Dawn opened a new chapter in his journey as a solo artist this year, coinciding with some meaningful changes in his life.
His single “Dear My Light,” released early this year, opened listeners' hearts to a heartfelt message.
It was his first release since the end of a long-term relationship, and after joining a new agency.
“Entering my 30s next year, I wanted to start off anew and open a new chapter in my life. For that, I wanted to convey who the artist Dawn is through my music. If you ask what influenced me the most, I would say it was love. Love is what created who I am now,” said Dawn during an exclusive interview with The Korea Herald.
Dawn shared all of the feelings he had felt when he had been in love in his new mini album “Narcissus,” which carries eight tracks that revolve around the main theme -- love.
But in contrast to Narcissus -- a figure from Greek mythology who falls in love with the reflection of himself in a pool of water -- the singer humbles himself before the one he loves in many of the tracks in his new album, including in "Star," which is one of the two main tracks.
“I think that when you are in love ... you love that person more than you love yourself. That’s why you have a hard time after a breakup because you need to say goodbye to a person who has become (a part of) you,” said Dawn.
“The two title tracks in my new album are about going through a breakup. ‘Star’ is about breaking up with someone because you love that person more than you love yourself, so you wish better for them. The other title track ‘Heart’ is about losing your way while suffering from breaking up.”
Composing and writing lyrics to his own music, Dawn always makes his albums personal as he describes that they are like his diary.
“My music is influenced by my relationships and conversations I have with the people around me. All my music tells my experience and that’s what I like, to show who I am through music,” explained Dawn.
In the new album, Dawn shares his way of comforting a person he loves through the track “Abyss” which he says is the track that he loves the most.
“Feeling like I am in an abyss is inexplicable, but I wanted to express such a feeling in this single. I am not the kind of person who comforts people when they are feeling down with words. I just go deep down that feeling together. If they are feeling depressed, I also get depressed with them. I think that going abyss a feeling that a person is going through is a true way of comforting that person,” said Dawn.
The artist presented English songs for the first time in his career in his new album as a means of appreciation to his fans outside of Korea who show him love and support.
“I always feel sorry for my foreign fans because I am not good at communicating with fans, as I am not good at using social media. To express my gratitude, I wanted to make English songs so they could listen to them more comfortably. I shared my thoughts and feelings that I’ve been holding on to in these English tracks, ‘Fallin’’ and ‘Abyss,'” the singer said.
Dawn shared that he wrote down everything he wanted to say through these songs like a detailed essay, and even talked with the person who wrote the lyrics in English for four hours to deliver his thoughts in the most accurate way.
“I love my fans and I know that using social media to communicate with them is important. But I have difficulty in doing so, as it is not my character. These days, I am trying to do Instagram Lives, but the way of getting closer to my fans I love the most is through music and performance,” he said.
“I long to hold a standalone concert because I want to interact with my fans face to face, and I think performing is the most important duty that I have as an artist.”
Dawn is meticulous when it comes to work. Not only did he make the music for his new album, he also took part in making the music videos.
“I searched for the director that I want to work with for my music videos because I wanted someone who can best portray me and my music. I looked into his filmography and contacted him myself. We talked for hours to really connect before shooting because I believe the quality of the result is different when we work this way. It took us a long time to release the music videos because the director is a perfectionist who considers the level of completion more important than releasing it promptly.”
In the music video for “Heart,” Dawn included some dancing ,which surprisingly was done freestyle and not premade choreography.
“I love dancing, and I can confidently say that I am good at it. Dancing is a way of expressing the message of a song. It’s been awhile since I haven’t had a choreography for my songs, but I really want to continue dancing and I will do so in my future releases if I think it’s apt to better express the songs,” said Dawn.
Dawn is still on his journey to find his own color as an artist, but the journey has become smoother with his new agency, which helps him express and do what he wants.
“I love how the artists in my agency are of a similar age. We share our ideas and opinions when working on new music. It feels like we are back in school. The agency has given me the freedom to create my album in the way I want, and that is really satisfying as I get to present an album purely the way I want to,” he said.
“I want to be remembered as an artist with a strong musical identity, even if I don’t get to be remembered as a renowned artist loved by many. I want to become an irreplaceable musician.”