Exploring Korean soloists can be overwhelming for the most obsessed of entertainment fans, given the sheer number of acts out there. Still, the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018 gave us an influx of spectacular female artists bursting onto the scene.
Some have been quietly biding their time for a while, while others have just debuted and are awaiting their audience to find them. Regardless, all are worth taking a moment to listen to, and all offer something different to the industry.
Take a gander at the talents of tomorrow and sample their current offerings!
Newcomers normally don’t have the honor of debuting with songs written by chart slayer IU, but that’s exactly what Cherry B did. “Her” is an R&B ballad that details a girl coming to terms with her ex-boyfriend’s new significant other.
One listen to her smooth voice, perfectly suited to the genre, it’s easy to understand why she comes with IU’s backing. In fact, she stands as the very first artist to whom IU has ever offered lyrics. In an Instagram post, IU detailed her experience as she heard Cherry B’s vocals for the very first time: “I really like writing lyrics, but I still feel cautious about writing lyrics for another singer’s song, so I always pushed it off until the next time…First of all, the song was good, and the singer’s voice was so good, so I ended up giving lyrics to a different singer for the first time.”
가사 쓰는 걸 아주 좋아하긴 하지만 다른 가수분의 곡을 작사하는 건 저에겐 아직 조심스러워 늘 다음으로 다음으로 미루던 일이었는데 이종훈 작곡가의 작업실에 놀러 갔다가 이 곡의 영어 가이드를 듣고는 우선 곡이 좋아서, 그리고 가창자의 목소리가 너무 좋아서.. 처음으로 다른 가수분에게 가사를 드리게 됐습니다. 아직 굉장히 어리기도 하고 또 데뷔곡이라 경험이 많지 않음에도 불구하고 한 줄 한 줄 이해하려 부단히 노력해주고, 결국 온전히 자기 말로 만들어낸 #CherryB 고마워요! 노래 참 잘해요? 이렇게 듣자마자 매력을 느낀 목소리 정말 오랜만었어요. 즐거운 작업이었고 나도 응원할게요? #그의그대
She’s a memorable vocalist, with the proper support to boot. It’s easy to see her fitting in well with OST mainstays, but we may just see her strike out on her own with an impressive discography to rival that of her most talented and accomplished peers.
After releasing a few little-known singles, Leesun dropped her first EP, 20’s, a compilation of those singles as well as some new favorites. The music video attached to the mini was for “I Love Ya”, featuring rapper eastmerlin.
The slightly off-kilter, kooky music video is an excellent representation of Leesun herself, who plays with contemporary beats while bringing in the sounds of yesteryear. The simple, slightly electronic beat is accompanied by nineties whistle tones and a bass guitar in the background taken straight out of a Beach Boys classic.
What is most refreshing about Leesun’s trajectory is that she seems unafraid to be silly, nor does she seem obsessed with being overly glossy. In fact, the biggest impression that the video leaves is that it ultimately looks like she’s just goofing off with friends, rather than actually playing it up for the camera. Her EP is aptly named; her music and its visuals feel just as your twenties do — a little frayed, fuzzy at the edges, and as fun as can be.
Moodin has been busy these last six months, releasing four singles — the last of which was “Different from Me”, a traditional piano ballad with some surprise synth, released just a few days ago. What is most curious is that she has never released a music video, and instead sticks to lyric videos.
If we’re all being honest, music videos often help us like a song more than we usually would. However, having one doesn’t even seem necessary with Moodin, who conveys every bit of emotion that a music video would.
As you watch cityscapes and fireworks pass you by, you simply fade into the music, allowing the piano keys to carve their place into your heart. Truth be told, it’s easy to produce a good music video, if you have the right people involved. It’s much harder to make a song work without one. But Moodin does, and she does it with vocal flair.
Rothy has already made waves as an OST singer following her debut, lending her voice to a duet with Block B’s U-Kwon for the drama Jugglers. Still, it’s necessary to take a step back to her debut song, contemporary ballad Stars.
She’s a mere eighteen years old but has a vocal tone far beyond her years, slightly husky and suited for ballads with a beat that were popularized in the western consciousness in the late nineties and early aught. A minute into “Stars”, and you can imagine Rothy covering one of those retro songs with ease.
Sure, you can easily dismiss this debut as run of the mill, but her age betrays her ability and provides real promise for what’s to come. If this is what she sounds like at age 18, what does 25 hold in store? With so many years ahead of her, what can she become? This is only this beginning. I’ll suspect we’ll be surprised by what the future holds for this little phenom.
Sophiya started releasing music as early as 2015, but easily had her busiest year in 2017, blessing us with four singles over the course of twelve months. The last of these four was slow jam “For the Record”, for which a neon infused music video was released.
After viewing the video, it’s clear that she has a deep understanding of her aesthetic and how she wishes to present herself to audiences. Of all the artists listed here, Sophiya is probably defined most by her assuredness. Her pursuits give the impression of a musician much more successful and seasoned.
Her attempts to break into the market have been valiant, no matter how unrecognized. She’s put in the extra effort to make herself known. In fact, three of the singles she’s released over the course of her career have English versions, hinting that she may be attempting to display an international appeal.
Sophiya has made the rounds in an industry as a formidable producer, best known for Pristin’s “Wee Woo” as well as “Always”, a winning mission track on The Unit. Her talent is undeniable, and now that she’s channeling it into her own work, perhaps we should take a listen.
That’s all for now! Which soloists are you looking out for in 2018? What do you think they offer to the industry that’s unique? Drop your comments below!