Image source: Jongha Park
K-pop star Somi enters a new career phase and transforms into a multifaceted artist. The 19-year-old singer – born Ennik Somi Douma – dropped her new song "What You Waiting For" on July 22, accompanied by a dynamic music video. The unveiling is her first project at Interscope Records and marks her official comeback since a one-year hiatus after the release of "Birthday" and "Outta My Head" in 2019.
It was a pretty productive 12 months for Somi, which took some time to think about the course of her career. Though she doesn't mind that people perceive her as a bright and bubbly pop star, she is ready to show fans another one of her – a site they haven't seen last year, and certainly a site they haven't seen when she was a member of the girl group IOI (Ideal of Idol) from 2016 to 2017. In an interview with POPSUGAR Somi spoke about her newly won self-confidence, her development as an artist and her plans for more new music.
POPSUGAR: Congratulations on the release of "What You Waiting For". The music video is super fun! What was your favorite part of filming?
Somi: There were a lot of new items that we used. We used a robotic arm camera, drones and one of my favorite things was the rotating camera that the several Somis fell on the bed with and got up. It was exciting for me because I've never seen all of these things at once. And then there were many outfits and locations. It was kind of crazy.
PS: What did you learn about the process of creating music through cowriting and composing the song?
"With this new song I hope to show how I grow as an artist. You can see a more serious side and that I have many layers as a musician."
Somi: I learn a lot about writing and composing these days because I started out in a K-pop girl group, so we usually only get songs from writers, sing the songs and practice choreography. But now I'm writing and composing, so everything is new to me and I'm trying to do better. It's like a new job – learning every day and working with my producer Teddy (Park). It's a lot of trial and error and recording on my phone – putting an idea in my head and trying to find the words and melodies to put them right. It's amazing when it finally comes together.
PS: How did you develop as an artist last year?
Somi: Composing and cowriting taught me a lot. And I think that as an artist it helped me to attend every meeting before a music video or a song release. We had been preparing for a long time ("What are you waiting for?"). We ended the recording in February so we had time to think and be creative all the time and I learned a lot from it.
PS: Do you think this is a new chapter in your career?
Somi: I think, especially in Korea, many people know me as the very bright and "vitamin-rich" Somi. I first came out with "birthday" because a lot of people knew this bright somi and I didn't want to give them much change. With this new song I hope to show how I grow as an artist. You can see a more serious side and that as a musician I have many layers.
PS: What appeals to you most about signing with Interscope Records?
Somi: K-Pop – and music in general – is now very global. I am very happy to join the Interscope family tree, which has so many great artists. I have always considered people around the world to be my audience and I feel blessed to have a label like Interscope that helps me share my music. It has always been my dream.
PS: It has to be a great feeling – to have this dream, to reach a wider audience and then to sign with a big label like Interscope Records.
Somi: (Whispers) And I'm only 19!
PS: I just thought: "She is so much cooler when I was 19." Now I know that Blackpink is also part of Interscope Records. Have you spoken to them a lot about joining the label?
Somi: When Blackpink found out, they were very excited and supportive. They greeted me with open arms and always gave me good advice about my music and choreography. I'm pretty close to them. You were so happy for me and I am thankful for it.
PS: Now that you are in your early 20s, what do you hope to get out of this phase of your life?
"I just want to do something that is stylish, musical and fashionable. When you hear it, you become groovy yourself."
Somi: I think there are a lot of things that will happen in my 20s. I am 19 years old in the American age, but I have just turned 20 years old in the Korean age. I think the biggest thing that has changed in my life is that I have a driver's license. In Korea I can go to the supermarket and buy beer. But I don't want to drink beer and drive together – don't get me wrong! (Laughs) The other thing is, I feel like I can be more expressive now because I'm in my 20s, which is better for me and my music.
PS: You have such an amazing and supportive fan base. What message do you want to send them through your music?
I just want to do something that is stylish, musical and fashionable. When you hear it, you become groovy yourself. I want to make this kind of music because I do it a lot. I put on hip hop music and put on my swag alone in my room and just dance to it. I want people to do this with my songs.
My fans have been waiting for this new single for a long time, and hopefully the next one won't last that long. I just want to say "Thank you and I love you!" I have worked very hard and I have a lot more that I would like to share with you soon. This is a new chapter, so stay tuned because it will be cool.
PS: "Get groovy yourself" and "Put on my swag" will be my quotes of the day. What hip hop songs do you hear?
Somi: I like Da Baby's "Rockstar" and "Bop" and Cardi B's "Press". I also like older artists like Notorious B.I.G. – "Put your hands in the air if you're a real player!" And I like "Gangsta & # 39; s Paradise".
PS: "Gangsta & # 39; s Paradise" is one of my favorite rap songs ever.
Somi: I love this song. My father influences me a lot in music and he loves this song too. He can't sing so well, but he knocks out his lungs. This blow in the intro – and then "As I walk through the valley of Death Chatten …"
PS: "… I look at my life and find that there is nothing left!" Wow, I wasn't expecting to rave about "Gangsta & # 39; s Paradise", but here we are. Who are some of your other musical inspirations?
"This is a new chapter, so stay tuned because it will be cool."
Somi: The first video I ever saw was Rihanna's "Don & # 39; t Stop the Music". I was in kindergarten, I think, and then I said, "Oh, I want to be a singer. It looks super cool." So it was my starting point. I went to these Korean entertainment companies and played this song.
PS: You mentioned how you get to yourself as an adult and how you want to play more with style in your music. Do you have further hopes for the future of your career?
Somi: We have to wait for the corona virus to get better, but if it gets better, I'd like to go to the US and other countries and do more global shows.
PS: You already have a lot of experience in reality television and appear in shows as yourself, but I think you would be a great actress who plays different characters. Do you see yourself involved in such projects?
Somi: I do! I really want to act one day, but the opportunity must be given first. I love action. I've been doing taekwondo for about eight years, so I can do that and jump around and roll around. So I want to do something when I get the chance. I'm ready!