K-Pop Star Wonho on Starting Over Solo: New EP Finally ‘Reflecting My Own Colors’
Ten months after departing the K-pop group Monsta X amid a flurry of controversy, Wonho is finally ready to tell his story, with the release of his debut solo single, “Losing You.”
Released Friday, the highly-anticipated track is the 27-year-old’s big comeback after parting ways with Monsta X last October amid accusations of improper behavior and alleged marijuana use prior to his time with the group (cannabis is still illegal in Korea, and in most parts of Asia). The singer was officially cleared of all charges in March, and announced new management and a solo deal just a few weeks later.
“Losing You” officially kicks off Wonho’s new era, and arrives as K-pop continues to demonstrate its influence on these shores as well. Performed entirely in English, the sweeping, piano-driven ballad showcases Wonho’s delicate falsetto, as he sings about protecting a cherished love despite all costs. “Baby I would go to war for you / Build an army if you need me to / Cause losing me is better than losing you.”
The singer co-wrote the track with a team of A-list songwriters, including Corey Sanders and Jon Mcguire (Callum Scott “You Are the Reason”) and Neil Ormandy, who co-wrote James Arthur’s worldwide hit, “Say You Won’t Let Go.” British songwriter and producer, Nick Gale, better known as Digital Farm Animals, helmed the production for the song, a seductive, R&B slow-burner that’s sure to tug at listeners’ heartstrings with its swelling chorus and some of the most personal lyrics Wonho has written to date.
While the song is undeniably a love song, the singer says it was also inspired by his fans, who never left his side after his well-publicized departure from the group. “This is a love song, but also I would say it is [about] the love and appreciation I have for my fans as well,” he tells Rolling Stone. “I’m here today because of them, and the thought of losing them was the hardest thing I could think of.”
“For me,” he continues, “‘Losing You’ is about the connection between people, and the selflessness of loving someone so much that you’ll become one with them and they become even more important to you than yourself.”
“Losing You” is the first single from Wonho’s upcoming mini album, Part. 1 Love Synonym #1: Right for Me, due out September 4th. The singer says to expect a mix of uptempo tracks and ballads from the album, citing artists like the Korean singer and actor Rain, and Usher, as artists he respects. Expect to see Wonho take on a continued role in songwriting and production as well. “I chose my favorite styles and incorporated both languages, Korean and English, in one EP,” he explains. “I feel like this EP is reflecting my own colors and sending my personal message out there to my fans.”
Wonho says he began working on his solo project six months ago and was eager to finally put out new music for the fans. “I wanted to share with my fans the feeling and sentiment of what I was going through,” he says, of his time away from the spotlight. “I want to deliver a message that I’m here for them, like they’ve been here for me. Together, we can overcome anything.”
It’s a message that seemingly mirrors his own struggles over the past year, a year that Wonho says he’s learned “many lessons” from. The main lesson: “Even if it’s dark, the light will come soon,” he says. “All you need to do is keep going.”