Suzy Opens Up About New 'Faces of Love' Album & Finding Herself as a Musician
"I've changed from a question mark to an exclamation mark," the K-pop superstar says as her new singles take over the charts.
Suzy is one of Korea's most recognized and established stars, but as a solo artist the 23-year-old says she is still finding herself. The latest step of her musical journey is documented in her just-released Faces of Love EP that's currently seeing multiple songs take over the real-time charts.
Musically, Suzy opened up on last year's Yes? No? -- a stunning debut that saw her masterfully deliver both pristine R&B and emotionally driven pop -- with her sophomore release now looking to establish her as a powerful, multifaceted singer-songwriter. The heartbreaking, pre-release ballad "I'm in Love With Someone Else" highlighted her knack for beautiful storytelling while lead single "Holiday" sees her lapping in luxurious, dreamy R&B only heightened by a contribution from 2018's must-watch rapper DPR LIVE. This time, the songs on the EP accentuate Suzy's various from musical sides, from spotlighting her fluttery, honey vocals heard via the flirty cut "Sober" to her moving, emotive delivery that's undeniable on the melancholy album closer "Sleeplessness."
Already one of Korea's most in-demand and influential endorsement models, this release could also establish Suzy as a musical tastemaker with her "Holiday" single marking a huge exposure opportunity for DPR LIVE, the self-made, independent rapper who Billboard named one of 2018's top new Korean artists to watch. Based on the chemistry displayed on their debut performance at Suzy's [Faces of Love] showcase on Jan. 29, the DPR movement is just beginning with Ms. Suzy ahead of the curve.
With just days before her K-pop comeback, Suzy granted a rare interview and took time with Billboard to consider her musical journey, the different facets of her new album and what she hopes to accomplish in 2018.
Congratulations on your new album and thank you for choosing to speak with Billboard. What's going through your mind right now?
I have been waiting for this moment to share these songs with the fans. Although it makes me a little nervous, I'm mostly excited about it.
You began this new era with "I'm in Love With Someone Else," a very bittersweet ballad. Can you take us through the recording process of that song?
When I first listened to this song, I thought the lyrics were very merciless and sad. As I continued to practice and record, the song came to me with a different interpretation, compared to the first listening, and so I felt even more affectionate and sad. The song is also meaningful as the composer, Armadillo (TWICE's "Signal," I.O.I's "Very Very Very," Stray Kids' "Hellevator"), also wrote the pre-release song from my first album "Pretend" so he gave me another pre-release song.
Tell us about your new single and music video for "Holiday," which features DPR LIVE.
As you might realize when listening, the song has a laid-back R&B genre with a feeling of relaxation during a holiday. I hope my listeners can feel the joy of the sweet vacation and taking a break from their ordinary routine. I'm a huge fan of DPR LIVE's music and I thought it would be fantastic if his sensuous rap were added to my soft R&B song. And just like the song title "Holiday," every location of the music video was so beautiful and peaceful, despite the tight schedule. Wandering around several beautiful places, I myself sometimes forgot about the fact that is a music video shooting as if I was enjoying a vacation.
What has changed from the Suzy who released the Yes? No? album to the Suzy that is now releasing Faces of Love?
The feelings and the aspects that I wanted to share with the album Yes? No? were more about a process to find myself. Just like the album title, I was curious about which direction to go while being a bit confused about what was right. If the previous album slightly reflected myself, Faces of Love has a bigger, single theme. During the album process, I'd say I also have changed slightly from a question mark to the exclamation mark!
What's your favorite song on the album?
If I really have to pick, I like "Sleeplessness," not because I participated in the lyrics, but this ballad song has a special old sensitivity that deeply moves me to cry.
I know I was pleasantly surprised by the different styles you showed in Yes? No? and now on Faces of Love. Where does this come from?
I believe there are various aspects of me -- sometimes I am very capricious and cannot make up my mind so I'm unpredictable! [Laughs]
While girl groups and boy bands are always popular, it feels like there is a trend with many solo females doing very well and gaining more attention, including yourself. What do you think of this trend?
I think a group and a solo attract people in different ways, which I believe is a proof that the mass is looking for the more varying types of music?
You're a very hard worker and it feels like you're always onto a next project. How do you stay centered and happy?
I am cheered up when I look at the hard-working colleagues and staff members. I strongly want to enjoy the work and maybe we all can be happier and stay more centered if we follow a positive direction? I always have been, and I am still, finding the best way [to do so].
What goals do you have in 2018?
First of all, I want to have a frequent communication with my fans. I also want to have a concert and participate in a good drama or a movie. My goal is to work like a cow and rest like a sloth! [Laughs] And as a personal goal, I want to have a hobby. Currently, I don’t have a particular hobby, but I will make one for sure this year!
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I really like every track in this new album and I worked very hard. I hope my listeners also love the new album as much as I do. I love you all, always. Please stay healthy and happy -- let's be like "Holiday"!