A Rising WVVE: The Singer On Singing Alongside IU and Making Her Solo Debut

Once a backup singer for South Korean pop superstar IU, WVVE shares her story with &ASIAN as she makes her solo debut "Sweet Like Sugar".
All photos: WVVE by Francesca Sostar.
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A Rising WVVE: The Singer On Singing Alongside IU and Making Her Solo Debut

She sang on stage with a star, and now she hopes to become one too. WVVE (pronounced “wave”) is the latest new talent to be making a path for herself in the music scene. But she’s certainly no stranger to the industry.

For several years, WVVE has had a career singing backup vocals for beloved superstar IU, and just last year she joined the pop queen on stage for her “The Golden Hour: Under the Orange Sun” concert, which was so in demand that even many of Korea's most well known celebrities were in attendance. WVVE's had immense success already, so who is this hidden talent? She details her journey, her fears, and how she hopes to soothe the world with her voice. 

What is the story behind your stage name “WVVE”?

I love waves because sometimes they are calm and sing quietly, but sometimes they are powerful, roar, and cover everything. And then, they disappear without a trace, only leaving a footprint in the water. I want to be a person who influences everyone like that but disappears leaving only what I have to leave.

How did your career as a backup singer for IU influence and inspire your journey towards debuting your own music?

We went to so many places together, and we stood together in front of so many people. Last September, we performed together in front of 12,000 people, and when we sang “Strawberry Moon” as one will be a moment I’ll never forget. These experiences have given me the confidence to sing happily in front of anyone. I've already sung in front of 12,000 people, and so many different people for 10 years. I’ve done this, so now what can’t I do? That's how I feel.

IU and her team are a source of inspiration for me musically. They have passionate, sincere, and warm hearts. Every night I came home from a tour or ensemble with them, I wrote a diary or lyrics about what I felt with them. 

Your debut single “Sweet Like Sugar” is a track with a refreshing and feel-good sound. What was your creative process behind penning the song, and why did you choose this track to be your initial release as a musician?

Usually I make songs about sadness, condolences, and calm, so making “Sweet Like Sugar” is very refreshing for me. When I was penning this song, I wrote an essay about someone who is completely fascinated by whom she loves. I felt like I was the main character of the essay, and wrote the lyrics closing my eyes and humming melodies. 

Since this is my first single, I want to show everyone what I can do. I'm sure many people didn't expect me to sing a song like this, but I always wanted to make music with hip-hop and R&B influences. I’m saying loudly, “Hi! This is me!”.

Most journeys aren’t linear. Have you had any obstacles you had to overcome in moving towards debuting?

Fear. I got Covid during the preparation, I couldn't sleep well, but this really didn't matter to me. A lot of people have been with me and helped me, but my fear was constantly making me second guess myself, "Can you do this? It's not something you’ve done before." But I said to myself, “You can do this. Maybe not perfectly, but you can do your best.” That’s all we all need. And that’s why I’m here.

As you move forward, how do you want your music to evolve, and what other stories do you hope to tell through your music?

I want my music to evolve to be as diverse as possible. Even if I get just one story, I want to tell it in various ways. And I hope my story will make people feel at peace, like the sound of calm waves.

What are your biggest goals in your career?

It's a secret dream I've had since I was a teenager: I’d love to be nominated for a Grammy. I saw the Grammys in 2012 when I was 17 with Rihanna and Bruno Mars. Rihanna performed “We Found Love”, and Bruno Mars performed “Runaway Baby”. When I first met them, I was just in awe. 

At a young age, what inspired you to pursue the arts and study at Seoul Institute of the Arts? Have you always been a creative person?

When I was 15, I wanted to be surrounded by musicians, talk about music all day, and make music. To do so, I thought Seoul Institute of the Arts was the best option. And now, I'm sure that choice was right. We thought about music all day, and we tried all kinds of different ideas. It’s made me who I am.

If you could say anything to your younger self, what would it be?

It’s okay. You’re not wrong at all. You’ll try your best and that’s all you can do. Be confident, Move forward. Love whoever you are. <3

WVVE’s debut single “Sweet Like Sugar” comes out on April 28th. She can be found on Instagram and all major streaming platforms.
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