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19 years on, BoA doesn’t want to be called ‘veteran singer’

Jan. 26, 2018 - 18:14 By Hong Dam-young
There are certain images that K-pop legend BoA, who has spent nearly 19 years in entertainment, keeps away from the public. Her seemingly confident and uptight image seems incompatible with letting loose. She was a “steadfast” musician who pioneered through the rugged K-pop world from the age of 13.

And in her upcoming single and first reality show, the veteran singer decided to unveil her true and different selves that weren’t always depicted in the media.

“As I got older, I got comfortable with revealing myself. In the past, I’ve feared a lot of things. I thought people just hated me, maybe because I was criticized a lot since I was young. Even when facing reporters like this, I just came to the conclusion, ‘They will hate me,’” said BoA on how she decided to open herself up through her new projects during a media conference for the new single “Nega Dola” and reality show “Keyword #BoA,” in Seoul on Friday. 

A concept image for BoA‘s upcoming single “Nega Dola” (S.M. Entertainment)

"Nega Dola” reflects the singer’s new approach. In the hip-hop-based girl-power dance anthem, BoA becomes an empowered woman who can easily blow off a man obsessing over her. The aggressive song may even include some unpleasant lines for male listeners, the singer joked.

“Some may think it is weird of me to try this kind of music. I’ve been thinking of the kind of girl-power anthem, like my hit ‘Girls on Top,’ that fits my age, 32, and I thought ‘Nega Dola’ was a good fit,” she said.

She also explained the song was a result of her efforts to engage more in the public’s tastes for infectious catchphrases, while she had instead focused on quality in her previous works.  

A concept image for BoA‘s upcoming single “Nega Dola” (S.M. Entertainment)

BoA also shared that shooting “Keyword #BoA” was a fresh experience for her. The show takes the form of a “rolecumentary,” to use program director Kim Dong-wook’s term, as Key of K-pop act SHINee, who considers BoA his “role model,” features as an observer who joins the songstress in sharing her daily life. In the down-to-earth show, BoA jokes, imbibes in a few drinks and talks about her loneliness as a superstar, in a more stripped-down way than ever before.

Director Kim, who accompanied BoA at the press event, said he decided to cast Key, BoA‘s longtime fan, in order to show her in a fresher perspective, one that doesn’t come from a program director or the artist herself. 

BoA (S.M. Entertainment)

After almost 19 years, BoA is a born-to-be musician who appears the happiest onstage. Asked if she plans to nurture the next generation of K-pop stars or junior artists, as she had done as a mentor for the second season of “Produce 101,” the singer answered, “I don’t have any plans to nurture junior artists for now, and I think it’s too early for that.”

“I’m still in my early 30s, and I want to sing and dance on stage when I have energy. My joints are still fine. All of my experiences as a singer will be of good use long into the future, when I get old enough to finally train others,” She said. “Please don‘t call me a ‘veteran singer,’ I’m still young.” 

BoA (S.M. Entertainment)

Having debuted under S.M. at age 13 with “ID; Peace B” in 2000, BoA continued her winning streak both in Korea and Japan with hits like “No. 1,” “Atlantis Princess,” “My Name” and “Hurricane Venus” and “Only One.” The high-profile singer also appeared in the second season of Mnet’s audition program “Produce 101” as a mentor from April to June last year.

“Keyword #BoA” aired its first episode Monday via Naver’s V Live and Naver TV. It will air every Sunday on TV channel XtvN from this week. After promoting her new single for the first time on Mnet’s “M!Countdown” on Thursday, BoA will embark on a Japanese tour in March.