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Bobby Kim reflects on new album ‘Mirror’

In his first full-length album return in four years, R&B veteran Bobby Kim overcomes personal struggles and reflects on his past. The new album, “Mirror,” was released on Wednesday.

Marking his first full album release since his third album, “Heart & Soul” (2010), the singer admits that the past four years had their shares of ups and downs, and that on his new album he wanted to encompass these experiences through music.

“I chose to title the album ‘Mirror’ because it actually had a lot of meaning to me. I think of the album as a sort of self-portrait,” said the 41-year-old solo artist during a press conference held at the Riverside Hotel in Seocho district, Seoul, on Wednesday.

“This album represents the reflection that I saw looking at myself in the mirror over the past four years,” he added. “There were a lot of good times and there were a lot of bad times, and during this time I thought to myself that I just need to go back to my music.” 
Singer-songwriter Bobby Kim speaks at a press conference for the release of the artist’s new album, “Mirror,” at the Riverside Hotel in Seocho district, southern Seoul, Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Singer-songwriter Bobby Kim speaks at a press conference for the release of the artist’s new album, “Mirror,” at the Riverside Hotel in Seocho district, southern Seoul, Wednesday. (Yonhap)

The singer said that during this reflective time period, there were moments where he just emotionally crashed and gave up everything, and that this was especially true when he lost a very dear friend of his.

“I just lost all confidence in myself. For 10 years I was just nonstop with work, like I just kept running and never stopped. One night I looked in the mirror, and I couldn’t recognize myself anymore,” Kim explained. “I wanted to leave, I wanted to escape, but fortunately through music, I was able to my find my strength again.”

The artist’s latest 12-track album features the lead ballad single “Apology,” with the lyrics written by his good friend and popular ballad singer Lee Juck. 

Kim says the song is about admitting one’s mistakes and making a heartfelt apology, adding that he composed the track late one night when he felt especially down in the dumps. He personally asked Lee to collaborate with him on the single but he said he trusted his ability to perfectly express the intended emotions of the song.

“Even though he (Lee Juck) is my friend, I honestly considered it an honor that he wrote the lyrics for me,” he said.

The collaboration track also features Kim’s father, famous musician Kim Young-geun, on the trumpet.

Despite now being widely known as a soulful ballad singer, Kim entered the music scene in 1994 as part of the reggae fusion group Dr. Reggae and was considered to be the first to introduce the genre to Korea.

After Dr. Reggae disbanded, he became part of the local hip-hop scene, becoming a vocal trainer and writing songs for well-known artists such as Drunken Tiger, Dynamic Duo, Leessang and others before joining rap trio Buga Kingz in 2001. However, in his solo adventures over the years, Kim has slowly moved away from hip-hop and made a name for himself as a soulful vocalist.

“I think the majority of the public thinks that I have really moved toward being a ballad singer,” he says. “But even though my new lead track is a ballad song, the rest of the songs on the album are a lot more diverse.”

The new album features collaborations from Double K, Min-ji, Park Ji-yoon and Sean2Slow as well as lyrics written by K-pop soloist Wheesung.

Kim says he plans to take part in a special joint concert with the rock group YB at the beginning of next year as well as looking to host his own solo concert series next spring.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)
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