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The scene opens on a silk nightgown-clad woman, lounging on a bed in a reverie as an electronic beat emerges. Then, enter Sang Min Lim, a suave, attractive young man, who takes her place on the bed, smoothly singing, “I can feel ya, feeling on your energy.” The scene quickly shifts to Lim at a dinner table opposite dancer Dytto (known as “Robo-Babe”), and that’s about all it takes for viewers to become hooked on Lim’s sultry K-Pop style.
The video for Lim’s 2019 debut single, “Fantasy,” helped him garner swift attention on social media — it now has 1.9 million views on YouTube with many of the video’s over 2,000 comments mentioning things like, “thank you Instagram,” “I can’t get tired of this song,” “This guy should be famous” — and too many heart emojis to count. The 29-year-old South Korean native currently has 776,000 followers on Instagram and 93,000 on TikTok.
But Lim isn’t the typical heartthrob of K-Pop, the South Korean musical genre that blends pop, electronic, R&B and more, made famous around the world by bands like BTS and BlackPink — he’s also a Keller Williams and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices-affiliated Realtor (Keller Williams in California and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Nevada), and a lawyer, with degrees from Brown University and the University of Southern California Law School.
Lim started practicing real estate in 2018, and established his law firm in 2021.
“Honestly, time is limited to devote myself to everything,” Lim said of his balancing act between law, real estate and music. But singing was always his “ultimate passion,” so Lim found a way to be flexible in the pursuit of his music career.
Witnessing its quick rise in popularity across the U.S. around 2018, Lim took the opportunity to grab hold of the K-Pop wave in a move that he said he believed would set him apart from other lawyers or Realtors and give him a way to focus his marketing efforts, all while doing something he loves.
“I started my music career during law school because I felt like there were so many great attorneys and Realtors in this country, so I felt like I needed to stand out, now, in the 21st century, with social media,” Lim told Inman. “Even attorneys, they are thinking outside the box. Rather than just doing conventional marketing, they’re also into social media and YouTube. So, I thought, ‘Ok, why don’t I do that?'”
Making music videos was also a way for Lim to pursue his passion of music, as he had always enjoyed singing for others, he told Inman. But, he realized that in order to gain credibility and trust from his fans and clients alike, it would be crucial to make professional-quality music videos that also featured genuinely good music.
“That really helped me to guide my business marketing strategy too because branding is really important, in my opinion, to stand out,” he said. “And I definitely feel like I created branding early on.”
One of the first things Lim did to focus his brand was to create a 3D logo of his own signature that he uses in slightly different ways in marketing across his law and real estate businesses, Sang Min Lim Law Firm and Sang Min Lim Real Estate, as well as his music videos.
Staying connected with the pop music scene has also helped Lim keep abreast of new trends, which he said is crucial on the legal and real estate side of things.
“It puts me in the loop — what is trending on TikTok or Instagram, younger audiences who might not necessarily be needing me for real estate [right now], but still, I can see the trends,” Lim said. “So that puts me into different marketing [avenues] and [helps me learn] new things.”
Connecting with people of different cultures by traveling for his music also helped Lim gain renewed appreciation for how challenging it can be for foreigners to become acclimated to new cultures. As a native of Seoul, South Korea, who moved to the U.S. for college at age 19, Lim can appreciate the challenges immigrants face, from learning a new language to understanding all the ins and outs (and legalities) of a real estate transaction. Meeting other people through his music helped him find purpose in his real estate and legal businesses, by helping clients from East Asia who might not be fluent in English.
“Music is something that can bring pretty much everyone together, and I definitely saw that happening through my music,” Lim told LA Weekly. “But I also was able to travel and speak to more and different people, and I learned a lot about how hard it can be to step into a culture that isn’t yours and try to figure out what to do and how to live in a way that will help you build a good life. It was hard for me as a student, and it’s even harder for countless other people.”
Many of Lim’s clients in his markets of Southern California and Nevada are individuals from South Korea and China interested in investing in real estate on the West Coast. In addition to Korean and English, Lim can also speak Japanese and Mandarin Chinese.
“That’s one of the reasons I got into real estate in the first place,” Lim told LA Weekly. “It’s hard to navigate the housing market when you don’t understand English well, and I’m in the unique position to help. So of course I wanted to step up.”
Lim said he is currently working on new music to be released later this year, but at this point, his music passion project is largely relegated to the occasional weekend while he focuses on making sure his law and real estate businesses are going strong.
In addition to the original music Lim has released, he’s also done covers, including one of hit K-Pop band BTS’s song “Butter” in September of 2021.
“I think that this is just the beginning,” Lim said of his burgeoning real estate and law businesses. “I feel I can help a lot of clients, not just for their simple real estate needs.”