The Korea Herald


R&B trio Solid returns after 21 years

By Hong Dam-young

Published : March 22, 2018 - 15:03

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After disbanding 21 years ago, R&B trio Solid returned with the album “Into the Light” on Tuesday.

The group may sound unfamiliar to many young K-pop fans, but those who listened to Solid’s breakout hits “Holding on to Tonight” and “Destiny” in the 1990s may have taken a trip down memory lane when Kim Jo-han, Lee Joon and Jeong Jae-yoon made a surprise announcement about their reunion last week.

Consisting of members who all hail from the US, Solid shot to stardom after its debut in 1993, breathing new life into R&B music for Korean listeners. The trio’s stage outfits, which were usually tailored suits, had also been a fashion sensation back then. 

Solid poses at a press conference for its new album “Into the Light” in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap) Solid poses at a press conference for its new album “Into the Light” in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

Many of the trio’s hits, including “Destiny,” which is often used as a nuptial song, are still considered some of the most popular tunes from the 1990s.

But the band was short-lived, disbanding in 1997 as the members pursued solo careers.

Kim has been promoting himself as a solo singer, while rapper Lee returned to the US and Chong expanded his career as a producer.

“Before Solid, I’d promised my parents that I would debut under the condition of finishing college. After graduating from college in the US, I got engaged in business, married, and had children. It’s all been 21 years already,” said Lee during a press conference for Solid’s new album in Seoul on Wednesday.

The three, whose friendships span decades, revealed that they had decided to reunite as Solid after performing together at a friend’s wedding.

“We got to perform ‘Destiny’ together at the wedding, and it was so fun. We’d often chat about reuniting someday, and that was the moment we finally decided to team up again,” Kim recalled. “It was like destiny.”

Kim also said he had not considered the trio’s hiatus as a breakup at the time, but just a long break. “For those four years as Solid, we were so busy that we used to live in our studios. So I think we naturally decided to take a break and refresh. The word ‘disband’ actually didn’t suit the situation that time.” 

Solid poses at a press conference for its new album “Into the Light” in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap) Solid poses at a press conference for its new album “Into the Light” in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

The new album, produced by Jeong, is fronted by the double lead tracks “Into the Light” -- a trendy pop song that incorporates retro synth sound from the 1980s -- and “Memento,” a mellow mid-tempo pop song.

With its upbeat rhythms, “Into the Light” sends an encouraging message to keep going, while “Memento” is the kind of song that immediately soothes one’s heart with melodic guitar riffs and Kim’s dulcet vocals.

The nine-track album also includes the intro “1996,” a short sound footage from the group’s last concert in 1996, two remixed versions of “Destiny” and a remixed version of “Into the Light.” 

“Even though we’ve been working separately, it wasn’t difficult to work together again. It was actually easier,” Jeong said.

Asked whether they would keep making music, as Lee is living with his family in the US where he runs a real estate business, the members were positive in continuing their activities together. 

“We will keep trying to adjust our individual schedules and make music as we want,” said Kim. “I’m not completely sure about our future, but our immediate goal is to hold a concert in May,” added Lee, who was scheduled to fly back to the US a day after the press event.

Solid is set to hold a series of concerts from May 19 to 20 at the Blue Square iMarket Hall in Seoul.