Ditching her former status as 2NE1’s maknae, Gong Minzy’s star is soaring to the top with her radio-friendly record, Minzy Work 01 Uno. s. Teenage speaks to the ‘Ninano’ songstress about her newfound solo career, how she overcomes hardships and what she’d choose: fame, fortune or talent.
Gong Minzy’s exponential talent is undeniable – in the way she blazes onstage, her sheer passion for music and magnetic charisma. Which was why not one of us doubted Minzy’s ability to succeed as a soloist, even though the fandom was understandably distraught at her sudden departure from 2NE1 and the band’s subsequent disbandment. Releasing Minzy Work 01 Uno, her first EP 1 year after leaving 2NE1, this ‘maknae no more’ has since risen to the top (once again) with her explosive dance moves and head-bopping tunes composed by the ‘Ninano’ songstress herself.
On her own for the first time, Minzy had a clear vision of what she wanted for this EP. “[I felt] that this album must have a clear story. I weighed in on the flow of the songs. Most of my fans think that I am only good at dancing, but I [wanted] to show that I can sing as well,” she mused. A huge fan of Missy Elliot, Beyoncé and Michael Jackson since her trainee days, Minzy set out on curating an album that consisted of both dance anthems and power ballads. “When I saw the choreography of ‘Ninano’ for the first time, I worried about whether I’d be able to sing it live because its choreography is very powerful – when I danced to this song the first 3 or 4 times, I was knocked down,” she shared, “But I practiced constantly and it kept getting better.” Impressively, ‘Ninano’ showcased Minzy’s vocals and moves to perfection without leaning into the overly sexualized performances that’ve come into trend in the K-pop scene.
“When I am working as a solo artist, I sometimes feel burdened, but at the same time, I feel thrilled.” Despite having been in the music industry for close to a decade, the 23-year-old found herself charting new territories, what with debuting as a solo artiste under new management. Luckily, Minzy found that she was able to provide more input. “I could see the big picture of the process,” she revealed, “[Back then] I usually focused on recording and dance, but this time round, I participated actively in the making of the album and shared more ideas.” In a flash of brilliance, Minzy reached out to Korean rapper Flowsik and former 2PM member Jay Park for collaborations on ‘Ninano’ and ‘Flashlight’ respectively. “Flowsik and Jay Park are very popular, and it was a great honour to work with them. An acquaintance introduced us and they accepted my proposal, which I really appreciate.”
Solidifying her credentials as a songwriter, Minzy penned her 6-track EP, including empowering anthem ‘Superwoman’. Choosing this track as her favourite of the record, she recommends it as a much-needed morning energy boost. “When I feel unsatisfied about my situation or status, I usually try to find the solution.” Minzy revealed, “My motto is: ‘If you can’t avoid it, you might as well try and enjoy it’ and this makes me stronger.” And for all her young fans still seeking their own paths, Minzy shared, “It could be hard to take a step. But after you do so, all you’ll need to do is run [forward]. Please do not give up on what you want. Believe in yourself, that you have an infinite possibility to overcome all obstacles.” This revelation makes sense – Minzy has had to make difficult decisions and she has come out of every crossroads gracefully, with her head held high – and that makes the true message behind ‘Superwoman’ tremendously meaningful.
Unsurprisingly, when asked about how she would describe herself as an artiste, Minzy candidly shares, “I’m still not satisfied. I will try harder and harder!” But having achieved so much at 23, the future is undoubtably bright for Minzy. So what would this solo superstar choose when asked to pick between being a globally famous artiste, being the most talented musician in the world, or being the richest celebrity? Cheekily, Minzy chose talent, “[In this case], then the world would recognise me and [that would also] make me richer!”
Listen to Minzy’s EP on Spotify now:
BTW, Minzy’s our June issue cover girl, so pick up a copy (on news stands now) to indulge in more Minzy goodness!