Ex-Monsta X member Wonho, back with second K-pop solo album, Love Synonym #2: Right For Us, says this is just the beginning
- The K-pop star left Monsta X two years ago, and has come into his own through his Love Synonym albums
- He talks about getting his message across to his fans, and how he likes to be ‘regular Wonho’ on Instagram
Back in September, K-pop star Wonho released his first solo album, Love Synonym #1: Right For Me. Last month, he shared Love Synonym #2: Right For Us. Together, the series is an expression of his thanks to those who have supported him during the toughest time of his career, and now he’s ready to move on.
For Right for Us, his lead track was the single Lose, which begins slowly and almost hauntingly with smooth strings, before turning into a groovy, pulsating dance track that is ready for when the clubs reopen.
“I was impressed with the sound,” he says. “These days, songs have pre-choruses and then people expect a bass or drop. But when I was listening to the demo for Lose, I thought it had a bit of a different structure, since it has the guitar and a bit of a different sound.
“It was really attractive to me, so I was hooked on its atmosphere and decided to make this special song my single.”
The song is one of three that revolve around the theme of loss, along with Lost in Paradise and Losing You from Right for Me.
“When I was working on Lost in Paradise and Lose, they were actually different lyrics but I wanted to relay a continuation of my emotions and their development, so I decided to change the wording to make the narrative repeat throughout. Continuing to show these feelings was really important to me. I hope fans focus on these lyrics.”
The album connects with his previous one as a continuation of the love he’s exploring and expressing, predominantly to his fans: Right for Me is his expression of thanks to them for waiting for him during his tough times, whereas Right For Us reflects how thankful he is that they’re still joining him on the new path of his career. The song Weneed on the album reflects his love and dedication in particular; his fandom is known as “Wenee”.
“I was thinking of [performance-based artists] like Justin Timberlake and others from earlier music eras when creating the album. I was very specific about the flow of the track list; I wanted the sequence to have a musical range from dark to light. Lose, Best Shot, Devil … Those are darker in style. Then the later songs are brighter. I hope listeners really focus on the feel and mood of the songs.”
One of the brighter songs is Ain’t About You, a collaboration with American singer Kiiara. “I was looking for a suitable partner for the song and when I heard her voice, I knew she’d fit the song really well. I thought our voices would blend nicely together.”
This is going to be the final album in his Love Synonym series, but it’s just the beginning of what Wonho has to offer the world as a soloist. He emphasises this on the final track, Outro: And, – “and” as a connector, not “end” as a closing – which has a melody he particularly wants listeners to be attuned to.
“If you listen to the album from the beginning to the end, I think Outro really wraps all the emotions and feelings I’ve expressed through that track.”
Wonho hopes he’ll be releasing a lot of other albums, and has already been working on music as he continues to develop his songwriting style.
“When I began writing songs and lyrics, I used to think about how audiences would be able to sing along to the songs. But these days, I want to create music that is more focused on my sincerity and the messages I want to share.”
Clearly, it’s paying off: Forbes reported that Wonho’s songs covered 20 per cent of Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales chart this week as audiences enjoyed his latest release.
Beyond his music, Wonho is very active on social media, talking to fans regularly on various platforms, and has even become a bit of an icon on Instagram for showing off his workout routine and fit physique.
“It’s true, I really like sharing my thoughts. On Twitter, I use it to communicate with fans a lot for work and on Instagram I’m able to archive my life, what I like, my preferences … I like to put my natural vibes and mood. I hope people can see more of the real Wonho, a regular person. Also as an artist, but natural vibes. The real me, as a regular person, that’s what I like to show.
“I’m a pro when I’m on stage and performing, but sometimes it’s good to differentiate between artist and regular Wonho.”
Like everyone else, he’s waiting for the pandemic to end so he can meet his fans in person. With a laugh, he adds that he’s still not used to doing everything over a video call.
“I hope our situation is over soon. I hope everyone takes care, and is healthy and happy.”