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EXO’s Suho hopes to show real self in solo album

Suho of EXO released his first solo album, “Self-Portrait,” on Monday, hoping to connect with the audience through the most personal side of himself.

“As a solo artist, I wanted to make music that captured the color and musicality of Kim Jun-myeon (Suho’s given name), not the one I had shown through EXO as a group. I do feel burdened, but excitement outruns nervousness,” Suho said in a statement.

The six-track EP is fronted by lead track “Let’s Love,” an evocative modern rock track that relays a desire to keep loving someone despite all efforts and struggles. Blending his warm, mellow vocals with instrumental synths, the song has been partially written by the singer himself. This marks the first time the 29-year-old is promoting music as a soloist, eight years after his debut in EXO. 


Suho (S.M. Entertainment)
Suho (S.M. Entertainment)

While the EXO leader and vocalist is no stranger to high-energy dance songs, Suho said he personally leaned toward emotional, toned-down music.

“Just like every other song, ’Let’s Love’ will offer listeners different feelings depending on their mood and the time of day. It’s a feel-good, relatable song that touches upon the general aspect of love,” Suho explained.

The love-filled song also serves as an ode to Suho’s longtime bandmates, as it is titled after EXO’s team slogan. Expressing his affection toward the band, he added, “EXO equals my life. Having spent 15 years under one company, EXO and EXO-Ls (the group’s fandom) have naturally permeated into my life.” 


(S.M. Entertainment)
(S.M. Entertainment)

The zealous musician had his fingerprints on every aspect of the self-reflective album, from deciding its concept to penning the lyrics. He shared that the album’s concept was inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s famous “Van Gogh Self-portrait (1898).” Reflecting his love for the Dutch impressionist, the album cover also features a portrait of Suho illustrated in the Van Gogh-style.

“From the very beginning, I pitched to my company that I wanted to make an album themed around the painting, which I had encountered during my trip to Europe. There’s no part of the album that I didn’t care about, but I especially focused on the lyrics, as I wanted to communicate with EXO-Ls with my sincerely penned words,” he said.

“Rather than aiming for a big goal, I hope this album could serve as a good opportunity to deliver my sincerity, voice and music to our fans.”

Suho is the fourth EXO member to go solo, following Chen, Baekhyun and Lay. Since his debut in EXO in 2012, Suho has cemented himself as an accomplished vocalist by performing in musicals such as “The Man Who Laughs” and “The Last Kiss.” The multitalented entertainer also expanded his career into acting, featuring in various TV dramas and films, such as “How Are U Bread” and “The Present.”

The album also features tracks “O2,” “Starry Night,” “Self-Portrait” and “For You Now,” with singer-songwriter Younha. All of the tracks credit Suho as a co-writer.

Suho is set to talk about his new album via the group’s V Live channel later in the day,

By Hong Dam-young (lotus@heraldcorp.com)
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