The Korea Herald


Jihyo of Twice kicks off solo career

By Choi Ji-won

Published : Aug. 18, 2023 - 16:26

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Jihyo of Twice holds a press conference for her first solo album Jihyo of Twice holds a press conference for her first solo album "Zone" in Seoul on Friday. (JYP Entertainment)

Jihyo of Twice made her solo debut on Friday with EP "Zone," venturing on a new journey nine years since her debut.

The 26-year-old is the second member of the girl group to debut solo, following Nayeon who released the album "Im Nayeon" in June 2022.

Jihyo held a press conference in Seoul on Friday, a few hours before "Zone" came out at 1 p.m. that day.

According to Jihyo, she began working on the album last year.

"When the company told me that I'd be making a solo album last year, rather than giving me a direction, they told me to decide what I wanted to do," she said.

"It was difficult to choose at first, but working on the songs, I eventually thought I wanted to make an album that could show new sides of myself as a vocalist. All the songs are of different genres and I tried to make my voice sound as different as I could for each of them."

The title "Zone" is a composition of "z," which refers to Jihyo, and "one," meaning Jihyo's one complete artwork, the agency explained. The album is a seven-track package spanning different genres from R&B to Latin, highlighting Jihyo's colorful sonic palette. Usually a high-pitch singer in Twice music, Jihyo went she goes lower in tone and even attempted singing-rap in her solo project.

The lead single, "Killin' Me Good," is centered on showing Jihyo as she is, the singer said. Her powerful, low voice resonates through the song, with a rhythmical, groovy melody.

Rather than tapping into something completely new at the first step, Jihyo opts for what she is the best at, a powerful and vivacious dance anthem.

"I believed that, as a singer, I had to enjoy my performance first to give good energy and emotions to the people watching me," she said. "Many people recommended that I do a ballad for my first solo piece, but I wanted to dance.

"I even said that it would be meaningless for me to release a solo album if I didn't dance. My biggest joy as a singer is dancing and performing and entertaining people through the activity."

Jihyo of Twice speaks during a press conference for her first solo album Jihyo of Twice speaks during a press conference for her first solo album "Zone" in Seoul on Friday. (Kim Dong-joo/The Korea Herald)

Her label JYP Entertainment's founder and producer JY Park -- a singer-performer himself -- penned the lyrics for the song. Jihyo had also tried writing her own lyrics, but it was Park's words that best portrayed the song's message, she said.

"His title -- 'Killin' Me Good' -- grabbed me from the start. Then the words were also lovely, candidly expressing one's feelings, and I felt it went well with the melody," she recalled.

Expanding the spectrum and digging deeper into Jihyo's musicality are six side-tracks "Talkin' About It (feat. 24kGoldn)," "Closer" "Wishing On You," "Don't Wanna Go Back (duet with Heize)," "Room" and "Nightmare."

Jihyo contributed to all six songs, including the album's only all-English lyric song, "Talkin' About It."

A solo career is a dream for many K-pop idols, and it took nine years for Jihyo to accomplish it -- it's almost 19 years since she first joined JYP Entertainment as a trainee.

But Jihyo said she feels fortunate to debut solo now and not earlier. Through her nine years with Twice, she's learned about her personality, what she was good at and how she could shine better.

"I believe that everyone, whether an artist or not, have their own individual allures. It might seem ugly to some, but I believe it could appeal to others. I tried best to show myself as naturally as I could, and while some might think it's cute and others, frank, I hope that everyone could give their own interpretations as they feel," she said.

Jihyo of Twice holds a press conference for her first solo album Jihyo of Twice holds a press conference for her first solo album "Zone" in Seoul on Friday. (JYP Entertainment)

Twice is extending its massive popularity into its ninth year thanks to their consistency, positive energy and the chemistry the nine members show on and off the stage.

Its prominence even increased recently overseas, especially in the US where it has been for its "Ready To Be" tour since April.

In July, it became the first K-pop girl group to hold a concert at New York's MetLife Stadium.

"I was 8-9 years old when I first dreaming of this job (as a singer). I've always imagined myself as being a part of a team rather than as a soloist. I wanted to be with my friends. After having that dream come true and receiving so much love even until now, I'm actually living a life that I'd imagined and I'm grateful," she said.

Her first solo album "Zone" is out, and Jihyo said her job is done here.

"I've already achieved everything by putting out an album I'm satisfied with that portrays me as a solo singer. Rather than saying 'please play it many times,' I want to say 'please enjoy,'" she said.

Embarking on her new journey, Jihyo hoped to become someone who stays true to herself, both as a person and a musician.

"Although I'm not sure whether I'll be loved as now in 10 years' time, I hope that I'm a person who could be genuinely happy, reveling in myself as I am."