Minzy, a former member of K-pop band 2NE1, returns as a soloist under the new talent agency Musicworks during the showcase for her new mini-album at Shinhan Card Fan Square Live Hall in western Seoul, Monday. Yonhap
By Kim Jae-heun
Minzy said she left the popular K-pop idol group 2NE1 and did not renew her contract with YG Entertainment to pursue her own style of music.
"As my contract expired, I had to make a decision to show my new sides, how much I have grown," Minzy said during the press conference for her new solo album at Shinhan Card Fan Square Live Hall in western Seoul, Monday. "I wanted to do music that gives energy to people and empathizes with people, so I had to write my own songs.
"But in YG, there are fancy lineups of music producers who I could never get anywhere close to. There, I was more of a listener and I was too young to give my opinion."
Minzy added that she would never have made it if YG hadn't been there as she learned to sing and dance. However, the singer also hinted that if YG was a place where she could dream of achieving her goal, her new agency Musicworks is a place where she can realize her dream.
Minzy debuted as a member of 2NE1 in May 2009 under the hip-hop label YG Entertainment. The four-member act instantly came into the spotlight with its first TV commercial song "Lollipop," a collaboration with label mate BIGBANG.
The next month, 2NE1 released its debut song "Fire," which became a K-pop sensation with its two music videos receiving over 1 million views in one day. Every song the group released since then swept music charts and won numerous awards. They won the "Song of the Year" awards at Mnet Asian Music Award in 2009 and 2011 with megahit "I Don't Care" and "I Am the Best," respectively.
The New York Times named 2NE1's performance at the Prudential Center in New Jersey as one of the "Best Concerts of 2012" and in October of the same year, Forbes magazine reported that the group had sold 27 million digital downloads.
YG Entertainment founder Yang Hyun-suk had once revealed on a TV show that 2NE1 would be his biggest ambition and he sees a brighter future for the girl group than his boy band BIGBANG.
However, 2NE1 was met with crisis in 2014 when allegations arose that the band's lead singer Park Bom had smuggled drugs in 2010. Korean customs officers caught a package containing 82 amphetamine-containing pills in international shipping sent from the U.S. to Park, but the prosecution suspended her indictment as she had been legally prescribed the drug for a medical condition when she resided in the United States.
Still, fans did not accept Park's explanation and turned their backs on the star, leading to the group's two-year hiatus.
In May 2016, YG Entertainment officially announced that Minzy had decided to leave the team and that 2NE1 would continue without replacing her, but the group disbanded six months later with the departure of Park. Rapper CL and singer Dara signed new contracts with YG as soloists.
Meanwhile, Minzy released her first mini-album "Minzy Work 01 Uno" as a soloist. The album includes "Ninano" featuring American rapper Jay "Flowsik" Pak. It has been three years since she last released the song "Crush" with 2NE1 in 2014.
"Yang Hyun-suk has watched me grow as a musician since I was a sixth grader. I know he will be proud of me and I will bring my first album to him when it comes out," Minzy said.