The Korea Herald/Asia News Network
Over the past seven years as a member of one of the most prominent K-pop bands, Chen of EXO has cemented himself as a powerhouse vocalist. (The Korea Herald/File)
Over the past seven years as a member of one of the most prominent K-pop bands, Chen of EXO has cemented himself as a powerhouse vocalist.
He has been a frequent collaborator in the diverse industry, seen huge success with TV drama soundtracks and even joined forces with overseas musicians.
When it came to his first official solo work, however, he lacked confidence, said the singer.
“I needed a lot of courage to release my solo EP, as I wanted it to be perfect and I knew that I wasn’t good enough. There were so many other talented musicians, and I wanted my first solo EP to be perfect,” said Chen during a showcase for his first solo EP, April, and a Flower, in Seoul on Monday.
The singer has released solo tracks in the form of collaborations and soundtracks, but April, and a Flower marks the first solo EP since his debut in 2011. The showcase was hosted by Chen’s bandmate Xiumin, who attended the event to show his support for his longtime friend.
“Filling a whole EP with my voice was a different issue. But in the process of working on it, I gained confidence and got lucky enough to release it earlier than I’d thought. From today on, I’m taking a new step. I feel very nervous right now, as if debuting again,” he added, overwhelmed with excitement.
Fronting the EP is the seasonal lead track “Beautiful Goodbye”, a poignant, piano-drenched ballad portraying a man who prepares to say farewell to his ailing relationship.
Trying to grasp beautiful memories with his lover, the vocalist croons, “I thought everything would be fine if winter ends and a flower blooms, but it’s hard to endure fading love.” Accepting the truth, he continues, “If April ends, let’s part ways as if nothing happened.”
The song’s Korean title, “Let’s Break Up When April Ends”, sets the month as a deadline for the relationship. “Beautiful Goodbye” was released via a music video on Sunday at midnight, prior to the official EP release slated for Monday evening.
Chen went on to share that he had poured a lot of emotions into the EP and tried to find new sides of himself.
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“I tried really hard for the delicacy of my sound, emotions and delivery of the lyrics. I hope to have clear vocals. I want to become a vocalist who can move people’s heart gently,” he said.
Xiumin chimed in, saying, “As a person who witnessed his effort, I’m saying Chen worked really hard for the EP. He practiced like crazy.”
The ballad-tinged six-track EP also features “Flower”, “Sorry Not Sorry”, “Love Words”, “I’ll Be There” and “Portrait of You”, all of which share the lead track’s evocative romantic vibe.
Asked if he has any expectations for the EP’s ranking on charts, Chen said he doesn’t intend to get obsessed with it.
“Although I’ve been an idol for the last seven years, I found new sides of myself and learned a lot through the EP. I realized how work and staff’s efforts are put into making one EP, and I got to meet so many great people who helped me with it,” said Chen.
“For example, I got to meet Paul Kim, one of my favorite musicians, who penned ‘Sorry Not Sorry’. And I cherish every relationship I made in the process of making the EP. It would be great if my song does well on charts, but what I learned is far more meaningful. I’m thankful for all the feelings and people I‘ve encountered in the process” he added.
Upon releasing the EP, Chen is set to hold a surprise event, “Chen’s April Busking", later in the evening, where he will perform “Beautiful Goodbye” live for the first time as well as talk about his new songs and future plans. The location of the event, which will be broadcast live via the SMTown channel on Naver V Live and EXO’s official social media accounts, has been kept under wraps.