Park Jihyo was born to be on stage—singing, performing, and fascinating audiences with a coy smile. It is why her followers playfully check with her as “God Jihyo,” as if her pure charisma and fervour for efficiency had been bestowed by Zeus himself. However there isn’t any divine reality to Jihyo’s highly effective presence; it’s the results of 18 years of dedication. The 26-year-old tenacious expertise would be the first to confess that she’s labored onerous to be the place she is now: on the eve of her first solo launch.
Her mini album, Zone, is greater than a testomony to her focus and willpower; it is a assortment of seven songs that display her versatility as an artist. Because the chief of TWICE, the highest-selling Korean woman group of the previous decade and the primary to promote out stadium venues within the U.S., Jihyo has weathered the ups and downs of worldwide pop superstardom along with her eight fellow members, all whereas nurturing their development and championing their success. Now, it is time for Jihyo to step into the highlight on her personal.
Followers received a style of her solo undertaking in the course of the group’s Prepared To Be world tour this yr with a soul-baring efficiency of “Nightmare,” a dramatic, self-penned B-side monitor that showcases Jihyo’s powerhouse vocals and lyrical prowess. With lead single “Killin’ Me Good,” she’s embracing her interior femme fatale and delivering up-tempo R&B with a sensual groove.
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The album, out at the moment, challenged Jihyo as each a singer and a songwriter. She pushed herself to attempt new vocal types and delve into new genres. In that manner, Zone is a mirror of her personal adventurous spirit and willingness to push inventive boundaries. It’s additionally a letter to her 8-year-old self, the younger woman who joined JYP Leisure and sacrificed a standard childhood for this dream to change into a actuality.
As she steps onto the precipice of her solo debut, Jihyo radiates a way of reduction and anticipation. She’s excited to point out followers what she’s able to. Speaking to ELLE.com from her label’s headquarters in Seoul with assist from an onsite interpreter, Jihyo opens up about her solo album, the form of artist she desires to be, and why she doesn’t have any regrets about getting into the trade at such a younger age.
You had been fairly younger if you turned a trainee. Did you all the time know that you simply needed to launch your individual album at some point?
I by no means actually stated, “I wish to launch a solo album,” however I all the time thought that I’ll do my finest if the chance comes.
Why is that this the appropriate time to introduce your self as a solo artist?
Up till now, I needed to deal with TWICE, and even inside the group, we had agreed to place our group actions as our primary focus. However with our contract renewal, we started to debate what it will be like to start out exhibiting extra of our particular person sides, and that is how this chance got here to me.
I noticed TWICE make history at MetLife Stadium. On the present, you debuted your B-side monitor “Nightmare.” Why was that the tune you needed followers to see first?
I needed to carry out a tune that was totally different from the title tune. I wrote [the lyrics of] “Nightmare,” and from the second I obtained the monitor, I stated, “I actually wish to write this tune. I actually like this monitor. This monitor is so distinctive.” When the tune was accomplished, I needed to launch the tune shortly, so I assumed it will be excellent for the live performance.
Your single, “Killin’ Me Good,” makes a daring assertion. It has a really highly effective sound. Why did you wish to make this the title monitor of the undertaking?
There have been plenty of candidates for the title tune, and it was actually onerous to decide on. However after I first heard the melody of the verse for “Killin’ Me Good,” the tune was so addictive and I keep in mind listening to it again and again. There may be additionally an element on the finish of the primary hook that makes use of a vocoder, which I discovered actually enticing. I used to be actually captivated by these two facets of the tune.
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I like the lyric “You’re making me really feel model new.” Is that this a brand new Jihyo you’re exhibiting followers?
Actually, that was not my intention! However now that I give it some thought, that is an amazing message too.
What are among the themes and moods you needed to convey by way of the album?
I used to be in a position to specific totally different sides of myself. When writing the lyrics, what I thought of essentially the most, particularly when writing the lyrics for “Do not Wanna Go Again,” was that I needed to put in writing lyrics that I would not usually write for TWICE. This is applicable to the opposite songs as properly, however for “Do not Wanna Go Again” particularly. I needed to precise a distinct aspect of myself in every tune.
What’s the distinction between a tune that you’d write for TWICE versus a tune you’ll write for your self?
Actually, I do not assume there may be an excessive amount of of a distinction within the songwriting course of, however as I used to be making this album, no matter whether or not it was a tune that I had produced or had solely written the lyrics for, I listened to all of the candidate songs many instances and organized the album. I selected the songs based mostly on what I had the arrogance to do properly and the songs that I needed to do. Additionally, when writing the lyrics, I attempted to make use of extra direct and sincere language than [I would in] songs for TWICE. The lyrics in TWICE songs are extra sentimental and expressed superbly, however I needed to be extra direct and sincere in my songs.
You talked about that you simply needed this album to showcase what you do finest. So are you able to inform me: What does Jihyo do finest?
What I needed to point out by way of this album was my skill to sing quite a lot of genres. I needed to attempt to be adventurous with genres. I additionally needed to deal with my efficiency on stage. I wish to present myself as a efficiency artist.
You’re an wonderful performer. I felt that on the MetLife present. The place does that need to carry out come from?
I personally have a lot enjoyable on stage. I get pleasure from each second. It is form of like performing, and that course of is absolutely enjoyable for me. That is the place I achieve my confidence and why I gentle up on stage.
Your followers make plenty of totally different edits of your performances, and your expressions are all the time so good. Do you spend plenty of time engaged on facial expressions?
I do not assume I’ve ever practiced my expressions earlier than. In fact, I do monitor my efficiency, and I attempt to determine which half to enhance on. However I do not actually apply. What provides me the vitality is the followers’ response. Now that I do know my followers actually get pleasure from my performances, I discover myself changing into brighter and extra energetic when performing thrilling songs.
Do you ever watch your efficiency again and assume, I killed that?
Generally, I do! [Laughs.]
This album is a large showcase for you as a songwriter, and I do know it is actually vital to you to have a stage of inventive enter in your work. What was the general course of like writing for this album? Did you are feeling any strain or did you method it with a transparent mindset?
I felt a stage of strain that I’ve by no means skilled since my debut. It was really actually difficult, and there have been instances I stated that I don’t assume I can do it. It was very troublesome. And since I had written the songs, it was troublesome to be goal in figuring out whether or not a tune is nice or dangerous, or how a sure half is. I could not discern, and as I turned overly delicate to each little element it put plenty of strain on me. That is how I made this album, and even now as I pay attention again to songs, there are areas that I want I may make higher, however I do know that I did my finest. And I will settle with that.
Because it’s your first album, there’s a lot you may study from the expertise. Is there one factor you took away from it that you simply realized about your self as an artist?
As I used to be making ready this album, I found vocal types that I didn’t know I had in me. “Oh, after I sing the sort of tune, I get the sort of really feel, and after I sing the sort of tune, I sing on this type.” I found these areas, that I did not count on prior to creating this album.
I recorded plenty of reside performances whereas engaged on this album. We didn’t do plenty of this when selling TWICE albums. I don’t know if this will probably be a spoiler, however recording reside performances and singing quite a lot of songs was an thrilling, new problem for me.
Do you may have a tune on the album that’s essentially the most private to you?
I put plenty of thought into every tune, and I do not assume I can select only one that stands out as being essentially the most private. However “Room” was a tune of a style that was a brand new problem for me. It has a relaxed temper however features a singing rap. I don’t assume I’ve ever proven this type earlier than, so it is one thing new. In order that stands out to me.
I’m positive you’ve thought so much about this being your first album as a solo artist. How do you see your self exterior of TWICE?
I’m somebody who enjoys having plenty of totally different experiences. I feel that’s additionally why this album was born. I wish to proceed to tackle new and totally different challenges and experiences. “Ah, this [experience] is like this, and that is how this [experience] is.” I get pleasure from discovering new issues and difficult myself. I’m a really adventurous particular person, and I hope you sense that on this album.
Are you aggressive?
I’m best with myself.
You skilled for 10 years earlier than you debuted in TWICE at 18. You had been very younger if you joined your organization. Being such a younger trainee and going by way of that very troublesome course of, how has it influenced the artist you might be at the moment?
I feel the kind of artist I’m at the moment was determined after my debut. Fairly than being skilled in that space or type, I feel the ten years of coaching was the time after I constructed the foundations in order that I may change into an artist of a sure type. However I didn’t know the form of artist I needed to be till after I debuted.
You’ve beforehand expressed that you simply had some regrets about coaching so younger. How do you are feeling about that at the moment?
As I’ve talked about earlier than, I’m fairly forgetful. [Laughs.] I feel I’ve forgotten plenty of the difficulties I went by way of again then. I’m crammed with extra reminiscences of myself at the moment and assume that I’m who I’m at the moment due to these painful reminiscences that I as soon as regretted.
Do you assume your youthful self could be actually pleased with the place you might be at the moment?
I hope she could be.
What’s your mindset like as of late?
Proper now, my mindset is, “I’ve labored onerous on the album, so I want to wrap it up properly too.” There are nonetheless performances left to do, and I wish to carry out them properly, end up the promotions properly, and go on tour once more. Up to now, I’ve needed to deal with each my solo album and the tour, and I sit up for having the ability to focus solely on the tour.
Would you say that you simply’re happier than you’ve ever been at this stage in your profession?
I feel, greater than happiness or contentment, I really feel a better sense of accomplishment.
This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.
Crystal Bell is a tradition author dwelling in New York Metropolis.