YOUNHA's magic voice is back
When you talk about YOUNHA, you can’t omit she’s one of the most legendary vocalists in the K-pop industry. What she can achieve while singing is the ability to push all her emotions throughout her voice and spread it like stardust on the listeners. Stardust is also the name of the title track of her sixth album, END THEORY. YOUNHA never fails to compel her listeners. Her honey voice mixes perfectly with her lyrics which speak about love and themes like mental health, struggles, and self-abasement.
As we are approaching the first anniversary of Winter Flower, the song she worked with BTS’s RM, Panorama.it had the chance to interview her in exclusive.
Welcome back YOUNHA. How was coming back after four years?
It feels like I've poured everything into my work over the past year, but it's strangely not exhausting. I think it's because of the thirst for not being able to communicate musically for a long time due to the pandemic. Thank you for your welcome.
Let’s talk about your new work: END THEORY. Why did you choose this title?
After going through a lot of study and thought while working on this album, I wanted to express how I felt about the theme of ‘the end’. If there is a beginning, there is always an end, and since you are aware of the end, you must feel the importance of the process. I think giving out a specific interpretation is a hindrance to the listener because I think that each listener will hear it differently depending on their situation, but I thought it was the song that showed the most honest expression of the preciousness I talked about, so I chose it as the title.
Let’s talk about the music. I have had your album on repeat since day one. Can you tell us more about the process of creating it?
A year was a much longer time than I expected to spend in the studio. There were so many things I wanted to say, but after I implied them and put them into the album, it became more complicated to explain in a simple way. As always, music is not done alone, so this time, it was completed with the help of several musicians and engineers. In order not to volatilize all these internal and external processes, a total of 8 documentaries are being released on my YouTube channel. English subtitles are also available, so if you want to go deeper, please join us.
I quote your song, How u doing: “sometimes it’s a little tough/But I’ll endure it/I don’t cry anymore”. You never hide the darkness behind you being an idol. How are you now? If you could talk to the young YOUNHA which advice would you give here?
I'm doing very well these days. It's really good not to hide the darkness, but the more you express it, the more intense it becomes and the greater the risk of getting addicted to it. It may be the specialness of youth. If I could meet the young me, I would say, “There are days when you can’t sleep and there are days when you sleep well. And I want to say that it is perfectly normal.”
Stardust is such a powerful song and it shows all your impressive vocal range. Savior closes the circle in your album showing all your talent. Which one of the album's new tracks do you feel is the closest to you and why?
The song that touches me the most right now is Oort Cloud. I think there are several timings in life, and I think now is the time to start a new challenge and journey. The Oort Cloud is the last very large and wide section at the end of the solar system. It is said that Voyager will arrive here soon after completing all missions in the solar system. If I said soon, it would take another 2-300 years (laughs), but it's not over. I started working when I was a teenager, so I felt compelled to quit earlier than others. But when I look and compare at Voyager, I feel cute of myself thinking like that. People can't always be cheerful and positive. Sometimes you have to get energy from other people. In that sense, this song is a song that recharges me.
You debuted in 2004, you have been part of this game and the Hallyu wave for a long time. How did the industry change through the past years?
I think it is changing in a positive way. It's good that Korean music called K-pop became famous, but what's even better is the pride of the people who handle it. As your self-confidence improves, you have the opportunity to create something better.
Also the writing is so sincere. It’s like reading everyone lives in lyrics. How do you convey your feeling in music?
I find the story I really want to tell through conversations with myself, and I think about what kind of virtual space to put the character who tells the story in. And singing with the characters in that space is my way of doing it. I think good lyrics are only when something that is both true and fiction is mixed in moderation.
You collaborated with lots of artists during your career. One of them is RM from BTS. How was working on a song like Winter Flower? And, are you guys still in touch?
There couldn't have been a friend who could express Winter Flower better than he did. These days, we are both busy, but there is an expression like this in Korean. 'No news is good news.'
Is there any new generation idol you’d like to collaborate with?
I was surprised to hear EXO's D.O.’s solo album. I knew he was a good, but when I heard the song he sang in Spanish, I fell in love. If there is a chance someday, I would like to work together.
I have one last question. Which is YOUNHA’s End Theory?
Maybe it's a memory with the people I am grateful, and who worked together 11 months. I hope that END THEORY will remain as a similar memory to those who pondered with me from 1 to 10 and implemented it.
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