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(Yonhap Interview) Ousted Girls' Generation member feels intimidated, proud to bolt from giant agency

All Headlines 12:05 May 17, 2016

By Chung Joo-won and Lee Eun-jung

SEOUL, May 17 (Yonhap) -- Jessica, the ousted member of South Korean girl group Girls' Generation, expressed mixed feelings of intimidation and pride about setting sail as a solo artist outside the waters of her former giant agency.

"It feels like having graduated from a school that I've attended for a long time," the K-pop singer said in a group interview with local press in southeastern Seoul Saturday, comparing her long-time partner agency to an international school with a 12-year curriculum.

"I don't hold grudges against S.M. whatsoever," the 27-year-old said. "From my debut till now, Girls' Generation meant the world for me, because, without Girls' Generation, Jessica wouldn't even have existed."

The interview came three days before the release of her first solo album, "With Love, J," which was released nine years after her debut as a member of Girls' Generation in 2007. The album's lead track, "Fly," composed, written and sung by Jessica, has drawn a flurry of responses on video sharing websites and social media since the album's launch on Tuesday at 12 a.m.

Upon release, "Fly" swept the No. 1 spot in eight of the major South Korean music charts, including MelON, Mnet, Naver Music, Genie, Soribada and Kakao Music.

The achievement comes on the other side of stormy seas. After being "ousted" -- as Jessica put it during her parting from S.M. in 2014 -- she did not consider releasing a solo album outright in the K-pop market. Instead, she began a new career as an eyewear designer and businesswoman in partnership with her boyfriend Tyler Kwon, whom she has dated for three years. Now Jessica is a solo singer under Coridel Entertainment, a talent agency founded by Kwon.

Apart from paying respects to her former agency, Jessica made it clear with the new album that she is in full control of her own music.

"Life seems like a book that you flip through chapter by chapter," she said, recalling that parting with S.M. was "the time to enter a new chapter."

"I'm not the kind of person who clings to the past in self-criticism. What I am going through now is completely new and adventurous."

Jessica also showed undying ambition for her potential, as partly expressed in "Fly," the album's lead title track, in which she sings "Cause your wings are meant to fly."

"During the past one-and-a-half years (since I left Girls' Generation), I've come to see, feel and learn what I never new before. I'm expecting a more constructive future in the days to come," she said.

"Singing as a group keeps hidden the individual colors of each member, because it requires the balance and harmony of the team. But as a solo vocalist, I was able to show my own colors totally without limit."

Jessica also revealed her admiration for Tiffany, her former Girls' Generation colleague, who released a solo album one week before her own.

"I listened to her new song and saw her music video. Tiffany has her trademark lovely image, but this time she definitely tried out something new. I hope she makes a terrific stage."

Jessica said her fashion apparel and eyewear brand "Blanc & Eclare" has been doing better than she expected. She meant to run the fashion business on a humble scale for people who share her same fashion sense. But now "Blanc & Eclare" operates in multiple countries, she said.

The K-pop star is engaged in two movies in China, including "Love Parcel," starring William Chan. The film is set to launch in China in August.

Jessica also won a role in "My Other Home," an autobiographical film about American basketball player Stephon Marbury who also starred in the movie. The film is currently being produced.


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