[Exclusive Interview] TE.O is Calling You to Listen to Payphone

TE.O is calling us to listen to his brand new single “Payphone,” the RnB track was released on 17 February. The song is a complex story focusing on the importance of Payphones be it, unrequited love, or in TE.O’s case relying on one with a battery-dead mobile phone in modern times the Payphone is still there regardless of the situation. 

Alongside releasing original music, TE.O made his solo debut in 2018 with the melodic single album Paradise. He’s been showcasing his many talents such as covering songs in different languages on his Youtube channel for a few months, gathering more interest outside of Korea. I sit down to talk about his new single, shooting music videos, and whose shoes would he want to be in for one day!

Following the song’s release an aesthetically cool music video with jazzy vibes, the setting of a jazz musician on stage came naturally. To come out with the retro feel, the artist worked with a video director to find an antique outfit and filming location.

Your new single “Payphone” is described as an R&B topped with a jazzy touch, what is the single about and what was the creative process for the track?

The story is about a man who was rejected by his ex-girlfriend. So he needs to use a payphone because his cell phone was blocked. Recently, my cell phone was broken, so I needed to use a payphone. It’s quite a special experience for me. That’s why I made “Payphone

Alongside the single is the music video, which sees you looking sleek. What inspiration did you take to create the visuals for the video, and what was the most fun part of the whole creation process?

It reminds me of retro music, so I wanted the set to be antique and retro. So we prepared the concept and outfit that fitted it. It was a fun episode, everything was fun while shooting. But if I have to pick one, the ending scene (throwing a book). That's my favorite part of the music video.

2022 saw you release two singles “Bomb” and “Paint Over”, both have a smooth R&B flow. How would you describe your music style, and do you take influence from any artists in particular?

I want to continue to show new and diverse styles, so I want to describe my music style with onions. Even if you keep peeling it, something new keeps coming out.  And I don't get influenced by a specific artist. I think my style was created under the influence of many artists who play pop and R&B.

Following on from the above, “Be With You” was released in January, it’s not only a calming number but the lyrics “You look like a smiling child like a blooming flower” are very romantic. Where do you continue to get inspiration to write, do you take from personal experiences?

About “Be With You”, I co-wrote it with my producer Siu. Those lyrics are from Siu (laughs). Anyway, when I write lyrics, I usually reflect reality, imagine something, and also look for other sources. Such as books, dramas, and movies.

“Be With You” was accompanied by a creative illustrated lyric video, what made you choose that route instead of a traditional music video?

In fact, I thought “Be With You” is a song that fits well with wintertime. So I rushed to release it before “Payphone” came. It wasn't that I was running out of time to shoot a music video, but I just decided to release this album as a lyric video. It would be great to have a music video for all the songs, but I think it's also a good idea to release it without the videos.

For new fans what songs from your discography do you think they should listen to? 

Umm.. If I can recommend one, "Payphone" is the song that expresses my musical color the best.

Speaking of discographies, what songs are heavily played on your music playlist right now?  

I don't listen to my songs often because I'm sick of them. I listened to it so many times while writing. So I listen to them sometimes lol. Anyway, like others do, I listen to various songs. Depending on my mood, I listen to exciting songs and sad and slow-tempo songs. 

If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes, whose would they be, and why? Can be anyone from history or the present day! 

If I got that opportunity, Steve Jobs. As everybody knows, he passed away now. Anyway, I think he's one of the top 5 greatest humans in the whole world. I want to feel a little bit of his life and how intensely he lived.

With all the things you’ve achieved, what's been the proudest moment of your career thus far?

When I was in the group 2MUCH, I performed in Turkey. It was the biggest stage while doing music. I was really nervous at that time, but I think it was the proudest and the best moment. I still can vividly remember it. I want to perform on a big stage in the near future. To make it true again, I will try my best 🙂

What 2023 goals do you have for this year, what does the new year hold for TE.O?

My goal for this year is to let people know more about my music. Also, I want to sing on many big stages,  I don't have any special plans right now, but I'm planning to work harder and continue.

Follow TE.O:

Instagram |  Youtube

Check out TE.O’s new single ‘Payphone’

Spotify | Apple Music

Thank you to TE.O and Moonlight PR for this interview.

Follow KpopWise on Instagram and Twitter to keep up with the latest Kpop news and for more exclusive interviews!

Kirsty Bright

A UK freelance writer, who stumbled into the land of Kpop while studying Korean. Her bias groups are BTS and Seventeen, but she loves a range of groups and finding new artists to listen to! Contact on Insta: @kirstybright_ Portfolio: kirstybright.journoportfolio.com

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post