It was our third meeting. Up to now, she is not a person who approaches first and tells a lot of stories so Taeyeon is a person who we want to ask even more and we’re curious about what she is thinking. Since debuting as SNSD, her position has never been shaken up. After releasing mini album <I>, her solo activities which actively started last year have drawn favorable reviews from even more of the public. Someone said it like this. Taeyeon is just a genuine person who loves singing the most, and after hearing that, I thought that people could’ve looked at her from a certain mold, as she is a girl group leader and also a rumored ‘homebody’. As she came into the shoot location, she told us ‘long time no see’, and asked if we’d been well while smiling. We started our conversation with Taeyeon, who said photoshoots are still difficult but she enjoys interviews.
You told us several times that you find photoshoots difficult, but it’s hard to believe because every cut is an A cut.
Thank you. (Laughs) Truthfully, you can’t ignore the time and experience I’ve gained through SNSD activities up to now, and regardless, it needs to come out nicely so I’m trying hard.
Like you told us during a break earlier, <WHY> album jacket is pretty, even from the perspective of non-fans. We think this appearance suits you the best.
Normally, there are way more photos that members take of me. If a member who likes taking photos, Tiffany included, takes a pretty photo of me, I’m satisfied for days. (Laughs) There are many fun photo apps so I also enjoy playing around with those too.
We’ve done several photoshoots together and yet, we’ve never seen you show dislike for the hair, makeup and outfits that the staff have prepared. Are you that confident? (Laughs)
More than confidence, I tend to entrust as much as possible. I like to think that they know it well and will treat me well. I’m trusting the words of staff who are experts in their individual fields and have seen me for a long time. My work is to express it well, regardless of what colour they’ve applied on me, or how they’ve styled me. I have to express it. If the results are not good, it’s another lesson to learn.
But when the results come out, all of the feedback comes back under Taeyeon’s name.
I just tend to trust them. Especially on an editorial photoshoot like today, it’s not a simple, everyday appearance. It’s a flashy and decorated appearance, so I’m going in with the attitude of, ‘I’m attempting a new style. If not now, then when would I try this?’
We’ve searched and there aren’t a lot of interviews but it’s easier to find you on a reality program. Is that less burdensome for you?
My inclination is to dislike things that are pre-determined and in a mold and I prefer being natural. For photoshoots and interviews, the mood of the location has a huge effect. Reality program has no specific setup and it shows the flow, and what really happens, so it suits my personality better.
If you had to pick out the main quality of Taeyeon as a person, how would you explain it?
Truthfully, I’m not sure if I know myself very well, but my normal emotion has a bit of up & down. I tend to be very affected by the mood and environment, so it’s hard for even me to guess. It’s too difficult to describe myself with one word. I think members, who are always with me, know me well. I’m a person who pursues flow, like how water flows naturally.
But your occupation makes it difficult to be left natural. You have to put in a lot of effort to show a perfect performance.
That’s true. So I’m nervous every time I stand on stage. It’s a job where you have to express yourself during a short period of time that you’re given, so there are times when it’s difficult. But as I keep doing it, within that, my personality comes out. Even when I sing, rather than pour out emotions all at once, I try to express it according to flow.
You were on the cover of Ceci in January of 2014. Not a lot of time has passed since, but in the last 1-2 years, you definitely have an air of maturity.
Since having to make a lot of decisions on my own, I’ve become a bit more cool-headed. Truthfully, it’s a difficult thing for a member like me, whose colour is not distinct.
What do you mean your colour is not distinct?
For instance, I’m really close to Tiffany and our hearts are well aligned. But our tastes are different. It’s completely opposite. Tiffany clearly knows what she wants and she knows how to express it precisely, when it comes to things like colour and shape for example. I’m a bit indecisive and I have a hard time making decisions, so I can’t easily say what I want. I’m not my own person sometimes. But as I started my solo activities and all of the staff are looking only at me and all of the work is happening with me at the center, I had to make a lot of decision and lead. It was so hard but now I’m figuring out methods to make decisions. I learned a lot about giving up things that don’t matter and how to supervise things that do matter.
Despite that, are your solo activities enjoyable?
It’s enjoyable on stage. But when I come down from the stage, my head becomes chaotic and I have lots of thoughts of did I do that right, or what should I prepare going forward. I tend to look to the staff for their reactions.
There are people who enjoy making decisions and leading, and there are also people who find that burdensome. Which side is Taeyeon on?
Right now, I think there’s more for me to learn. I’m at a stage where I need help to choose and make decisions, rather than doing all of it on my own. It seems like I’d be good at doing everything on my own but that’s not true. I have a lot of fears.
Is it a fear of failure? That the results will be bad?
That’s not it at all. I’m afraid that regret will remain. Since I’m standing on stage by myself, if I choose what suits me and do it well, that’s ideal but my decision could be wrong. The fear has to do with regret. As a result, I need people who can look at me with an objective gaze, and I think it’s right to actively collect feedback. This work is not done just because I like doing it. It’s true that it’s burdensome but the right thing is to do it together.
‘Starlight’ starts with the lyrics ‘Love is amazing’. What are things in Taeyeon’s life right now that is amazing?
The biggest issue recently was the solo concert <Butterfly Kiss>. Maybe now I can relax on stage because I was able to see the audience’s faces. I do concerts regularly but this time was different. Even if we didn’t speak directly, when I saw their faces, I could feel that we were communicating together so it really made me happy. It felt like fans were smiling even more, and it was different from before. I think they enjoyed it with me.
Comparing SNSD’s debut stage and the first time you stood on stage as a solo artist, which one made you shake more?
Of course, the first stage of my solo activity. It’s so different from when I’m together with the members. It felt like all of my experiences up to that point had all disappeared and it really felt like I was starting from the beginning. I thought that I don’t normally shake a lot but I wanted to be on stage in an anxious state but when I stood on stage for the first time for ‘I’, I shook so much to the point that the mic was shaking. Even when I think of it now, it makes me shake.
After you were featured on Amber’s ‘Shake That Brass’ last year, you’ve been promoting restlessly to now. Even while you are busy, your expression seems more relaxed than before.
There hasn’t been a special change. I’ve always prepared and showed a stage for singing, but I think the feelings I had after talking with fans through SNS had an effect. If you look at just my personality, I like to keep things to myself and hide away, rather than showing everything. But thanks to fans, I felt that there is a need to do things that fans want, and that there are things I want to do and things I should do going forward. I’ve come to think that when it comes to music, I shouldn’t decline projects with a withdrawn heart, but whenever I can do things, I should do a lot here and there. I was able to accept duets and features in songs more comfortably.
Your heart of wanting to do things that fans want is a type of love.
It’s a similar feeling as wanting to study hard and do well in school to receive compliments from your parents. I want to receive a good grade and show everyone. So fans are like friends with whom 10 years have passed, with an enduring and connected heart like a parent-child relationship. I can feel their big heart devoted to me, from my meals to my health. Of course, they worry a lot too. (Laughs)
When a girl group members debuts with a solo, showing off a sexy concept is basically officially on record. We’re curious what kind of concerns you had about singing about yourself with ‘I’, a song that’s not even about love.
With my job, I work before the public and a countless number of people, but I’m alone and I have my own position. I thought a lot about what colour suits me the best. I thought that I wanted to do something that is me-like, serene and naturally. We put a lot of thought into what genre I would choose, and how the melody would be expressed. And truthfully, ‘sexy’ is not a word that I could express well. (Laughs)
We felt that you’ve grown into an artist who can tell your own story, as is.
There was a side of me that people could’ve predicted when I announced that I would release a solo album. Like OSTs that have received a lot of love or emotional ballads. But there are so many genres that I could attempt, and I wanted to show a different side of me that hasn’t been shown yet. It’s not that I have a specific genre I prefer but as a singer, I wanted you to hear various songs.
What is the path that 28 year old Taeyeon, who is in her 10th year as a singer, wants to take going forward?
I don’t know. I don’t know when I’ll receive this question again but speaking from right now, I’ve never thought of anything else other than music. Going forward, I think I will continue to do music in a way that’s easy and natural and calm, without going overboard with risks and carefully selecting songs. Were you anticipating a grandiose response?
No. You keep saying you’re easy and natural but what you’ve achieved thus far is exceptional. We don’t think you need to be afraid.
I do think that there needs to come a time when I can’t be afraid anymore. If situation changes, a person needs to change to adapt. I will try hard so I won’t be afraid and I will watch over things that need my attention.
What do you do at home these days? You know a lot of internet slang and you use them at the right time in the right places.
I use a VOD service to watch movies and TV programs. Fans teach me all of the internet slang. When I do SNS, I can see them in the fans’ reactions, and I leave comments to have conversations with them. Whenever I do that, I learn the language of the teenagers these days. (Laughs) I am learning by leaning over their shoulders.
Female fans are very curious about your beauty routine. What is the secret to your unchanging ‘fairy beauty’?
Honestly, these days I haven’t been able to receive as much skin care as before. I try to use packs at home. More than skin, I’ve become more interested in detox and fixing posture. I exercised for a while to increase my stamina while preparing for the concert. But each person is different, so to some, exercise itself can be over-exertion. I want to focus more on circulation and maintaining my body.
Lastly, what words do you want to leave on the pages of Ceci? Anything is good.
It’s a very broad topic. What would be good? Ah, ‘natural and calm, as water flows’, leave these words. (Laughs)
“With Tiffany, the two of us have traveled to the US before. We went to Disney World in Florida. We are both passionate fans of Walt Disney. We planned and prepared for it together, without the help of managers or anyone else, so travel itself was a new experience. We created a lot of memories, and personally, it’s a trip that is most memorable for me.”
Scan Source: DC Inside