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HT Interview | Kim Woojin: Telling his own story in I Like The Way and being a fan of Shah Rukh Khan’s Chaleya

“I want Woojin to be honest and to tell you my story”, says South Korean singer Kim Woojin. Eight months since his last comeback, The Moment: Bounce, the singer and songwriter is back with his third mini album I LIKE THE WAY. The album showcases a mature as well as intense side of his personality. (Also read: Former Stray Kids’ member Kim Woojin aces Shah Rukh Khan’s hook step as he dances to Chaleya during India tour. Watch)

Kim Woojin wants to give honesty a chance with his music.
Kim Woojin wants to give honesty a chance with his music.

The former frontman of boy band Stray Kids, Kim Woojin quit the group in the latter half of 2019. Known popularly by his stage name, Woojin, he launched his solo career with the pre-debut single Still Dream in July 2021, followed by his album The Moment: Minor a month later.

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Though his journey has come with its share of struggles and challenges, the singer confesses he has now embarked on a new chapter in life.

In an exclusive conversation with Hindustan Times from Seoul, Woojin talks about his latest album, being independent and being a fan of Shah Rukh Khan’s Chaleya from Jawan.

Congratulations on your journey, when you look back at your career what has been your biggest achievement and your biggest challenge?

The biggest achievement is CUBS’ (his fandom) love. Challenges are always there with every album. In the first album, I wanted to show you a variety of genres. In the second one, the idea was to create a brighter mood. The third one was the challenge of telling my own story directly.

Your 3rd Mini Album [I LIKE THE WAY] is the first chapter in your brand new journey, what was the idea?

What I wanted to show you through this album is let’s talk a little bit more honestly. That’s the theme that I wanted to sing and make that point in each song. I think it has been well expressed.

From pop, and Afro beats to hip hop each one of the tracks has a different vibe and feel. Tell me a bit about the process.

I was going to try a lot of new genres. I challenged myself to work on Afro Beats and R&B. It was fun. The result came out better than I thought, so I’m satisfied.

Since your album is about transformation is there a moment in time which transformed you as a person and artist?

I think many moments changed me. If there’s a memorable moment, it is usually a moment of crisis which came at once and made me challenge myself. Like a tense or critical moment, where I had to quickly organize the situation and show myself all that made me grow even more.

What are the advantages of being an independent artist and are there any disadvantages?

The biggest advantage is that I can tell what I want to tell you. The disadvantage is that there are some difficulties in filling the stage alone. But I am doing well enough for now.

With K-pop becoming a global phenomenon what do you think makes it a special genre?

I think K-pop’s strength is that it has a positive message. The catchy melody and performance seem to have caused a boom and are being enjoyed by all.

K Pop is very competitive how does one maintain one’s individuality as an artist and also as a person?

In fact, there is no particular way to maintain one’s individuality. It varies from individual to individual.

I think everyone has their unique personality which reflects in what they do. A person’s voice, behaviour pattern, and thoughts all vary distinctly. I think it’s all in one’s mind, ones don’t need to make a special effort to find one’s personality or individuality.

Do you ever get overwhelmed with performance pressure? And how do you overcome it?

There are moments when you feel pressure and every time you do that, you always try to think better. It’s a piece of paper. I think that those who try to do well and those who don’t want to make mistakes have different sorts of confidence on stage. So when I have such pressure, I tend to control my mind that I should do better then not make mistakes.

You also have sung for dramas, which is your favourite song and why?

There are so many OSTs. My favourite song is Dive from King the Land. I think it fits my voice the best.

What have been your musical influences and is there any particular band/ group you dream to collaborate with?

The inspiration comes from CUBS and myself. Because I think about what kind of message I want to convey in my music or what kind of message that person needs to hear. I tend to be inspired by that. Some so many people are good at what they do, but I want to collaborate with Bruno Mars in the future.

You have performed in India, if given the chance would you like to do music for a Bollywood film? Have you heard Indian songs?

If I have a chance, I would like to try composing for a Bollywood movie. Regarding Indian music, I am aware of the song called Chaleya, which I had a challenge singing when I was in India last. I love that song a lot.

Describe Kim Woojin as an artist?

From now on, I want Kim Woojin to be honest, I want to tell you my story and send you a positive message. I will be an artist who will be conscious about music and can have a good influence on everyone who knows me.


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