Joy hopes to live up to her name with her debut solo album
Joy of Red Velvet "gave 200 percent" of her energy to bring joy to listeners with her first solo album "Hello," the singer said during an online showcase held on Monday.
"My stage name is Joy, and with this album, I want to live up to that name and give people joy and hopeful energy with my music," she said.
"Hello," the singer's first solo album, will be released today at 6 p.m. and consists of six remakes of hits from the 1990s and 2000s. She is the second member from her group Red Velvet to release a solo album, following Wendy's "Like Water," which was released in April.
"[The head of SM Entertainment] Lee Soo-man told me that he wanted my album to be something that young kids and their parents could all listen to together and when I heard that, I immediately thought that the 1990s and 2000s would be the perfect era to choose from," she said, adding that she personally likes the retro vibe and had listened to many of the songs while training to become a K-pop star.
Joy and staff from the company made a list of songs that would suit her sweet and high-pitched voice and got permission from the original singers. Six tracks were chosen: Lead track "Hello" (2003) by Park Hye-kyung, "Je T'aime" (2001) by Hey, "Day By Day" (1999) by As One, "If Only" (2002) by Sung Si-kyung, "Happy Birthday To You" (1999) by Kwon Jin-won and "Be There For you" (1996) by Toy.
"I think all the songs have a certain mood of purity and honesty and I really like that," Joy said. "Because I know how good the originals are, I paid utmost attention to keeping the original vibe. But I also tried to express the songs in my own way with my voice so I hope people can catch on to that."
While most of the songs remain true to the original, some have undergone bold rearrangements, such as turning the male solo track "If Only" into a duet between Joy and ballad singer Paul Kim. A bridge has also been added to "Hello," for an uplifting climax.
"'Hello' is such an energizing and lively song, but the first time I heard it, it brought me to tears," she said. "The energy of the song actually consoled me and resonated within me. So I pushed for this song to be the lead. It also has the meaning that I'm saying 'Hello' to the world for the first time as a solo artist with this album."
Joy said she's not focusing on good results on the charts or awards, but hoped that people would find the energy and strength they need from the album. Filling up an entire album — and especially a first solo album — with only remakes may seem like an unorthodox move for a singer, but Joy said that she has found her center and had a clear idea of what message she wanted to deliver.
"Every time I would post something on the internet such as teasers, fans would send me so many supportive messages," Joy said. "And working with the staff, I got so much energy in the process of sharing ideas. I'm proud that I brought about such communication through this album."
The tracks on "Hello" will be released this evening. Physical copies of the album will go on sale from June 3.
BY YOON SO-YEON [firstname.lastname@example.org]