Taeyang, member of Big Bang, has released a new solo single as part of an upcoming solo album due early next year. / Courtesy of YG Entertainment
By Kim Ji-soo
Taeyang, 25, of Big Bang is back as a solo artist.
"Ringa Linga," the first single from his second solo album, was released Nov. 8 midnight and hit No. 1 on major local charts. The song also topped iTunes charts in several countries including Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and China (Macao).
Composed by fellow Big Bang member G-Dragon and Jose E. Luna, a foreign composer, the song is a hip-pop piece that features a rhythmical rap, refined melody and direct lyrics.
"Ringa Linga" may well seem like a diversion from the once R&B-focused singer whose signature solo hit songs include "Only Look At Me" in 2008, and "I Need A Girl" from the first full-length solo album "Solar"in 2010.
"The new album is not necessarily about change, it's about widening the spectrum of my musical taste," said Taeyang in a round-table press conference held in Seogyo-dong, Seoul, Monday.
He said that he has carried a wide range of music — from pop to rock and ballads — in the new upcoming album that reflects his upgrade as an artist, a different image of himself.
So far, only "Ringa Linga" has been unveiled and two of its music videos have been released. Another single is expected to be released within the year, with the full album due out early next year. His solo return follows on the heels of fellow Big Bang members Seungri, who released with a solo mini-album "Let's Talk About Love" in August and G-Dragon, who produced his second solo album "Coup D'etat" in September.
Asked if he feels there is competition with the two members, he responded, "I want to show a different side of myself with the new album ... the solo performances will in the end contribute to the overall image of the group Big Bang."
He said that he has had a lot of time to listen to a diverse range of music and think more about it in the recent years. The new album has been in the works for the past three years.
While the genres of the music on the album may vary, the feel and the sound of music that he pursues has grown sharper, he said.
Having joined YG Entertainment in his early teens, Taeyang, whose real name is Dong Young-bae said that music has been and will always be his love. After Big Bang debuted in 2006, he said has experienced so much, things that people his age can only dream of.
But there was a time when music began to feel like work and then he explored by traveling, doing world tours and thinking about what he likes best and what makes him happy. He has decided to do music more freely.
"Music not bound by certain notion or stereotype ... not thinking about what people will think or how they will respond. Just do music that I feel and know best at the moment, I guess this is how different I am from the past," he said.
He said he also had more time to spend on choreography for "Ringa Linga."
"You will see in the dance moves there is nothing affected about it," he said. The choreography was done by Parris Goebel of ReQuest Crew.
Asked how he refreshes himself after pouring his all into an album, he said he is greatly energized by the love of fans. Musically, he is also inspired by simple things in life such as nature.
"The world's greatest artist I think is God, because what he has created (nature) is amazing," he said.
Having poured his all in working on the upcoming album, he has two things he wants to do once the work for the album is done: "Travel and fall in love."