Jeon Somi | Every Moment Becomes Music

K-pop icon talks nerves, astrology, and her long awaited EP, 'Game Plan'

Written by

Annie Bush

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You might know JEON SOMI, solo K-pop idol signed to The Black Label, from her bouncy 2021 album, XOXO, or from her shock of white-blonde hair, or from her public friendships with members of K-pop group, TWICE. You might know her by her near-religious fanbase. You might be a part of that fanbase. You might even be a stan– if so, you were among the millions that eagerly awaited JEON SOMI’s newest EP, GAME PLAN, the first release in two years for the Korean-Canadian singer. If you’re not a part of the demographic that’s in the know, it’s time to initiate yourself.

It’s very, very easy to get lost in the fraught wilderness of becoming a person, especially when you’re in your early twenties. No longer reaping the benefits of that conspicuous adolescent verve, you’re old enough to qualify as a legally independent entity, but still subject to the ephemeral whims of your yet-to-be-concrete prefrontal cortex. This is a period in which your most irritating friends will start to throw around phrases like “adulting” or “I’m just a twenty-two-year-old teenage girl!” as a means to communicate how grossly underprepared they are to face the real world. Things are different for JEON SOMI, who began her career as an actress and K-pop idol in her early teens, and received international media attention before she could legally drink in her home country. She boasts more credits in her just-nearing-a-decade-long career than most adults might be able to muster in a lifetime– she’s an actress, a fashionista, a dancer and a singer. She even has a fourth-degree black belt in Taekwondo (a talent that can be witnessed in the vivid visuals for most recent single, “Fast Forward”).

JEON SOMI is a formidable presence in the K-pop scene, having established herself as a solo act relatively early in her career after signing with YG Entertainment’s affiliate company, The Black Label. Popping dexterously between English and Korean throughout her discography, JEON SOMI often sings about heartbreak, about longing, about empowerment, and about revenge. Her music is, of course, always accompanied by synaptic choreography and eye-popping music videos. GAME PLAN marks an interesting era for the singer, who rolled out the swaggy single “Fast Forward” the same day of the EP’s release. The EP offers an simmering mix of pop vocals laid over trap beats, with plenty of mature lyrics to go around (Don’t let the exuberant sound dissuade you from listening to lyrics. Bubbly songs like “Fxxed Up” feature delightfully wrathful quips like: “Ay bitch I made you something from nothing/You know I gave you my all/Oh now you got me fucked up”).

JEON SOMI’s music is steeped in a proud dissonance: she encapsulates that girlish desire to be known, to be seen, but imbues her tracks with the maturity of an artist nearly a decade into her career. JEON SOMI’s command of the stage and  surety of sound is unparalleled by many other artists of her ilk. Your friends might be “twenty-two-year-old teenage girls” bad at “adulting,” but JEON SOMI is a woman, and she’s not timid about it. FLAUNT was lucky enough to chat with the star about her creative process, her social media algorithm, and her feelings about GAME PLAN. 

What have you been up to this summer?  

I have been mostly focused on preparing for my album, but I did have a chance to see some interesting concerts. I went to see my friends, TWICE and ITZY, as well as Harry Styles which was a lot of fun. Through my overseas performances in the Philippines and Thailand, I was able to see my fans overseas. Those trips were memorable and I can’t wait to go back. I also want to learn how to surf! Maybe next year.

The GAME PLAN seems to have two sides: One is softer and more feminine, and one side is a little edgier. What inspired this duality? What can we expect from this new era of JEON SOMI?

 My English name is “ENNIK,” which means “sword” and my Korean name is “SOMI” which means to “spread out brightly.” Both meanings of my name show two different sides of me, the softer side and the edgier side. Preparing this album, I had for the first time, that assurance of “oh, I can really nail this.” You can expect solidness with a strong statement.

The last time you released music you were 20 years old. How do you feel you’ve changed as an artist since your last era?

I have been writing music for 2 years, and that’s helped me a lot. I have discovered the different vocal sounds that I can create which has made it both easier and more complex. I have grown as an artist and my voice has changed a lot since my first year, not only in my voice itself but also the voice that I have when I am speaking an opinion. 

Do you have any crush/love stories that inspire your music today?

Crush/love stories that inspire my music today? = the GAME PLAN album! All my songs in general are like my diary. Every time I have a comeback, that song I had a comeback with is literally me in that moment. The process with “Birthday” and “What You Waiting For” was very smooth and easy. I never have trouble with the concept or lyrics. It all comes together and it’s all organic because it’s presenting myself through the music.

Speaking of songwriting, was the creative process like for this record? How do you keep the creative spark lit?

It’s very organic, my fun, personal life is the spark for all my creativity. All of my life experiences organically turn into music. My song, “Pisces”, which has a Korean title that is “자두” or “Plum” came about after I went to the Seoul Jazz Festival. I wanted to capture the moment, the people, the vibe, the weather…every little moment that I feel turns into music.

You’ve been on stage and in the spotlight for nearly a decade now. Is there anything you do that still makes you nervous?

Not really. I used to get nervous when I debuted with “Birthday.” It was very overwhelming and a lot of pressure for a high school girl to go through. I did have some struggles until “What You Waiting For”. I tried to get over myself and when “Dumb Dumb” came it was the era of me doing whatever I want.  After that I don’t really have anything that gets me nervous. I’ve been through a lot already.

You’re a Pisces. What does your astrological chart mean for your image, your style and your music? 

Pisces are innocent and loving and they're very emotional but can get selfish without knowing it. They say what they feel and it’s a very easy and soft astrology sign. An astrological sign can’t define who I am as an artist. My personal fashion style varies but is always comfortable because I do a lot of crazy things like cartwheels. I like to be comfortable and free.

You’re obviously very popular online. You dominate a lot of other people’s social media algorithms–what has your algorithm been showing you lately? What microtrends are you obsessed with these days?

I watch DIY designed shoes on my feed. Personal designers in New York. A lot of K-Pop related content because I am in the industry. I stay up to date with new music and follow the trends. I also see Pisces memes. I am also MBTI obsessed. 

Speaking of obsessions, what’s a niche media recommendation you have– whether it be a book, a hobby, an album, a tv show, a documentary, etc.?

Peaky Blinders, the show. I’ve been reading a book these days trying to get into reading more. Um, GAME PLAN?? Wink wink ;)

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Jeon Somi, Annie Bush, Music