Mamamoo’s Solar challenges herself with genre-bending album

May 6, 2024


A concept photo for "Colours," the second EP from K-pop girl group Mamamoo's leader Solar, provided by RBW (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

A concept photo for “Colours,” the second EP from K-pop girl group Mamamoo’s leader Solar, provided by RBW (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

K-pop girl group Mamamoo’s leader Solar, known for her versatility, revealed she once harbored doubts about her all-rounder strengths before embarking on a genre-bending solo album project.

“There are many singers with well-defined labels, like ‘the god of R&B’ or ‘the queen of high tones,’” the vocalist said in an interview with reporters at her agency RBW’s headquarters in eastern Seoul on Thursday. “I used to envy them, wondering why I couldn’t be like that. I felt uncertain.”

However, the creative process for a new EP led to a personal breakthrough.

“With a shift in perspective, I came to see my ability to do this and that as a strength. It has definitely changed my self-perception for the better.”

As the title “Colours” suggests, her forthcoming album, due out Tuesday at 6 p.m., reflects this newfound strength. It features six songs that span a wide range of genres, from house and R&B to folk and blues.

“Colours” is her second individual EP and first release in two years, following her first solo EP, “Face,” in 2022.

“I want to be recognized as a singer who can do a variety of music,” she said.

From the six, she chose “But I,” the lead single, as the song that best showcases her at this point of her singing career.

A blend of R&B and rock, the song, co-written by the singer herself, depicts a woman who resolves to strike out on her own after a breakup.

The song presented a new challenge for her: venturing into rock music for the first time and performing it live with a band.

“I’ve always longed to try cool and invigorating rock music, and I finally came to do this,” she said.

Among other challenges she took on for the new EP were learning a Vogue dance for the first track, “Colors.” The dance genre, also known as voguing, is a highly stylized, modern house dance originating in the late 1980s that evolved out of the Harlem ballroom scene of the ’60s.

She also learned horseback riding and how to commune with eagles for the filming of the lead track in Mongolia.

The singer shared how she always loves to try something new.

“I feel a compulsion to show something new on stage and musically, partly because people get bored easily,” she said. “I’m satisfied with all the new challenges I’ve taken on since Mamamoo began, such as cutting my hair short, drawing straight eyebrows and shaving my hair, even though some people might find them strange and off-putting. I rather find those reactions amusing, and that’s why I decided to challenge myself with new genres and choreography again.”

Debuting as the main vocalist of the K-pop quartet in June 2014, Solar made her solo debut with her first single album, “Spit It Out,” in 2020.

Recalling her 20s as a whirlwind fueled by relentless energy, the 33-year-old says she has gained the wisdom in her 30s to let go of goals that are ultimately unattainable. She credits her decade with Mamamoo for nourishing her as a soloist.

Asked if she has any new challenges she wants to take on in the future, she answered: “I’ve taken on so many challenges that I haven’t even thought about the next one yet. For instance, I’ve performed while ripping my costume, pole danced onstage and even flown over the audience on a wire.”

Still, she expressed her desire to try new things on stage.

“While I like performing by just singing and dancing on stage, I’m always thinking about ways to make it more enjoyable for myself and the audience alike.”