Channeling her inner feline, Sunmi returned with a transformation into a seductive yet innocent cat-like woman in her new single “Tail” released Tuesday.
“It’s completely different from my previous song ‘pporappippam’ and also strays far from my other songs released so far,” Sunmi said during a live-streamed press conference about the title song of her new digital single.
“Tail,” as the title implies, is an embodiment of the instinctive emotions of a cat-like woman.
“Animals use their tail to express their emotions. They’ll shake their tails gently when they’re in a good mood and flick it hard if frustrated. I liked the frankness of this instinctive behavior and the word ‘tail’ just left a huge impact in my mind,” Sunmi said.
Sunmi teamed up with producer Frants to create a self-written song, having collaborated with him many times with “pporappippam,” “Siren” and more.
“For the audio, we focused on making it sound sharp and temperamental like a cat, while placing the animal’s uniquely cynical yet listless traits here and there,” she said, adding that they incorporated rhythmic beats and guitar riffs to mimic cat-like sounds.
The stage was set ablaze again with Sunmi’s amazing “Tail” dance, produced by renowned choreographer Janelle Ginestra. Ginestra has previously collaborated with the divas Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez, and recently with the K-pop girl group Red Velvet members Irene and Seulgi on their unit track “Monster.”
The solo artist dominated the stage with her striking appearance at the press conference, aiming to express the ferocity of the song, so much so that she inadvertently scratched her face with her elongated, fake nail tips.
“I don’t have a tail, so I wanted to illustrate how animals express their emotions with their tails. I told Janelle to really go bold with it so the animal rawness can really come across. I loved how she made it.”
The second half of the two-track album is “What the Flower,” a soft yet rythmic track that contrasts sharply with its title song.
This year, turning 30 in the Korean era, the new album was a landmark for Sunmi.
“It’s my first move taken in my 30s and I feel like I’ve taken a very daring step forward,” she said.
After debuting on the entertainment scene in 2007 as a member of the girl group Wonder Girls, Sunmi briefly left the band in 2010 and concentrated on her personal life while remaining with the band’s label JYP Entertainment.
In August 2013, Sunmi officially debuted as a soloist at JYP Entertainment with “24 Hours” which became an instant hit. When she returned to Wonder Girls in 2015 with “Reboot,” she finally left JYP Entertainment in 2017 when the group disbanded.
Sunmi’s other hits, such as “Gashina,” “Heroine,” “Siren,” and “Lalalay,” moved her to the top of the music charts every time she dropped new tracks. Industry players say that she has produced her own “Sunmi-pop” genre with her unique husky voice and distinctive choreography, while also praising her for her writing and song production.
In spite of her successes, Sunmi said that she was not free from the burden to keep up with herself and the demands she had set on her.
“I wanted to give up many times. Even just 10 minutes ago, I felt like I wouldn’t be able to make it. I think I had put a limit on myself — a limit that didn’t really exist and which I could easily break free from if I really wanted to. I realized at least I had to believe in myself but I didn’t. All this while when I had been exhausted and confused, the only reason I could still stand on the stage was my fans,” she said. “I just try to live every day with a grateful heart, and tell myself that I’m doing well.”