Your collaboration song ‘Nosedive’ with Dynamic Duo won 1st place on a music broadcast after occupying the music charts. This happened just yesterday.
When I saw the article I was really surprised. Every 1st place is special, but the fact that it won 1st place without promoting it on broadcast once was really unusual. Dynamic Duo and Chen’s combination was honestly a little surprising. How did the work start?
The first time I went to hang out at Gaeko hyung’s studio. Hyung and I talked about this and that. When I said that I listened to Dynamic Duo’s music while growing up, ‘Then what if we did a work together?’ came out. The fact that a song with ‘Dy-Du’ hyungs was announced. It was another one of my dreams come true. There seems to be a lot of people who received comfort from listening to this song.
The thing I most worried about when singing the song was delivering the lyrics. I wanted to deliver the lyrics cleanly and purely more than focusing on emphasizing my voice. The contents matched well with the atmosphere of the music video. Dynamic Duo hyungs’ faces or my face didn’t appear once. Just Ryu Bok-sung senior’s presence was more than enough to be cool. Last year you alone showed diverse and exuberant activities. EXO announced three albums as a group, and individually EXO-CBX did a drama OST.
2016 was a year where I came to have a lot of greed as a vocalist. Especially when promoting as EXO-CBX. It was to the extent of immediately talking about the next album after finishing promotions of ‘Hey Mama!’ with Xiumin and Baekhyun. I don’t know when the next song or comeback will happen, but the plan is still in motion. It is said that your OST ‘Everytime’ sung with Punch for Descendents of the Sun was a scene highlighter.
I am thankful if you say it like that. But actually on the contrary, I watched the drama because of the actors. And through that song, many people got to know my voice. You also participated in the OSTs for It’s Okay, It’s Love and Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo. When you sing songs to be inserted into a drama, what do you focus on?
When I participated in the OST for It’s Okay, It’s Love, I received a lot of help from D.O. I was looking for advice on how to sing the song so that it would match the drama. These days, I try to understand the message behind the music more than the drama or characters themselves. I’m not an actor, so I think it is right for me to approach it through music. If I sing the song honestly, I think that it will match the scene thoroughly. I heard that normally when singing songs, you have to deliver the lyrics and emotions carefully. These days, young singers seem to focus on technique or method.
First of all, I want to sing through a way that I like and am good at. Because people listen to me singing the lyrics first when hearing songs, I want listeners to focus on the lyrics first. If the lyrics are delivered well, the emotions will turn out well, and in contrast if the emotions are well-filled, the lyrics will be delivered effectively. But that’s not to say that skills aren’t important. There are a lot of people who are lacking, so it is important to keep practicing. You are EXO’s main vocal, do you acknowledge that you as a vocalist exceed the team?
I’m still far from that. I have never been satisfied when I listen to my recordings. There are so many people in the world who sing well. As a vocalist, what part of music do you want to strengthen?
I’m weak at groove. There is a wide gap in ability when singing ballads versus singing R&B. On top of that, because we are on a team, it is clear to realize what each member’s strengths and weaknesses are. There must be some motivation among the members.
It has been six years since debut. Now when we enter the recording studio, I can see how the members have improved in abilities. I can understand how much our experiences in recording thus far have helped us. Naturally, when it is my turn, I also want to try hard. There haven’t been too many opportunities for you to show your abilities as a vocalist in an OST or King of Mask Singer, for a member in a performance group. Do you feel a thirst for singing?
After promoting as a team, all the individual activities and time to promote oneself takes the same amount of time. I sing all the songs I want to sing individually in the practice room. So there is a solution to some extent. My ultimate goal is to sing a song that I have composed in a style that I like. What do you sing in the practice room lately?
Beyonce’s ‘Hello’. It’s not a song that has come out recently, but I heard it by chance when driving a while ago. It’s high in a female key, but I wanted to sing it in a key that matches me because it’s a good song. I remember you recommended a song by Lucia and Epitone Project on a portal site’s music page.
I try to keep it as open as possible when it comes to listening. I was adding indie songs to a playlist and came across a blossoming song. So I came to know the song ‘Are you going to love me for just one season like a flower?’ (T/N: listen here, such a nice song!) Are you saying that it’s possible to understand the feelings of a member of a boy group that is enjoying its peak popularity?
I have… an analog sensitivity. I don’t go on SNS or Internet that much. I don’t have a special reason, but it just ended up like this. My friends tease me by saying that I’m technologically illiterate. Is it okay for you to be unaware of things that everyone else knows?
I don’t really care that much. I seem to live in my own time. You’re your own self.
I think that I have to have my own convictions. If I don’t, I will be trapped by many things and shaken. It is more comfortable to walk along a path that is certain for me. Honestly, that’s why I’m waiting a bit to write my own songs. My surroundings tell me to try different things to find what I want, but it seems fit for me to start after definitely figuring out what kind of music I want to do. I have the ease of “I’ll do it when it’s time”. I’ll do music for the rest of my life, anyway. Like a fruit, I trust that I’ll ripen with time. What has changed the most from before debut to now?
Before, I was introverted and didn’t have confidence. I was nervous in front of people and didn’t speak well, but that has changed a lot with promotions. They call you and Xiumin ‘Kim Brothers’ among the EXO members. You have acknowledged that you have a close relationship, but when do you feel that Xiumin knows you too well?
Hyung knows everything I like and don’t like. So when we go around, he prepares for the things I like and tries to avoid the things I don’t like. Sometimes his dedication feels like he’s my manager. Of course he’s comfortable with me… but he naturally understands people. I get goosebumps when he’s accurately aware of things about the other members that I had never known until now. Xiumin has said that he wants to emulate your professionalism. But there hasn’t been a time when you showed a deficient appearance. Aren’t there times when you’re scattered due to a busy schedule?
Sometimes I show a naive appearance or catch myself making mistakes. I don’t like being embarrassed on stage. I don’t go on the Internet, but I definitely monitor my stages. In earlier times, I would feel guilty for a small mistake, but now I don’t have a lingering attachment to past issues. There is no end to the list of records that EXO has achieved domestically. EXO is six years old, but what is one thing that you are still dumbfounded at and can’t believe?
Four consecutive years of receiving a Daesang! It’s not easy to receive a Daesang once in your life, but the fact that we have received it four times, it is a thankful and amazing thing. If you hadn’t debuted as EXO’s Chen, what would you be doing now?
I’m often curious about that too. Um, I originally wanted to major in practical music. If I had studied music, I would probably be preparing to be a trainer or teacher? I would like it if listeners would enjoy music as much as I release stress through singing. I want to let others know the joy in music. trans: andie @ fychen ϟ please take out with full credit!
EXO Reaction to: You and Him Secretly Dating and Being on Stage Together
Xiumin: Good at hiding it for the most part but sneaks occasional glances that makes the most suspicious of fans curious but as for 99% of the viewers, no one picks up on that.
Luhan: Is good at keeping his cool and as he’s taking his leave off stage, he shoots you a playful thumbs up that looks purely friendly and platonic to the unaware audience.
Kris: Thinks he’s being slick about it but is actually making it super obvious, laughing extra hard when you tell a (scripted) joke or taking any opportunity for skinship. He leans into you as he laughs, something someone only does around people they’re comfortable with … Here come the rumours.
Suho: Goes extra hard on the puns and dad jokes, wanting to seem like a funny leader and make everyone (especially you) laugh. Instead he earns lots of side eye from Jongdae who’s already scheming up ways to embarrass his hyung for this.
Lay: “Thank you to everyone who voted for me and also, thank you to the very attractive Y/N for handing me this beautiful award. I’ll cherish it like I cherish all their performances - cherish in a platonic, not suspicious way at all - ” *gets tackled*
Baekhyun: Takes a brief moment to shoot you a smirk as he’s passing by, out of view of the camera’s.
It leaves you blushing and struggling to remember your script as he sits back down and watches with great pleasure at how flustered one smirk has left you.
Chen: You were both presenting the award and had to act super cutesy and playful with one another. The line between professional flirtation for the camera’s and real flirtation blurred and suddenly you’re both pinching cheeks and pushing and tickling each other in front of thousands.
Chanyeol: Tries extra hard to be his charming, funny self in order to make you laugh. The way his face lights up when you do makes it so obvious that there’s feelings there, on his behalf at least.
This leads to teasing from interviewers and in order to keep the secret going, Chanyeol plays it off as his admiration of you, jokingly saying “I only wish I could date someone like that.”
D.O: Speaks his rehearsed lines with no difficulty until Baekhyun starts nudging him and throwing his trail of thought off. He starts off composed then the facade breaks and he’s giggling and trying desperately not to look in your direction; “Ah, as I was saying, I’m grateful we got selected …”
Tao: Thinking ‘Act cool, don’t make it obvious.’
Kai: Looks at you so softly when you speak and has the fondest look when you tell a joke, eyes squeezing shut and laughing with his whole body. But it’s not overly obvious so while shippers do arise, there’s no scandalous reveal.
Sehun: Cracks the funniest jokes, not even meaning to be funny. In this situation, it’s you who’s obvious about the relationship. You laugh a little too hard, hand unconsciously falling on his forearm as you laugh (a sure sign of romantic interest). It sparks rumours that you have a crush and Sehun rejoices in this during variety and interviews, bringing it up as often as possible to torture you: “Ah, yes, there is one idol who is apparently very fond of me. And I can understand why.”