K-pop soloist Eric Nam was once an icon of “sweetness,” the kind of a guy who would readily whisper words of romance into one’s ears. In his new EP “Honestly,” however, he pulled out a more “candid” self, stripping off his previous boy-next-door image and transforming himself into a man who confesses “maybe it’s a lie that I still love you.”
The “Honestly” EP, Nam’s first EP in two years released Thursday, features six tracks including lead track “Honestly…,” a mid-tempo dance pop number that overflows with EDM synths. And Nam has a lot to say about the album, as it was created and produced by the artist himself.
“I’ve put my blood, sweat and tears into this album. I’ve written all of the songs in Los Angeles, where I met so many amazing people,” said Nam during a press showcase for his new EP in Seoul on Thursday.
In the lead track “Honestly…,” Nam takes on a role of a man who is on the edge of breaking up with his love interest. “I love you, but I’m just tired. I’m afraid that I might hurt you. I’m not nice, as I did it for myself. A lie that I still love you,” he wails.
He agreed that he was not a romantic guy anymore in the song.
“In fact, I felt burdened with my fixed image as a sweet and romantic guy as I’ve been portrayed in TV programs. But such prejudice came as a burden to me, pressuring me to act so,” he said.
While Nam was all about love’s bright side in the past, there is not a single “love song” in his new album. Rather, the breakup-themed album is full of bitterness that is shown in tracks such as “This is Not a Love Song,” English-language tracks “Lose You” and “Don’t Call Me.” Nam has also joined forces with Epik High’s Tablo and rapper Woodie Gochild in “Potion,” a Latin-tinged song with the sound of a Spanish guitar.
“In the past, people used to criticize my self-made songs for being too popish, maybe because I grew up in the States. But this time I decided to stick with what I truly want. Honestly, this album feels like an outfit that suits me the best,” he said.
Nam said that he used some musical advice from BTS, with whom he keeps in contact even during overseas tours.
“When I first introduced ‘Honestly...’ to Suga, he told me that it sounded great, and it gave me courage. I think I get inspiration from fellow idol groups as well,” he said.
Nam made his first television appearance in Korea in 2011 on the second season of the MBC music audition show “Star Audition: The Great Birth,” where he made it to the top five.
The bilingual musician has also interviewed many of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Amanda Seyfried, Matt Damon and Jamie Foxx, at their press events in Korea.
The singer-songwriter will embark on a North American tour beginning June 5 at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles and perform in 12 US cities.