ln 2018, the music world was rocked when DJ, producer, singer-songwriter, SHAUN’s, mega-hit, “Way Back Home” topped the charts. With two billion streams worldwide, three million monthly Spotify listeners, and one of the top 10 most streamed K-Pop artists on the music streaming giant, this multi-talented hitmaker grabbed the attention of the entire world. With his song topping the charts, almost overnight global recognition as a musical virtuoso and mainstream fame soon followed.
Now poised to rock the music world once more, SHAUN made his much anticipated comeback with his new singles project entitled, “#0055b7.” A witty take on break-ups, the breezy, feel-good “Blue” features rising rap star Wonstein, while the melodic jam “Closed Ending,” takes a more bittersweet approach to the subject. Taking a look at the end of a relationship from different perspectives, both self-produced tracks are guaranteed to delight.
Just days after SHAUN dropped both singles, we caught up with the 31-year-old artist to chat about the message behind the new releases, his approach to music, and even advice for aspiring artists.
KPC: “#0055b7” is your first release in over a year. How do you think it will be received? What are your expectations for this dual release?
SHAUN: I hope that this release will act as a bridge between my previous creations and where I am now. It hasn’t been long since my last release, but I’m happy that many people are waiting for my music and sending me messages of support. It gives me confidence and makes me feel like I am able to do anything. I would like to continue to create good music in return for this support.
KPC: Where did the inspiration for “Blue” and “Closed Ending” come from?
SHAUN: I worked on two different tracks using the same keyword of “breakup.” A “closed ending” is somewhat of a cliché ending, such as in many books, but an “open ending” leaves more to the imagination. At “the end” of a relationship, there is always that storyline where the two people think about all of their happy memories together, and they want to return to those times, but ultimately have to face their breakup. You will be able to see a similar storyline in these two tracks.
When I initially started working on these tracks, there were no ideas and nothing was set in stone. However, as more and more lyricists contributed their ideas, the final product became clearer and clearer. The typical framework of me creating the song on my own, or someone else creating it for me, has changed into a framework that calls for more collaboration. I think this is a huge change.
KPC: Your album title ‘#0055b7’ is the hex color code for blue. What does this color mean to you and what messages or feelings are you hoping to convey with this album?
SHAUN: As you mentioned, this code can refer to the color blue, but can also represent the feeling of sadness or gloominess. That somewhat gloomy and toned-down feeling is expressed very well in track number 2, “Closed Ending.” The combination of track number 1, “Blue,” and “Closed Ending” portrays these gloomy emotions well.
The two title tracks “Blue” and “Closed Ending” portray different situations and different vibes, but they both express emotions of a similar color. Both tracks are unique, yet share a similar color. You can look forward to both tracks.
KPC: It’s been almost three years since “Way Back Home” topped the charts. Since then, you’ve continued to release your music, completed your military service, and have been diligently working on tracks for other artists as well. That’s a lot within a relatively short amount of time. How has the landscape of music changed since your last release?
SHAUN: As always, I devoted myself to making sure that the subject matter was properly reflected and expressed through my music, and I am very happy because it seems like many people are enjoying it. I am still working toward the same goal- to seamlessly incorporate my interests and things that I love into my music- so I don’t think the overall vibe of my music has changed much. However, I concentrated a lot on expressing things through the lyrics and coming up with a storyline that tied together the overall concept of the track.
KPC: We know that some artists come out of their military with a different perspective on their craft. Has your own approach to music changed any, since completing your own service?
SHAUN: I tried my best to create high-quality music before my military service, and I still do now. I believe that listeners can always tell when a lot of attention has been spent on the quality and detail of the music. My perspective on this has not changed.
KPC: So what is your approach to creating music for other artists as opposed to when you’re creating for yourself?
SHAUN: I always faced some difficulties when trying to create songs for other artists, and I think it is because I was thinking too much. When I am creating music for myself, I can do whatever I want, without hesitation, but I have more restrictions when I am creating music for others. I enjoy myself much more when I am able to laugh and talk in the studio with other people who have a strong desire to create good music.
KPC: You’ve worked with such an extensive list of artists, and have your own equally impressive list of solo work, which makes us wonder…. How did you get started in music in the first place and what made you want to pursue it as a career?
SHAUN: I was first exposed to music when I was a seven-year-old, attending piano lessons and learning through piano practice books by Beyer. Then, while I was walking around somewhere, I happened upon a poster of Randy Rhoades, a member of Ozzy Osbourne’s band, and I was captivated. It was like a culture shock. After seeing that poster, I found a music studio and was able to learn the guitar, bass, and drums. The guitar became a part of my life- I didn’t even put my guitar down when I was watching TV with friends. When I was in high school, I came across a fake documentary film called It’s All Gone Pete Tong, which was about electronic music and DJ-ing, and I fell in love. I began to expand my musical spectrum. I was also able to gain a variety of experiences while I was in a band called THE KOXX.
KPC: You’ve worked with a variety of artists in the past, which artists would you most like to work with in the future? Do you have a dream artist(s) you’d like to collaborate with?
SHAUN: I’ve enjoyed BIBI’s new music recently. I feel that she has a wide range of expression, and it seems like she is very used to expressing a variety of things. I am also enjoying the artist MOON lately. In the K-Pop scene, I feel that “On the Ground” by Rosé of BLACKPINK and SHINee’s new album were both well-made.
KPC: With such an extensive and impressive collection of music to your name, do you have any advice you could give to aspiring DJs, producers, and singer-songwriters, who might be hoping to follow in his footsteps?
SHAUN: First, you need to develop your ability to sense whether a music source is good or not. Second, you really need to work on developing your sense and technique when it comes to organizing and arranging music. You also need to invest a huge amount of time into doing things that will improve the quality of the track. Along with that, you need to spend quality time with artists who have good energy. And lastly, you have to have interests in other fields, aside from music.
KPC: Though there doesn’t seem to be any chance of an overseas concert anytime in the near future, what are some of the places you’d like to visit most? Where’s one place you’ve always wanted to go but just haven’t been yet?
SHAUN: I received a lot of love and support from all around the world, but especially from Vietnam, where I believe I even reached #1 on the charts at one point. I would love to perform in all of the different countries, but the country where I most want to perform is Vietnam.
When I was part of a band, we performed several times in Japan, but I still haven’t performed there as a solo artist. Animations and games have a big influence on my music, so I would love to go to Japan to shop, sightsee, and spend some quality time. Oh- of course, I would love to hold a performance as well.
KPC: Thank you for your time! Do you have any last messages you’d like to share with your international fans?
SHAUN: I have received a lot of strength from the support of my fans as I work on my music. It has been 1 year and 9 months since my last release, and I want to thank everyone who has been waiting for my music during that time. I haven’t even been able to actively participate in promotions, but I’ve been surprised to hear that so many people have been listening to my music. I think the best way to repay everyone for their support is to continue to create good music. I will continue to work hard to create good music in the future.
I hope you enjoy listening to my new double single. I can’t wait for this pandemic to settle down so that I can plan tours and perform for my fans around the world. I hope that day comes soon. Thank you, again, and please show “Blue” and “Closed Ending” a lot of love!
Special thanks to both Warner Music and SHAUN for taking the time to chat with us and Nahri L. for the translations.
Be sure to check out both of SHAUN’s new tracks, available now.