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K-pop-rock singer Woosung in a promotional image for his new song, Lazy. Photo: Courtesy of Woosung

K-pop-rock singer Woosung on new single ‘Lazy’, his band The Rose’s future and why he writes music

  • Woosung says Lazy brings some of his pandemic mindset into his music, but it’s about overcoming laziness rather than succumbing to it
  • He’s sitting on a lot of other songs and hopes to release an album later this year so that people can see his evolution as a songwriter
Tamar Hermanin United States

Kim Woo-sung is a few days into quarantine when he gets on the phone with The South China Post to discuss his new song, Lazy. The 28-year-old Korean-American singer, also known as Woosung and Sammy, had returned to South Korea after an extended time back home in the US, and so far he’s spent his quarantine prepping his new release, which dropped on June 24, and writing new music.

“I was kind of glad I had the time off and just focused on getting out the release of Lazy,” he says. “I’m in the perfect space for [Lazy]. I’m feeling accomplished. I’m not mad about it.”

Best known as the lead singer and electric guitarist of Korean rock band The Rose, Woosung is bringing some of his pandemic mindset into his new song.

“I think people could relate more with just being lazy, just staying inside for like a year or two. People can relate more to what being lazy is.”

Featuring rapper Reddy, Lazy is a bit of a trick; the narrative turns as you listen to it, from wanting to enjoy laziness to eventually overcoming it. With its hazy summer groove and conversational monologue, it’s essentially an ode to being lazily restive so that you can also be proactive.

“I think it wasn’t like one particular person or thing that I was talking to,” Woosung says. “It could be very internal, like you’re talking to your lazy self. ‘Shut up, I’m not going to be lazy any more.’ Sometimes you have to be hard on yourself if you’re being lazy. It could also be about someone else. For me, I never write songs about one particular person, but more a general thing.”

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For Woosung, his new release is more of a burst of energy than the title suggests: it’s the start of a new stage of his career, his first song since You Make Me Back appeared on the soundtrack for the hit K-drama Itaewon Class over a year ago.

It’s also the first since The Rose parted ways with their former label, J & Star, in February 2020, during which they filed a contract dispute lawsuit against the company. Currently, all band members except Woosung are enlisted in South Korea’s armed forces, as per the country’s mandatory draft requirements. The release of Lazy is in fact long overdue, delayed until things were sorted out with J & Star.

“Everything’s been figured out,” Woosung says of the lawsuit. “We’re not under contract with anyone any more. The [other] members are in the army and we’re waiting for them to come out. That’s all I can say.” While he’s unable to confirm any details, Woosung assures that The Rose plan to remain together.

Woosung says he’s sitting on a lot of other songs, many newer than Lazy, and hopes to release an album later this year so that people can see his evolution as a songwriter. He’s not sure when, but expect new music soon.

“As far as plans go, I definitely want to release another single before my full album. I have a theme for my album, and a full PowerPoint for it for myself. I already have all the songs written and finished basically. I just have to record them.”

Woosung enjoys living between the US and Korea, with friends and family in both countries. Photo: Courtesy of Woosung

Although he laughing admits that one reason he returned to Korea was because he had to renew his visa, he also says the timing was just right.

“I started recording my album in Korea before I left, so I just wanted to finish it here. It’s easier to get stuff done here as of now, because I’ve been doing it here for nine, 10 years. I have the people here, I know what studio to go to and that I’ll be comfortable [working] with. I like going back and forth, because I have friends and family here just like in America. I’d ideally like to keep going back and forth.”

Though he had no idea how the contract dispute would turn out, or whether he would be able to release any new songs this year because of the pandemic, Woosung continued writing music with the hope that someone would hear it in the future.

“If you just want to do music for yourself and whatever you’re satisfied with 100 per cent, just do your music. Put it on an MP3 and listen to it. But usually when people do music, especially myself, I want other people to hear it. I want to be able to give them a music piece that can comfort them or they can relate to.

“Whenever I sing something, I’m really honest about it. This is how I want to present it to them, and I hope they can feel any sort of way with it.”