Amber sat down with Dazed Digital to talk about her new solo venture and how she “smashed the pop-idol mould” by being herself without compromise!
Dazed called the f(x) member a “Champion of Diversity” with her tomboyish style as “a small but necessary victory for diversity in an environment of narrow beauty standards.”
Her smash debut hit, “Shake That Brass,” reached 1 million views within the first day of the music video’s release, as it boasted a host a cameos from fellow idols and Amber’s personal friends against smashingly bright colors that brought out Amber’s individuality and style.
The mini-album also included her self-composed acoustic track “Beautiful,” an emotionally raw track that bared the singer’s soul to the world as she sang of self-acceptance and her long journey to where she is today. Because the lyrics were so close to her heart, she revealed to Dazed that she had the notes of the chorus tattooed on her arm, “I wanted it as a reminder that as long as you believe you can achieve something you can do it.”
In her interview with Dazed Digital, she spoke about her androgynous style, her track “Beautiful,” One Fine Day and Real Men, versatility as a singer and rapper, and future plans. Koreaboo has the highlights!
Your androgynous style remains a talking point, even six years after you launched with f(x). Why do you think people are still commenting on it?
Amber Liu: It’s a big culture thing. I understand that people are going to question it. With anything new, if it’s weird or cool it will catch people’s attention. But slowly that new thing, if it catches on, it becomes a trend itself. I’m seeing a lot more tomboys in Korea on the street and I do hear less of, ‘Why don’t you dress like a girl?’ Now a lot of people are more accepting towards women’s different styles and characteristics. I think Janelle Monáe said, ‘I wanna make a new image for young girls’ and when I heard that I was like, ‘Thank you!’ It’s so cool. For anybody, get out of the box and create something new.
You really bare your soul on your new track, ‘Beautiful’. You sing, ‘I can fly higher without fear, even when I’m trapped in darkness.’ How did you feel about revealing your more emotional side?
Amber Liu: It’s a very deep part of myself that I was afraid to open up to. My friends loved it and that gave me the confidence to let (my label) SM listen to it. They all liked it, which made me so happy. ‘Beautiful’ is about accepting who I am: it took me a while to gain confidence to say, ‘Screw it, I just wanna be me.’ ‘Heights’ is about (this idea of), ‘Now that I’ve accepted myself, where do I go?’ It’s a reminder if there’s ever a time I lose faith, I can get back up again. Writing those songs was a big step for me.
Since f(x)’s 2014 album, Red Light, you’ve filmed the reality show One Fine Day with (fellow pop star) Ailee and the celebrity soldier endurance show Real Men. What have you learned about yourself through these experiences?
Amber Liu: Ailee is like my older sister. Me, Ailee and Eric (Nam, the Korean-American singer) literally know everything about each other, so it’s great to have the time to do whatever and be lazy! It’s such a long time since we’ve all had serious talks about our future, and it’s so nice to have those. For the past couple of years in Korea I’ve felt like, ‘Am I crazy? Am I stupid? Why can’t I understand this word?’ My parents are immigrants and..”
Read Amber’s full interview about her solo debut on Dazed Digital.
Meanwhile, Amber’s track has swept international charts and is listed on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart. The singer is currently promoting her song on music stages and will be reuniting with band member Luna for a special stage this week!