The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Zion.T aims to rebrand with new LP ‘Zip’

By Hong Yoo

Published : Dec. 6, 2023 - 10:02

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Zion.T (The Black Label) Zion.T (The Black Label)

Singer-songwriter Zion.T contemplated how to reach new listeners when working on his third studio album, “Zip,” which is his first album release in five years.

“I (wanted) to present a good album that rebrands my identity as a musician to attract new listeners. I want this album to open a new chapter of my career,” Zion.T said during an interview with a group of reporters on Monday.

Zion.T has made his mark on the music industry over the last 12 years as a creative singer-songwriter, making unique and sophisticated music, mostly within the R&B genre.

“I tried to increase the level of perfection for a classic yet sophisticated result. I think this is the only way to compete with other artists these days when streaming traffic and whether or not a song goes viral decides its success,” he explained.

The 10-track album set to be released Wednesday is led by three title tracks -- “Stranger,” "Unlove" and “V.”

“To show who artist Zion.T really is, I not only focused on articulating my thoughts well in the lyrics but also on visualizing them in the music videos for the lead tracks of this album," he said.

Well-known actor Choi Min-sik stars in the music video of "Stranger,” according to Zion, because Choi is a perfect representation of someone that all Koreans know, yet no one really knows in person.

For the music video for "Unlove,” Zion.T worked with the famous production team Nvrmnd, known for its work with NewJeans and The Coca-Cola Company.

“I got the inspiration for this song from the heart button we click for likes on social media. It is easy to click that heart-shaped button but also easy to ‘unlike’ it. Likewise, the young generation these days easily let go of unnecessary relationships," he said. "As a musician, it is even easier for me to be ‘unloved’ and that's why I wrote a song with this theme,” explained Zion.T.

Honne, an English electronic music duo, took part in producing this track.

“We worked on this when Honne came on a tour in Seoul over the summer. Our music styles were very different so it was hard to overcome those barriers at first. Listeners will be able to enjoy the European pop sound in the song, which has both a kitsch and warm feel,” he said.

Zion.T also worked with the K-pop’s famed sibling duo, AKMU, for the third title track, “V (Peace).”

“This song is of the Shibuya-kei genre composed with a scratch source for which I thought AKMU was the best fit. They are my favorite artists in Korea so it was fun working with them,” Zion. T said.

In his latest album, Zion.T turned to diverse instrumental sounds including the sounds of a drum, piano and mellotron.

“An album is like a thesis for a musician so I think I have to make diverse new attempts when creating an album. I tried to put many layers into each song,” the artist said.

Zion.T hinted that more albums may be in the works for next year.

"I hope to make as many albums as possible when I have the energy to do so because goes by so quickly. After this classic but sophisticated album, I want to make easy-listening songs."