JAY B's first solo album inebriates the listeners with a brand-new creative freedom
A new label. A new album. A new era. For over a decade, JAY B (whose real name is Lim Jae-beom and also goes under the name of Def) was known to be one of the outstanding musicians in the K-pop industry. Leader of the hit group GOT7, after their departure from JYP Entertainment earlier this year, JAY B got signed under the renowned hip-hop label H1GHR MUSIC. SOMO:FUME is his first work as a solo artist. The title of this album is an acronym for "Style Of My Own: Fume", where "Fume" stands for "a lingering presence", like a perfume. But that's not the only meaning. SOMO:FUME is also a wordplay. In Korean, the title has the same pronunciation as the word "expendable". Something that hints at the direction in which JAY B's work is going from now on and its profound meaning. The album is not only full of cameos from the big names of K-R&B and hip-hop, from MAMAMOO'a Wheein to rapper Sokodomo, vocalist g1nger, JUNNY, and the head of H1GHR MUSIC himself, Jay Park. It also shares its production with hitmakers producers like GroovyRoom, GRAY, WOOGIE, and Cha Cha Malone.
Panorama.it interviewed him in exclusive.
You are flying solo for the first time. How's the feeling?
«This is just the beginning, and I think I need to move steadily and smoothly. I am very happy to start my solo career and I have high expectations».
Your album is called SOMO:FUME how did you choose this name and what does it mean?
«I consider this album is the result of consuming my emotions and time. I hope this to be smeared like a perfume to those who listen to this album and I decided the title because this album announces my new beginning from H1GHR MUSIC».
Your title track, Switch It Up, shows a more sultry side of yourself and debuted 1st on iTunes in 44 countries. How did you come up with this song and why did you choose it as your first solo track?
«This is the first song I started working on after meeting Jaebeom hyung and Cha Cha Malone. When I was working, Sokodomo was with me, and I was writing verses that came to mind freely, and I liked Sokodomo's part so much that I asked her to feature in it. I was happy receiving such positive feedback after completing the song».
You signed with the hip-hop label H1GHR MUSIC and you worked a lot with Jay Park himself for this EP. How was the journey?
«During that time I got to know Jaebeom hyung's work style, and I learned a lot thanks to him. And maybe because he works in a free atmosphere, and we worked without pressure, the results were good, so I'm very happy».
You opened up about your mental health and suffering from depression and that, at first, you thought that your mind was weaker than the others. Is Paranoia a glimpse of your inner thoughts?
«It is something I deal with, but I think it's a worry that many people have and live with. There are times when you are afraid of how to live your life. It's just a song that I wrote before I going to sleep and I wrote it from my point of view, but I hope it will help people overcome their troubles as well».
In this EP you collaborated with Cha Cha Malone, GRAY, GroovyRoom, JUNNY, sokodomo, g1nger, WOOGIE, but also artists like MAMAMOO's Wheein. There was a lot of teamwork in these tracks. What was the main difference when working with Got7?
«Since it's my first project, I approached it in a different way, more carefully. When it comes to the members, I worked with them for a long time, and I felt free because I was friends with them since I was a trainee, but in this case, it was the first time I came to H1GHR MUSIC, and I had to get to know people and ask them politely to be part of the album, so those parts were a little different. I was more careful».
This new era of yours looks like it's all about individuality. What's the difference between this new you and the Jay B from GOT7?
«I think it comes down to the difference between being a leader and simply an individual. As a leader, I have concerns about what to do when there are 7 people together, and I think the difference is about how I should shape my future as an individual».
But you still are GOT7's leader. Do you think we'll see more of you together?
«I'm trying hard to figure out and working hard on it. But I don't think I can make a definitive answer right now. I'm always trying to gather all members to have a meeting, but I found out it's really hard to schedule one with all members more than I expected. Still, I'm trying my best and we are all trying to have a talk to schedule».
You are a skilled dancer, singer, and producer. What can we expect next?
«I plan to release albums and singles steadily in the future, and rather than promoting with great ambition or greed, I want to promote thinly and for a long time. I am working hard to do that, and I plan to show various sides of myself in the future».
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