Pioneering A Whole New Genre: Sunmi Opens Up About Flying Solo With 15 Years of K-Pop Experience

With each release, the genre kept developing and eventually became hers and hers only!

As one of the most versatile soloists in the land of K-Pop at the moment, Sunmi released “Heart Burn” and “Childhood” in late June 2022. In celebration of the two whole new summer bops, she opened up—in an exclusive interview with Koreaboo—about how she felt coming out of her OG girl group days, as well as how it feels to be now pushing a whole genre dedicated to herself: The Sunmi Pop.

Sunmi | @official_sunmi_/Twitter

“Sunmi Pop,” a term coined by Korean reporters and later embraced by Sunmi and her fans, captures the idea that she pioneered her own genre. Since her solo debut “24 Hours” back in 2013, Sunmi has, indeed, been tackling a good mix of concepts and owning all of them.

As for the latest, the soloist is sweeping the internet with the sizzling hot “Heart Burn” and its unique choreography-driven challenges on social media platforms like TikTok. When she first came across the song, Sunmi fell in love with how “profound” it felt.

| @official_sunmi_/Twitter

‘Heart Burn’ was inspired by the concept of ‘love fever’ or lovesickness. A fever is hot and dangerous, giving [the song] a summer feel. At first, I received the lyrics with some profound meaning. However, there were some parts where the pronunciation made it difficult for people to sing along. So I edited some of the words to make them easier. Having to think about these details is what makes me enjoy working on projects.

— Sunmi

Catchy in tune, with words optimized for singing along, “Heart Burn” became an instant hit and another prime example of “Sunmi Pop.” And, for this reason, Sunmi claimed that she is “particularly fond” of its concept for the time being.

| @official_sunmi_/Twitter

Having “done it all” as far as concepts are concerned—in her 15 years of experience in the K-Pop industry, Sunmi can’t really “pick a favorite” and… well, neither can the fans. Thanks to the soloist being “involved in each of [her] album concepts,” it’s no wonder how each of her comebacks have fit her so well.

It’s difficult to pick a favorite because I am involved in each of my album concepts. Because ‘Heart Burn’ is the most recently released song, I’m particularly fond of this concept right now.

— Sunmi

It’s her ability to wear anything and everything that made her transition out of the iconic WONDER GIRLS era into solo promotions smooth. Given “more freedom in deciding on a concept,” Sunmi got to experiment, go through a lot of trials (with little errors), and eventually developed her own color, which is now simply irreplaceable. Widening her musical spectrum, Sunmi and “Sunmi Pop” continues to charm!

| @official_sunmi_/Twitter

Because WONDER GIRLS is a group, the music and concept are chosen with the group’s overall balance in mind. As a solo artist, I believe the difference is that I have a little more freedom in deciding on a concept. I didn’t set out to find my own style. As time passed and I released more songs, I was able to develop my own style. And I am so grateful and happy that many people refer to my music as ‘Sunmi Pop.’

— Sunmi

In 2019, Sunmi successfully held her first world tour, “2019 SUNMI THE 1ST WORLD TOUR [WARNING],” as a solo artist. Having sold out tickets to all legs in 19 regions around the world—including Asia, North and South America, and Europe, she proved herself again as a K-Pop queen. So what’s next for Sunmi?

To much excitement, Sunmi dropped the details on “GOOD GIRL GONE MAD,” her second European and North American world tour!

Behold, for the K-Pop queen is coming back to wow us all!