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Mijoo breaks out solo with 'Movie Star'

Lovelyz member shares emotionally charged story of long-awaited solo debut

By Choi Ji-won

Published : May 17, 2023 - 18:48

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Singer Lee Mijoo poses for picture during a press showcase for her first solo single Singer Lee Mijoo poses for picture during a press showcase for her first solo single

Mijoo's media showcase on Wednesday was full of laughs and tears as she shared her long-awaited solo debut story in her single "Movie Star."

Mijoo, who began her career as a member of girl group Lovelyz and has made her name as a comic entertainer more recently, is back as a singer, but this time, alone.

"I feel more nervous than my first debut," Mijoo said speaking to the local press during Wednesday's event held in Seoul.

"I'm making my solo debut after nine years. I've prepared a lot and will show you everything I had wanted to, so please enjoy it with me."

It took nine years for Mijoo, who stepped into the music scene as a member of Lovelyz in 2014, to debut as a soloist. More recently, she has enjoyed explosive popularity locally as a breakout star on TV variety shows.

Her first solo single "Movie Star" embodies Mijoo's story and the emotions she felt on her journey to achieving her dream.

Fronting the single is the titular "Movie Star," a dance score showing Mijoo's vibrant energy in a disco-infused house genre melody while limning out the heartfelt emotions through the lyrics.

"I was captivated by the lyrics the instant I heard 'Movie Star.' It was just my story. As a child, I used to watch stars on TV, dreaming of becoming like them," Mijoo said. "I still can't believe that it's come true."

Mijoo's solo debut was a dream-come-true moment for her, as her longtime role model, singer Lee Hyo-ri, stars in the music video for "Movie Star." The two singers are affiliated with the same company, Antenna.

Actor Lee Yi-kyung also stars in the music video.

"I've looked up to Lee Hyo-ri since I was a child. It's such an honor. She is magnificent on the stage yet becomes ever so friendly during TV shows. I respect her and aspire to become like her," Mijoo said.

With the single's other track "Miss You," Mijoo demonstrates her vocal prowess. The poignant ballad tune overflows with emotions as Mijoo's soft yet clear timbre is accompanied by the sentimental melody.

Cover image of Mijoo's first solo single Cover image of Mijoo's first solo single

Mijoo said it took her around a year to finally present herself as a soloist on the stage.

"I wanted to differentiate Mijoo on TV and Mijoo onstage. If I would give joy and laughter to viewers on TV, on the stage, I wanted to be seen as an artist who continues to strive for my dreams and challenge myself," she explained.

Mijoo and most of her bandmates ended their contract with agency Woolim Entertainment in November 2021, bringing an indefinite halt to the group's activities. The band denied any disbandment of Lovelyz and appeared together on an online music show in November to prove their unity.

Sharing her emotions on her new start, Mijoo was moved to tears.

"It's taken a long time. I watched other singers and imagined all the things I wanted to do, and actually standing here like this, I feel so many emotions. It's overwhelming," she said, wiping tears away with a smile. "I know it would have been impossible if people had not waited for me. I'm so grateful."

After leaving Woolim in 2021, Mijoo signed with Antenna with the support of comedian Yoo Jae-seok, with whom she had shown a remarkable chemistry on variety shows. He is credited with playing a big role in bringing Mijoo into the spotlight as an entertainer. Yoo is affiliated to Antenna as well.

Mijoo said Yoo was one of her biggest cheerleaders ahead of her solo debut.

"He monitored my songs as much as I had and complimented that the songs were great. I was really encouraged by his words," she said.

She half-jokingly shared that her next goal is to make an acting debut. "I'm curious about what Mijoo on the big screen will be like," she said. "If there comes an opportunity to act, I bet I won't miss it."

For now though, her goal as a solo artist, Mijoo said, is a standalone concert.

"I want to write out a story for myself. And when the time comes that I've grown up more, I want to hold a solo gig that has a story. I want to pack the show with just my songs and my stories."