Cover K-pop producer-turned-soloist Adora talks about her new single (Photo: Aura Entertainment)

After working behind the scenes producing for major K-pop groups, the singer-songwriter is taking the South Korean music scene by storm. She tells us about her new single The Little Name and coming out of the shadows

Adora just celebrated the release of pop ballad The Little Name in March. It is the South Korean singer-songwriter’s sophomore effort, following Make U Dance featuring Eunha of the girl group Viviz in November 2021, which marked her official solo debut. 

Her name might not ring many bells—though Adora, who is also a producer, has worked with some of the biggest names in K-pop, including BTS, TXT and GFRIEND. She formed part of the team of writers and composers behind BTS’ 2017 mega hit Spring Day, which is the longest-charting song on South Korean online music store and streaming service Melon to date—it has spent a whopping five years in the top 100 so far.

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Adora is now signed to Aura Entertainment, who she made her solo debut under. Before that, she’d been behind the scenes in K-pop for some time: in 2016, she auditioned for South Korean entertainment company Big Hit Music’s talent search programme Next New Creator, then spent much of her career as an in-house producer and lyricist for the music label. Prior to that, she was a trainee under Music K Entertainment.

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What’s the inspiration behind The Little Name?

I thought of precious names that are unable to grow further because they have been lost or forgotten. It’s basically [reopening] memories that have stayed in that childlike state, when I’ve already become an adult. It’s about calling and caressing those “little names.”

I started writing this song after the producers and writers I was working with asked me what I thought about a track [they had]. As soon as I heard it, I [started thinking about] missing a friend I’ve grown apart from.

How does The Little Name compare to your debut single?

The Little Name portrays the feeling of nostalgia, especially when thinking about precious memories. My debut single Make U Dance is a dark pop song that contains the message, “let’s escape from our mundane lives and dance.” They each have their own charms and message.

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What are your experiences as a singer compared to your days as a producer? 

I never thought I’d sing or dance again after entering Big Hit Music. I always wanted to sing, but I didn’t think it would be realistic or possible. I also took a short break due to some health issues, which is when I took a lot of time to think. One of the thoughts I had at that time was that I should sing my own songs, which is how I started going for it again.

[As a singer,] it’s hard to remain objective. When the subject is another artist, his or her strengths and charms are very clear, but it’s very difficult when I’m that subject. Things like what suits me well and the best direction to take, are uncertain.

“I believe that producing songs isn’t just about writing songs and lyrics, but understanding the world behind that artist”

I think having producing experience has helped me take a step back: I believe that producing songs isn’t just about writing songs and lyrics, but understanding the world behind that artist. Sometimes, I still don’t understand myself fully, but I think those experiences push me to see and understand things from a broader perspective.

Was there any pressure in debuting as a soloist?

Yes, I did feel some pressure. I think my career looks so much flashier than my actual capabilities. I was also worried the artists or company I worked with would be troubled by my promotions, but they were a source of motivation for me to do even better as well.

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What was it like the debut in the midst of the pandemic? 

This probably goes for every artist, but the most difficult thing about [debuting in] the pandemic is being unable to meet the fans in person, and the limited amount of opportunities to perform on stage. But I’m so thankful that I can still interact with fans through social media.

As a solo artist, what do you want to achieve?

I want to try a variety of things both musically and visually. If my taking on new challenges also brings encouragement to others, then nothing would make me happier. 

I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but I want to be an artist that can bring value to my agency and help build it up as well. I want to be successful.

What else can we look forward to from you?

I’ve “only” released two tracks now which means I’m just getting started so I hope you show me more interest and love in the future. I’ll be back with more fun music and promotional activities so please look forward to all of that.

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You can listen to Adora’s new single “The Little Name” on Spotify.

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