The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Yang Yo-seob hopes to shape his musical experiences with wider taste

Singer-turned-soloist aims to open new chapter in music career by tailoring wider musical taste, collaborating with voices of A-listers

By Park Jun-hee

Published : Sept. 20, 2021 - 18:01

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(Around US Entertainment) (Around US Entertainment)

A year since Yang Yo-seob of boy band Highlight announced his discharge from the military, he has fans brimming with excitement that new music was on its way. The singer is finally returning to the stage with his first-ever solo LP, “Chocolate Box,” released Monday evening.

The 31-year old talked about how dropping new music and showcasing his voice and songs to the public gave him butterflies and agitation at the same time. “I had always set my heart on releasing a full-length album as a soloist. I shared my thoughts with my company, and they were positive as well. So the road to releasing my first LP wasn’t that much of a hassle,” he said in a recent interview with The Korea Herald.

Speaking about the origins of his recent print, the singer likened the concept of his album to a chocolate box. He said many people tend to revel in the different flavors of chocolates when they take one out of the box. And eventually, they realize the taste of it.

Singers tend to use food as a metaphor to pass on their thoughts and feelings about a specific topic, and this concept applies to Yang for his latest album. The singer made his solo debut in 2012 through “The First Collage” with lead track “Caffeine,” when he was under Cube Entertainment.

When asked about why he utilized food for his print, he said food is one of the easiest mediums to pass on a wide range of emotions, such as comfort. “I think this time, I just wanted to associate the word ’chocolate’ with my album -- no more, no less,” he said. 

(Around US Entertainment) (Around US Entertainment)

Intent to make it on many people’s playlists during the fall season, the musician said he peppered his album with songs of different genres, similar to how it came out in three varieties: white, milk and dark.

The wunderkind continued, expressing his wish that music lovers and fans feel like chocoholics. Yang added that he hopes people who are new to his songs unplug their earphones knowing how he touches on different music genres, saying he linked up with the voices of A-listers this time.

The musician wrote five tracks, including “Dry Flower” and “Good Morning,” and blended what he felt during his time in the Army. The singer-songwriter also paired up with beatmaker Colde, renowned for working with Baek-hyun of boy band EXO, up-and-coming female singer Sole and rapper pH-1.

Yang Yo-seob was famous for his mellifluous vocals and ballads, but he chose to be dark this time.

“The title track ‘Brain’ has a very dark concept, and the 12-song package, in general, is packed with song genres that I have never listed on my album. I also collaborated with a songstress for the first time and listed five of my self-composed and self-written songs.” 

(Around US Entertainment) (Around US Entertainment)

Yo-seob also talked about his bandmates, referring to them as “his avid fans” when asked about how they helped his solo journey. “Do-joon and Gi-kwang participated in selecting the songs for my album and were the first to listen to my self-made songs. Do-joon, in particular, promoted my solo album through his livestreams,” he said. He added that being around the band makes him feel less worried.

The musician talked about how his appearance on MBC’s megahit “The King of Mask Singer” helped him take a leap of faith. Participants on the TV series compete in three different rounds and get votes from the panel only for their vocal talents.

“I had to garner votes solely through my voice and make the judges smitten by my voice to defend my crown. And I think my stages helped me a lot when thinking of how to put more emotions into the song and how to move someone’s heart with my voice,” the artist who achieved eight consecutive wins said.

Looking back on his 12-year career, the singer said he could muddle through harder times because of his fans. He said Lights, the band’s fandom, cheered him up in various ways.

“For example, fans would slide into my DMs on the days I feel down, sing our song while waiting for my encore stage at concerts or surprise me with various events.”

From returning to the record and releasing his first LP, the musician aims to make more memories to cherish with fans amid the ongoing pandemic situation. He said he is currently planning on shooting other content apart from joining music programs to put fans and himself at ease.

The singer also spoke about how he wants to reach out to the public with his latest print. He said he wants to land on many shop’s playlists so that bypassers could bump into his music and be mesmerized by his vocals.

“Hopefully, those who are new to my music would get to know my voice and later recognize me as a hard-working singer who strives for the best.”