Korean Pop Star Nikki Lee Lays Down the Law
Nikki Lee has been a pop star in Korea for more than a decade — recording albums, releasing music videos and even appearing in a commercial for Dove soap. But when she arrived in Chicago in fall 2009, Lee was just an ordinary first-year Northwestern law student facing the challenges of new classes, new friends and life in a new city. “In Korea, because I was so exposed when I was young, people kind of look at me in a different way,” she said. “But here, there’s nothing like that. I like the anonymity.” Lee’s meteoric rise to fame began when she won a songwriting contest in eighth grade. Known as Lee So-eun, she performed on a nationally televised Korean broadcast and was soon fielding offers from professional music producers. After releasing her first album, she spent her high school and college years as a student during the week and a touring pop star on the weekends. After 11 years, Lee said she craved a change and appreciated the broader skill set that law school could provide. Lee is also working on a book about her experience at Northwestern, as her family, friends and fans in Korea are intrigued by her new life. Lee is undecided about which type of law she will practice but hopes to combine her legal training with the experience she gained as a performer.