Any K-pop fan worth his or her salt would know IU. To call her Korea’s Taylor Swift would not do her justice because she deserves more than a comparison to another singer. Sure, she sings, dance and compose her own songs, but the comparison probably ends there. IU has her own brand of music. She doesn’t only sing about love, but also mental health (“A Gloomy Clock”, “Through The Night”), as well as societal issues (“BBIBBI”). The 25-year-old, whose real name is Lee Ji Eun, has also branded herself as an actress, bagging roles alongside some of South Korea’s A-list actors. Last weekend, the singer came to Singapore, a decade after her debut in the entertainment industry, for the Singapore leg of her tour, 2018 IU 10th Anniversary Tour Concert <이지금dlwlrma>. We might have known her for 10 years, but we found ourselves learning more about her during the concert. Scroll through the gallery to find out what we learnt.
She spoke English so well that she didn’t need a translator
It’s obviously OK for a Korean to speak English well, but she surprised us by speaking the language like a native. Her wide range of vocabulary and perfect grammar meant that she didn’t need a translator. It got to the point where the staff had to tell her to speak Korean or, in their words, “it won’t be interesting”. Question is, between acting, singing and writing songs, where did she find the time to learn English? Hats off to her!
She’s happy now
The singer told her fans that they have made her a better person. She said in English, “When I was young, even though I received so much love, I used to pay attention to people who disliked me. That’s why my lyrics were so sharp and dark. It has changed now. I have become a person who can focus more on love.” She added, “Seeing you guys makes me want to write more songs about love and comfort. And I really love myself when I’m in a mood like this. You guys make me a better person.” Nawww…
She misses Jonghyun
She surprised her fans with a song that wasn’t on the setlist—“Gloomy Clock”. The song, which was written by SHINee’s Jonghyun, speaks of depression, something both IU and Jonghyun had battled with. She said, “I’ve been thinking about this song a lot recently. This song has been a great comfort to me since I made it. … I wrote this song with the person I really miss.” She switched her purple mic to a pearl aqua green one—which represents SHINee’s official fanclub colour—to belt out the ballad. Before Jonghyun’s death, he revealed that he often talked to IU about music, and that he had sent the song to IU because he didn’t know how to proceed with the composition. It was then that IU told him to sell it to her. The SHINee vocalist passed away on December 18, 2017.
She can really hold a tune
When an artist performs with a live band, you know you’re in for a musical treat, and boy were we treated to one during the concert. IU sang live from the first note till the last, never missing a beat or going off-key. The singer even danced to half the songs, opening with fast-tempo track “The Red Shoes” and still managing to hit the iconic three-note part in “Good Day”. The singer also surprised the crowd with her own rendition of Karen Mok’s “Ai Qing”, surprising fans with her perfect pronunciation. Apart from tunes off her newer albums, she also sang older songs such as “Marshmallow” and “Boo”, which were released in the earlier part of her career. During the former, dancers dressed in Marshmallow mascot costumes went around the arena to dance and entertain fans. We hope you managed to catch the performance because she revealed you won’t be able to see her perform those songs in concert again. She said, “This tour is the last time I’ll be singing ‘Marshmallow’ and ‘Boo’, so I brought [the costumes] here. I’m sad too but I think it’s time to leave behind the cute and young IU.”
She really loves her fans
You can tell when an artist is performing just for the sake of performing, and you know IU is not one of them. The singer periodically expressed her gratitude and apology to her fans for not visiting earlier. While most of her concerts had an “en-encore” (encore after an encore), one wasn’t planned for her Singapore show due to a lack of time. She revealed that she had a flight to catch and that her crew had to dismantle the set-up for their Bangkok concert the next day, but she decided to treat fans to a short “en-encore” because she knew Singapore fans were looking forward to it. The singer even gamely took in song requests from fans! Just before she started the last leg, she told the security guards to allow her fans to record videos! She said, “Since this is not the actual concert, I will let my fans record me. (To the security guards) Thank you for working hard.” The concert had a strict no photography and videography policy, and security guards had roamed the arena during the whole show to stop fans from taking photos and videos.
She really loves Singapore
IU had arrived two days prior to her show to do some sightseeing. She said, “I recently saw a movie shot in Singapore, so I really wanted to be here.” She didn’t reveal the title of the movie, but we’re putting our money on it being Crazy Rich Asians. She gushed during the concert, “Two days ago, I went sightseeing with my team, and it was so fantastic. I think I fell in love with Singapore.” She went on to reveal that she’ll be coming back to Singapore next year for a holiday—this time round, with her family. “I told my dad and he’s really happy. I hope I can see all of you again next year.” The reason why she loves Singapore? She broke it down for us: delicious food, kind people, clean environment.