Maddie Thies — A TCK Who Uses Her Upbringing In Korea To Influence Her Music

Maddie Thies — A TCK Who Uses Her Upbringing In Korea To Influence Her Music

Bassist and songwriter Maddie Thies spent her formative years growing up in Seoul, South Korea.

Temple in Seoul, South Korea (Photo via Envato Elements)

In 2021-2022, Thies won The Cedar Cultural Center Commission. Her set encapsulated her identity of being a Third Culture Kid (TCK) from her time living overseas. A TCK is someone who was born into one culture, raised in a secondary culture, and because of those two influences identifies as a unique third culture that is a combination of the two. Her songs touch on themes of liminality, home, grief and memory.


Her song “Postcard Collection” is a song that was written for her commission and is about flashbulb memories from her time overseas. In her interview with Shasa Sartin from The Cedar Center in her Artist Spotlight, Thies says:

“So a large concept of being a Third Culture Kid is feeling between spaces. There are places where you feel like you kind of belong because of one part of your identity and these other places that you feel like you belong ’cause the other part of your identity, but ultimately you’re between a lot of spaces. And so, while you can fit in everywhere, there are also places where you don’t fit in at all or that you feel that you have very little in common with folks, and so there’s this aspect of … everywhere and nowhere. And betweenness. And what I can only speak to as a blended identity of sorts.”

Temple in Seoul, South Korea (Photo via Envato Elements)

Thies also released a music video related to her song. Los Angeles filmmaker Ana Chavez came and followed Thies and a group of international musicians who flew in for the week of the performance. The video is a reflective piece of the group’s temporary time together.

For her performance at The Cedar Cultural Center, Thies was joined by Tate Egon Chavez on vocals, guitar and double bass and Juan Migues on drums, both of which were musicians she met during her time overseas. Locally, she was joined by guitarist Kailyn Grider, a long-time friend and collaborator. All four of them are featured in the video.

Check out her music video below.

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