Apink's Kim Nam-joo shows off wilder side in new solo single 'Bad'

Apink's Kim Nam-joo performs poses during a press showcase for her second solo single, ″Bad,″ on Tuesday at the Ilchi Art Hall in Gangnam District, southern Seoul. [CHO YONG-JUN]

Apink's Kim Nam-joo is back with a solo single filled with her own style — a style that other Apink members could never pull off.

“Apink’s signature pure concept was well engraved into the group and myself. So going solo, I knew I had to come up with a unique color that contrasts well with Apink’s Namjoo,” the singer said Monday afternoon during a press showcase at the Ilchi Art Hall in southern Seoul, ahead of the release of her second solo single, “Bad,” later that day.

“I made sure to exclude the sides of Namjoo that I’ve already shown beforehand.”

“Bad,” therefore focuses on the singer's daring, wilder side.

“It’s a concept that other members of Apink cannot pull off — it’s distinctly my color, and that’s why it's in my solo album,” Kim said.

Apink's Kim Nam-joo performs poses during a press showcase for her second solo single ″Bad,″ held on Tuesday at the Ilchi Art Hall in Gangnam District, southern Seoul. [CHO YONG-JUN]

The single features three tracks: “Mirror Mirror,” an intro track narrated by actor Daniel Henney, followed by the title track “Bad” and “Ridin’ Out.”

Kim was involved in the album's production from the ground up, giving input to its concept, theme and visuals, but she was not involved in the lyrics. Kim was involved in lyrics writing of Apink’s past releases, but added that she was “not ready” to do so for her solo work.

“There are a lot of professionals who are better than me at songwriting, so I thought it’d be better to ask for their help,” she said. “But going forward, I'm aware I have to write my own music. It’s just that I don’t dare to, at this point.”

That said, she clarified that she communicated with the lyricist to reflect her style.

Kim, who debuted in 2011, is no stranger to comebacks. Still, she feels, this release — her first in four years — made her feel like a debut artist again.

"[‘Bird’] was released at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, so I’ve never actually performed solo in front of the reporters or our fans. I feel like I’m making my debut again, as soloist Kim Nam-joo,” she said.

“Apink is a team that specializes in performances, so the lack thereof really made us suffer. You can almost say that it was our time of hardship and suffering,” Kim said. “And going through that time allowed me to grow further as Kim Nam-joo.”

Kim added that her debut as a musical actor in “Midnight Sun” also helped improve her vocals.

“I’m also getting ready to meet our overseas fans in a variety of ways — the things that I wasn’t able to do with ‘Bird,'” the singer said. “So while it is our first activity with our new agency, I think you can look forward to it.”

Apink members, despite their differing tastes, have been supportive of Kim's new direction.

“I was very much worried to tell our members about my solo single. I feared they might be shocked, surprised and even find it problematic,” Kim said. “But our members — especially our leader, Park Cho-rong — told me to go even further. They gave me constructive feedback to the extent where I feel like I’m promoting with our members.”

Such sentiment — that Apink, despite Kim's personal change in direction, remains very much the same group — shone forth throughout the showcase. The singer even let slip that the band is preparing for a comeback this year, surprising both on-site reporters and herself.

“I probably shouldn’t have said it, but Apink technically is always preparing a comeback, because it takes us like two years to prepare for one,” Kim said with a laugh.

“‘Bad’ didn’t affect Apink’s upcoming concept at all,” she assured reporters. If anything, she added, “I’m suggesting it to make it upbeat, just like my solo single.”

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