With the release of “April, and a Flower”, EXO‘s Chen became the first member of EXO to release a Korean solo album.
Chen sat down with Billboard to discuss how his solo album heralded a new stage in his career.
I think it is because this isn’t as EXO’s Chen, but it is my first steps as just Chen.
Chen shared on the significance behind the album’s title and a song he co-wrote, “Flower”.
Billboard: The album’s title is April, and a Flower, and the song you co-wrote is called “Flower.” What’s the importance of this?
Chen: As seasons and time goes by, flowers bloom and die and bloom. It means that with time all of these painful trials and hardships can bloom with hope. “Flower” means hope and comfort.
Chen also spoke on his first time writing his own lyrics.
When I first received this song’s demo, there were no lyrics. But as soon as I heard it, I felt like I really wanted it to have a message of hope. I felt that way from the second I heard the piano, which starts in the beginning of the song.
Billboard then asked Chen about the single, “Beautiful Goodbye”.
Billboard: Tell me a bit about the single. What inspired “Beautiful Goodbye”? Why did you want to focus on the emotions related to heartbreak?
Chen: For lovers, there is definitely a time where you get tired of a relationship, when it’s too comfortable. So it’s about the fact that it’s not me that felt it, but the other person that is feeling it towards me. The context [of the song] is that I still love you so much, but please give me a little bit of time so we can break up beautifully, amicably. So when I sing this song at least, I sing it thinking, “Rather than being so sad, this person is trying really hard to not show how sad they really are.” That’s what I wanted to convey so I think I’m quite calm when I sing it.
Chen then spoke on his collaborations – past, present, and future.
Paul Kim wrote the lyrics for the song, “Sorry Not Sorry”, and Chen shared that it was a great opportunity to work with an “artist that [he] really liked”.
However, Chen was worried.
A small worry of mine was that Paul Kim’s sensitive feel would be portrayed [in the song]. It was a song with the sensitive emotive tone of Paul Kim, and so I was concerned about how I can express it in my own way.
Chen did manage to work through the his doubts, producing a great song.
The end result was great and I’m so pleased with it. I was very happy when Paul Kim said he liked it as well.
Chen brought up award-winning singer John Legend as someone he would like to work with again.
I have really liked John Legend since a long time ago, and I still do. In the past, I was able to perform with him [at the 2014 Mnet Asian Music Awards]. If given the chance, I would like to work with him again.
Chen closed the interview Billboard by talking about what he hoped fans took away from the album.
Not only the title track, but there are a lot of great other tracks as well. I hope my songs can comfort and console people. Not comforting sad people and saying it’s okay, but comforting people in that I understand everything they’re feeling.