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[Herald Interview] Every word Davii sings is the answer to unanswered questions

New album reflects major shift in definition of love

Singer-songwriter Davii (Courtesy of Allways and JG Star)
Singer-songwriter Davii (Courtesy of Allways and JG Star)

Searching for the exact math in music is synonymous with finding a deeper groove. In line with the saying, singer-songwriter Davii reaches out to innovative tunes by interweaving jazz and R&B. And now, the singer aims to lead creative hijinks in the music scene by bringing his studio sounds to the masses.

‘?=1 Re:new’

Love isn’t unique to music -- it’s an element that plays a crucial role in people’s lives and music lovers tend to associate themselves with songs by standing in the singer’s shoes or putting themselves in the situation. The same is true of Davii. In one of his most personal stories yet, the singer-songwriter takes his emotions to croon about affection.

This time, the 29-year-old gave a tweak to his definition of love with “?=1 Re:new,” released Wednesday. Talking about his new EP, the singer said the album reflects a major shift in his definition of love. 

“My definition of love was head over heels in love, and loving too much made me obsessed. I kept on thinking about breaking up with this person although I was in a relationship,” the singer-songwriter said.

His “obsession,” he explained, stemmed from fear that people could leave him anytime, which led him to be more clingy. But the musician said that his definition of love went through a seismic change.
 
Album cover of Davii’s 2nd EP “?=1 Re:new” (Courtesy of Allways and JG Star)
Album cover of Davii’s 2nd EP “?=1 Re:new” (Courtesy of Allways and JG Star)

“I’ve found out that love is about saving and helping. The songs I’ve put out before were dark because I was going through dark times. But now, I pulled myself out of the darkness,” he said. 

Davii went on to talk about why he had love take center stage in his latest print. The artist said his titular “Regret” and sidetrack ”Remember,“ which are the first two tracks of the album, describe how he viewed love in the past. And starting from the fourth track, “Untouchable,” he penned his fresh thoughts and creeds about love.

Also, the artist said his seven-song package marks the start of his “?=” trilogy and is a build-up for his LP, which he plans to drop next December.

“I write many songs, but I wasn’t able to release them because I had a lot on my plate,” he said, reminiscing about how he first floated the idea. He went on to say that the overall concept of the series is about ”darkness and light,“ and his “Re:new” album signaled the start to it.

While working on the seven-song package, the singer said he paid much attention to the lyrics, adding that he would be happy if his songs could bring comfort to people.

“The best way to comfort people is through messages, and people can feel the emotions of that singer through music. I wish my songs land well with listeners, and hopefully, they’ll be able to relate themselves,” he said. 


Singer-songwriter Davii (Courtesy of Allways and JG Star)
Singer-songwriter Davii (Courtesy of Allways and JG Star)

‘Super Band 2’ as breakthrough

Audition programs are usually preferred by singer-wannabes because the idea is simple -- it could work as a medium for participants to open the door to their singing careers. But JTBC’s band audition program “Super Band 2” was a stepping stone for the singer’s musical career.

The singer initially got the offer to be on the show via Instagram, but apart from that, he said he saw a bright future for bands in the industry because all the contestants were virtuosos as artists. The musician added that he wanted to convince that he could “musically win” other vocalists.

“I threw my hat into the ring for two reasons. I wanted to challenge myself as a singer-songwriter and find fame. I thought I would rise to stardom and have videos with millions and billions of views if I could be on the show,” he said.

Davii said his standard of success was being as popular rapper Eminem and singer Rain. “I was an avid fan of them when I was young, and I still have that desire in me to be as famous,” he said.

“But now that I think of it, Super Band 2 was a program that triggered my go-for-it spirit, and I enjoyed taking on challenges while preparing for different stages. Most importantly, I was able to meet new people,” he added.

Although the program gave voices to the voiceless and aimed at being widely heard by viewers, a flaw in singing competitions would be that there could only be one winner in the end. Davii got eliminated in Round Four, but he explored his talents and branched out to other sides of him.

During his introductory performance, the song he sang was “Jamie Cullum,” released in 2020, which garnered immense attention from the crowd. The two songs he performed in the battle rounds – “Blue Frog” and “Mine” – left indelible marks on many viewers. Driven by the popularity, Davii also released the original version of “Blue Frog” in November.

Davii said he’s starting to make some progress as a singer because more people are becoming familiar with his songs. He said people couldn’t recognize his face because of the masks but he shared that it brought people together through his music.

“I went to a restaurant with my dad recently, and he went on advertising to people that I’m the one who made ‘Blue Frog.’ And everyone in the restaurant became one with my music,” the musician recalled. 
 
Singer-songwriter Davii (Courtesy of Allways and JG Star)
Singer-songwriter Davii (Courtesy of Allways and JG Star)

Music as a tool of change

Before Davii unlocked his musical passion, Choi Kyu-wan was a boy who relished singing in church. He said he loved listening to music and wanted to be like artists he revered but never had the audacity to do so.

“I wanted to live a life like my father, but he is a person who gained success through academics,“ the musician said, speaking about his dad, who is a mechanical engineering professor. “But instead of having a stable job, happiness came first for me, and that was music.”

And right before senior year, he decided to embark on a musical journey and now helms his label, “Allways,” established in 2017.

“South Korea is an education-centered nation, and students work their fingers to the bone trying to get into college, especially in high school. But that wasn’t the case for me. I wasn’t vying for that, so I wanted to quit school to focus on music,” he said.

Davii got his foot in the door with his first digital single, “Want You Back,” in 2014. He also earned his stripes as a producer by working with the voices of A-listers, including singer Heize, but being acknowledged as a singer was no easy task.

“This is one of the reasons why I decided to participate in Super Band 2. I wanted to gain more recognition as a vocalist,“ he said. The singer added that being better known as a producer made him feel on edge.

But Davii said he is thankful to have the opportunity to produce tracks for other artists. “Making songs for other singers meant a lot to me because I wrote the songs and came up with the tunes. Or else, I wouldn’t have been able to convey what I wanted to say,” he added.

Talking about his stage name, Davii said his name derives from “dab,” which translates into “answer.”

“Although I’m still young and continuously questioning what’s next, I want to tell people that I am the answer because I’ve thrown countless questions to god, the world and myself, and untangled my curiosity,“ he said, expressing hopes that his songs could be a guiding light to people’s questions.

When asked about where he sees himself as a musician in the future, the singer said he has set his heart on changing the religious atmosphere of Christianity.

Davii said there’s so much negativity when people say they go to church here. But on the other hand, he understands why when he sees the news about Christians getting embroiled in controversies.

“This is why I want to meld in the beliefs I’ve learned through god and the bible in my songs because music is a powerful tool for creating awareness,” he said.

“And as my name suggests, Davii is the answer.”

By Park Jun-hee (junheee@heraldcorp.com)
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