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SHINee’s Onew hopes to unravel his ‘diversity’ through second solo EP ‘Dice’

Onew poses for pictures during a media showcase for his second EP “Dice,” Monday in Seoul. (S.M. Entertainment)
Onew poses for pictures during a media showcase for his second EP “Dice,” Monday in Seoul. (S.M. Entertainment)
K-pop group SHINee’s Onew on Monday put out his second solo album, “Dice,” through which he hopes to show his diversity as a solo musician and spread hopeful messages.

Ahead of dropping his new album, Onew conducted a media showcase in Seoul on Monday afternoon. Hosting the show was SHINee bandmate Minho.

Onew has been constantly releasing music, but mostly in for the original soundtracks of dramas, as the new album marks his official comeback as a soloist after over three years.

“It’s my first solo album in three years and four months, and I’ve put much more thought into making the album. I hope the music I show this time is a step more mature than before,” Onew said at Monday’s event.

“Dice,” just as the six-faced object, consists of six tracks that show different aspects as an individual musician. While all the songs resonate different moods and emotions, Onew explained the key message he hopes to carry through the album is something hopeful.

“I hope people could listen to the songs at different moments according to their situations,” the artist said.

Fronting the album is the fresh and rhythmical title track.

“The song compares a heart in love to dice, like a game. The lyrics sing that, although I know I will lose this game, I’m throwing the dice anyway,” he explained.

The song also marks Onew’s first attempt at a solo performance. While the veteran K-pop idol is no stranger to dancing and performing, this will be his first time filling up the whole stage alone.

“The phrase ‘rolling dice’ repeats in the chorus and the choreography comes from the action of throwing and receiving something,” he said.

Onew explained he felt a heavy pressure in filling the stage with only his own presence.

“When I was a part of a group, I could rely on the other members and take a short break in between. As I had to do everything alone this time, I really missed those moments when I could connect with the bandmates on the stage and make synergy with them.”

While his first solo debut was with the album “Voice” in 2018, this is his first time rolling out promotional activities for the album, and this came with much more commitment, Onew said.

“Although it’s my second album as a soloist, it feels different. I think I’ve matured in the aspect that I had to take responsibility in most of the process of the production, from what to wear, how to take the concept, where to shoot the music video and so on. Although that also increased the pressure weighing on me, it was the members who helped me endure the time.”


Minho (left) and Onew of SHINee speak during a media showcase for Onew’s second EP “Dice,” Monday in Seoul. (S.M. Entertainment)
Minho (left) and Onew of SHINee speak during a media showcase for Onew’s second EP “Dice,” Monday in Seoul. (S.M. Entertainment)

“Dice” also comprises five other tracks that embody different sides to the artist.

“Sunshine” is an electronic-pop tune peppered with punky guitar sounds that exude a vibrant energy like setting off on an unexpected trip. Onew recommended fans listen to the song while driving or going on a vacation.

“On the Way” -- picked by Minho as his favorite song from the album -– is a romantic song of an ethereal sound, infused with jazzy piano and guitar ad-libs that stick to the ears.

“The lyrics sing about how someone spends the night awake, brooding over the relationship with one’s lover and feels like running straight at her. It took five hours to record, the longest among the six tracks. But I’m more than satisfied with the result,” Onew said.

“Love Phobia” is an alternative-pop genre singing of the ironic emotion of being afraid of falling in love yet still yearning for eternal love. “Yeowoobi,” which refers to the short spell of rain in sunshine, sings of that short outburst of melancholy feeling while in love. Onew explained he sang the song with a firmer voice to better express the ups and downs in the waves of emotions.

The 32-year-old took part in the penning of the final track, “In the Whale,” a medium-tempo pop score characterized by pouncing drum beats and an airy sound.

“The whole idea started from imagining that I’m inside a whale. It’s a total fantasy. Although we’re inside this dark, damp space where daunting adventures await us, at the end of it all, we will go out together. I wrote it thinking of our fans,” Onew said.

Onew officially debuted as a K-pop musician in 2008 as a member of S.M. Entertainment’s SHINee, a quintet comprising Onew, Minho, Key, Taemin and the late Jonghyun. While most of his solo discography up to now is packed with gentle songs, such as ballads, Onew is setting off on a new musical journey with his new EP “Dice.”

Defining the keyword of the album as “diversity,” Onew said. “I felt I needed to expand my spectrum. I didn’t want people to think that I’m only capable of ballad tracks or OSTs, but something new, including performances.” He added, “I hope this album sets that diversity of the career I will write from now on.”

He also said the six sides of “Dice” refers to the five members of SHINee and their fans, SHINee World.

Onew stated that the single message threading through the tracks is “hope,” which is also the value he aspires to continue spreading as a musician.

“As the solo musician Onew, I want to share a hopeful energy with people. We often forget the small parts of our daily lives like hope and happiness. I also did, and I want to keep on sending the message that happiness can be found in little things, and that we are surrounded by many good and beautiful elements in this society that we live in.”

By Choi Ji-won (jwc@heraldcorp.com)
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