K-POP Crush on new album, ‘wonderego’ and love for honest...

Crush on new album, ‘wonderego’ and love for honest storytelling


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To hear the word ‘crush’, you’re reminded of many things. The fleeting memory of young love, the joyful admiration for a person, or a sorrowful reminder of lost possibilities. But for me, it’s all of the above and more. In fact, Crush embodies all those aspects in the music that he makes. Who could ever forget the beautiful ballad that is ‘Alone’ or the butterflies that ‘Beautiful’ gives you? The 31-year-old artist surely knows how to tug at our heartstrings with his voice and talent. 

Following a four-year-long hiatus, Crush is back with his third album ‘wonderego’. For the singer-songwriter, the new release holds a special meaning. It not only marks his return but also announces a new chapter as he enters his tenth year in the industry. But while he’s turning over a new leaf, Crush admits, he’s still “walking on (his) journey” about singing and writing his innermost feelings. The ability to be honest, raw, and vulnerable pays off, and so is turning his shortcomings into a weapon that fuels him to keep going. 

‘wonderego’ is no different. The 19-track strong album contains new songs from various genres, including the ones that we know Crush for such as R&B, soul, and pop. He’s also venturing into new sounds like funk and house. In this interview with Crush, he opens up about his latest album and talks about finding authenticity in being vulnerable. He also reflects on his decade-long career and his hopes for the future.

Image credit: P Nation

Crush gets candid about his shortcomings and why he prefers honest storytelling 

This year is the 10th anniversary of your music career. It’s also your first release in four years. Why did you feel that it’s the right time to release an album now?

During my long hiatus, I had a staggering list of stories to share. So before even more time passes, I wanted to share these stories with everyone. This way, I think other stories can unfold in the future.

You’ve always written about your inner honest feelings. Is there pressure that comes with being honest and vulnerable or is it something that comes naturally to you?

I think music equals me, Crush. So, for me, it feels the most natural and honest when I show and tell true stories about myself. Rather than feeling pressured, I consider a lot about how to effectively share my personal stories.

You said that your shortcomings are what made you who you are for a long time. Can you tell us more about how your shortcomings shaped you into the person you are today?

I consider my shortcomings to be my driving force. The Crush you have today is thanks to my acceptance of my own shortcomings, as well as the efforts to make up for them.

Others may see their shortcomings as something negative. How are you able to turn it into something positive?

It would take time to accept your flaws and try to overcome them. But instead of flaws, I see it as progress so you can find yourself improved further. So, I try to think of my shortcomings as the motivation to improve myself.

Crush breaks down the process of working on his new album ‘wonderego’

crush interview wondergo
Image credit: P Nation

You’ve been very involved in the creative process of the album, especially with 19 tracks encapsulating various genres. What was the most rewarding part?

The fact that I was able to share all 19 tracks with the world. I consider each and every track as my most cherished child. So, I am extremely happy to be able to release this album into the world.

You’re known for your pop and R&B sound but you made it a point to partake in other genres for this album. Was it a challenge to venture into funk or house for example?

To be honest, I am a fan of not only pop or R&B but also house and funk music. I have been especially interested in electronic music and working diligently with it. So, I look forward to more opportunities to share music in such genres.

‘From Midnight to Sunrise’ was like a personal diary but your previous two EPs also bear similar titles, ‘wonderlust’ and ‘wonderlost’ respectively. What’s different about ‘wonderego’?

Since I personally like the word ‘wonder’, I wanted to further convey the unique aspects of this word and the message that I am still taking a musical journey through this album. With the addition of ‘ego’, I believe it created a more distinct colour for the new album. My third full album carries a similar style to the previous release. But the difference would be that I took on various challenges, and I poured my honest feelings and experiences into this album.

The title track is very interesting. Why did you choose to pay homage to 2000s pop?

It is not an exaggeration when I say that the 2000s pop genre blends into my music because I am a big fan of the genre. This was especially true when I started working on “Hmm-cheat”. There were multiple instruments and melodies added on top of the base beatbox. I think such a work process naturally added a 2000s pop mood to the track.

You worked with various artists for this album. But for me, most notably Dynamicduo. You guys go way back, being from the same label in the past. How does it feel to reunite with them?

I have been a fan of Dynamicduo ever since I was young. Also, when the line ‘8-ton truck with a broken handle’ came up while working on the guide version, I had a clear vision that I had to collaborate with them on this song. While we were working together, I remember Gaeko mentioned that the lyrics tend to be completed sooner if the song is good. We had a lot of fun working together.  

Crush reflects on his past and looks forward to the future

crush interview wonderego
Image credit: P Nation

You mentioned having various sides to yourself. Do you see yourself differently as Crush and as Hyoseop Shin?

These days, I think Crush is Hyoseop Shin and Hyoseop Shin is Crush. They might have different roles, for instance, Hyoseop Shin would play the supporting role for the artist Crush to shine on the stage. However, they are ultimately the same person, sharing a variety of experiences and emotions.

In 2016, you mentioned that you still have a long way to go. Where do you see yourself now in your journey of learning?

I still think I have a long way to go. I am still walking on my journey. But I hope to walk longer, farther, and in more depth.

You’ve been open about receiving consolation from listening to other’s music. Who were your earlier musical influences growing up and how did they influence the artist and music you do today?

I listened to many international musicians, such as Stevie Wonder, Bobby Caldwell, and Donny Hathaway. Their mindsets toward music as artists and the ability to keep their unique colours while exploring multiple genres inspired me to learn more about R&B and Soul, which I believe made what Crush is today.

In the past 10 years of your career, what’s been the most memorable for you?

Every moment that I stand on the stage, meet the audience closely, and communicate with them is the most memorable for me.

What are your hopes for the future?

I hope to continue music for a long time as an artist. I also wish to share my music for a long time with all the fans who love my work.

Watch the music video for ‘Hmm-cheat’ below and stream ‘wonderego’ on Spotify.

All images credit: P Nation


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