
Evoking both bittersweetness and beauty, Jong SL’s new song “Driving Away” is a poignant, moving testament to the reality of losing someone.

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There’s no escaping from loss; like dark clouds looming overhead, tragic experiences follow us wherever we go. Despite our best efforts to shake them from our system, they linger – a reminder of impermanence in an otherwise stable, day-to-day existence. Evoking both bittersweetness and beauty, Jong SL’s new song “Driving Away” is a poignant, moving testament to the reality of losing someone.

Wandering back from Mason,
moons surrounded by the stars.

It’ll be hiding behind the clouds
lighting up the beautiful nightfall

silently yelling your name,
I don’t hear your call

The heavens know my wishes,
they can’t grant them all
Listen: “Driving Away” – Jong SL


Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Driving Away,” the brand new single from Toronto by way of Buffalo, New York singer/songwriter Jong SL. In premiering Jong SL’s humbling song “Old Times Sake” earlier this year, I noted how the artist “displays his personal strife between Eastern and Western cultural identities [he was born in South Korea], understanding who he is in relation to both himself and to those around him, through his vibrant, beautifully melodic and bittersweet songs.” The artist’s latest biography further explains how, “having moved to the US at a young age from South Korea, Jong SL lost his identity along the way. Understanding western and eastern culture, he doesn’t feel truly connected to either.” Jong SL is adrift, yet he is slowly finding himself throug his music.

“Old Times Sake,” like “Driving Away,” wrestles with loss in the form of a relationship’s end. Steeped in nostalgia, warmth, and appreciation, the older song echoes with profound sadness – a feeling that resonates just as strongly in “Driving Away.”

Driving Away - Jong SL

Driving Away – Jong SL

Years drift, the more I miss
If you were here, I’d have my wish
Hopelessly forever lost

“‘Driving Away’ is a bittersweet song about trying to run away from the reality of losing someone, but failing,” Jong SL tells Atwood Magazine. “It’s a given, the more we try to escape, the worse it gets. It’ll always come back to haunt you. For me, the moon represents people that were in my life but no longer in it. I find it fascinating that every single person on this earth has had a moment just gazing at the moon and thinking about life.”

I’m driving away from the moon,
but it keeps on calling me back

It’s there in the shivering dark,
lighting up my path

Rays of Light, sneaking by,
keep calm and out of sight

Silent shine, calls feelings inside

“Driving Away” underpins a kind of soul-searching that dives deep into the individual. The artist is trying to understand himself, now that he is without someone who so deeply impacted his identity. At first, there’s an attempt to deny change; to try to stay the same, and be the person he already knows himself to be. Ultimately, this charade proves unstable – forcing the individual to confront that loss and wade through dark places no one would otherwise dare venture.

Jong SL © Cameron Rollins

Jong SL © Cameron Rollins

There’s no denying loss. It will change us, and the truth of the matter is that we are at its mercy. Jong SL captures the inevitability of this in the passionate and heartfelt folds of “Driving Away,” the first song off a new project that, in the artist’s words, will be both “melancholic and introspective.”

Jong SL is bravely singing about all the things most people don’t want to openly talk about: Inner strife, pain, loss, tragedy, and more. Through “Driving Away,” the artist has created an inviting space in which those going through similar dark times can connect with their feelings, better understand their own experience, and perhaps feel like they’re not alone with their troubles. Stream “Driving Away” exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and connect with Jong SL for more music and updates!

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Driving Away - Jong SL

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📸 © Cameron Rollins
art © Jong SL (Fivver)

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Jong SL’s Poignant Cry for “Old Times Sake”

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com