[INTERVIEW] Lovelyz' Ryu Su-jeong explores 'dark pop' genre with XYLØ collaboration
Ryu Su-jeong is going global — and darker — with American singer XYLØ this year. But the singer-songwriter, who celebrates the 10th anniversary of her debut this year, hasn't forgotten the signature lovely and cute nature for which her girl group, Lovelyz, is known.
Ryu and XYLØ recorded multiple songs together for Ryu's second EP, “2ROX,” in the “dark pop” style the American singer is known for. “2ROX” is a combination of R, for Ryu, and OX, for XYLØ, while the number two refers to the duo themselves, according to Ryu.
“Songs in the dark pop genre boost my mood up, in a different way than a bright song would, and I have been enjoying the genre for a while, [so] I wanted to release an album in the dark pop genre,” Ryu said during a group interview Wednesday at a cafe in Mapo District, western Seoul ahead of the album’s 2 p.m. release.
Dark pop — which Ryu deems a “deadly, yet dark” genre — pairs the pop and indie genres of music with a dark tone.
The unexpected collaboration came to reality thanks to Ryu.
“I was the one who contacted XYLØ, because I was the one who thought of the collaboration idea,” Ryu said. “My career has been focused on Korean audiences, so I wanted to have overseas listeners learn about my music, which is why I ended up collaborating with an American artist.”
“XYLØ replied to me saying she, as a K-pop listener, also wanted to take part in the collaboration and join the genre,” Ryu added. “I always thought of releasing an album like this, [but] I didn’t know I would get the opportunity this fast.”
The two artists share a lot of similarities, according to Ryu.
“I think XYLØ and I have a lot in common, as artists,” Ryu said. “We both like the idea of having a hip mood on the outside but also have a [contrasting] lovely mood in the inner mind.”
But going dark, and making overseas ties, doesn't mean Ryu is giving up on her girl group roots.
“This is my first time going for [the dark-pop] genre, but because I participated in the songwriting and music production of all three tracks, I could put the roots of my charming point: innocent, lovely and girly vibes,” Ryu said. “It’s dark pop, but you’ll still be able to feel the underlying soft, cloudy-like nature of Ryu Su-jeong.”
The EP features a total of three tracks: “BAD GRLS (feat. XYLØ),” the lyrics of which Ryu took part in writing; the lead track, “SHXT (feat. XYLØ),”; and prerelease track “Fallen Angel (feat. XYLØ).” Ryu was involved in both the composition and songwriting of the latter two tracks.
Lead track “SHXT” is more upbeat and kitsch, influenced by the high-teen dramas of the 90s and 00s, while “Fallen Angel” is a sentimental and gloomy track touching on the relationship between lovers who continue to hurt each other.
“We actually had one more track on the EP, but it was a song that had a summer vibe to it, and I didn’t think it matched with the current season,” Ryu said. “But there is still a chance for that song to be released in the future.”
And as for Lovelyz, which celebrates its 10-year anniversary in November, Ryu shared that the eight members are still close.
“I’ve shown my album to all the members, and they are great supporters of my music,” Ryu said. “Them also being singers makes them focus on the little details — they would comment on things like the quality of my music video and how good I look in the music video. I’m so glad to have them as my supporters.”
“We’ve been talking with each other constantly about releasing an album or going on a concert, as 10th anniversary is a significant milestone and an achievement,” Ryu said.
“But I am a bit worried, because the eight members are all busy with their own careers. It would be great if we could come together as a group to celebrate; we can each celebrate the anniversary if we can’t.”
“I plan on releasing more songs, whether that be a digital single or full-length album, I also plan to continue to perform in front of my fans, just like I did last year.”
“I hope I’m able to attract more overseas listeners with my new album so that I can perform more outside Korea,” Ryu said. “Maybe I can even hope for more than just holding performances overseas, like joining music festivals. Who knows?”
To find out more about Ryu Su-jeong, visit Celeb Confirmed!
BY CHO YONG-JUN [email@example.com]