Choi Yoo-jung of K-pop girl group Weki Meki has opened a new chapter in her music career as a soloist with her new single “Sunflower,” aiming to show her passion for music and her fans like a sunflower.
In a press showcase event held at Ilchi Art Hall in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, ahead of the album’s online release at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Choi said her first solo EP is a new challenge for the artist to deliver a brand new side of herself, alongside her musicality to a wider range of listeners.
“Since it is my first time dropping a solo album, I’m nervous yet excited. I had to grapple with ideas on how to showcase a rich performance on my own instead of performing as an eight-piece act,” she said. “A solo debut is, however, a chance to do things that I like and show what I can do well. It is also a personal opportunity to find other potential,” she said.
Having been part of a tight-knit band for nearly six years when including her career as a former member of now-disbanded project group I.O.I, the musician said she had always wanted to show her own colors one day, but was not quite ready to stand alone onstage.
“Timing is important when something is to be completed. It took me about six years to finally release a solo album because I had to question whether I was ready to be onstage alone. I was scared because I didn’t have any experience (as a solo musician). My priority was to do my best as a bandmate,” Choi said.
“Sunflower” is a three-track EP that reflects the hip-hop and R&B genres she has loved and excelled in since she was a trainee. Choi participated in penning the lyrics for the main track “Sunflower (P.E.L)” and the EP’s second track “Tip Top Toes.”
Choi said, “As the first solo work, I wanted to fill in the album with personally meaningful things. The album’s title became ‘sunflower’ because it means a lot to me. Before my grandpa passed away, he once drew a sunflower and said it symbolized me because of my bright smile.”
The titular lead track is a pop R&B song. It features a catchy melody and an addictive hook in the chorus. The abbreviation “P.E.L” in the song’s title is short for “power, energy and love,” she explained. “Tip Top Toes” is a vintage hip-hop-based R&B song, while the last track “Owl” highlights her vocals blending with dreamy synth riffs and groovy drum sounds.
Taking her first step as a solo artist with the new EP, she expressed her hope for listeners to bring the musician to mind when looking at a sunflower. Although the first solo EP is full of hip-hop and R&B songs, she has a desire to roll out more easy-listening songs, while widening her music genres such as jazz and bossa nova, the artist said.
Choi extended her music career after I.O.I by making a debut as the main rapper and dancer of Weki Meki in August 2017. She has also appeared in a series of variety shows and branched out into acting, having been cast in two web dramas.