The Korea Herald


Coming of age for Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun

The group's youngest member steps out of shadows in her solo debut

By 두루미

Published : Jan. 17, 2017 - 10:30

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Twenty-six is hardly an age fit to be called “a girl” but Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun has always been associated with youth, as the star was most widely-known for being the youngest member of the K-pop behemoth.

“I’ve always shown myself (to the public) as the youngest among the Girls’ Generation. Now I wish to show what I can offer as a singer, and as a person,” she said in the showcase for “Don’t Say No,” her first album as a solo artist.

The baby-faced singer has had more than her share of experience; 2017 marks the 10th year since the eight-member group -- originally nine -- debuted with a bang. But it would be the first time she is in the spotlight by herself.

“I felt more responsible because I have to do alone what we did as a group. I felt compelled to do better,” Seohyun said.

A change in headcount led to her being more proactive, a departure from from her old habit of refraining from offering ideas.

“I pitched a lot of ideas concerning the concept. I felt nervous at times... But I had lots of expectations about this album; to do what I really like,” she said.

The result? A reminder to the world that the “girl” is now a full-fledged “woman.”

“At first my company (S.M. Entertainment) opposed it. They said the image of a girl fits me better, but I insisted. I’ll take all the responsibility for what happens,” she jokingly added.

Her input extended beyond vocals and ideas. She wrote lyrics for all but one of the songs, based on her own experiences of love coupled with some imagination.

Seohyun said one of the regrets about her activities as a group was that she was unable to convey her own message as much as she liked. “For my solo album, I was able to participate from A to Z, and I’m proud.”

The main song and title track of the album “Don’t say No” is ironically the only song for which she did not write the lyrics. Written by composers Kenzie, Mathew Tishler and Felicia Barton, the song is an R&B dance number combined with words about a woman having trouble letting go of lost love.

“As soon as I heard the intro, I knew that was it. It was very similar to the idea of the main track that I had in mind,” she said. Seohyun added that she and Kenzie had hit it off from the Girls’ Generation’s first ever single “Into the New World,” also written by the composer.

Her passion for the track led her to voluntarily re-record the song after the producers had okayed the results.

Seohyun performs at the showcase for her solo album “Don‘t Say No” held Monday at SM Town Theater in Coex Artium in southeastern Seoul. / S.M. Entertainment Seohyun performs at the showcase for her solo album “Don‘t Say No” held Monday at SM Town Theater in Coex Artium in southeastern Seoul. / S.M. Entertainment

Track No. 2 “Hello,” a duet featuring Eric Nam, is another R&B number with a bright atmosphere of blossoming love. It is followed by “Magic,” which demonstrates her powerful dance performance.

“Lonely Love” offers a soothing sound with acoustic guitar taking center stage. Track No. 5 “Love & Affection” shows off Seohyun’s vocal prowess at its highest with a melody strongly resembling the pop music prevalent in the 1990s.

“Bad Love” combining a heavy base beat with sounds of piano, and the album is rounded up with a medium-tempo song “Moonlight” that sings of love and how it is like the moonlight.

Seohyun’s solo debut, which was marked by the release of her songs online at midnight Monday, coincided with that of MissA’s Suzy. This, however, is hardly a source of tension.

“I was actually glad to work with people that the public has labelled as ‘rivals.’ Particularly in an era dominated by boybands, I felt that our activities contributed to rise in ‘girls’ power’,” she said. 

Seohyun also mentioned her appreciation of the other members of the Girls’ Generation.

“We fight, we give each other strength. I think we are more than just colleagues now,” she said. “They all encouraged me (on my solo debut). I don’t even feel like I’m alone.”

“Don’t Say No” will be officially released on Wednesday, and Seohyun will make her first stage appearance as a solo artist via M Countdown on Mnet.

Debuted in August of 2007, Seohyun has received numerous accolades and produced smash hits including “Gee,” “Oh!” “Into the New World,” and “Tell me Your Wish (Genie)” as a member of the Girls’ Generation.

The prolific singer has also proved her acting skills with her roles in the Korean-dubbed version of the “Despicable Me” series, TV dramas and, most recently, as Sophie in “Mamma mia!”

By Yoon Min-sik (