The time has finally come for SAAY to take to the stage

A concept image for SAAY's second full-length album "S:inema" (2022) [UNIVERSAL MUSIC]

After establishing her musical career as an R&B singer-songwriter since making her solo debut in 2015, SAAY went on to write and compose songs for some of the industry's most popular acts like Exo’s Baekhyun, Twice, Viviz and aespa.

She told press Wednesday that she felt that the time had finally come for her to hold her first solo concert and meet face-to-face with her fans.

Titled “mise en scène,” the concert will have its one-day run on Thursday evening at the Rollinghall concert venue in Hongdae, western Seoul’s Mapo District.

“To me, taking care of my health was foremost,” SAAY said, whose real name is Kwon So-hee. “I had a terrible cold recently and I’ve just gotten better now, so I’m pretty concerned about the condition of my throat. I’m nervous that I have to be able to sing 200 to 300 times better than I usually do tomorrow, but at the same time, I'm so excited.”

The latter half of 2022 has been quite busy for SAAY. She dropped her second full-length album “S:inema” in late October.

A concept image for SAAY's second full-length album "S:inema" (2022) [UNIVERSAL MUSIC]

“It’s my first concert and also the first time I’m singing the tracks from my second album live,” she said. “I love when things have a well-structured narrative — whether it be a movie or music — so I put emphasis on the order of the set list to make sure it was organic.”

The album encompasses the past decade of the singer’s life in her 20s, which she described as “hurtful but beautiful and scary but also illustrious.” Now on the brink of 30, she tells stories in which she contemplates life and relationships.

“S:inema” is jam-packed with a whopping 21 songs, including two interludes, an outro and a bonus track. The lead track “Talk 2 Me Nice” sparked from the question, “What if you could charm anyone with just nice words?”

“Originally, the only song that had choreography from ‘S:inema’ was ‘Talk 2 Me Nice,’ but for the concert I specially chose about two to three more songs and created performances for them too, and it was so fun,” SAAY said.

A concept image for SAAY's second full-length album "S:inema" (2022) [UNIVERSAL MUSIC]

The singer said that it was important for her fans to “wear comfortable shoes” and “make sure their throats are in good condition” as the concert will require a lot of dancing and cheering from the audience.

SAAY also hinted that she is set to try out a rock-genre track that will “surely relieve the audience’s stress.”

Choreography may be normal for most artists but was considered a new attempt for SAAY. Although she had years of experience in street dance, she had been reluctant to show too many of her dance moves to the public, SAAY said, because she wanted to “gain rock solid recognition as an R&B singer first, rather than as a singer who dances well.”

R&B singer-songwriter SAAY performs "Bambi," the original song by Baekhyun of Exo, during Mnet's survival show "Artistock Game" (2022) in October. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

Another new attempt was her appearance on the Mnet singing competition show “Artistock Game” (2022), where she sang both solo or as part of a group.

On the show, SAAY sung her version of a song that she wrote and composed herself: “Bambi.” The song was sung by Baekhyun and earned high praise from other artists who were judges on the show, like boy band Highlight-member Yang Yo-seop.

“I did get many offers to be on other television shows, but I tended to put them off in the past because I wanted to focus on establishing my music career,” SAAY said. “But after ‘Artistock Game’ I’ve seen reactions where people say they’ve seen a new side to who I am as a singer.

“I’ve always regarded myself as a singer who doesn’t really think scale to be that important,” she continued. “There could be just one person in the audience and I would still sing my heart out. It’s important to me that I’m finally having my own concert in my own name.”

A concept image for SAAY's second full-length album "S:inema" (2022) [UNIVERSAL MUSIC]

SAAY said that she is “pretty sure [she] will cry” during the concert, and that she cannot wait to tell the audience the many behind-the-scenes stories from her latest album.

“To me, 2022 was a good year,” she said. “I guess I could sum it up into one word: well-done. In 2023, I told myself to be more mature — I’m a firm believer that will help me reflect better on my songs. Next year is going to be all about learning.”