The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Singer-songwriter Cheeze finds herself with ‘LOSER’

By Choi Ji-won

Published : April 16, 2021 - 17:30

    • Link copied

“LOSER” album cover (Magic Strawberry Sound) “LOSER” album cover (Magic Strawberry Sound)

Singer-songwriter Cheeze dropped her latest single “LOSER” on Friday, through which she sings of facing her true self.

Since releasing her EP “I can‘t tell you everything” nearly a year ago, Cheeze has found herself walking a path that’s different than any she had before, and with “LOSER” she shares that story.

“I have a very whimsical personality, so I often have big mood swings. I sometimes feel like I’m a loser, and at other times I feel like a special person. The song portrays those confused emotions about myself,” Cheeze told The Korea Herald during an interview conducted on Monday.

While the song speaks about the frivolous changes of heart an artist faces, Cheeze said the song also marked the end of her long confusion about her own identity as both a person and a musician.

“In the bridge, I sing ’I can be anything / I can be whatever I want’. I realized I can be a loser or someone special according to how I think about myself. There are moments when I seriously think I am a complete loser, and only I can be the one who changes myself by accepting that, even then, I am a special person.

Having recently marked her 10th anniversary since debuting as the vocalist of the band Cheeze, and now going into her fourth year of performing solo, Cheeze said she finally realizes what kind of music she has to do.

Cheeze (Magic Strawberry Sound) Cheeze (Magic Strawberry Sound)

“I’ve been in the music scene since I was 20 and, although I have received love and compliments, I‘ve also seen many critical remarks. And although I tried to love myself, it wasn’t easy,” the singer, who is also known as Dalchong by her longtime fans, said. Dalchong is the name she used when she was the vocalist of the band Cheeze before she adopted the band’s name as her own in 2017 after the other members left the group to pursue their own careers.

“I‘ve just been doing the music that I like, but other people’s perception of it has changed over time, and I realized that I was a person easily swayed by their criticism. Last year, I ventured to do what I truly wanted to do, thinking I would take all the blame by at least doing what I wanted to do,” she said.

The “I can‘t tell you everything” EP was created in that spirit, and to her surprise, it won the hearts of her fans.

“I have this ability to express the feeling of falling in love, putting an eyeglass over what can be an insignificant emotion and going deep into it. And I think my fans used to like that about my songs,” she said, talking about the songs she made with her previous bandmates.

“But with time, I came to a point where I started to look back on my life, which was around last year. That’s why ‘I can’t tell you everything‘ is mostly made up of my own stories.”

Being a singer-songwriter who also dabbles in production at times, Cheeze explained she doesn’t try hard to get inspiration for music, but rather, all her thoughts become sources of creativity.

“LOSER” in that sense was inspired by the 2017 movie “Lady Bird” which the artist came across during a period when she was caught up in a whirlwind of self-hatred.

“There is a scene where the mom picks out a dress for her daughter to wear to her high school prom. She says, ‘I want you to be the very best version of yourself,’ and the daughter replies, ‘What if this is the very best version?’ I thought this was it. We all want to love ourselves as we are now, but we can‘t simply ignore how people around us, especially those who we believe love us, perceive us.”

Like the coming-of-the-age movie directed by Greta Gerwig, “LOSER” boasts a vibrant energy and dynamic sound that stands in contrast to the grave self-reflective message. According to the singer, “the song will bring out the youthful spirit in everyone.”

The indie musician, who said she had originally wanted to become a K-pop idol when was much younger, attempted dancing in the new song. 

A musician unafraid of challenging herself, Cheeze has not only tried new genres for her own music, but has also teamed up with a wide variety of artists, including singer Eric Nam and Lee Seung-hyub of rock band N.Flying.

Teaser image of Teaser image of "LOSER" (Magic Strawberry Sound)

“I’ve been making music thinking, ’What sounds good to me will sound good to others.‘ and I’ve tried to find a middle ground, which I think I finally discovered last year. I’ll continue challenging myself and hopefully find a way to satisfy listeners as well.”

The 30-year-old singer-songwriter debuted as part of the four-piece band Cheeze in 2011 with their first single “Home Alone,” and went onto produce hits “How Do You Think,” “Madeleine Love,“ and ”Mood Indigo.“

With the band’s other members departing the group over time, Cheeze turned into a single-member band. Kicking off her solo career with ”Bye“ in February 2017, Cheeze has released the singles ”Be There“ and ”Good Night“ and the EPs ”Plate“ and ”I can’t tell you everything.“

By Choi Ji-won (