For YUNJIN, music has always been a means of self-comfort and consolation. Now, it’s also her way of expressing her feelings and gratitude toward the other members of LE SSERAFIM and to FEARNOT with complete sincerity.
Do you like the outfit you’re wearing for the shoot today? The other members said that when you find an outfit you like, you react in a particular way. (laughs)
HUH YUNJIN: Oh, of course! (laughs) I’ll show you the picture I took before. My outfit for this shoot is sort of 2000s style, so me and the hair and makeup artists were having fun in the green room doing this kind of pose from back then. (laughs) I also like outdoor shoots, and I really liked today’s because I think it perfectly captures the kind of feeling I’m into.
You’ve developed a lot of interest in fashion. I imagine you had a lot of fun with “The Hydra” trailer since it had a fashion show motif.
HUH YUNJIN: It was so windy the day we shot that that I couldn’t even open my eyes up all the way. Looking back now, I’d say the photos and video actually came out better thanks to it, but even then I wanted to portray a more confident and robust image, like ANTIFRAGILE suggests. While I was doing the voice-over, I was trying to make it seem effortless and more like just talking than when I did it for FEARLESS, but I think that actually made it sound even cooler. (laughs) “The Hydra” was released on September 26, and a few days before that, the producers said to me, “It would be nice if you could write some voice-over for the part of the teaser video that goes, ‘I’m a mess mess mess,’ that fits the message of the album.” So I wrote the words for that part and recorded them the day before the video went out. I was really amazed and satisfied with how they made it so cool! (laughs)
What’s your typical process like?
HUH YUNJIN: It’s a little different for each song, but if I have something I really want to say, the lyrics tend to come first. The first thing I always consider is what the message will be—what I want to say. Once I figure that out, the lyrics and basic ideas start to take shape, and I find that, when I get started that way, a good melody naturally follows, interestingly enough.
Is there anything you focus on in particular during that process?
HUH YUNJIN: When I make songs, I think about how honesty is the most important thing for getting across a certain emotion or message. I think you have to be totally transparent if you’re going to convey your message and feelings properly. If you watch any of our videos, you can see I’m a terrible liar. (laughs) It absolutely shows whenever I’m lying. It’s just not in my character.
I think your honesty really comes across in the lyrics to “Impurities.” What did you want to say with the song?
HUH YUNJIN: “Blue Flame” and “Impurities” are the theme songs for our original story, Crimson Heart. I really like telling stories, so I kept the Crimson Heart story and timeline in mind and revisited my childhood while working on the songs. When I was little, I used to have fun imagining characters in my head and creating whole worlds for them (laughs) and I used a similar thought process while writing these lyrics: If I were this character, what would I do?
You also told a fan who asked you that “Impurities” is your favorite song off the album.
HUH YUNJIN: I really like R&B but I had no idea I would get a chance do an R&B song so early on. (laughs) So as soon as I heard “Impurities,” I said, This is it! This is my favorite! And my mind hasn’t changed since. (laughs) The song is chill and dreamy, but there’s something really intriguing about the lyrics. It sounds really soft and beautiful when sung, but if you look at the lyrics, there’s an exciting twist there.
The lyrics to the title track off ANTIFRAGILE are great too. It sounds like you’re making a declaration when you sing your part that goes, “Stringed puppet, no thanks, with my song I’ll build my future.”
HUH YUNJIN: You might not notice when you’re just listening, but if you read along with the lyrics, it feels like everybody really is making a declaration when they sing their parts. It’s the same case for KAZUHA’s part, EUNCHAE’s part, my part, and CHAEWON and SAKURA’s parts, too. So I hope people pay special attention to the lyrics this time around. They’re actually about us and the message we’re trying to convey is very concrete: that no matter what the world throws at us, we’ll find a way to persevere that works for us. So bring it on, world. I hope our ambition comes across well in the song.
Your ambition comes across right down to the choreography. Not only is it intense, but a lot of it shows how in sync all of the members are, like when you link arms or move around with your hands on each other’s shoulders. What was it like practicing for that?
HUH YUNJIN: We’re practicing the choreography in specific detail for around six or seven hours a day. We filmed the moves in slow motion to make sure we’re getting the rhythm and angles just right. I think we all have to be on the same page emotionally before we can get our dance moves in sync properly. I think what makes us work together so well is that we make a sincere effort to help each other out and be considerate and try to be understanding of one another. I can say with absolute confidence that we have excellent cooperation and teamwork. The chemistry you see in our videos is completely genuine. (laughs)
Your chemistry is really clear in your performance of “No Celestial.”
HUH YUNJIN: “No Celestial” is a really cool song that manages to say everything we want to say at the same time. The choreography’s really tough, too. We had to practice it a lot since there’s so many parts where we pick our microphones up and put them back again. We watched a lot of videos of other artists like Olivia Rodrigo having lots of fun on stage and said, “We should be having this much fun, too.” So we made note of that. The song talks about how grateful we are and also gives a clear sense of who we are, so I think a lot of people will relate to it, and I think it shows exactly the way we are and the chemistry we have together.
It seems like there’s more of a sense of freedom in the way you move in that song compared to the others. Was there anything you were paying particular attention to while practicing for it?
HUH YUNJIN: We tend to practice our facial expressions a lot anyway, but for that song all five of us worked really hard on them. The performance director also looked over them with us and gave us some feedback. I wanted to show people that I’m up there on stage, feeling free and enjoying every single moment of it, not missing out on a single thing.
People were really drawn to your facial expressions when you were doing “FEARLESS,” too. What are you hoping people will think when they see you this time?
HUH YUNJIN: She’s so good at performing. And not just that I’m good, but that I look like I really love doing it. I hope that’s what they say about me. And I hope somebody takes a legendary fancam video of me. (laughs)
I saw you absolutely loving to perform most recently while on stage at the university festival, and the audience loved it, too. How did it feel?
HUH YUNJIN: It was so, so good. An absolute thrill! The audience all sang along to “FEARLESS.” We were actually worried right up until we got up on stage: “What if they don’t know ‘FEARLESS’?” (laughs) So we said, “Let’s just go out there and have fun!” But then I could hear the crowd singing the “whoa-oh-oh-oh” part through our in-ear monitors. It felt like everyone was there to see us. (laughs) That was so moving. I think it made me even more excited.
Your incredible vocals also cut right through the roar of the crowd. (laughs) How much did your experience doing musicals when you were a student help you with your vocals?
HUH YUNJIN: I spent my whole life thinking I just inherited this loud voice, but come to think of it, nobody else in my family is like this! My voice is uniquely loud among them and I laugh really loud, too. I think that actually did have an effect. My mom and dad are extremely gentle people (laughs) and my sister’s really shy and my brother’s pretty calm. Oops!
I was also impressed by how exceptionally laid-back and chill you are. I’m wondering what your attitude or sense of determination toward how you approach performances is.
HUH YUNJIN: Because I absolutely love performing, I cherish every single performance I do. I feel great when I get up on stage and pour my whole heart out and make good memories with other people. (laughs) So I try and put everything I’ve got into each and every performance. And even though it took me four years to debut, every time I’m on stage and hear fans cheering, I think about how it was totally worth it and how I’m glad I never gave up.
That same energy of yours comes across in the group’s various video series. I heard your MBTI type is INFJ and, watching your series, it really shows. You have such a cheerful, energetic personality.
HUH YUNJIN: I have some interest in MBTI and they say INFJs are chameleons who change based on the given situation. And I think that’s actually accurate! My voice is always loud and I’m really cheery when we’re shooting any kind of content, but when we do, my voice goes up another decibel. (laughs) But still, I get really serious when I’m working on music, but that’s still the real me, too.
That side of you comes out in the documentary The World Is My Oyster. I also heard you were talking with your manager late into the night at one point because you were worried about your old practice footage.
HUH YUNJIN: I said, “I don’t think this is a good idea,” but they sent me a super long message, saying, “It’s okay, YUNJIN. People will like it better than you think. You’re good now, so it’s fine.” (laughs) But I was seriously like, Wow, they’re going to release this? It was a real shock. (laughs) Seeing all my flaws laid out like that made me realize how hard I worked at everything. It was still kind of embarrassing, though. (laughs) Looking back now, oh—I’m really thankful.
There’s also a scene where you teach some choreography to the other members. It really shows how hard you’ve been working.
HUH YUNJIN: I think I’ve always been that way. Satisfaction is a difficult beast for me, especially when I first started to learn dance: I was so bad at it, and because I found it so hard—and even though someone was teaching me it—I thought I would never see any improvement if I didn’t master it on my own. So I thought about it and kept at it and kept at it. When I think about what I was doing then, I’m grateful and proud of myself, but in a way I’m also sorry that I was so strict about it. I would stay up all night practicing by myself, get around three hours of sleep, go to school and then start practicing again.
What made you keep going despite all that?
HUH YUNJIN: I think it’s because I had a dream. What’s really fascinating is that, even during my trainee years, I knew I couldn’t give up no matter how hard it got, and I tried to make sure I never let it slip away from me, even unconsciously. Even the time I gave up, I wasn’t really giving up. That was me thinking about dropping out of trainee life; I wasn’t going to give up on my dream. I always knew I had to do something related to music, no matter what it was, and my thoughts never strayed from following my dreams, even if the path I took was going to look a little different.
What do you mean when you say, “I had to do something related to music”?
HUH YUNJIN: This is also sort of part of the INFJ personality (laughs) but I want to make the world a better place. I feel like I want to do whatever will be helpful to the rest of the world. I’ve felt that way ever since I was little and from some point on I decided I wanted to make it happen through music.
Is that also why you’re constantly working on music?
HUH YUNJIN: “Raise y_our glass,” for example, I started working on to soothe my mind and bring myself some comfort. And to thank the other members for deciding to walk this path together with me and all their hard work. Every one of them went through their own challenges, with their own ups and downs, so I wanted to show them I felt they worked so hard, that we can lean and rely on each other more from now on and find happiness and that we can keep loving the things we love and keep doing everything we want to do, together. And I want to express my most sincere gratitude to FEARNOT for always encouraging me and being there to support me. It’s more meaningful to say, Here’s why I’m thankful, instead of just saying thank you, so I poured my all into that song.
What would you like your fans to listen for in the future, however you choose to open up about your feelings?
HUH YUNJIN: I hope the world looks a little different to them after hearing what I have to say. I think what I would really like—instead of changing fans’ minds—is if I could be a good influence or push for them to realize that they can also think this way. I still have a ton of things left I want to say, and you’ll find out what they are if you wait just a little bit! (laughs)