Mention Eric Nam and you would think of the Korean-American heartthrob as the perfect boyfriend straight out of a romantic K-drama. But is he, really?
And we don’t blame you: who wouldn’t fall for someone who literally went out of his way to greet fans at the airport when he was in town for dal.komm COFFEE’s first anniversary celebrations? But beyond his sweet-natured personality, we saw him as a hard-working musician who stays true to his craft and yearns to break out of his comfort zone. Gone is the “nation’s boyfriend” we used to know – Honestly-era Eric Nam is unafraid to express himself and take risks with his new music, which just made us love him even more. Ahead, the charming crooner opens up about his ambitious new record, his image change and more during the press conference.
On his new album Honestly
“As this is my first album in a little over two years, it took a lot of time and hard work to put it all together. I want to call it a piece of art that really showcases a different side of my music as well as my personality, and stories that are a bit different from what I’ve been telling before.”
On his radical image change
“In Korea, people think of me as the sweet, romantic and nice guy-next-door who’s like the perfect boyfriend material. Which is fine – I appreciate it, but it had me in a box where I wasn’t able to do things outside of it. Honestly is a departure from that, so there are no romantic songs in this album at all. It took a lot of me, in convincing, fighting and demanding things I’ve not done before, to be able to move into a new area of music.”
On the blood, sweat and tears that went into the album
“As an artist, you have to stay true to the kind of stories you want to tell your audience and show development as you go on in your career. I don’t want to feel stuck or stalled creatively, so there was a lot of frustration. I cried as I made this, blood was probably involved when I had small scruffs here and there, there were a few instances when I got into an accident too… Nothing permanently damaging though so it’s all good.”
On being honest in his lyrics
“You know how songs are typically like ‘I love you so much’ or ‘I’m so sad now because we’re done’, right? But there aren’t a lot of songs that talk about the process of breaking up because nobody wants to talk about it, and those are the kind of emotions I wanted to put into this album. When I first played it in Korea, people are doubtful about it but I think once they start listening to the lyrics and looking into the mirrors, they will eventually understand the message behind it and feel like they can relate to it.”
On a possible collaboration with Khalid
“We’ve known each other for two years now and have been talking about it for a while, but he’s been so busy lately and everyone wants to work with him so it might be hard. Hopefully something may come out of it soon!”
On his love for coffee
“My day doesn’t start until I had a cup of coffee. Depending on the day, I’ll usually have four to six cups of coffee. I’m pretty dependent on coffee – although I don’t get headaches or withdrawals, I tend to feel very lethargic if I haven’t had my dose of caffeine for the day.”
On his virgin durian experience
“Last September, I came to Singapore for a TV show and tried it then. I’m very in between; I do like the sweet one but I don’t fancy the bitter one… I don’t want to say love, but I’m learning to enjoy durians.”
Listen to Eric Nam’s latest album Honestly, out now.