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Former IZ*ONE member Yena goes dark in 1st single 'Love War'

K-pop 18:57 January 16, 2023

By Shim Sun-ah

SEOUL, Jan. 16 (Yonhap) -- Choi Yena, a K-pop soloist who was a member of the now-disbanded project girl group IZ*ONE, freed herself of the bubbly and bright image from her previous albums with the release of her first single, "Love War," on Monday.

She made a 180-degree turn to appear as a dark and gloomy girl with charismatic eyes for the new release.

"Returning with an image that is totally different from what many people remember, I wanted them to say things like, 'Oh, she can do this!' 'She has this charm!' "That's fresh'," the 23-year-old singer said during a media showcase held a few hours before the album's release at 6 p.m.

She said she was greatly encouraged by many positive online comments about her concept photos for the new single while working on it.

"Love War" marks her first release since her second EP "Smartphone" in August.

Choi Yena performs during a media showcase in Seoul on Jan. 16, 2023, for her first single "Love War" in this photo provided by her agency, Yue Hua Entertainment. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Choi Yena performs during a media showcase in Seoul on Jan. 16, 2023, for her first single "Love War" in this photo provided by her agency, Yue Hua Entertainment. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

"I portrayed the process of love from my own perspective in this album," she said. "There is a crisis in a relationship where lovers argue with each other and hurt each other even though they're in love, so I described such moments with outspoken lyrics."

The album has a total of three tracks -- the lead single of the same title co-written and co-composed by the singer -- "Wash Away," a R&B song, and "Love is over," an intro song.

The title track featured popular Korean rapper and songwriter Be'O as a man who faces a breakup with his lover.

Questioned as to how the artist came to join the project, Yena said, "I had a meeting with workers of my agency after this song was composed and we all agreed nobody can replace Be'O for the part. Right after the meeting, I called him to ask if he would join me, and he readily accepted my request. I'd like to take this opportunity to express my great appreciation to him."

She added she was more than happy to get a chance to work with him because he is a star who is on the playlist of songs that she listens to everyday.

Yena debuted as a member of IZ*One, a group composed of 12 winners of local music cable channel Mnet's hit audition program "Produce 48," in 2018. The group disbanded in April 2020 when the members' contracts concluded. She made a solo debut with her first EP, "Smiley," in January last year.

Having sold over 110,000 copies in the first week of its release in August, her second EP "Smartphone" proved her potential as a soloist.

"Many things happened in the past year," she said. "I've never thought I would debut as a solo artist and it's still amazing that I get attention from so many people and am filling the stage alone. I think my life is like a drama."

sshim@yna.co.kr
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