By Chung Joo-won, Kim Ki-hun
SEOUL, Aug. 2 (Yonhap) -- South Korean singer-rapper HyunA is more than satisfied with her trademark sexy vibe, calling it her "happy gift."
"I feel zero pressure about my sexy image," said the former member of 4minute, a five-member K-pop girl group that disbanded in June, in a media interview held in eastern Seoul last week. "It is a happy gift for a female artist -- something that can't be earned."
With a 10-year K-pop career under her belt, HyunA could not be more confident during her first media interview after she set sail as a solo artist. The singer entered the K-pop scene in 2007 as a member of another girl group, Wonder Girls of JYP Entertainment. Then in 2009, she returned as a member of 4minute of Cube Entertainment. In her 10th year, HyunA became a solo artist, a rarity in today's K-pop market.
"In the first three to four years since my debut, I was too young to understand people calling me sexy or summer queen. But year after year, I've come to understand the weight of that image," the 24-year-old said. The sexy factor has been a driving force behind HyunA, one of the strongest dancing pop artists in showcases and performance stages.
"The sexy queen title has become so dear to me now that I can't stop cutting down on eating or taking care of my body," she added.
About whether she really thinks of herself as a sexy star, the singer wore a shy smile and said, "I'm sexy only for the three minutes when I perform on stage."
The singer said her usual self is "just like any ordinary 24-year-old."
"Some fans would get disappointed when they see the 'real me,' apparently because they had too high expectations about my (sexy vibe)," the singer said, bursting into laughter.
Two years ago, the singer vented anxiety in an interview with a local media organization, fearing that her sexy image may have an expiration date.
"There are times that I still feel daunted (about the image). But pressure can be a source of energy. Thanks to fan's support and love, I have kept my head above the water."
But the singer was recently confronted with a new source of anxiety. She saw both her solo career and past career as a 4minute member as two key building blocks of her K-pop career.
"I'd definitely call my solo activities as an extension of 4minute," HyunA said, regretting the public atmosphere about the dissolution of the group.
"It makes me feel sad when I hear people talking as if (everything about 4minute) had vanished into thin air, and I was starting out from nothing," she said.
During her seven years in the group, HyunA has released four solo EPs, including "Bubble Pop!" and "Melting." On Monday, she started out as a true solo musician.
About the group's disbandment -- and her four teammates' parting with Cube Entertainment -- HyunA said, "(The members and) I have talked about a lot of things. We've been chasing after the same dream for the past seven years, from way back when we were trainees."
The singer cheered for her former colleagues' dream. "All I can do is to do my best, never to disappoint my fans," she vowed in a calm manner.
HyunA and her agency bet big on the idol diva's fifth and latest EP "A'wesome," ringing the bell for the summer season -- wartime for girl groups.
The EP's lead song "How's This," composed by Cube Entertainment's songwriter Seo Jae-woo, shows HyunA's sex appeal the most and HyunA's funky vocal techniques.
Only eight hours after the three-minute song was released at 12 a.m. on Monday, it swept the No. 1 slot in major music charts at home, including Mnet, Genie Music and Naver Music.
"I have an undying passion for my stage life. I promise to put more effort into it than ever before," the K-pop talent said.
(LEAD) S. Korea to donate AstraZeneca vaccine to Vietnam, Thailand
Unification minister seeks EU's support for bid for end-of-war declaration
Top diplomats of S. Korea, UAE hold talks on bilateral cooperation
(Yonhap Interview) Eliminating prejudice, discrimination should be ultimate goal in policy for N.K. defectors: resettlement agency chief
(URGENT) Moon orders thorough probe into Seongnam land development scandal
New virus cases slow down, eased distancing rules to be applied for 2 weeks
(News Focus) Outspoken and aggressive, Lee Jae-myung faces challenges head on
Lee Jae-myung confirmed as DP presidential candidate: party chief
(LEAD) N.K. leader calls for boosting military capabilities but says enemy is 'war itself'
Seoul stocks rebound to 3,000-point level on tech rally
KFA trying to confirm reports of Son Heung-min's COVID-19 infection
N. Korea may be considering engaging with S. Korea, U.S.: Biegun
Cold wave alerts issued for most of S. Korea
Unseasonable cold snap to drive Seoul's temperatures to 64-year low
(LEAD) New COVID-19 cases remain in 1,600s as authorities set to relax virus curbs