Sunmi conquers Europe

Original Photo (c) Seono, CC BY-SA 4.0

The solo K-pop artist Sunmi started her long-awaited world tour named “Good Girl Gone Mad” on August 14th in Warsaw (Europe). Maxazine visited her concert in Amsterdam in the venue “De Melkweg”. The venue was (almost) sold out. The North American leg of the tour starts on September 2nd in Chicago and ends on September 15th in Vancouver. The tour ends in her home country South Korea on October 8th. 

Sunmi is one of the great independent women of K-pop who went on her own career path quite quickly (in 2010). She had her debut in the 2nd generation K-pop group “Wonder Girls” in 2007. Their song ‘So Hot’ became an instant hit in 2008. Wonder Girls were the first K-pop group to enter the top 100 of Billboard. Nowadays many netizens use the slogan “Blackpink and BTS paved the way” but you can say that also of Wonder Girls. And they still had their influence in 2018, ‘So Hot’ was covered by Blackpink during their Arena Tour 2018. Sunmi released 3 EPs in her solo career and more than 20 singles. Her biggest hit was “Gashina” in 2017. 

We asked the fans in the Melkweg: ‘Where did you get to know Sunmi from?’ They responded: ‘Either from Wonder Girls, YouTube, social media or friends’. Some fans prefer the old generation of K-pop over the newer generation. They adore Sunmi because she has a unique position within the K-pop style, combining disco and 80ies influences with K-pop and touching lyrics. Her lyrics have a deeper meaning with some darkness added. In general, the fans being interviewed have been listening to K-pop for several years. 

She has a style that stands out from the other K-pop artists and she wrote many lyrics of her songs. She calls it “Sunmi-pop”. Starting the concert with the 80’s inspired drumbeats of “Siren”, diva Sunmi sends out a clear message through her music to the audience: ‘I want to start with a lot of energy!’. After the well chosen opening song “Siren”, we continued in the same vibe with the e.d.m. infused pop song “Lalalay” and another electronic pop based song “Pporapippam” with excellent phonetics for singing along. “Sunny” continues the great energy.

On the stage we also saw 4 female dancers and 2 males dancing along with the star of the day, Sunmi. With “Black Pearl” Sunmi takes the tempo down, the live version has less focus on the sax solos. The audience is more distracted with the moves of Sunmi, she is now alone on the stage and every subtle move with her hips is responded with loud cheers from the audience. We go digging deeply into the human soul with “Narcissism” and “Borderline” before Sunmi and her dancers take a short break with a video projection. 

Sunmi was personally involved in the graphics of the projected videos which contained dreamy pictures of animals, flowers, trees, plants, Korean language, and very artistic representation of geometrical patterns in motion and … also herself.

For the songs “What the flower” and “Noir” Sunmi played bass guitar. There are few lead singers playing bass guitar (i.e. Sting of the Police) but K-pop lead singers playing a bass guitar, that’s a very unusual combination. We didn’t see virtuosic instrument playing (we also didn’t expect it), but she plays in an efficient way, and she has good timing and sound and makes good slides. The stage camera image with Sunmi was projected on the backdrop with some artistic delay blended into a background of purple colored moving images.

At the end of “Heroine”, Sunmi danced with only the male lead dancer. His dance moves were simple but very defined and powerful. 

Towards the end of the concert Sunmi had chosen again for upbeat songs. Worth mentioning is “Burn” with the great video projections of the fire and flames on the backdrop like you were in an action movie mixed with images of Sunmi on the stage. Everybody in the venue was dancing and the crowd went crazy on “Gashina”. 

After the concert was finished, people went home with sore throats from singing along with Sunmi and with bags full of merchandise because the merchandise was sold out for that evening. And Sunmi mentioned during the concert there will be a next world tour in the future. We can’t wait!

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