Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Kim Yoo Hyang
Born in 1991, Lee Sumin is a singer-songwriter and producer who started creating various music like Soul, R&B, Pop, and EDM in 2015. She says her music is “hard to label it as a certain type. But it could just be a catchy hook.” The artist also prioritizes the music she listens to but also the music she watches with the audience.
Starting in 2016, SUMIN has been working with different K-pop artists by writing, composing, and arranging their songs. For instance, her first studio album, released in 2018, Your Home, paved the way for the theme of ‘Neo K-POP.’ The album further won the Best R&B and Soul Award at the 16th Korean Music Awards (KMA). She makes songs that are fun to listen to with trendy sounds and writes about healthy relationships. Hence, let’s listen to the following five tracks participated by SUMIN that are the most iconic in K-pop.
BTS – Lie (2016)
This is Jimin’s solo track in WINGS, the first album to carry individual songs for each member. In addition, SUMIN took part in the song by producing it. Much like the lyrics, “Caught in a lie, find me who was pure. I can’t escape from this lie. Please get my smile back,” the song illustrates a boy going through a crisis for being dishonest. It surpassed a hundred million streams on Spotify as of March 2021, becoming the song with most streams in the album after the title track. The music is inspiring as it starts with the persona swept in chaos and becomes gradually cheerful as it reaches the chorus with Jimin’s voice.
Taemin – Criminal (SUMIN Remix) (2020)
While 20-year-old SUMIN was listening to SHINEE’s “Replay,” she was deeply stirred by K-Pop’s impact through its production, choreography, and music video. Since then, she showed her love for SM artists’ music by uploading a remix of Luna’s “Free Somebody,” which got a lot of attention. These small steps eventually led her to work with Taemin for a remix of “Criminal.” The song came out as a piece of ‘iScreaM,’ a project of SM EDM label, ScreaM Records, which releases SM artists’ remix cover songs monthly. With her voice in parts of the song, it became easier to listen to than the original track, less emphasizing the stronger sounds.
CHUNG HA – Bother Me (2021)
Unlike most albums, Chungha came out with 21 songs in her first full-length album Querencia. The ninth track, “Bother Me” is a part of the album’s ‘SIDE B’ along with the pre-released “Stay Tonight.” This is among the four different parts divided by the different moods of the songs. SUMIN joined in with her lyrics, co-composing, and chorus. The stuffiness one feels while feeling the love in the air with someone else was expressed in the lyrics: “Woo woo woo, you make me so confused and annoyed.” The song’s title is not telling someone off “Don’t Bother Me” for a problematic relationship. “Bother Me” presents the desire to continue the disturbing relationship with sensual rhythms.
Red Velvet – Eyes Locked, Hands Locked (2019)
“Eyes Locked, Hands Locked” is the sixth track of ‘The ReVe Festival’ Day 2, the second album released after Red Velvet announced the start of their festival. In addition, SUMIN wrote, composed, and co-arranged the track. What is notable in this song is how they sing each syllable in “heart heart” of “Our heart heart.” For instance, it is impressive to hear Joy and Wendy’s relaxed voice like the finesse as they freely sing without straining. While SUMIN had already worked with Red Velvet on their performance-centric song “Look,” she also excels in ballad songs as an R&B singer-songwriter. And as the lyrics capture the world of two lovers in the lyrics, the 4-minute long ballad track doesn’t give the listeners time to get bored.
IU – Epilogue (2021)
The latest released album, LILAC, was IU’s way of thanking fans for watching and listening to her from the beginning to the end of her 20s. SUMIN joined the last track, “Epilogue,” as IU wrote autobiographical lyrics like “I have no doubts in my heart. I’m moving on to the next.” The song is a gentle and kind greeting that allows the singer and listener to exchange friendly greetings.
Editor Seo Hayne: I like actors as they faithfully lead through their long running-time. I also like idols who accomplish everything on stage within 3 minutes.