Seori is a supernova-in-waiting.
The 24-year-old R&B singer from South Korea experienced a whirlwind debut last year after releasing her first EP, ?depacse ohw, but it’s clear she is only just getting started. Rising to prominence from her YouTube covers of Abir’s “Tango" and Khalid’s “Talk," Seori joined ATISPAUS, a company that unites storytellers from multiple disciplines in a cross-platform effort to tell stories that can reach us on the page, on screen, and through our ears.
Now in partnership with 88rising, Seori has garnered attention from Stray Kids’ 3RACHA and collaborated with Day6’s eaJ, while her songs have appeared on the playlist of BTS’ Jungkook. Rookies no more, BigHit Music’s Tomorrow X Together (TXT) enthralled fans with their recent comeback album, The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE, piloted by the coming-of-age title track “0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You),” which features Seori’s signature vocals.
With previous tracks like “Running Through The Night” and “Lovers In The Night,” Seori has split the 24-hour-clock in half, claiming the moonlight hours as her musical playground. She continues her discovery of the nightscape with her newest release, “The Long Night,” a song about longing between lovers and filling in the lonely hours until the sun rises to reunite them once more. It’s a collaboration with Korean rapper GIRIBOY, whose smooth-like-butter charm pairs well with Seori’s airy, eerie timbre as she glides across syllables in her native Korean. Accompanying her single album is a photo essay with her insights on escapism, love, and music, where she describes the night as “exciting, fearful, hopeful and lovely.”
Appearing on a Zoom call from Seoul, nose scrunched and smiling beside her interpreter, Seori spoke with Teen Vogue about her undying love for La La Land, working with TXT and why her music flourishes in the night.
Teen Vogue: Let’s talk about your new single. How long have you been working on “The Long Night?”
Seori: I’m working with GIRIBOY now. I started the project earlier this year and it’s almost been six months since I’ve been working on this song.
TV: How was the process of making the song with GIRIBOY?
Seori: GIRIBOY did all the producing, and then we continued the process together, so I was featuring in his song. At first, he sent various tracks to me, then I made the melody and the lyrics on the song.
TV: It’s a very beautiful song. I love it.
Seori, cutely: Thank you so much.
TV: “I really hate the night, jealous of the moon that can see you all night” is a very bittersweet lyric. Thinking of your feelings, what inspired this lyric?
Seori: I wanted to talk about the emptiness when I end up alone after I have a great time with the person I love. Sometimes I get frustrated and I feel really sad because of the emptiness, but it’s actually not the other person’s fault, or my fault. I can’t blame the one who spent the whole day with me, and that’s why I started to blame the night. Because the night is so long, I envy the moon because it can be with you through the night.
TV: Your songs “Running Through The Night,” “Lovers In The Night,” and now “The Long Night” all have a theme of nighttime. What draws you to the night?
Seori: I feel that the theme of the night comes in various colors. For “Lovers In The Night,” I expressed the night with glamorous and deep emotions, and it shows a lot of honest feelings. In “Running Through The Night,” I expressed the time when I can concentrate on myself after a really busy day. That’s the only time I can really rest. I think I could express a big range with that same theme and I instantly found the night so attractive because it could tell a lot of stories and express a lot of feelings.
TV: How does the new song contrast with “Lovers In The Night,” do they work as a pair, in showing two different scenes and emotions from the same night?
Seori: “Lovers In The Night” and “The Long Night” are a totally different emotion. Both songs include ‘night’ and ‘love’, but even though the theme is totally the same, they tell a different story. For “Lovers In The Night,” it tells an honest and confident emotion about love and the night, but “The Long Night” shows that you can feel lonely even though you are happy. Those emotions can be scribbled on a piece of paper, so that’s how I started. Like I’m writing my diary.
TV: You lent your vocals to TXT’s title track, “0X1=LOVESONG (I Know I Love You).” What was it like working with TXT and how did your involvement in their song begin?
Seori: I am so thankful that I could work with TXT-sunbaenim, and the track is really good. When they first contacted me to say that we should have a collaboration together, I was really worried and also excited at the same time. I enjoyed every step from practicing to recording, but I didn’t want to mess up the track, so I listened and practiced a lot so I could harmonize with them together. I usually like to listen to pop-rock songs, but this was my first time trying to sing along with these kinds of songs, so I just enjoyed the moment and appreciated that I could work with great artists.
TV: What did you learn during this process?
Seori: To express what they usually do, I looked up their videos, like what they have performed before, and I listened to their songs so I could study how they work. I learned a lot through their performances and their songs. They also liked what I did with the song and my voice, so I really appreciate what we did together.
TV: During the press conference for TXT, Taehyun said, “I don't think there's right or wrong when it comes to music but when I first heard the song with Seori, I thought, this is right.” How do you feel about that?
Seori: I’m flattered that they gave a good compliment about my voice, so even though I didn’t have a lot of time to have a conversation with them and the recording time wasn’t that long, I feel really thankful for the process.
TV: You have gained many fans since “Lovers In The Night” and “0X1=LOVESONG,” do you have anything to say to your fans, old and new?
Seori: Thank you for listening to all my stories and thoughts that I express through music and for people having great interest in me. That’s what I’m really grateful for. Thanks to each and everyone who listens to my music, I can talk about many things. I will continue to work hard and come back with various music.
TV: When things are safer after COVID-19, what would a night out look like for you?
Seori: Because of the pandemic, a lot of people couldn’t go out and play or hangout, so I could focus on my inner emotions. After COVID-19 ends, maybe my night could be like “Lovers In The Night,” I could be full of confidence and be free like lovers in the night.
TV: In the past you have released your music with companion media like a graphic novel, and the single album has a photo essay book. Why is it so important for you to create an expanded world for your stories?
Seori: Music is important, but the content that comes with it is also important. That’s why I decided to make a novel through ATISPAUS, because the identity of ATISPAUS lies in the people who express and make contents together. Not only are the novels in my first EP, but they continue to be uploaded to the homepage as a series, and it’s also connected with the music videos. The photo essay book is meaningful because it is made with ATISPAUS designers, writers, photographers, and also great artists — made all together.
TV: Your all-time favourite movie is La La Land. The imagery of the music feels very cinematic, so how has it influenced your music and visuals? I’m thinking of the planetarium scene.
Seori: I love La La Land so much, and I don’t want to miss a single scene. It gives me a good influence and I watch it when I can totally concentrate on it. It feels so special to me because it reminds me of my dreams. When I get lost or feel a little dull in my life, it makes me think of the twinkling moments and makes me dream again and again. And it makes me cry even though I’m not sad, so it has a general impact on all my music and my thoughts.
TV: What’s your favorite song from La La Land?
Seori: Oh my god! [She puts her hands on her head, in disbelief that I have asked such an unanswerable question].
TV: Are you a fan of [singing] “city of stars, are you shining just for me?”
Seori: Your [singing] is so good, wow!
TV: Thank you.
Seori: At first I liked the opening, but now when I listen to “Audition (The Fools Who Dream),” the lyrics give great impact to me these days.
TV: I think, one day, you should cover “Audition.”
Seori, cutely: Thank you.
TV: You chose the name ‘Seori’ because it sounds clear and transparent, and the imagery that Seori has is unique to you. What do you hope the imagery of Seori looks like in the future?
Seori: In Korea, Seori matches up with my mood and my image, so I don’t know what it’s like when [non-Koreans] hear it. But if you also think it matches up to me, then I’m really thankful.
TV: With Seori as the name that you have and what that represents for you, in a year’s time, where do you hope Seori will be?
Seori: I want to do music for as long as I can and be a good influence on people. I hope I can communicate through music for a long time.
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Want more from Teen Vogue? Check this out: TXT The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE Album Review: From Dreams to Chaos
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue