By Cecille Santillan-Visto
DJ Hyo: The Exclusive DJ Set
House Manila, Resorts World Manila
IT HAS always been the dilemma of Korean pop stars: How they will transition from K-pop superstardom to a celebrity life that is less frenzied but equally glamorous?
Many have slowly moved away from the limelight towards family life with the likes of Wonders Girls’ Sunye choosing to settle down long after the popularity of “Nobody” died down. Others go into business — Hyorin of the defunct Sistar started her own music label, while Brown Eyed Girls’ Narsha launched her own clothing line. Though still very active, ex-2NE1 member Sandara Park has ventured into hosting and, in 2016, was named as the Public Affairs Manager at YG Entertainment, one of the biggest talent agencies in Korea.
But Girls Generation member Kim Hyoyeon felt the need to be a bit, well, different.
While still immersed in music, the 30-year-old Hyoyeon has fashioned a persona that deviates from the girl-next-door image that was tailor-fit for the members of Sonyeo Sidae (SNSD), the Korean translation of Girls Generation.
The last time that she was here in the Philippines with the nine-member GG was in 2015 — they were among the first foreign acts to perform at the then newly opened Philippine Arena. The group, which was launched in 2007, has since lost some members and has gone into semi-hiatus. Hyoyeon returned to Manila nearly five years later — alone and bringing with her a kind of entertainment different from what the fans are used to.
As a solo artist, Hyoyeon — now known as DJ Hyo — has released several singles such as “Sober,” “Punk Right Now,” and “Badster,” a psychedelic piece which she co-wrote and co-produced. She performed all these during her exclusive DJ set at Resorts World Manila’s House Manila earlier this month.
The club was teeming with Girls Generation fans, known as Sones, who came in full force and armed with their pink GG light sticks.
The show kicked off at around 10 p.m. and a number of celebrities were in attendance. Barely three weeks from the announcement of their breakup, James Reid and his ex-girlfriend apparently set aside any possible disagreements to see DJ Hyo at the event.
To drum up excitement, there were a number of front acts before DJ Hyo finally took the stage. Angelo G, Lox, and Nix Damn P were the curtain-raisers and provided house music for two hours. A DJ at Wave 89.1 FM, Angelo G has his own radio show, The Vibe, and plays at various clubs. Lox, on the other hand, was featured in the track “Don’t You Forget” along with Mr. Reid and Narez. Nix Damn P, meanwhile, is a household name in the local DJ and clubbing scene and has collaborated with various DJs and artists throughout his career.
With more than three years of experience as a solo artist, DJ Hyo expertly worked the crowd, craftly weaving her own music with hits of Girls Generation, which the audience apparently enjoyed. She also played her other tracks such as “Wannabe” and “Mystery” — dancing in between mainly for the benefit of the fans. Though rather conservatively dressed in a green ensemble layered with a floral polo with subdued makeup, DJ Hyo still exuded the K-pop superstar vibe. As she is still a member of SNSD’s sub-unit, Oh! GG, she reverts to her idol image from time to time, particularly when she performs with the five SNSD members who stayed with SM Entertainment.
A clean shift to an alternative — and equally lucrative career — may be what every K-pop star dreams of. DJ Hyo may not have completely cut herself off from Girls Generation but she has made already a name for herself. The GG connection may be difficult to set aside, but at least she has been able to slowly step out of its shadow.