The Korea Herald/Asia News Network
Kang Daniel, formerly of project boy band Wanna One and winner of 'Produce 101 Season 2', made his long-awaited solo debut on July 25, 2019. (Konnect Entertainment/The Korea Herald/File)
Kang Daniel, formerly of project boy band Wanna One and winner of Produce 101 Season 2, made his long-awaited solo debut on Thursday.
His solo appearance comes after the breakthrough success with Wanna One that ended earlier this year with a farewell concert after a two-year stint.
Kang’s first EP Color On Me is produced by Devine-Channel CEO Kei Lim, and the 22-year-old singer took part in writing four songs in the five-track album. He has also teamed up with choreographer Antoine, who has worked with the likes of Prince and Chris Brown.
Anticipation was high even before the debut. The album has accumulated over 450,000 preorders, in a testament to the singer’s loyal fan base since his appearance on Mnet’s idol audition show in 2017.
During the showcase packed with reporters, Kang performed the lead track “What Are You Up To” and “I Hope”.
Following is the Q&A from the showcase.
Q: Can you tell us about your debut album?
Kang: The solo debut album Color On Me was inspired from the second track “Color” a lot. I thought it would be great if my unique color can captivate many people. I want to open up my infinite potential and show my diverse side.
Q: You took part in writing the lyrics. How was that process?
Kang: Except for the first track “Intro”, I got to write four songs, thanks to the help of producers from Devine-Channel and Flow Blow. The first time I met them was during the Produce 101 Season 2, when I was still a trainee. They were happy to see me becoming a singer who can write my own story.
Q: Can you talk about the title track?
Kang: Lots of people were interested in this song due to the title “What Are You Up To?” The phrase could come off as strong, but also heartwarming at the same time. It has a synth sound with also a hip-hop feel. It has a bright mood and I think many people will like it.
Q: What was it like working with overseas choreographers, including Antoine?
Kang: We contacted choreographers to match the song’s style. With “What Are You Up To?” Antoine’s unique groove and rhythm is highlighted. We spent three days together when he was in Korea. He enjoyed Korean-style fried chicken.
Q: What was it like to fill the stage on your own?
Kang: The stage is huge to fill the space on my own, and I thought about the members a lot. I thought Wanna One was a very awesome and perfect team. One good thing about going solo is I get to perform with my own voice and style.
Q: What was the hardest thing when preparing for this album?
Kang: I didn’t have much time. I contemplated day and night thinking of fans who have been waiting for me, despite the pressing time. The theme of each song is different, so writing different stories for each one was not easy.
Q: What is your goal with this album?
Kang: I want to be very busy. For fans who waited for me, I want to go see them and create a stage where we can enjoy together.
Q: Your album’s preorders are already a success. Did you see this coming?
Kang: Frankly, I never imagined this kind of (sales) number. I was very sorry for the fans because it was a long six-month hiatus. But I was moved by the fans when they told me they waited for me. I was moved by the fan’s hearts, more than the numbers. I will try my best to show good side of me to the fans.
Q: How do you expect to do in the charts?
Kang: As for the music in the album, I wanted to meet the fans as soon as possible. So that’s why I decided to make an EP, instead of the full-length album that could take longer. So I would just be satisfied with fans listening and enjoying my music.
Q: What did you do during your hiatus?
Kang: I spent time working on this album so I can meet the fans as soon as possible. I also spent time with my family, and especially with my mom. We talked a lot.
Q: What’s the biggest difference between group and solo activities?
Kang: I think I am the last Wanna One members to come back with some news. During group activities, I always thought about what I lacked and my mistakes, when it comes to singing, dancing and rapping. And I tried my best to improve. From the outside, it looks different and bit empty on the stage when I was with 11 brothers. I think it’s my job to fill that void.
Q: What kind of promotions are you planning, such as TV music broadcast and concerts?
Kang: The album prepping period was relatively short, so our management team didn’t have much time to work with broadcasters to finalize the schedule. We hope to give you good news soon!
Q: What was your inspiration when writing the lyrics?
Kang: I always thought writing lyrics was difficult. I received lot of inspiration from watching films and words by fans. I received lots of support at fan cafe through fans’ comments and letters. The product of this is the fifth track “I Hope”, which talks about what I hope. I want to tell the fans not to worry.
Q: Were you aware of LM Entertainment transferring exclusive contract rights? You are currently going through legal battle with LM Entertainment. Why did you decided to make a solo debut during this time?
Kang: I was not aware of the transfer. I gave answers through my lawyer. While the lawsuit is still ongoing, the reason I decided to make a solo debut is after hearing that I can conduct independent activities legally. My fans have waited a long time, so I decided to start the activities.
Q: You recently established a new self-management agency Konnect Entertainment. Do you plan on having other artists under the label?
Kang: I think there are still lot of preparations left. Many experts are helping me out currently. I don’t think we have the capacity at the moment to have other artists.
Can I tell you about my dream? Ultimately as an artist, I want to become a person who gives hope Through my song and performances, I want people to receive hope.
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