Springtime has long been a universal symbol of rebirth, the world reawakening to welcome new life as it stirs from its winter slumber. In this glorious time of transformation, MIYEON embarks on a new chapter, blossoming into the promising, gifted musician that has long lingered beneath the surface as a member of South Korean girl group (G)I-DLE. That is not to say her time with the K-pop group has been anything short of fruitful, but, as MIYEON has now shown on her radiant debut mini-album ‘My’, there is so much more of the singer left to uncover.
A week after the arrival of ‘My’, she opens up to NME about the joy of finally being able to welcome this new beginning. “I’m just excited to be with my fans in the season when it becomes warm after the winter. I felt so happy while preparing for the album, hoping that many people will be comforted through my music,” the 25-year-old musician optimistically says. “I feel nervous since it’s my first album, but the [feeling of] excitement is even bigger.”
MIYEON’s sparkling enthusiasm shines through on the record’s uplifting title track ‘Drive’, an exuberant ode to casting fear and doubt aside as she confidently spreads her wings and soars towards self-actualisation. “Don’t look back, and just trust in my path / There is no destination, because I’m the one who grabbed this steering wheel,” she declares during the bridge, a line that the singer says resonates deeply with her. “These lyrics encouraged me because they mean I am the owner of my own life, and I believe in my own path,” she explains.
The song mirrors the metamorphosis of MIYEON sense of identity and direction as she takes her first steps out into the world on her own, fully embodying the renascent, flourishing essence of springtime. Its accompanying visual goes on to reflect just that – the singer abandons an extravagant mansion and all its luxuries, taking a leap of faith and driving out into a whole new world, where she later finds herself blissfully blooming amongst a lush field of flowers and glowing brighter than ever.
In the spirit of new beginnings, the idol also sprung at the opportunity to make her debut as a lyricist on ‘Rain’, a melancholic guitar-led number composed by (G)I-DLE bandmate YUQI. “’Rain’ is a precious track that YUQI gave me as a present,” she affectionately shares, before offering a glimpse into the creation of the song.
“I tried writing lyrics for the first time by organising and refining what I wrote when I was young. I wanted to interpret the song in the way I felt about her deep sentiments and feelings,” says MIYEON. “[Because] we know each other so well, we had fun communicating, which resulted in us making a good song.”
The remaining members of (G)I-DLE also lent their support to MIYEON, the vocalist tells us, confessing that she had initially felt “a little empty” while preparing for the release – which is understandable, considering how she immediately jumped into preparations for ‘My’ following weeks of promotional activities with the girl group for ‘I Never Die’ in March. “The members encouraged me a lot. [They] came to the music video set and monitored the process,” she recalls fondly, noting that bandmates YUQI and SHUHUA had even personally delivered homemade egg tarts to the set. “They’re a great help to me.”
Even before her debut with (G)I-DLE though, MIYEON had already spent nearly a decade finding her place in the entertainment industry. She began her journey during her early teens at YG Entertainment, where she trained alongside members of BLACKPINK. At 19, the singer toured Canada with R&B trio Urban Zapaka and 2AM’s Seulong, where she performed with the latter on stage. Between vocal and composing classes at a music academy, she eventually found herself a home with CUBE Entertainment, where she would go on to join (G)I-DLE.
During the group’s hiatus last year, the idol dipped her toes into emceeing as well as acting, starring in web series such as Delivery and Adult Trainee. While MIYEON continues to soar, both as a singer and budding actress, she shares how she stays inspired, yet grounded in the thick of the rigorous Korean entertainment scene, in all its buzzing excitement and pandemonium.
“I try not to forget the things that I used to like,” the musician says earnestly, revealing that she looks to her childhood idols in moments of hardship. “When I think about the songs of the seniors who I’ve admired since young, and the happy feelings [I experience] when I sing, I gain the strength to start over.” And who are these seniors? Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon and Zion.T are two artists MIYEON feels drawn to, saying that they give her “comfort and strength, and I want to become a singer like them”.
The idea of bringing comfort is one that comes up repeatedly during our interview, reflecting the idol’s desire to turn her music into a sanctuary, soothing her listeners the same way others have done for her in the past. “I want to be a person with a warm heart, who can embrace and sympathise with different stories around the world,” she contemplates. And with the release of ‘My’, where MIYEON offers a compelling glimpse into her world of solace, it seems that she is right on track.
MIYEON’s debut mini-album ‘My’ is out now.