Cover South Korean R&B singer GSoul releases his first all English EP, Natural (Photo: Warner Music)

The South Korean R&B singer makes his long-awaited return after a brief hiatus with an all-English EP, Natural which he says is a testament to him staying true to himself and the time we’re living in

When one talks about R&B in South Korea, a name that would be on most people’s lips is GSoul (Kim Ji-hyun). The South Korean singer and songwriter is well-known for his heartwarming and calming yet strong R&B tunes. In 2015, he made his debut under JYP Entertainment after training for 15 years—the company’s longest trainee to date—since he was just 12 years old. 

Before becoming a soloist in South Korea, GSoul briefly gained recognition in the US for being a protege due to his soulful voice and skills in songwriting. In a surprise move, he auditioned in The Voice of Korea in 2020 under his real name and emerged as the winner. Other than that, he has released numerous tracks that garnered him a loyal following thanks to his ability to sing bilingually and how relatable his songs are to the masses.

Now, after a brief hiatus, the R&B singer makes his long-awaited return with his first English EP. In an exclusive interview with Tatler, GSoul gets candid about how the EP showcases his growth and artistry, what he learned about himself during the creation process and why the songs’ themes are something that a lot of people can relate to, especially during the times we’re living in.

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Congratulations on your new EP! It’s your first English one. Why did you decide to release an all English EP after all these years?

Thank you! For my music writing process, everything usually starts in English and then, I put the Korean lyrics on top of that. For this album, I wanted to take as much natural process as possible which is why eventually decided to stay with the English tracks as they were.

This is also your first EP after your brief hiatus. In what ways does the EP showcase your growth and artistry?

I think I’m staying true to myself and I think that my fans can feel my vulnerability and honesty. I just wanted to present them with something on each of the songs on this EP. I didn’t really overthink it and this process helped me to grow. I am truly grateful to be putting out this EP.

What makes this EP different from the others that you’ve released?

It’s just a different phase of my life and I’m simply telling and sharing my current stories. That’s the only difference.

Why did you decide to have just one song—the Korean version of Natural—in this EP?

Since it’s my title song and I’m in South Korea and doing promos in Korean, I felt that it was right to put out a Korean version of it. It sounded that it would fit well in both English and Korean.

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Tell us more about the process of making this EP. What did you enjoy the most? What were the challenges?

I always enjoy the recording process. I visualise it like I’m painting a picture because I put so much effort and emotion into each note and harmony. The creation process is always challenging, especially [this time] because for a while, I didn’t know what I wanted to say.

A lot of the songs in this EP are very personal to you—the depression you feel as we deal with the pandemic, the struggles of a relationship, how you’ve changed for the better, wanting to escape self-doubt. Why do you choose to focus on these particular themes in your life?

I felt that a lot of people are going through the same problems these days because we are all experiencing these crazy times together. So as an artist, I think it’s important to reflect on the times we’re living in. One of the main things to highlight is our mental health and to realise the importance of having a support system. We all have to fight through it together with love.

In making this EP, what’s something that you learned about yourself?

I definitely learned that I have to be fearless with my music at least and that I have to be really honest with my fans.

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I’m a work in progress. I’m always willing to learn and grow. Sometimes, I need to step back and redefine, reflect, and ask myself some questions on why I’m doing and where I’m going
GSoul

You’re one of the most well-known names in the Korean R&B genre. With this new EP, how much do you think you’ve changed as an artist over the years?

I’m a work in progress. I’m always willing to learn and grow. Sometimes, I need to step back and redefine, reflect, and ask myself some questions on why I’m doing and where I’m going.

You dedicate this EP to fans but also hope to reach new audiences. When listening to your EP, what do you hope fans and non-fans to think about?

As long as they feel the heart of the music, my honesty, that’s it. I don’t expect anything else, as long as they feel it and feel my soul, I’m content.

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You can listen to GSoul’s first English EP, Natural on Spotify.

 

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