With the release of his debut album Face, Key becomes the latest solo success from SHINee — the third member of the beloved boy band to score a top 10 entry on Billboard‘s World Albums chart and earning praise on year-end lists.
Amid busy promotions for the album, Key met with Billboard to eat a cozy winter meal prepared with Chef Vittorio Cocchi at Seoul’s trendy Italian restaurant Section A. In between bites of handmade pasta and traditional Italian salad, watch the singer-songwriter give Stacy Nam the backstories and inspiration for singles “One of Those Nights” with Crush (“I thought, ‘I have to do this song'” Key said after his first listen of the demo), the Soyou-featuring “Forever Yours” (“I felt less pressure because Soyou helped me”), plus which songs are specifically for his international fans and align most with his tastes as a music listener.
But perhaps the most heartfelt moment of the interview comes when Key shares the inspiration behind the LP’s final track “This Life.” After celebrating their 10-year anniversary earlier in 2018, Key and his bandmates have little left to prove in the pop world, but Key says the track examines what his lasting legacy will be in the industry.
“I thought, ‘If I have to leave my job tomorrow, what can I leave behind?’ Whether it’s because of me or another person, if I have to leave this [industry/occupation], what can I say?” he reflects. “Instead of being depressed or irritated, I would say, ‘I’ll leave behind a letter. It’s in the drawer, so open it when you can have chance … I’m leaving it for you and saying farewell … to show that I’ll be able to smile. I can leave several beautiful gifts behind and go. Of course I’m not going to go, but I just imagine it.”
Watch the full interview above and watch the “One of Those Nights” music video again below: