AFTER MORE than 10 years in the South Korean pop industry (K-pop) as part of the country’s biggest girl group at the time, Tiffany Young is now making music that’s all her own: more personal and more intimate.
“My most recent songs are my most favorite to date, which would be ‘Run for Your Life,’ ‘Magnetic Moon,’ and ‘Born Again.’ Those three specifically because of just how those songs came to be. It was a time for me to come full motion when I wanted myself and my fans to open up and be themselves — like being okay with not being okay sometimes — it’s such an important message to share,” Ms. Young said during a press conference preceding her Manila concert on Jan. 24 at the Novotel Manila Araneta Hotel in Quezon City.
Ms. Young (real name Stephanie Young Hwang) was born in 1989 and raised in California. At the age of 15, she was discovered by South Korean talent agency SM Entertainment which prompted her to move and train in South Korea for two years. In 2007, she debuted as part of Girl’s Generation, arguably the biggest girl group in the country at the time.
The group, which originally had nine members, spawned several chart-topping hits in its home country including its debut single, “Into the New World.”
Some of the group’s hits include 2009’s “Gee” and “Genie,” and 2013’s “I Got A Boy” whose music video won Video of the Year at the inaugural YouTube Music Awards.
Ms. Young, as one of the group’s main vocalists, made her solo debut in 2016 with I Just Wanna Dance. The following year, she ended her contract with SM Entertainment to move back to Los Angeles to pursue acting and a solo music career.
She released her extended play (EP) album, Lips on Lips, in 2019 which included the singles “Born Again” and “Lips on Lips.” The album debuted at the 9th spot in Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart and 30th on their Independent Albums chart. She is currently signed with Transparent Arts in the US.
Girls Generation is a group known for its radio-friendly dance songs and emotive ballads, two genres that Ms. Young continues to embrace, though adding a bit more synths (as in the case of “Born Again” and “Run for Your Life”) and R&B. Some of her fans commented that her music reminded them of Lady Gaga and Rihanna.
“When I was writing that song [“Born Again”] I remember being in so much pain and fear but the fact that I got to share this and open up with my fans… and the fact that we’re singing this song to each other over and over made it my happiest moment,” she said.
“Born Again” is her first single after moving to California and in its lyrics showed her uncertainty and hopefulness in having to build a career in a new place.
“Coming in this world fully naked, Feeling brand new so I’m your baby. Never felt this safe, in a foreign place. I used to feel so hollow, shallow, vacant,” she sings in the song’s first verse.
During the press conference, Ms. Young noted that much has changed in the past few years for her as she took the time to become an adult who “takes responsibilities fully and being accountable” while taking care of her mind, body, and soul (she mentioned going to therapy).
This year, she has as her motto becoming “brave,” in contrast to 2019’s motto of being “fearless.”
“Being fearless is like not knowing and going after it but being brave is willingly going for it… and being equipped and educating yourself… before you do something,” she said.
Ms. Young is currently on her Open Hearts Eve Part Two tour. — Zsarlene B. Chua