Blackpink's major debut: 'boombayah' & 'whistle

Rosé talks lớn about discovering her sound, getting tư vấn from her bandmates & finding out she has a bạn in Britney Spears.

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The hollow side of fame và fortune has inspired many a pop song, but “On the Ground” — the lead solo single from Blackpink’s Rosé — is already a worthy addition lớn the canon. Co-written by Rosé herself & delivered in a talk-sung flow, it unpacks the kind of quarter-life crisis familiar to many overachieving millennials with striking precision: “I worked my whole life just to get right, just to lớn be lượt thích / ‘Look at me, I’m never comin’ down’ / I worked my whole life, just to get high, just to realize … Everything I need is on the ground.”

It’s also a candid dispatch from the buttoned-up world of K-pop, where working your whole life is barely an exaggeration. Like many of her peers, Rosé spent years training for stardom in a process that, as she described in Blackpink’s 2019 cover story, can at times be grueling & emotionally trying — particularly for someone who grew up thousands of miles away in nước Australia. But for the 24-year-old, the subject matter was the obvious choice to kiông xã off her two-tuy vậy solo project, -R-, out now. (The members’ solo efforts co-exist with the group — bandmate Jennie released her own single, the aptly titled “Solo,” bachồng in 2018.)

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“We wanted to find something that spoke to lớn me, so it felt right to lớn be talking about what I’ve been thinking about these past couple of years,” Rosé says over Zoom, joined by her dog, Hank (who spends most of the interview snoozing next to her). “It sounded lượt thích if you would have sầu dinner with me, have a conversation with me. It"s something I would passionately talk about & question.”

From the pressure of fan expectations to lớn the occasionally frustrating process of finding her sound, Rosé says stepping out on her own wasn’t easy. But she wasn’t totally alone — she credits her bandmates with encouraging her khổng lồ pull the trigger on her solo music & holding her h& along the way. And any worries she had about how the music might be received were quickly assuaged: “On the Ground” topped both’s Global 200 and Global 200 Excl. U.S. charts — making her the first K-pop soloist to bởi vì so. (It also reached No. 70 on the Hot 100.)

Below, she tells about learning khổng lồ get vulnerable in her music, how she fell in love sầu with the guitar & what it"s like discovering she has a fan in Britney Spears.

Now that the project has been out for a few weeks, have you been able lớn process the experience?

I think I’m finally getting used lớn the fact that it’s out there. At first when it came out, I was very unsure of how I should be feeling. I didn’t see that coming. I thought I had it all planned out lượt thích how I vì chưng everything with my work, but I don’t think I had my feelings planned out. So when the time came, I was like, “Oh my gosh! What vì chưng I do?” I guess the right thing is to lớn celebrate all the work I’d put into it, all the preparation, và leave sầu it up to my fans to lớn react and see what happens.

I hope you did celebrate!

I wasn"t prepared to lớn, but my family surprised me. I was lượt thích, “This feels like my birthday!” Which, basically — my song came out, so it"s the birthday of my solo debut.

Why were you unsure of what lớn feel? Because the material was so personal?

It was a lot of things. I know that my fans have sầu been anticipating my solo and waiting và asking for it. So the pressure was high. On top of that, these songs are a lot like me, I would say. It was just being nervous about how people will react to lớn something that was a different approach from what we would normally vày for Blackpink.

The lyrics of “On the Ground” really struchồng me — the way you sing about questioning your priorities about work & your personal life felt really novel. Why was that the message you wanted to lớn lead with?

We went through the whole thought process of: “What are we going lớn sing about? What is Rosie going khổng lồ talk about for a good three minutes by herself?” It could have sầu gone any other way — love songs, breakup songs. They would have all been great. But we wanted khổng lồ find something that spoke to lớn me, so it felt right khổng lồ be talking about what I’ve been thinking about these past couple of years. When we debuted, it was all chaos, everything was happening — bam, bam, everywhere. We were on that whole rollercoaster. And there comes a time when you gotta just sit & : Where am I going? Where am I at?

I had a lot of these thoughts in my head anyway, & I think this song just spoke lớn all of us. We felt lượt thích it sounded the most like me. It sounded like if you would have sầu dinner with me, have a conversation with me. It"s something I would passionately talk about & question. It"s something I would question myself before I go to bed. So I thought it would be a good approach for my first solo tuy vậy.

When you say “us” & “we” — vày you mean the rest of the group?

Yes, my b& is definitely a part of that. Blackpink, my producer, the company, everybody — as soon as we heard it, “Let"s go with this one.” Also the tuy vậy is in English. We usually release songs in Korean, so it was a big question : Is it the right approach to lớn have a full tuy nhiên out in English as my title track? But it sounded like me.

That process you mentioned — figuring out what you’re going to lớn say, what you’re going to sound lượt thích — is something we get a glimpse of in the Netflix documentary, Blackpink: Light Up the Sky. What was that like for you?

It can be very fun, but it can be very stressful at times. There"s so many ways khổng lồ go about it. For me, there was a moment in time when I felt a little frustrated, to be honest. But at the end of the day, you know when it feels right. It"s lượt thích little baby steps of figuring out who you are & what you want lớn be. Everybody"s a chameleon, everytoàn thân can be all sorts of colors. At one point, you gotta choose: This is me, this sounds like me, this will describe me. The most crucial point is when you put your foot on it and go, “This! I"m going to lớn put a period right there and stiông xã with it.” That"s a scary part, when you have sầu to lớn start believing in it. But it’s fun at the same time.

In the film, Teddy Park, Blackpink’s main producer & creative director, says you have sầu all these songs & stories inside you but that you were too shy to lớn giới thiệu them. How did you get over that?

I don"t know. I think I needed the push, to be honest. I needed the push from my producers, my members & everybody toàn thân around me: “Trust in yourself, believe sầu in yourself.” I"m a perfectionist. I"m always like, “Is this right?” I did need a lot of tư vấn from other people around me. I"m glad that they did. Sometimes you need that pressure: “Do it now! You just gotta do it!” That was very helpful for me.

You"re credited as a co-writer for the first time. What did it mean khổng lồ you lớn up your involvement in the creative sầu process?

It is my first time approaching songwriting, but in the past when we were preparing for all of our music, we were all in the process of it , so it wasn"t too new for me. It was fun throwing in my opinions và thoughts. I think that"s the reason why the final sản phẩm sounded like me & the reason so sure about it coming out.

You’re a longtime guitar player, so I think a lot of fans were expecting a guitar-driven sound on your solo music. Was that always the plan?

At first, the traông chồng didn’t have sầu much guitar in it, & we went and added a bunch. When they mentioned that, I was like, “Huh, I wonder how that would sound.” Because I couldn’t really imagine it with guitar. But then they had it all done and brought me in: “What vì you think about it?” It spoke to lớn me. I was lượt thích. “I love sầu it! This is so much more attractive!” If there"s no guitar sound, it"s always OK, but with the guitar, it always sounds much better.

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Was this tuy vậy always earmarked as a solo trachồng for you or was there a moment when it became clear this was the one?

Honestly, when the guitar was in there, it was like, “Yup, all done!” Before I was lượt thích, “Oh, this could be...” But when the guitar was there, it was like, “This is it, this is a full package, I"m loving it.”

What drew you to lớn the guitar as a kid?

It was such a cool instrument! I just felt like all those people who could play the guitar were so lucky — as long as they have a guitar, they have sầu everything. It"s all there for you. It"s portable, you can take it everywhere. & it just looks so cool when you"re holding a guitar. I was so attracted khổng lồ that whole image of somebody toàn thân being able to lớn play a guitar and sing.

I bought myself a $70 navy xanh one — it was wood, but it almost felt lượt thích it was a plastic. It was a terrible guitar from Amazon or something. When I was practicing the F chord, it would hurt my fingers so much. The strings were so far from the fretboard, that"s how bad the guitar was. And then I rethành viên we invested in more of an expensive one, which I still have right now & use every day. We changed khổng lồ that guitar, và I was lượt thích, “What?! It"s so easy to lớn play the F chord! It wasn"t that I couldn"t play it, it was the fretboard!” I literally spent a week with my fingers bleeding. It"s hard! it"s a very painful process. But once you get through it, it"s lượt thích, “Yay! You can play anything you want!”

It’s nice lớn hear you still have time khổng lồ play the guitar every day. In the documentary, we see you carving out time for yourself in the middle of the night. Have you had a lot of personal creative time these past few months?

That’s the thing — since mid January till now, I’ve barely had any time off. Maybe in this past week I got a few days off it’s been a while. Yesterday, I remember it was 1 or 2 a.m và I really wanted to lớn play the guitar, but I thought, “OK, I’m just going lớn take it a little slow.” I definitely need to get back on that. I think I’m going khổng lồ have a lot of fun with it now that my work is done. I’ve sầu been working very hard, và I’m pretty proud of myself. Now it’s time khổng lồ just enjoy getting baông chồng khổng lồ that process.

You’ve sầu performed the tuy vậy live a few times now. Can you tell me about the physical demands of that? The choreography is always non-stop with Blackpink — but now you don’t get a break on vocals.

It"s definitely different from when you have sầu three other members sharing the tuy vậy with you. You"ve got lớn be able to lớn carry the tuy vậy from start khổng lồ finish và be present for every line you sing in that whole three minute tuy nhiên. But I made sure I stayed in the practice room a lot to lớn figure out where I was heading with my performance singing-wise. Usually it"s just a short 15 khổng lồ đôi mươi second part and you would put all of your energy into lớn that part. But I had khổng lồ be able to lớn spread it across the whole three minute tuy vậy.

During your trainee years, you also had solo evaluations in addition to lớn group practices. I imagine that must help prepare you, too.

Definitely. But also more than us training for solo songs, I think learning with Blackpink was the biggest part. Working as Blackpink for the past four years has given me a lot of experience, so when I am off on my own, I bởi vì know what I"m doing most of the time. Although it"s many times the work I usually have lớn vì, I still felt lượt thích I had a lot built up in me.

Did Jennie tell you what lớn expect from the solo experience as someone who had already gone through it?

I think she knew that I had it all together & knew where I was going. I think she knew that I would need a lot of support, too. You only know how it feels khổng lồ be in that position if you"ve sầu been in that position. She was trying to lớn tư vấn me on the side và give me little presents here và there and kiểm tra up on how I"m doing. She knew how much of a help it is when somebody toàn thân does reach out.

What would you tell Lisa & Jisoo as they get ready to do their solos?

See, I think they will ace it — they"ll be so perfect at it. So if anything, more than giving them advice, I think I would just be there for them and make sure I"m there supporting them emotionally & physically — just being there và helping out. I will just make sure lớn let them know I"m there if they need my help.

Were they able to come to your video shoots?

Yeah, Jisoo was able to lớn make it because her schedule did match. She was there for the first or second day. When she was there, I remember being so alive, lượt thích that gave me a good drive for the whole Clip shoot, lớn have that energy running. If she wasn"t there, I think the vibe would have really dropped. So I was really grateful for her.

Part of the thinking behind your solo projects is that whatever you learn or explore on your own is something you can bring baông xã lớn the group lớn make Blackpink stronger. Jennie said working on “Solo” influenced how she thought about fashion và visuals. What will you take from this experience going forward?

Definitely my style of singing. I picked up this very raw và rough sound. It sounds like I"m just talking, but it also sounds very… I don"t know how khổng lồ describe it, I"m going lớn use the word metallic. I don"t know why! But it reminds me of that. And vocally, I think it"d be fun to lớn try contributing that tone to lớn Blackpink"s music.

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Britney Spears just used Blackpink’s “How You Like That” in one of her Instagram posts. Have sầu you seen it?

No, I haven"t seen that. What?! Oh my gosh! How did I not know this? Oh my gosh! This is so cute! I didn"t see this. That"s crazy. She"s such an ibé. I grew up listening and watching her videos. That is crazy. That excites me a lot. She"s like the coolest person ever. Oh my gosh. I"m going to watch that later on before I sleep.

Chuyên mục: BLACKPINK