Photo Courtesy of PLEDIS Entertainment
K-Pop Group SEVENTEEN Talk New Album 'Your Choice,' Love And Growing Together
K-pop superstars SEVENTEEN open up about their evolution as a group and their artistry
Whether you look at SEVENTEEN through the polished edits of their music videos or the grainy lens of a laptop camera (thanks, COVID-19), the cohesiveness simmering beneath is palpable. The members have a language beyond mere words: every nod is acknowledged, every nudge met with a smile, every pointed look ends in a fit of giggles. Their lexicon is dynamic, often non-verbal and so uniquely theirs that one can’t help but feel like a voyeur, peeping into a personal equation.
On paper, SEVENTEEN sounds like a precarious act: 13 members, all divided into three neat units, each specializing in a different form of art: the Vocal Unit (Jeonghan, Woozi, Joshua, DK, Seungkwan), the Hip-hop unit (S.Coups, Vernon, Wonwoo, Mingyu) and the Performance Unit (THE8, Hoshi, Jun, Dino).
At first glance, it’s a bubbling broth with elements that might constantly be at war with each other. Look closer and you’ll find that the generous amount of trust SEVENTEEN have poured into each other becomes a binding magical element, translating into fluid compositions, vibrant concepts, pointed choreography, and a diverse discography worthy of an act such as them.
Their unshakable faith in each other is the other side of the coin of their reputation in k-pop as a "self-produced" group. Since their inception, the members have been involved in nearly every aspect of their albums.
Woozi is one of the main composers for the group (along with longtime collaborator Bumzu); the members regularly work together to pen their songs and the performance unit turns the tracks into visual treats of choreography. Of course, they regularly credit their extended teams for help, but at the core of the magic is the perfect synchronicity of the 13 members, peppering their music with serene confidence and creating opportunities to grow as one. On the journey from "promising rookie act" to "only the second act in k-pop history to sell one million copies of an album in the first week," it’s made all the difference.
As if in tandem with their upwards trajectory, the group’s eighth mini-album, Your Choice, which came out on June 18th, unveils a more mature side of the act, one more suited to address the ever evasive, ever misunderstood concept of love. Gone are the boisterous parties of "Left & Right" or the exhilaration of “HOME;RUN”. This time, hip streetwear and suave velvet and plaid have been swapped for soft, cozy sweaters and pink pastels replace vibrant hues.
"Your Choice is about sharing what is on your mind but also respecting the other person’s choices. This is a very sweet and honest side of SEVENTEEN: it’s our profession of honesty,” said Woozi in a press conference marking the release of the album on June 18th. "It means ‘I love you, but I also respect your choices."
SEVENTEEN spoke with GRAMMY.com about the inspirations behind Your Choice, their group dynamic, and what they’re hoping for in the future.
In a previous interview, HOSHI said that your albums are always based on your current fears and concerns. How did that play into Power of Love? How did you decide on the subject of love?
Hoshi: On Your Choice, we tried to put in a more mature side, the more mature images of various behaviors and emotions associated with love.
Why did you think this was the perfect time for an album like this as an act, and also in terms of your career trajectory?
Seungkwan: We thought the message of love is what could really console people and resonate with them, especially in these tough times that we're having. Last year, with Heng:garæ and ; [Semicolon], we tried to send a message of consolation and encouragement to young people.
This time, we wanted to use this word, "love," and the concept of love: we thought it would really express our growth. We thought that would be a good keyword to show where we are and express how we have grown.
I like that you said growth because what we see on this album is more complex and mature as compared to your other releases. What was it like stepping into this more mature persona?
S.Coups: I think SEVENTEEN is a group that grows together [and] matures together. We are aging together. So, I think that is a natural side of us that we want to express. This growth and maturity is a natural progression of [events] for SEVENTEEN.
When you were working on the album, how did you narrow down which aspects of love you wanted to cover? Was it more about what felt right or was it more structured?
Woozi: So, Your Choice is part of our project Power of Love. Through this album and the title track, we wanted to show the variety of emotions [related to] confessing your love to somebody who is the object of your affection. As Seungkwan said, we wanted to show a more mature and grown side of SEVENTEEN. But as the [Power Of Love] project continues, we will show various facets of love, not just one-dimensional emotions.
You said you wanted to show a more mature and grown-up side to SEVENTEEN through Your Choice, which focuses on confession and love. How is the feeling of love related to this more mature side of SEVENTEEN?
Mingyu: I think we tried to and did go deeper and focus on the certain level of maturity it takes to be able to truly listen to someone else’s thoughts and ultimately respect their decision—their choice. Your Choice signifies somewhat deeper and more mature versions of love of being considerate and respectful.
Love is such an expansive emotion. When you were working on the album, how did each unit interpret it in terms of their own artistic language? Was there anything that you really paid attention to?
Woozi: For this album, as a full group, we tried to show the various sides and emotions of love [overall]. But for the units, I think we tried to focus more on genres, [basically] express different emotions through different genres. The underlying concept of love and confessing your love are similar, but [each unit] tried to interpret them in unique ways through the musical genres they [specialize in].
What was the hardest part about working on the album?
Woozi: I think overall, for the entire album, what was really challenging—as you said, love is a very expansive concept. It resonates with a lot of people. It can both be very shallow and also have very deep emotions. It has a lot of shades and different facets, different varieties.
So, we really thought a lot about, you know, "How can we express this? How can we show this through our music and through our performance, in a way that is not too shallow or not too deep or profound? How can we express this the right way?" We had a lot of meetings, we really discussed this a lot among ourselves.
Is there anything new that any member tried doing on this album?
Hoshi: With every album, we always try to collectively push our boundaries and challenge ourselves. Your Choice is no different. The Performance team’s "WAVE," for example, is a house genre track and we had fun challenging ourselves with this new genre. All four of us (me, JUN, THE 8, and DINO) participated in writing the lyrics as well.
You had a spectacular 2020, followed by multiple US TV performances in 2021. In light of the massive success, what kind of responsibility did you feel going into this new album?
Vernon: We definitely do feel more responsibility as the days go by, as more and more Carats, [our group of fans,] start to have an interest in us and listen to our music and watch our performances. We just really didn’t want to let any of them down. Our highest hope [right now] is just performing in front of them in person, hopefully during a tour.
GRAMMY SoundChecks With Gavin DeGraw
On Aug. 28 Nashville Chapter GRAMMY U members took part in GRAMMY SoundChecks with Gavin DeGraw. Approximately 30 students gathered at music venue City Hall and watched DeGraw play through some of the singles from earlier in his career along with "Cheated On Me" from his latest self-titled album.
In between songs, DeGraw conducted a question-and-answer session and inquired about the talents and goals of the students in attendance. He gave inside tips to the musicians present on how to make it in the industry and made sure that every question was answered before moving onto the next song.
Juan Gabriel named 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year
Annual star-studded gala slated for Nov. 4 in Las Vegas during 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Week celebration
Internationally renowned singer/songwriter/performer Juan Gabriel will be celebrated as the 2009 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year, it was announced today by The Latin Recording Academy. Juan Gabriel, chosen for his professional accomplishments as well as his commitment to philanthropic efforts, will be recognized at a star-studded concert and black tie dinner on Nov. 4 at the
The "Celebration with Juan Gabriel" gala will be one of the most prestigious events held during Latin GRAMMY week, a celebration that culminates with the 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards ceremony. The milestone telecast will be held at
"As we celebrate this momentous decade of the Latin GRAMMYs, The Latin Recording Academy and its Board of Trustees take great pride in recognizing Juan Gabriel as an extraordinary entertainer who never has forgotten his roots, while at the same time having a global impact," said Latin Recording Academy President Gabriel Abaroa. "His influence on the music and culture of our era has been tremendous, and we welcome this opportunity to pay a fitting tribute to a voice that strongly resonates within our community."
Over the course of his 30-year career, Juan Gabriel has sold more than 100 million albums and has performed to sold-out audiences throughout the world. He has produced more than 100 albums for more than 50 artists including Paul Anka, Lola Beltran, Rocío Dúrcal, and Lucha Villa among many others. Additionally, Juan Gabriel has written more than 1,500 songs, which have been covered by such artists as Marc Anthony, Raúl Di Blasio, Ana Gabriel, Angelica María, Lucia Mendez, Estela Nuñez, and Son Del Son. In 1986, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley declared Oct. 5 "The Day of Juan Gabriel." The '90s saw his induction into Billboard's Latin Music Hall of Fame and he joined La Opinion's Tributo Nacional Lifetime Achievement Award recipients list.
At the age of 13, Juan Gabriel was already writing his own songs and in 1971 recorded his first hit, "No Tengo Dinero," which landed him a recording contract with RCA. Over the next 14 years, he established himself as Mexico's leading singer/songwriter, composing in diverse styles such as rancheras, ballads, pop, disco, and mariachi, which resulted in an incredible list of hits ("Hasta Que Te Conocí," "Siempre En Mi Mente," "Querida," "Inocente Pobre Amigo," "Abrázame Muy Fuerte," "Amor Eterno," "El Noa Noa," and "Insensible") not only for himself but for many leading Latin artists. In 1990, Juan Gabriel became the only non-classical singer/songwriter to perform at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in
After a hiatus from recording, Juan Gabriel released such albums as Gracias Por Esperar, Juntos Otra Vez, Abrázame Muy Fuerte, Los Gabriel…Para Ti, Juan Gabriel Con La Banda…El Recodo, and El Mexico Que Se Nos Fue, which were all certified gold and/or platinum by the RIAA. In 1996, to commemorate his 25th anniversary in the music industry, BMG released a retrospective set of CDs entitled 25 Aniversario, Solos, Duetos, y Versiones Especiales, comprised appropriately of 25 discs.
In addition to his numerous accolades and career successes, Juan Gabriel has been a compassionate and generous philanthropist. He has donated all proceeds from approximately 10 performances a year to his favorite children's foster homes, and proceeds from fan photo-ops go to support Mexican orphans. In 1987, he founded Semjase, an orphanage for approximately 120 children, which also serves as a music school with music, recreation and video game rooms. Today, he continues to personally fund the school he opened more than 22 years ago.
Juan Gabriel will have the distinction of becoming the 10th Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year honoree, and joins a list of artists such as Gloria Estefan, Gilberto Gil, Juan Luis Guerra, Julio Iglesias, Ricky Martin, and Carlos Santana among others who have been recognized.
For information on purchasing tickets or tables to The Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year tribute to Juan Gabriel, please contact The Latin Recording Academy ticketing office at 310.314.8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: The Recording Academy
Set List Bonus: Bumbershoot 2013
Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.
By Alexa Zaske
This past Labor Day weekend meant one thing for many folks in Seattle: Bumbershoot, a three-decade-old music and arts event that consumed the area surrounding the Space Needle from Aug. 31–Sept. 2. Amid attendees wandering around dressed as zombies and participating in festival-planned flash mobs to Michael Jackson's "Thriller," this year the focus was on music from the Pacific Northwest region — from the soulful sounds of Allen Stone and legendary female rockers Heart, to the highly-awaited return of Death Cab For Cutie performing their 2003 hit album Transatlanticism in its entirety.
The festival started off on day one with performances by synth-pop group the Flavr Blue, hip-hop artist Grynch, rapper Nacho Picasso, psychedelic pop group Beat Connection, lively rapper/writer George Watsky, hip-hop group the Physics, and (my personal favorite), punk/dance band !!! (Chk Chk Chk). Also performing on day one was Seattle folk singer/songwriter Kris Orlowski, who was accompanied by the Passenger String Quartet. As always, Orlowski's songs were catchy and endearing yet brilliant and honest.
Day one came to a scorching finale with a full set from GRAMMY-nominated rock group Heart. Kicking off with their Top 20 hit "Barracuda," the set spanned three decades of songs, including "Heartless," "Magic Man" and "What About Love?" It became a gathering of Seattle rock greats when, during Heart's final song, Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready joined for 1976's "Crazy On You."
Day two got off to an early start with performances from eccentric Seattle group Kithkin and Seattle ladies Mary Lambert and Shelby Earl, who were accompanied by the band Le Wrens. My highlight of the day was the Grizzled Mighty — a duo with a bigger sound than most family sized bands. Drummer Whitney Petty, whose stage presence and skills make for an exciting performance, was balanced out by the easy listening of guitarist and lead singer Ryan Granger.
Then the long-awaited moment finally fell upon Seattle when, after wrapping a long-awaited tour with the Postal Service, singer/songwriter Ben Gibbard returned to Seattle to represent another great success of the Pacific Northwest — Death Cab For Cutie. The band celebrated the 10-year anniversary of their album Transatlanticism by performing it from front to back. While a majority of attendees opted to watch the set from an air-conditioned arena, some of us recognized the uniqueness of this experience and enjoyed the entire set lying in the grass where the entire performance was streamed.
Monday was the day for soul and folk. Local blues/R&B group Hot Bodies In Motion have been making their way through the Seattle scene with songs such as "Old Habits," "That Darkness" and "The Pulse." Their set was lively and enticing to people who have seen them multiple times or never at all.
My other highlights of the festival included the Maldives, who delivered a fun performance with the perfect amount of satirical humor and folk. They represent the increasing number of Pacific Northwest bands who consist of many members playing different sounds while still managing to stay cohesive and simple. I embraced the return of folk/pop duo Ivan & Alyosha with open arms and later closed my festival experience with local favorite Stone.
For music fans in Seattle and beyond, the annual Bumbershoot festival is a must-attend.
(Alexa Zaske is the Chapter Assistant for The Recording Academy Pacific Northwest Chapter. She's a music enthusiast and obsessed with the local Seattle scene.)
Neil Portnow and Jimmy Jam
Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images
Neil Portnow Addresses Diversity & Inclusion, Looks Ahead During Speech At 2019 GRAMMYs
Jimmy Jam helps celebrate the outgoing President/CEO of the Recording Academy on the 61st GRAMMY Awards
As Neil Portnow's tenure as Recording Academy President/CEO draws to its end, five-time GRAMMY winner Jimmy Jam paid tribute to his friend and walked us through a brief overview of some of the Academy's major recent achievements, including the invaluable work of MusiCares, the GRAMMY Museum, Advocacy and more.
Portnow delivered a brief speech, acknowledging the need to continue to focus on issues of diversity and inclusion in the music industry. He also seized the golden opportunity to say the words he's always wanted to say on the GRAMMY stage, saying, "I'd like to thank the Academy," showing his gratitude and respect for the staff, elected leaders and music community he's worked with during his career at the Recording Academy. "We can be so proud of what we’ve all accomplished together," Portnow added.
"As I finish out my term leading this great organization, my heart and soul are filled with gratitude, pride, for the opportunity and unequal experience," he continued. "Please know that my commitment to all the good that we do will carry on as we turn the page on the next chapter of the storied history of this phenomenal institution."