Super Junior’s Kyuhyun tries new style of music under Antenna

January 10, 2024

Singer-actor Kyuhyun embarked on a new musical journey by releasing a solo EP, his first release under Antenna, on Tuesday.

A main vocalist of K-pop boy group Super Junior, one of the country’s most popular boy bands, Kyuhyun signed with Antenna Co., a star management agency founded by singer-composer Yoo Hee-yeol in August, after 17 years with SM Entertainment.

“Restart,” the EP due out at 6 p.m., marks the first release from Kyuhyun since the signing while he is still represented by SM for his activities as Super Junior.

Super Junior member Kyuhyun performs during a media showcase for his new EP, "Restart," in Seoul on Jan. 9, 2024. (Yonhap)
Super Junior member Kyuhyun performs during a media showcase for his new EP, “Restart,” in Seoul on Jan. 9, 2024. (Yonhap)

“Fans will be surprised when they listen to the album, as it has pop-style songs, something I haven’t done before, and tracks infused with rock elements,” Kyuhyun said during a media showcase for the album in Seoul.

“I heeded opinions from the company CEO and the working group because I thought if I kept insisting on my opinions, the resulting album could be similar to my past works.”

The album consists of six songs led by a pop-rock genre number that blends his sensible, refreshing and powerful vocals with a modern-rock-style band sound. The Korean title of the song is roughly translated as “That’s Not So” in English.

The five other tracks are “Restart,” “Slowly, Gently,” “Was It Love,” “Rainbow” and “You Are the Reason (Super Junior-K.R.Y.),” a special track featuring Kyuhyun’s Super Junior bandmates Ryeowook and Yesung.

Kyuhyun debuted as a member of Super Junior in 2006 and began his solo career with his first EP, “At Gwanghwanmun,” in November 2014. He has since established himself as a lyrical ballad singer, with his other hits being “A Million Pieces” and “Blah Blah,” and as a successful musical singer and a TV personality.

The lead track depicts the complex feelings of one toward his old flame, reunited after a long time. It starts with a powerful band sound, while his previous songs have focused on his vocals.

Since he initially favored the fourth track titled “Was It Love,” he confided he had some friction with CEO Yoo in the process of choosing the main single.

However, he realized the importance of appealing to a wider audience in the process.

“He reminded me that it wasn’t enough to simply do what I like. I agreed that we need to create music that resonates with many people,” Kyuhyun recalled.

When asked about changes he experienced under the new agency, he said, “Of course, the new working environment felt strange to me. But the work of making music was no different.”

However, he said that the communication process was simplified with the smaller agency.

“I found it interesting that CEO Yoo sat in the recording studio for six hours, during which he gave me feedback as soon as he had them. My previous agency had a lot of stages for decision making, but since Antenna is a small company, its system was simplified and effective, so the feedback was so quick. It was convenient for me, as a singer, to be able to talk and make changes right there.”

Sharing what he discussed with the Antenna chief about his solo career, Kyuhyun said Yoo suggested he approach music with a fresh mindset, meticulously hone his skills step-by-step, and ultimately become a concert-worthy vocalist.

Kyuhyun introduced himself as a ballad lover who “listens to ballad songs 364 days a year.”

“I listen to carols only one day, he quipped.

He, however, said he will continue to challenge himself with music of many genres in the future.

“Although I will still do music that I like, I think I have to do music that many people will like. If you only listen to ballads all the time, it can get boring, and it can be predictable at a concert. I think I will challenge myself with music of many genres in the future.”