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Taemin finally finds his vibe: After success of the hit song ‘MOVE,’ the singer returns with ‘WANT’

Feb 11,2019
[SM ENTERTAINMENT]
He may be a youthful 26-year-old, but with 12 years in the entertainment world under his belt, Taemin is now a K-pop veteran. Ever since making his debut with boy band SHINee in 2008 with the song “Replay,” his dancing skills and charming vocals have made him one of the biggest stars of the group. His solo tracks have been hits among fans who have helped his songs “Danger” (2014), “Press Your Number” (2016) and “MOVE” (2017) perform well on the charts.

Today, the singer returns with a new EP titled “WANT,” a year and a half after “MOVE,” the song that took the K-pop world by storm thanks to the video’s viral choreography — hundreds of people uploaded their own versions of the dance online.

“’WANT’ is a space disco track,” said Taemin. “The lyrics are about how if you see me once, then you will want to see me more. And that’s the mindset that I will keep when performing the song — and it won’t be enough to just listen to it once.”

Coming off of his Japanese tour which wrapped in November after 32 shows, the singer is ready to take another step in his career. Korea JoongAng Daily sat down with Taemin to talk about his new song, his long career and relatively new path as a solo singer. The following are edited excerpts.



Q. “WANT” is your first EP in a year and a half. Tell us about the title track.

A. It’s basically a disco song but with mysterious synthesizer sounds that make it sound as if you are in space. It’s kind of retro and disco pop. I created a new image for myself as a solo singer with “MOVE” and I think that this is a chance for me to strengthen that image.
It’s been a year and a half so I’m willing to show everyone a more mature version of myself.

I looked into different genres and tried a variety of songs, but we decided to go with this song [that’s quite similar to “MOVE”] because I think this is something that I can definitely pull off well. But if “MOVE” was somewhat slow and calm, this song has a lot of energy that builds up towards the end. It has a clear flow that lets you feel a certain sense of explosion, and I think that will help the song be memorable for listeners.



Your last song “MOVE” was so popular that everyone was posting their versions of the dance online. Does it make you nervous to have to follow that up?

It’s true that I felt really proud when I was performing it because it was my song. I also felt pressured by it because I really didn’t expect it to be that popular. It was quite a deep vibe and I didn’t think that it would get the attention that it did. Plus, I thought that the dance would be hard to pull off. As much as I was so pleased with the song, it does make me want more.



Both “MOVE” and “WANT” seem very sexy. How would you define being sexy?

I think being sexy comes from the inside. It’s not just about how you look on the outside. I think if you see someone and think that they have more in themselves, then that’s what makes them look sexy. It’s about showing what you have, but not all of it.

I think people find you more attractive when you show them a side of yourself that people haven’t seen before, and I’m planning on showing that with this EP.



Do other members of SHINee tell you they like your songs? And do you comment on their work?

Actually, none of them have heard the new song yet. But I think they will tell me what they think one they see it. Minho gives me a vague comment, like, “Oh that part was really memorable.” But Key tends to be very detailed in giving me feedback, and he’s really honest about it.

I haven’t commented on the other members’ works that much before. But I’m starting to change. I’m going to their concerts and I’m caring more. I sent flowers to Key [for his concert “Keyland”], and I’m planning on going to one of his performances soon. I’ll also be popping in at Minho’s fan meeting. And I’ve found that caring for other people is actually very pleasing.



Are you changing in any other ways?

I think I’m becoming more of an outgoing person. I used to be such an introvert. But I think I have changed with time. This job requires me to always be around people, and I think I’ve started to break down my own walls.



It’s been 12 years since you debuted and you have been through a lot. What do you do when confronted with hard times?

I haven’t particularly done anything to overcome it. I think time really does heal with those kind of things. It may help you heal if you talk to close friends or someone you can lean on. But at the end, I think it’s about time. Your personality is formed when you are younger, so even if you stray a little, you’ll come back to your true self with time. As for me, I was loved a lot by my parents and so I think I grew up to be a good person (laughs).



Minho’s doing quite well with his acting career. Do you have any plans to go in that direction?

No. I still haven’t quenched my thirst as a singer. It would be nice to invest my time and develop other abilities, but right now I would like to just finish this [part of my career] properly.

I think the reason why I think about developing something new is because I want to show myself to other people. So rather than try and emphasize something new, I would like to stick with what I have and make people remember me with that character. I might try developing my vocal skills more when I’m older and I can’t pull off all the [dance] performances, but not yet.

BY YOON SO-YEON [yoon.soyeon@joongang.co.kr]



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