’90s icon So Chan-whee relishes return to spotlight

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jan 7, 2015 - 20:52
  • Updated : Jan 7, 2015 - 22:08

After hitting it big in the ’90s with her debut album “Cherish,” solo female rock vocalist So Chan-whee seemed to have fallen prey to the so-too-often cliched stigma of music icons unable to maintain the spark of their heyday.

However, unbeknownst to her, one televised performance was enough to change her life once again.

The rocker recently appeared on an episode of Infinite Challenge’s “Saturday, Saturday is for Singers (TOTOGA)” ― a segment of the MBC hit reality show that invites ’90s stars to perform and attempt to reclaim the limelight that has long since been absent.

So revealed that she is eternally indebted and owes the monumental spike in celebrity status to her opportunity on the show earlier this month. 
Veteran ’90s rock singer So Chan-whee poses at a roundtable interview at a restaurant in Mapo-gu, Seoul, Tuesday. (Yonhap)

“For the past several years, I think it is fair for me to say that a majority of people did not really know me, and I would just walk about freely without ever getting recognized,” said So during an interview at a restaurant in Mapo-gu on Tuesday.

“But after appearing on ‘TOTOGA’ I am getting recognized a lot more on the street, especially by young people,” she added. “Before the show, some people told me that they had actually heard my name before and knew I was a singer, but they had no idea what my face looked like. I definitely think this newfound recognition has been the biggest and best change for me.”

The singer performed her artistic shout fest vocal pop rock single “Tears,” one of her most representative singles, and has once again become a familiar name among the old and new generation of Koreans.

“I don’t think most people know this but I actually had to audition to be able to participate on the show. I think the producers needed to see if I still had the chops to perform live in front of a large audience,” said So, who has more than 12 albums, including eight full-length studio albums to her name.

In an effort to prolong her popularity with today’s generation, So released her newest single, “Glass Heart,” on Tuesday, pairing up once again with the writer and composing team that brought her “Tears.”

“This song is not a loud and ruckus-like tune like ones I have released in the past,” she explained. “Rather, I wanted to release more of a ballad single that was really complex and is a song that people could just feel soothed by and listen to comfortably.”

“The lyrics of the song are very expressive and I think that the track’s key is really something that fits well with me. I am certainly not getting any younger, so a part of me really wanted to just to record a song where I didn’t have to shout too much,” So added with a smile.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)