K-pop singer Whee In has shown her boldness and vocal skills as a member of girl group Mamamoo since she debuted with the act in 2014. While last year she went bold with her EP Redd, the 26-year-old singer began 2022 with the January 16 release of Whee, which is more whimsical. Its title taken from the first part of her given name, written using the Hanja character meaning “light,” Whee reflects Whee In’s desire to deliver a bright, uplifting album of soft pop. “I wanted to focus and concentrate on the light in myself and surrounding me,” Whee In (born Jung Whee-in) tells the Post over a video call from South Korea following the album’s release. “This album is about highlighting my charms and my comforting, and comfortable, vocal style, and that’s the message I kind of wanted to showcase.” She says the mini album’s lyrics are full of keywords and phrases that reflect who she is and how she lives her life. “I feel like this album equals ‘Whee In’,” the singer adds. I loved everything when making this album Whee In Whee is fronted by the single Make Me Happy, which has a light, jazzy soft-pop melody bolstered by her airy vocals but is far from the best of the songs – in an ideal world, it would not be a single. “To be honest, I didn’t really want to push any song in particular. I felt like every song on this album could be the main track. But I thought Make Me Happy had a bit more of an addictive hook than others,” she says with a slight smile. Whee In’s self-titled EP isn’t her first solo release, but it does mark a new stage in her career: Whee follows her departure in June 2021 from RBW, the management company that had been in charge of her musical career for several years. Though she is still part of Mamamoo and has continued to release music with the group, moving to new label The L1ve, headed by K-pop rap artist Ravi, and working on Whee with its staff has given her a different perspective as an artist. “I was more comfortable with my previous company because I’ve been there for quite a while, but now I’m in a new place and working with new people so it’s given me a fresh vibe,” says Whee In. This vibe can be seen in the photos and videos released to promote the mini album, which are fantastical, full of glitter, butterflies, flowers, and romantic lace, and present a different side to Whee In than the one she typically shows. She acknowledges it’s a bit of a sidestep artistically, but feels it was right for Whee . “Because of this whole album’s atmosphere and the song’s story, I thought it was the right idea to go with all the glitter and being a little more feminine, a little more girly. I wouldn’t say that’s an artistic concept I want to push forever, but I would say I am just trying to be an artist who puts on the right clothes and the right concepts for every different song and album.” Don’t worry: the many other facets of Whee In are featured in promotional videos for each of the EP’s other songs: the funky Pastel sees the singer in trendy street wear, while the sentimental Pink Cloud sees her donning a classic white oversized shirt. The move away from RBW, still home to the other three members of Mamamoo, is about asserting who Whee In is beyond a group identity. Creating a mini album bearing her own name is testament to this desire to find her own way while still maintaining her connection to Mamamoo. “There are pros to working both as a soloist and in a group, I think. When I’m working with Mamamoo, I can always lean on the other members. I can talk to them when I’m going through hard times, and I can make great memories with them. But being a soloist, I can also show my personal colours.” Whee In says she doesn’t have a particular favourite track: each one was born of good moments and memories. “I loved everything when making this album,” she says. The 16-minute-long album is a start, but what’s next from Whee In? she’s not giving much away about that – she won’t say if its title will be taken from the other half of her name, for instance. “In fact, I am preparing the next album but I don’t know if that’s gonna be In or something else. I can’t tell you just yet,” she says.