Moon Byul hopes to be more than just the rapper of Mamamoo

Mamamoo's Moon Byul will release her first solo full-length album ″Starlit of Muse″ [RBW]

Moon Byul spent the first decade of her career as the rapper of girl group Mamamoo. She now plans to break that frame as an all-rounder artist with her first full-length solo album, “Starlit of Muse,” featuring band music, brass music and more.

“I’ve spent the last 10 years as the rapper of Mamamoo, but I didn’t want to lock myself under that title. I didn’t want to be afraid of taking new challenges,” Moon Byul said during a group interview ahead of the release of “Starlit of Muse” on Tuesday.

The group interview was held at Space Sophora, the art gallery in Jung District, central Seoul where Moon Byul also hosted her special exhibition before the release.

“This is why I started my own battle to break that frame in 2022, joining competition shows and releasing new solo albums. I think I can pack that final punch with my full-length album,” she said.

“I needed all 12 tracks in my album to fully express myself.”

The album's 12 songs come in a variety of styles and genres, including “Touchin&Movin,” the lead track featuring funky brass tunes, “Memories,” a song featuring live instrumentals and “Gold,” the artist's first English B-side.

“All the genres that I’ve tried before in my past solo lead tracks are included in ‘Starlit of Muse’,” Moon Byul said. “There’s a song similar to ‘Lunatic’ (2022), ‘C.I.T.T.’ (2022), I have a powerful song just like ‘Eclipse’ (2020) and much more.”

Mamamoo's Moon Byul will release her first solo full-length album ″Starlit of Muse″ [RBW]

Moon Byul joined and took victory in JTBC’s competition show “The Second World” (2022), which saw girl group rappers such as Oh My Girl’s Mimi, WJSN’s EXY and Billlie’s Moon Sua competing.

But Moon Byul, despite her history as a singer-songwriter who has written lyrics for both her own and Mamamoo's music, is only credited as a producer on two of the album's tracks — “Like a Fool” and “After Sunset,” which Moon Byul wrote three years ago, but has been saving for her full-length release.

“I’ve only decided to put two of my own songs in the album because I wanted to be open to different perspectives — I didn’t want my album to be limited by my vocabulary and the language I use. I wanted to sing songs of love, youth and other different stories seen in different perspectives.”

Nevertheless, Moon Byul clarified that she was at the center of the album's production process, thinking of ideas and making decisions to craft an album that she, herself, would want to buy.

“When I was in a group of four, the agency gave us the big picture and we didn’t have much input in the album. When I was in a duo in Mamamoo+, I could put half of my input into the album. With a solo release, I can have all my input in the album,” Moon Byul said. “Everyone can release a bland album, so I wanted to make a fun and exciting album.”

Mamamoo's Moon Byul will release her first solo full-length album ″Starlit of Muse″ [RBW]

Out of the many songs in the album, “Memories,” featuring RBW’s boy band Onewe, was Moon Byul’s favorite B-side track.

“'The Second World’ really taught me that I like band music and made me realize that I’m quite good at it,” she said. “'Memories’ is a song that fits just right in that category. It revolves around the theme of refreshing youth, and I think it will be best performed live.”

“I’m so glad and thankful to have Onewe as instrumental performers in the song, because imitating band music using synthesizers just didn’t feel lively,” Moon Byul said. “Listening to Onewe’s live performances, I could feel the liveliness, and I could sense how the band communicates with the listeners.”

But despite praising her collaborators, Moon Byul remained humble and cautious about debuting her own band.

“You know, as much as I want to start my own band, I’m very much well aware that people around me would have to suffer [in helping me],” Moon Byul said with a laugh. “I also can’t play any instruments. I think I’ll have to be ready first.”

Moon Byul hopes that fans will enjoy the merchandise she's prepared to accompany the album, including a limited-edition tote bag made out of demo and various “unique and fun” photocards.

Mamamoo's Moon Byul will release her first solo full-length album ″Starlit of Muse″ [RBW]

But the most important thing, the artist said, is that she, herself, is happy with her work.

“I never felt the feelings of satisfaction as I released my previous albums, but I was truly satisfied with everything with my album as I produced it,” Moon Byul said. “So regardless of how other people judge me, I’ll be happy with my album.”

But, she emphasized, “I hope my fans will listen to the album and be proud of their favorite singer.” She added, “I hope it turns out to be an album I’m not ashamed of and one that’s worthy of Mamamoo’s name.”

Mamamoo's Moon Byul will release her first solo full-length album ″Starlit of Muse″ [RBW]