Taeyeon is the leader and main vocalist of the girl group Girls' Generation. In 2015, she began solo activities and became Asia's No. 1 female singer. Taeyeon's second Japanese mini-album "#GirlsSpkOut" will be released on November 18. The new album is full of the latest sounds, like neo-R&B, and the title song features notable young artist Chanmina, a trilingual singer/rapper who can skillfully speak Japanese, English and Korean.
Here is a remote interview with Taeyeon, delivered in two parts. The first part is about "confidence" and the "strength to make your own wishes come true" as expressed on the mini album "#GirlsSpkOut". In the second part, we discover Taeyeon's lifestyle of "living her own way"!
INTERVIEW PART 1
MORE: First of all, let's talk about the new mini album "#GirlsSpkOut". What kind of feelings did you have while working on it?
TAEYEON: I've wanted for a long time to create a work that would send a message of "fight" and "support/cheer" for women. I really wanted to release it earlier, but due to the coronavirus it's a little bit late... but it's here now. The message is, "create your own present and future." I think the songs are full of confidence.
MORE: "Confidence" and "the strength to make your own wishes come true" are issues at the heart of "#GirlsSpkOut", and they're important to working women in their twenties who read MORE. How do you face these issues yourself?
TAEYEON: I made my debut as a member of Girls' Generation when I was a teenager. So my memories of my teenage years and my twenties are mostly of Girls' Generation. That was my experience, I find myself in my thirties now. All along, I've always wanted to solidify my foundation for the future, and I've always thought that I need to be confident and strong.
MORE: The title song "#GirlsSpkOut" was written by eill, and it was your first Dance Tune. In the first verse, you describe "bright red lipstick" as a magic that makes you stronger. In the chorus, you sing about a desire to make your own dreams come true. Which part do you most identify with?
TAEYEON: I really like that part at the beginning because I think that red lipstick is essential makeup when confidence is necessary, but I identify with all the lyrics.
MORE: "#GirlsSpkOut" features the notable young artist Chanmina, a rapper and singer who can speak three languages: Japanese, English and Korean. What kind of communication did you have with her?
TAEYEON: She told me, "I've been a fan of yours since I was a kid" and that she attended Girls' Generation concerts. I was very surprised to hear that.
MORE: With an "R&B meets Latin" sound, the song "Be Real" is symbolic of the current era in global music. How has your own "strength to accept weakness" (a lyric from the song) evolved over time?
TAEYEON: As years pass by, I think I'm getting stronger in terms of withstanding the events that occur around me. As I feel more prepared for any eventuality, as I become more aware of the way that operates inside me, I feel growth. My father passed away this year. Through that incident, I realized the importance of my family and friends. And I felt more mature. People don't live forever, right? So, I thought that right now I should enjoy what I can do and show what I can show. I've also come to think I should be kinder to those precious people around me while we're alive.
MORE: Do you think you become stronger when you are confident? Or do you feel more confident because you've become stronger? Which do you think it is?
TAEYEON: I feel more confident because I've become stronger. In the past I was reluctant to express myself. I think that feeling is gone and replaced with a greater feeling of confidence.
MORE: Compared to group activities, solo activities shine the spotlight on a single person. What are your thoughts about the "requisite strength" to be a solo artist?
TAEYEON: Even if it's a solo activity, I am still carrying the name of Girls' Generation on my back. I think it's important to believe in myself. Also, I think it's important to think about the other members, to trust them, to feel their presence with me.
MORE: There are many people who find it difficult to believe in themselves.
TAEYEON: I can't say that I have perfect confidence in myself. It's a process. To believe in yourself is a journey. Even with practice and experience, self-confidence is not automatic. Going through a wide variety of life experiences and feeling through them, I think that leads to confidence.
MORE: "I want to grow up a little" appears in the final track on "#GirlsSpkOut", "Sorrow". Do you identify with this song?
TAEYEON: We all have many thoughts, we all experience sadness, and we all have troubles in life. It's a song with a message that it's okay to love all these experiences, and that embracing the entirety of life can bring happiness.
INTERVIEW PART 2
MORE: In the MV for "#GirlsSpkOut", you wear a leather jacket that is symbolic of the "power" that is at the heart of this mini album. I'm fascinated with that particular part of your outfit.
TAEYEON: I wanted to make a music video that expressed the strength of women, so there were clear choices about the colors used in it. Especially red, which leaves an impression. Also in terms of hair and makeup, I wanted a clean and chic feeling, I'm glad you paid attention!
MORE: Are there any particular fashion items you're paying attention to during this fall/winter season?
TAEYEON: I like comfortable clothes so I usually wear a hoodie. This winter is already so cold, so I'm thinking of wearing a muffler and boots with fur~♪
MORE: The white pants you wore for the photoshoot today is very nice. What's your favorite fashion point?
TAEYEON: I don't usually wear outfits like this, so I also enjoyed it. The mannish feeling is also a good fashion point, isn't it? I usually prefer comfortable clothes, wearing an outfit that "clicks" like this makes me feel dignified. Depending on the clothes you wear, your mood will change a lot. I usually decide which pants to wear first, then think about tops. So when I want to feel dignified I'll wear wide pants, and skinny jeans when I want to exude a cute feeling.
MORE: What's your favorite color to wear?
TAEYEON: I like black clothes and those are usually what I wear. My favorite color is purple, but I don't wear purple clothes very often. (laughs)
MORE: "#GirlsSpkOut" is an album full of diverse and cutting-edge sounds. What kind of music do you usually listen to?
TAEYEON: I often listen to recent R&B and pop music. Rather than a specific playlist, I listen to recommended songs on random shuffle.
MORE: You give off a strong impression that you're totally addicted to games, making accessories, nail art, candy, and so on. What's your recent obsession?
TAEYEON: I was addicted to making bracelets this summer, but there haven't been any addictions lately. I'm looking for something to do!
MORE: "I want to improve my work and private life, but I don't have enough time." That is the problem of working women in their twenties, aka the MORE generation. Is there anything in particular that you're trying to do to make good use of this time?
TAEYEON: I like to write things down, to organise what I'm going to do into a To-Do list, but I don't feel down if I can't accomplish everything I've written down. (laughs)
MORE: How do you recover when you do feel down?
TAEYEON: I'll FaceTime someone I'm close to. Some people hurry to cover up the camera, because the call starts so suddenly. (laughs) But I'll make that call without hesitating. (laughs)
MORE: What do you think is important when trying to "live your own way"?
TAEYEON: I think it's important to express myself, to expose my true self honestly, without hiding anything.
MORE: What's your image of what a "wonderful adult" should be?
TAEYEON: Someone who can take steady responsibility. Whether at work or in private life, people who can take responsibility and see things through to the end are the most mature. I appreciate that in people. And I never want to be weak. Right now, I'm trying hard to develop my self-confidence so I can be a wonderful woman.
Taeyeon embodies the charm of a strong and independent thirty-something woman, after living her teens and twenties with fulfillment. Listen to her second Japanese mini album "#GirlsSpkOut" wherever you are in life! During the interview, as she was exuding such strength and confidence, it was very cute to see her smiling at her pet dog, who was snuggling by her side. ♡
Translated by @309KTYSS
Do not take without crediting!
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