The former Wonder Girls member, who has been on a winning streak since her first solo outing with tango-disco “24 Hours” in 2014, rattled the K-pop scene with her viral hit “Gashina” last summer.
The chart-topping song was not only responsible for the “finger gun,” the most imitated dance of the year, but also played a huge role in cementing the artist as one of the most prominent female soloists in the industry today.
And with “Gashina” under her belt, the K-pop diva returned after five months with a new single “Heroine” Thursday, poised to resume the “Sunmi sensation.”
“I’m deeply surprised and grateful for all the love ‘Gashina’ has been receiving. To tell the truth, I didn’t expect the wave would continue to this point,” said Sunmi during a press conference and showcase for “Heroine” in Seoul on Thursday.
“Heroine,” produced by renowned producer team The Black Label, is a prequel to “Gashina,” in which Sunmi played a heartbroken yet revengeful woman hailing “Why are you leaving the pretty me here.”
The new single is a flashback to the “Gashina” woman’s earlier days before turning into a thorny “finger gun” shooter. In “Heroine,” Sunmi is featured as a woman who finds herself growing cynical to withering love despite her efforts to understand her retreating lover. The singer also revealed that it was her idea to tell the backstory of “Gashina” through “Heroine.”
“If you listen to ‘Heroine,’ you will understand why that woman in ‘Gashina’ was shooting a gun in madness. Some might have expected ‘Heroine’ would be about me bragging about myself, but it’s actually about the man the woman loved,” she explained.
“The woman may appear sad, but as the song’s lyric ‘the show must go on’ shows, she has this ‘let it be’ attitude.”
While “Gashina” was themed on red, a color of retribution and fury, “Heroine” is themed on blue, a color for coldness, the singer said. The two contrasting themes are also well reflected in “Gashina” and “Heroine” teaser photos, each showing roses blazing in fire and roses frozen in ice, respectively.
Retro-tinged “Heroine” apparently veers away from her electronic-flavored hit, having a more toned-down beat and melodies. Admitting to the change, Sunmi opened up about the pressure coming from “Gashina,” but standing firm with her decision to show diverse aspects of herself through the new attempt.
“‘Heroine’ may lack impact compared to ‘Gashina,’ but I didn’t want to revisit that ‘Gashina’ route. I wanted to showcase new sides of me,” she said. The singer also said that she has been working on a new project with The Black Label, with plans to continue the cooperation with the team.
Despite having spent over a decade as a Wonder Girls member and a soloist, Sunmi confessed she still feels a huge burden when returning with new music each time, especially while waiting for her new song’s ranking on local charts.
“Even at this moment, I feel very nervous. I’ve been in this industry for the last 12 years, but I still can’t get used to that anxious moment of watching where my new song lands on charts,” she said.
Still anxious about her future, however, Sunmi said her ultimate goal is to brand herself as an iconic musician, rather than earning flashy nicknames or headlines.
“I know that some people compare me to legendary female soloists like Lee Hyo-ri and Uhm Jung-hwa, but I want people to get reminded of my own artistic characteristics when thinking of me. Please, help me become a ‘heroine’ of this year,” she said.
Having debuted as a member of Wonder Girls in 2007, Sunmi released her first solo EP “Full Moon” in 2014. She had departed the group in 2010, rejoined in 2015, but the group disbanded in January last year following Sunmi and Yeeun’s decision not to renew their contracts with the agency. After leaving JYP, Sunmi signed with MakeUs Entertainment, home to K-pop acts like Park Won and Urban Zakapa, around the end of February last year.