By Sarina Bhutani
Talking with Photo voltaic seems like catching up with an previous pal. As she settles into a night Zoom name, the final of her day’s packed schedule, the usually ultra-glam idol seems in her most intrinsic state. Her hair, dyed again to its pure darkish, is pulled up right into a tousled bun, and a easy white masks covers her naked face in accordance together with her fashionable white athleisure. The lady sitting in entrance of the digicam appears totally different from the one we usually see on stage, however her assured but humble disposition stays intact. Speaking to Photo voltaic is simple, and to know her is to actually love her.
Because the chief of certainly one of Ok-pop’s most spirited woman teams, Mamamoo, Photo voltaic has launched three studio albums, 11 EPs, and 25 lead singles since her debut in 2014, alongside fellow members Moonbyul, Wheein, and Hwasa. Nevertheless, forward of her first solo EP, a part of her nonetheless feels vastly uncertain. “Though it’s been eight years since my debut, it nonetheless at all times seems like I’m type of a rookie,” she tells MTV Information. “With each tune I launch, I really at all times really feel nervous.” The “fully unpredictable” success of her debut single, “Spit It Out,” in 2020 solely added to her blended emotions, permitting her to “let unfastened a bit bit extra,” whereas additionally worrying about how her future releases would dwell as much as the hype. “There have been moments we thought, Oh, possibly we must always delay the following comeback,” she reveals.
However after practically two full journeys across the solar, Photo voltaic finds solace in her latest work and reemerges with 容: Face (out at the moment, March 16), a five-track EP that shows her a number of dimensions. The title, a play on her given identify, Kim Yong-sun (“Yong” that means “face” in Korean Hanja), encapsulates the venture’s total themes of exposition and self-expression, permitting her to point out the world her truest self. Every monitor takes listeners on a sonic journey.
On “Uncooked,” a monitor initially in competitors to be launched in the course of the “Spit It Out” period (therefore the acquainted melody), Photo voltaic demonstrates a darkish and edgy idea: “It’s actually simply the uncooked model of who I actually am.” “Honey,” the comeback’s title and arguably probably the most audibly Photo voltaic-esque tune right here, was developed instantly upon listening to the “du, du, du” beat that she sings on the refrain. Pop-R&B monitor “찹찹 (chap chap)” got here to her as a random bolt of inspiration, whereas the jazzy “Large Booty,” a totally self-composed quantity, places a basic spin in your common peach-emoji monitor. The EP ends on a excessive with “징글징글 (zinggle zinggle),” delivered to Photo voltaic as an apt match for her “cute and vibrant picture,” and subsequently the proper approach to wrap up her first solo venture.
Photo voltaic releases 容: Face on the heels of her thirty first birthday, which happened on February 21. (Pisces queen!) She says her thirties have deepened her ideas and broadened her perspective in comparison with her twenties, the last decade during which she each educated and debuted. This newfound sense of maturity and thoughtfulness is well-articulated all through 容: Face. Under, Photo voltaic speaks with MTV Information in regards to the artistic course of behind the EP and what she hopes for the longer term.
MTV Information: You are an artist recognized for unconventional ideas and pushing boundaries. An instance can be the bald-headed promo shoot you probably did for “Spit It Out.” What was the general idea you have been attempting to attain this time round with Face?
Photo voltaic: With the final album, “Spit It Out,” I actually did every thing and something I needed to for it. Even the daring makes an attempt I needed to make I put into the idea, so every thing was wild and form of out of this world. However for this album, I used to be pondering much less of the issues solely I needed to do as a result of I had already achieved all of them. As a substitute, I used to be pondering with a extra balanced method of what the followers, firm, and I all needed for it. I believed it might make a extra full album if I merged all of those collectively, so I listened to many opinions whereas creating it. But when we’re speaking about an total idea, it is extra about giving a superb feeling, reasonably than a selected idea. I needed there to be a therapeutic side to it, one thing that makes you are feeling higher. It’s good for spring.
MTV Information: In certainly one of your YouTube movies, you talked about how your MBTI persona is INFJ. INFJs are recognized to be very uncommon and distinctive and artistic. The place do you assume your creativity comes from? From the place do you draw inspiration?
Photo voltaic: Wow, even abroad MBTI is a development? [laughs] I feel I get loads of inspiration simply from my day by day life. Whether or not they’re issues that I am abruptly serious about in the future, phrases that pop into thoughts, issues I’ve skilled, issues I’ve seen, or actually good meals I’ve eaten, I get impressed by a wide range of issues and jot them down in my telephone to look again on and take into consideration later.
MTV Information: The title monitor for this comeback is “Honey.” We additionally get to listen to you rap on the tune, which was so surprising. What made you wish to embody that part?
Photo voltaic: OK, so whereas making ready for this album, one of many first ideas that I had was, I’ve to attempt rapping. I’ve to rap. So, for me, it was like a should to place it in there. And after doing it, if there’s ever a superb rap or one thing I can experiment with, I’d like to do it once more. I at all times wish to proceed attempting new issues.
MTV Information: Attempting new issues appears to be a typical theme for you, and also you’ve stated previously that you simply “wish to grow to be an artist that makes folks stay up for what [you’ll] do subsequent.” How necessary is it to you to maintain pushing your self as an artist?
Photo voltaic: For me, it’s one thing that is essential. In some methods, it could possibly be one of many most necessary issues. When an album releases, it is technically one thing that may final without end, proper? That second is cemented in time. Considering of this, it is like a file of my ideas as I used to be making the album, in addition to my situation, and a wide range of issues. So, the issues I needed to do on the time, the issues I needed folks to listen to, and messages I needed to convey are all included within the album. Because of this it is crucial to me to at all times attempt new issues and tackle challenges to evolve.
MTV Information: Would you say that you simply’re somebody who thinks about legacy, or what you’ll depart behind?
Photo voltaic: Somewhat than pondering too deeply about legacy or forsaking some type of footprint, it’s extra necessary to me that when folks hearken to the album, they really feel good within the second. I care extra in regards to the albums being comforting for folks, one thing they’ll use to heal themselves after they’re not feeling good, or of their down occasions.
MTV Information: You care a lot, specifically, about the way you make your followers really feel. Are you that kind of particular person in your private life, too?
Photo voltaic: Being part of Mamamoo, I used to be capable of meet so many followers usually, and due to that, I are inclined to assume extra about them. And now, whereas dwelling my day by day life, I noticed that there are some those that love me a lot and so passionately. For the those that put in a lot effort and time into their love for me, I really actually contemplate them as a result of they offer me a lot, I wish to return that a lot for them. I at all times assume, What can I do for them that may repay that type of ardour?
MTV Information: Talking of Mamamoo, how do you assume your experiences within the group issue into the best way you make music for your self? Is there any crossover between that course of and this course of?
Photo voltaic: I’ve discovered rather a lot inside these eight years with Mamamoo, however even now, I’m really nonetheless persevering with to study from. However as a result of I have been in Mamamoo, and we launched a lot music collectively, it is one of many explanation why I may even be energetic as a solo artist, so I’m very grateful. It’s taught me a lot.
MTV Information: Eight years is a very long time to be collectively, particularly when so many teams fall into the seven-year curse. What do you assume makes Mamamoo particular? What’s the important thing to your longevity?
Photo voltaic: I feel what makes Mamamoo particular is that every member really has their very own distinctive colour, and we every even have loads of ardour for music. So once we’re collectively, loads of that synergy comes into play. And even now, when folks watch us or take a look at us, they at all times assume, Wow, they’ve a lot vitality. Wow, they arrive collectively so nicely.
MTV Information: Because you talked about every member’s uniqueness, all 4 of you have got had a giant solo comeback previously few months. Hwasa had Responsible Pleasure, Moonbyul had 6equence, Wheein had Whee, and now you have got Face. Now that every of you have got taken a flip with a solo venture, does this imply a Mamamoo comeback is subsequent?
Photo voltaic: As a result of every member has already accomplished their very own solo venture, I do actually wish to present as Mamamoo with a brand new venture, nevertheless it’s not going to be fast. It’s one thing that we’re persevering with to work laborious in direction of, however possibly not proper now. I’ll very, very rigorously say possibly this yr, however, once more, it’s not particular! [laughs]
MTV Information: Are you able to not less than promise some extra humorous dance apply movies? The video for “Hip” is a common fan favourite!
Photo voltaic: So once we’re collectively as Mamamoo, there’s loads of actually humorous issues that simply occur naturally. I feel you may undoubtedly be capable to see extra of that sooner or later as nicely. It’s simply us!
MTV Information: Other than a Mamamoo comeback, what do you hope for sooner or later? What are you personally wanting ahead to?
Photo voltaic: Truthfully, I simply wish to dwell as fortunately as proper now, working as I do and doing what I like. I hope for followers to nonetheless be ready for my music and loving what I make. I would like to have the ability to meet their expectations and simply proceed to be blissful.