Roundtable: Idol Solo Breakout!
“Solo” seems to be flavour of the month in K-pop, with CL finally getting the green light to go solo and SM just announcing a mystery male soloist. Funnily enough, the Seoulbeats team have also been discussing which idols they wish to see go it alone:
Amy: It’s still early but I definitely want to see Zelo go solo at one point (and I think he probably will!).
Shweta: Minzy because she’s horribly, horribly underrated. This “Halo” cover says it all:
Gaya: There’s something about the maknaes, isn’t there? I get the feeling that Taemin will go solo too, though I would love a Jonghyun release because he can bring the energy and drama that I crave from K-pop.
Leslie: I definitely could see Taemin going solo, especially after his stint on Immortal Song 2. As much as I love his dancing, I’d love to see him do something not dance-focused as that would allow him to develop his singing style instead of going in the same direction as Jonghyun.
Someone else I am waiting for is Yoochun. After the sensual affair that was Junsu‘s solo and the uber-Japanese inspired concept for Jaejoong, I don’t know what to expect, but I want to see it so badly.
Ambika: 2PM‘s Junho? I think he’s rocking this comeback, especially making “A.D.T.O.Y” look good. It’d be interesting to see how he’d do on a solo stage, preferably with a dance song. I also agree with Gaya’s mention of Jonghyun.
Shweta: If it’s Shinee we’re talking about, I think I would choose Onew to go solo. He has an unique voice that will stand out against the crowd. Taemin’s voice is good, but I didn’t find him all that engaging as a soloist in Immortal Song 2.
Gaya: I just want solo ventures that won’t become ballads; not that ballads are bad, but I enjoy spectacle. This is why I would love to have a solo release from Ryeowook, because he’s always into trying different things. I don’t know how well he can actually sell every new thing he does, but maybe some agency-backing could make all the difference?
Amy: I actually don’t think I’ve enjoyed any SM artist’s solo performances at concerts as much as I have Ryeowook’s. He has a great sense of what’s popular in American pop, instead of picking up on popular American songs a bajillion years later (seriously, why do people still perform Beyonce‘s “Single Ladies” like it’s still a thing?) and then rehashing it. I really liked it when he performed “Insomnia” a few years ago — even though that was probably because of Wheesung‘s influence — and he got right on “Moves Like Jagger” before anyone else (which SM later rehashed for their SJ+SNSD performance at one of the Gayos).
Basically, all hail Ryeowook!
Gaya: My favourite Ryeowook solo has to be of Mika‘s “Blame It on the Girls;” I saw a fancam of his performance at KRY‘s Nanjing concert last year and I loved it, pink suit and all. And just the way his stages are planned and executed, it makes me think he has a lot to offer as a soloist in addition to singing for that well-roundedness Ambika refers to.
Amy: The thing I like about Ryeowook’s solos is that everyone totally just expects him to just belt ballads about swaying leaves or mermaid tears or something; but no, Ryeowook totally has the ability to pull off all genres — or to at least attempt them, which is awesome.
Nabeela: I think it’s pretty obvious who I think needs to go solo: Jun.K. He is way too talented for 2PM (yup, I went there) and he deserves his own spotlight. And anyone who think he lacks stage presence has clearly never watched his stint on Immortal Song 2. This guy knows how to party rock and get all sexy with it with more things than his voice people.
And I’m also seconding Amys’s pick for Zelo.
Gaya: When I think of female idols I want to see go solo, I think of Sunny Hill‘s Kota (another maknae!) She’s a triple threat and has the charisma to pull it off — I feel like she could be given almost anything and she would execute it with aplomb. Fei is also on the list, though that could be more my bias speaking than anything. She has a lovely voice, but it’s not enough to make up for what I think would be a lack of boldness like the kind Hyori has. That, and I don’t know how a non-Korean solo idol would be received. Unless there is someone like that that I’ve missed?
Miyoko: There was Natthew a while back; anyone know how he’s doing?
I’d second all of those maknaes, and I think they all will go solo given time.
I watched Sandeul on Immortal Song, and he really surprised me. He has a beautiful voice, but he really stepped it up in the performance/charisma area. If he went solo, I’d totally buy his album, but I’d want him to not promote a ballad, which we all know wouldn’t happen. They’d give him some slow, boring thing and then his solo effort would just fade off. Now I’m getting depressed.
Mark: Umm…have you heard Eunjung sing in the live performance of the theme song from Dream High, ”Fly High?” Her vocals were shown to be glaringly inferior when she had to go right after IU while singing the exact same part. The only way Eunjung could go solo is if she continus booty popping like she was doing at Palms.
Gaya: But I don’t want her to get tired from all the dancing! Maybe a soft mid-tempo kind of affair? Or maybe she could have a tonne of back-up dancers doing everything for her.
Dana: It will forever be a grave injustice that 8eight‘s Joo-hee didn’t get the nod to go solo after Lee-hyun went in for his mandatory military service. Such a waste of potential and probably one of the best voices in K-pop. Also, Hyorin needs to GTFO of Sistar because being in the group really doesn’t do much for her career, especially because there is such a wide gulf between her and everyone else in the group. She’s just in a different league.
Gaya: Apparently Henry is rumoured to be coming out with a solo album of his own?
Leslie: I’m not surprised. Henry’s mad talented, and it’ll be a while before SJ-M releases anything new again so it makes sense. I’m not sure how I feel about it though. I prefer his rapping over his singing, but he tends to sing more. I guess I’m just not a fan of his Justin Bieber-esque singing style sometimes.
Lindsay: If Henry does come out with a solo album, I hope it is less standard pop and more experimental pop involving him playing an electric violin. There are plenty of male solo pop artists so he should use his other talents to ensure that his release is unique.
Even though they are a new group, I can already see LC9‘s E.DEN having a solo career down the road. His style is similar to TOP, and he speaks English fluently, so he has the makings of a perfect chic-guy solo rapper. Obviously, it is a little early to consider such things for him, but I’d say it isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Shweta: I’d agree with Lindsay on a violin related solo venture for Henry, because that is both unique and interesting (not that I have an orchestra bias or anything…who am I kidding, I totally do). However, I think that Zhou-mi would make for an interesting soloist, as opposed to Henry, at least in the C-pop front. As Gaya brought up earlier, foreign K-pop soloists may not go over well in Korea, but I don’t see why Zhou-mi can’t take a stab at China. If Kangta has done it, Zhou-mi can certainly do it, right? What makes Zhou-mi even more palatable as a soloist is the fact that he actively involves himself in producing music for Super Junior-M, and he also landed himself a solo on their album. So clearly Zhou-mi has the technical chops to be a soloist. Add the fact that he has some decent stage presence, and you have the perfect formula for a solo venture. Henry, on the other hand, has not shown he can be a solo singer, even though he’s a talented musician who can compose music and play violin like a beast.
… Or I can eat my words if that now-released mysterious teaser picture from SM is actually Henry.