Woozi Explores His Creative Identity with “Ruby”

WOOZI Mixtape "Ruby"

After much anticipation from fans, Woozi dropped his first single “Ruby.” As vocal leader of boy-group Seventeen, and producer of several tracks, Woozi stepped into the solo spotlight on January 4, 2022. The beats, alterations and English lyrics shocked Carats (Seventeen’s fandom name) and K-Pop fans. Even though Woozi has produced countless tracks for Seventeen, he was still hesitant since he has not produced solo songs. Although he questioned himself prior to dropping this song, Woozi’s fans gave him the courage to start. Because this was his first solo piece, he stated that even though he thinks clearly while producing Seventeen’s track, his judgment became a little blurred when he was working on his solo piece. This song is not something we would normally expect from Woozi because it is not a ballad nor does it fit the category of musicals, but it surpassed expectations.

Woozi questioned himself as he started this journey, wondering what music describes himself. He wanted to be a “different gem” to create “powerful music” as a soloist. Since his group Seventeen is a diamond, he decided to step out of his comfort zone leading him to the dark-colored gem, “Ruby.” Woozi wrote the whole song in English because he believed that the energy from the English language would match the whole concept. The string-filled opening track hints that it may be a ballad, which Woozi relates to his predictable side, but on the contrary, it is a “mainly heavy rock sounding song.” 

Woozi produces many emotional songs for Seventeen, such as “Don’t Wanna Cry,”Home,” etc. In a press conference back in 2020 for their special album, ;[Semicolon] he stated, “Music inspiration comes from everywhere, not just from a specific place.” Woozi also shared that when he talks to his members, he has a habit of taking notes, gathering ideas from everyday life to make his music relatable. He brings that to the first 25 seconds of “Ruby,” which have an airy feeling. Then, with a slight tremolo from the strings that swells and fades, the track suddenly becomes grungy. Woozi also demonstrated his talents by playing his guitar solo before the outro of the track. During his guitar solo in the music video, he was actually playing his own guitar, bought in celebration for his first solo debut. 

Woozi’s talent is not just in producing music, but also in bringing  his visions to life by blending lyrics and the MV harmoniously. The music video itself flowed like a fashion show – it was flashy, including many powerful accents, focusing on fashion and imagery. The background dancers in the music video wear contrasting colors while walking in circles around Woozi who was the main focus standing on center stage. During prelude orchestration, Woozi is a performer who is exhausted and does not want to go on stage. Once the guitar kicks in, Woozi dons a ruby suit, gets it together, and kills it on stage. Throughout the music video, there are bathroom and backstage scenes that cut in and out reflecting Woozi sorting his thoughts – appropriately, the lyric includes a nod to Woozi’s love of Coke with “Pass me a Coke Zero.” As the outro begins, Woozi stands in a bright yellow room while a bluesy piano plays in the background. The riffing notes pop after the action of the video, which is incredibly refreshing. 

An undeniably talented producer who made his mark in numerous Seventeen tracks, Woozi won the 2021 Asia Artist Awards “Best Producer” category, cementing his place as an industry staple. Woozi exploration of heavy rock was impactful. With it, he showed the world of K-pop that he can create soothing and emotional songs, with lyrics such as “Though we’re far away, the memories bring us closer” and “My other half isn’t here so how can I live as one? I don’t wanna cry.” But he is also brilliant with many genres like with this new rock track. Woozi truly showed a completely different side of himself while still adding his signature touches. This track is not just fun, energetic, but it is powerful, clever, and overall, just sexy. As the world opens up and changing concert conditions, hopefully fans can listen to this track live; the vocals and instrumentals would be astounding in a concert hall.

“Ruby” is available on all streaming platforms. Check out the music video, below!

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