Interview: Kim Sejeong Unlocks the Secrets Behind her New Album and 1st Concert Tour!

From K-Pop sensation to acclaimed actress and solo artist, Kim Sejeong is a force to be reckoned with in South Korea’s entertainment industry

By: Oct. 16, 2023
Interview: Kim Sejeong Unlocks the Secrets Behind her New Album and 1st Concert Tour!

Amongst the sea of talent in the South Korean entertainment industry nowadays, an artist that has always stood out from the rest is singer, dancer, and actress, Kim Sejeong. Effortlessly winning the hearts of audiences both domestically and internationally, Kim Sejeong has left a mark in every sector she’s been involved in. Whether it’s with her remarkable voice through her music, her passionate acting in K-dramas, or her confidence on the theatre stage, her ability to excel in all of these areas is a testament to her versatility and dedication to her craft. 

Kim Sejeong is an artist under Jellyfish Entertainment and first rose to prominence when she placed 2nd in the competition show, Produce 101, earning her a spot in the girl group, I.O.I. After I.O.I concluded their activities, she became a member of the K-Pop girl group, Gugudan. Her time in these groups acted as a pivotal chapter in her career, showcasing her exceptional vocal abilities earning the adoration of fans near and far. This experience built Kim Sejeong a strong foundation in the entertainment industry enabling her to pursue a solo music career. In March of 2020, Kim Sejeong released her 1st self-written and composed EP, “Plant.” Shortly after, she released her 2nd EP entitled, “I’m,” which was also self-written and composed by her and featured the lead single, “Warning.” Both EP’s have showcased her strong vocal abilities and growth as an artist. 

Interview: Kim Sejeong Unlocks the Secrets Behind her New Album and 1st Concert Tour!

Photo Credit: Jellyfish Entertainment

While excelling in the music industry, Kim Sejeong has also had a very successful acting career. She made her debut as an actress in the 2017 KBS2 teen drama, “School 2017,” as the lead character, Ra Eun-ho. Her natural acting abilities were recognized with this role and even earned her the “Best New Actress” award at the 31st KBS Drama Awards. As she garnered attention in the acting world, her portfolio expanded quickly as she tackled a wide range of roles including one in the mystery romantic comedy drama, “I Wanna Hear Your Song,” the romantic comedy drama, “Today’s Webtoon,” and the action packed South Korean television series, “The Uncanny Counter" to name a few. “The Uncanny Counter” is the highest rated OCN series of call time and Kim Sejeong most recently reprised her role in the show as Do Ha-na in “The Uncanny Counter 2: Counter Punch,” which premiered on tvN and Netflix this summer.

Last summer, Kim Sejeong starred in the SBS romantic comedy, “Business Proposal,” in the leading role of Shin Ha-ri alongside actor Ahn Hyo-seop. Being the role she is most well known for, the show was the 4th overall most watched drama on National South Korean television and the 1st Korean-made TV series that was simultaneously shown on a local TV channel and Netflix to rank number 1 on the official viewership chart. Her performance drew a lot of praise from both viewers and critics and she even sang a version of the song, “Love, Maybe,” for the drama’s OST. 

Along with her acting on screen, Kim Sejeong has also debuted as a musical theatre actress on stage. She made her debut performance as the female lead in “Return: The Promise of the Day,” which was an original musical about the sacrifices and stories of the soldiers who died in the Korean War. In 2021, Kim Sejeong took on the leading role of Anna in the musical, “Red Book.” The musical won the “Best Picture” award earned a “Best New Musical Actress” nomination for Kim Sejeong at the 2022 Korean Musical Awards. 

Interview: Kim Sejeong Unlocks the Secrets Behind her New Album and 1st Concert Tour!

Photo Credit: Jellyfish Entertainment

Last month, Kim Sejeong made her long awaited comeback as a singer with her first full length album, DOOR. The album has 11 new songs with lyrics written by Kim Sejeong and contains various genres including pop, rock, and jazz. The pre-release title track, “Voyage,” was released in August and is an Irish-style pop-rock song featuring acoustic guitars and fiddles evoking an exciting atmosphere acting as an open ‘Door’ leading to a world of mystery. The main title track of the album is, “Top or Cliff.” This song is an R&B track that shows the powerful and sexy side of  herself and really highlights the strength of her vocals.

Throughout the entire album, Kim Sejeong navigates through each song with her wide vocal range that puts forth a very precisional sound with power and grace. Whether it’s an upbeat melody or a powerful ballad, her unique voice is able to both comfort or electrify you depending on the song. Her lyrics are filled with many meaningful messages which were evidently well thought out adding an extra layer of authenticity to each song. Within a very competitive industry, Kim Sejeong shines bright. She is a very well-respected singer, dancer, and actor that has shown dedication and true artistry with her work leaving a lasting impact in the South Korean entertainment industry. 

This summer, Kim Sejeong announced her first concert tour, “The 門.” The tour began in Seoul on September 23 and will visit Asia and Australia. The next stop of the tour will be in Tokyo, Japan on October 21st. The last show of the tour will be on November 19th at The Star Event Centre in Sydney, Australia. On behalf of BroadwayWorld, I had the pleasure of speaking with Kim Sejeong about her new album, acting career, and upcoming tour. Read the full interview below! 

Congratulations on the release of your long awaited 1st full album! Throughout your album, you share untold stories and reveal a side to yourself that had been hidden away. How does it feel to reveal this side of yourself that you haven’t shared with the world yet? 

Thank you for your kind words! This comeback marks my return as a singer after a 2 year and 5 month hiatus. I’ve invested a significant amount of time and effort into preparing for it and have been filled with both excitement and nervousness throughout the whole process. With the stories that I’ve accumulated over the years, I was nervous about how people would perceive and connect with them. Each song carries its own unique atmosphere, voice, and lyrics. I hope people look forward to listening to what I’ve created because revealing a new facet of myself was a way of challenging myself. I’ve filled the album with new and diverse stories and my hope is that many will give it a listen and fall in love with it! 

I hope that you are incredibly proud of your album because it is truly a masterpiece and I was smitten when I first listened to it. The songs are beautifully written and sung, I can tell a lot of thought was put into creating each song. Along with the title tracks “Voyage” and “Top or Cliff” many are praising the B-side tracks as well. What was it like being a part of the composition/creative process for the album? 

My goal for this album was to reveal a side of myself that I had not previously shared with others. In order to achieve this goal, I believed it was essential to be actively involved in the album’s production. I worked very hard to ensure that my input was thoughtfully integrated into every aspect including the songs, music video, and introduction materials. I paid a lot of attention to every detail from uniting the songs under a cohesive theme to selecting the album title. I’m proud to see that my dedication has been well reflected in this album. 

Interview: Kim Sejeong Unlocks the Secrets Behind her New Album and 1st Concert Tour!

Photo Credit: Jellyfish Entertainment

The songs of DOOR are so diverse in terms of the sounds and genres that you experiment with. The album feels “fully realized” with how everything was put together in terms of the lyrics, instrumentation, and vocals. How long did it take for everything to come together? Were there any challenges along the way? 

I began writing the songs for this album approximately three years ago; composing and jotting down ideas whenever I found the time. I'd say it has been around a year since the preparation of this album started in full swing. One of the challenges I encountered was threading together songs that conveyed a range of emotions into a cohesive theme, given that people's thoughts and feelings can change over an extended period of time.

There are 11 new songs on the album with lyrics written by yourself. What inspired your lyrics? 

I tend to draw inspiration for my lyrics from various aspects of everyday life. As I mentioned earlier, I've been actively composing and writing lyrics for three years now and it has become both a hobby and an integral part of my life. During this period, I've consistently jotted down thoughts and emotions that arise in my daily experiences and I would later revisit these notes, looking through to see which ideas can be written into songs. I often begin with ideas like, "this can be narrated well through music" or "this message would work beautifully as lyrics." Then I rearrange these thoughts into songs or lyrics. This creative process allows me to tap into inspiration at any moment, whether it's from my fans or during my travels.

The music video for your song, “Top or Cliff” recently premiered. Through both the song and MV, a sexier and more powerful image of yourself was shown. What was it like filming  the suspenseful MV for “Top or Cliff?” Did you find it easier or more challenging compared to the shoots for your other music videos? 

There were numerous action scenes involved in the music video for “Top or Cliff,” which meant that the required acting, physical shape, and overall atmosphere were quite different from my previous music videos. The actors who previously collaborated with me during the filming of The Uncanny Counter acted in this music video as well. This made the process of bringing everything together and executing the action scenes far smoother than I initially anticipated.

Interview: Kim Sejeong Unlocks the Secrets Behind her New Album and 1st Concert Tour!

Photo Credit: Jellyfish Entertainment

You are truly a triple threat in the entertainment industry. Having excelled in singing, acting, dancing, and variety shows … you have done it all. From debuting in idol groups (I.O.I and Gugudan) and as a solo artist, you have had quite the career so far. Is there anything that you haven’t pursued yet that you would like to try in the future? 

I'm interested in acting in plays as well as exploring musicals or music films in the future.

Acting is something that you are well known for along with your music. Most recently, you starred in both Netflix’s The Uncanny Counter (Season 1 & 2) and Business Proposal. Looking at all the acting roles you’ve ever done, which character that you’ve played is closest to your true personality? 

The characters I feel most connected to in terms of my real personality are On Ma-Eum from the drama, Today's Webtoon, and Anna from the musical Red Book. They share qualities such as a positive outlook on life, pursuing their dreams in their unique ways, and cherishing each day with love. It's these similarities that made me feel comfortable while portraying these characters.

With all of your recent acting, new music, and upcoming tour, it must be hard to find a break to relax. One of the things that your fans love are the videos and vlogs that you make when you aren’t filming for singing, acting, or hosting related ventures. Recently, you filmed a vlog with Twice’s Jihyo during a trip to Jeju Island and have filmed vlogs in the past like your vlog series called, “CLEAN_ing,” on Youtube showing what you do in your free time. What have been your favorite things to do to relax outside of your busy work schedule? 

Even when I take a break from work, I often find myself gravitating back to my hobbies of composing and writing lyrics [laughs]. Apart from that, I have a passion for traveling with my loved ones and enjoying delicious food during our trips. I love planning visits to places I've been longing to explore!

Interview: Kim Sejeong Unlocks the Secrets Behind her New Album and 1st Concert Tour!

Photo Credit: Jellyfish Entertainment

You have had the lead role in a few stage musicals including “Return: The Promise of the Day” and “Red Book.” With musicals and live performances, there’s always pressure to sing well as these both involve singing in front of a live audience. You have a really outstanding voice that really brightens up a room and always sing so effortlessly every performance. Do you ever get nervous when singing in front of a live audience and if so, how do you deal with nerves? 

I often find myself feeling nervous every time I sing on stage. There are recurring concerns like, “will our fans enjoy this performance?” or “will my emotions come across effectively?” As time goes on and I continue to perform on various stages, I have noticed that our fans gradually come to understand me better. Knowing that, they appreciate my sincerity and love me for who I am. I find comfort in their support, which allows me to let go of tension and worry.

Later this month, you will embark on your 1st concert tour that will start in Seoul and visit cities in both Asia and Australia. What can fans look forward to when they come to see you on tour? 

As this is my first tour, I think the fans should have high expectations of what’s in store for them. I intend to deliver a performance that includes tracks from my latest album, along with songs from my past that have been loved by many. We're putting in the effort to create choreography that suits each song, so you can definitely look forward to an exciting and varied lineup of performances!

Kim Sejeong’s first full album, DOOR, is available to stream now on Spotify and Apple Music featuring the songs, “Voyage,” and “Top or Cliff.” The remaining dates for her 1st concert tour are as followed: 

October 21st in Tokyo at Zepp Haneda 

October 27th in Singapore at The Theatre at Mediacorp 

October 29th in Kuala Lumpur at the Mega Star Arena 

November 4th in Bangkok at the Thunder Dome 

November 17th in Melbourne at the Festival Hall (Melbourne) 

November 19th in Sydney at The Star Event Centre 

Watch the music video for “Top or Cliff” below! 

This interview was done with the assistance of a Korean translator. 

Top Photo Credit: Jellyfish Entertainment 


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