The Korea Herald


Lee Kigwang returns as solo artist with 'Predator'

By Choi Ji-won

Published : April 17, 2023 - 18:14

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Concept images of Lee Kigwang's first solo LP Concept images of Lee Kigwang's first solo LP "Predator." (Around Us)

Singer Lee Kigwang, who is also a member of the K-pop group Highlight, is back as a solo artist with his first full-length album "Predator."

Lee held a press conference in Seoul on Monday before the album's release later in the evening.

"I'm happy to be back doing my main job," Lee said during the press event. "I made the album thinking about what I could show more as a solo artist. I worked on it hoping I could show an upgraded version of myself as a solo musician compared to four years ago. Hopefully, that can sink in with listeners of this album."

"Predator" is a 12-track package, of which Lee wrote the melodies or lyrics to 10 of the songs.

The 12 songs are all of different genres, colors and messages, the artist explained.

"It took a long time for me to decide which 12 songs could show an improved version of myself," he said, adding, "Making the track list also took time. (I thought about) how I could present a cathartic experience through the song's order. I picked out the songs that I could do best. That's how 'Predator' came to be the title song."

Leading the album is the titular track "Predator," which Lee says he picked out with the help of Highlight members.

"I couldn't decide between two songs -- the powerful, bold 'Predator,' and another song which was also strong but carried a fresher note," he said, adding that he listened to both songs about 50 times each to decide.

"All the members gave good comments, and Yoseob's advice that 'Predator' seems like the song through which I can display everything I had wanted to show onstage really helped," he said.

Concept images of Lee Kigwang's first solo LP Concept images of Lee Kigwang's first solo LP "Predator." (Around Us)

Lee Kigwang took part as composer and lyricist of the side tracks "I Can't Do This," "I'm Not You," "Out of Control," "Universe" and "Dive," and as lyricist for "Favorite," "Anxiety," "Jealous," "Goin' Down" and "Blind."

"Predator" and "Religious" are the tracks with outside composers and lyricists.

"Although fronting my album with my song (would have been) great, it's more important to think about the overall mood of the album. The title song should be the best song that I can show with this album," he said.

Lee Kigwang is now in his 15th year as a K-pop musician. Officially kicking off in 2009 as solo musician AJ (Ace Junior), Lee also spent a short time as a dancer with B2ST (Beast), which later became Highlight.

He then debuted as a member of B2ST in October 2009 under Cube Entertainment with the album "Beast is the B2ST." The group was successful, dropping a number of chart-topping songs including "Shock," "Fiction" and "Good Luck."

Four B2ST bandmates moved to the entertainment agency Around Us in 2017 and re-debuted as Highlight with their first EP "Can You Feel It?" in March that year.

With his first solo LP, Lee hopes to be received as a good solo artist.

"I tried to focus on my roles outside the position I hold inside Highlight, and I hope that listeners can also see me separately from the group," he said adding, "It’s my 15th year as a musician, but I still have so much I want to show. This album is a selection of 12 songs that are the best of what I can do now. 'Predator' is a compilation of the music I can do well and want to do now."