Hello everyone! It’s nice to be back on the blogging circuit once again! Here for you today, I present an exclusive interview with a living legend of KPOP – she was one of the original members of a highly successful girl group in Korea in the 90s, and she’s current active both behind the scenes and as a solo artist today. For your reading enjoyment today, please give it up for singer Lola Fair!
Lola Fair (real name: Yumi Cha) is an indie EDM and pop artist in the United States. Currently signed to XP Entertainment, she has featured on a number of tracks with artists like Ghostkick. Her name is very familiar, back in her motherland of South Korea, however. She was one of the 1st-generation members of the super-popular KPOP girl group Baby VOX, which debuted in 1997 and ran until 2006. Yumi, as she was known then, debuted with members Jung Shi Woon, Jang Hyun Jung, Lee Hee Jin and Kim E-Z. However, her time with the group was short lived as she left the group during their 1st album promotions due to health concerns. Thankfully, today her passion for music is stronger than ever, working as both an artist and behind the scenes, she has done some studio work for tracks from artists like Kim Bum Soo, BoA and Girls’ Generation. Given her busy recording schedule, she spent some time answering questions for the RC readers, so check it out!
For those who aren’t familiar with who you are, please introduce yourself briefly.
Hi everyone, I’m Yumi, now going by artist name Lola Fair and I’m one of the original members of the first 5 member KPOP girl group Baby VOX.
For fans that are familiar with you, you were a former 1st generation Baby VOX member. What was your overall experience like being in the group?
It was definitely one of the most interesting experiences of my life. The music, the outfits, the hair….and most of all, the KPOP fans who really come out in force to support you…it was pretty crazy. I remember getting trapped on a bus where the fans were so excited to see us that it was swaying back and forth from the sheer force of the fans pushing. Surreal. I was definitely not prepared for what I was getting into, and the hectic schedule and tough rehearsal hours really affected my health. Being in a KPOP group is not as easy as it looks. Still, it was an experience of a lifetime.
What has been the biggest change for you since leaving Baby VOX?
I think finding my artistic identity has been a challenge after being in a pop group. There is so much training involved vocally and choreography-wise and it’s hard to break out of all the years of training in order to establish a new identity.
You made your first KPOP event appearance in a long time this past August at KCON in LA. How did that happen? And what was the overall experience like?
I’ve actually been working behind the scenes, so I’ve never really “been away”. I’ve been writing for other artists and also started an indie dance label. I was connected through another panelist who participated in last year’s KCON. KCON was a great reminder of my KPOP roots. It also made me realize how much KPOP has grown, especially when I saw how diverse the attendees of KCON were. It was pretty awesome.
What are your thoughts on how far KPOP has come, as a global force, compared to how it was in your heyday?
It’s really amazing how KPOP has become such a worldwide phenomenon. I think YouTube has a huge hand in that. And I thought it was crazy back then, but this is a whole new level. I can honestly say that the quality of KPOP music is now on par with American music…and dare I say has even surpassed it? And the KPOP fashion…another level.
Are you still in touch with your former Baby VOX members, or anyone you knew in the KPOP business back then?
No, I haven’t seen the members in years. I would say I interact more with artists who are currently active.
Can you see yourself going back to Korea to do music?
Definitely. Music is in my blood. My parents were both musicians, and apparently I was singing from the moment I started talking, so I think I’ll always be making music in some way or form. And my Korean language skills are better than they’ve ever been, so why not?
You’ve been doing music for the last little while as both a solo artist and as part of a duo (Lola Fair & Baby J). You’ve also been doing behind-the-scenes work. What do you like about both?
They’re very alike in many ways because it all involves creativity. As long as I’m creating music I’m happy. Of course, I love singing as well. I’ve come to a realization that singing is like breathing for me. When I go too long without it, it’s almost suffocating.
Your stage name is Lola Fair – how did you come up with that name?
When we were trying to come up with a group name for our duo LFBJ, we brainstormed the name Lola Fair, with the LoLa standing for lower Los Angeles which is where I’m from, and the Fair symbolizes everyone’s desire to be treated fairly, especially as a minority. As you can see, it didn’t really sound like a group name so I took it as my moniker.
A new trend these days is old school KPOP artists getting into the EDM scene. Aside from you, DJ Koo has been producing EDM tracks, including a highly successful remix of Clon’s “Nan”, and former S.E.S member Bada was the featured vocalist on a track produced by Tiesto collaborator BT. Why do you think this trend exists, based on your own personal experience?
I think EDM gives pop artists a way to break away from what they’ve already done, and the separate nature of the market is almost like a fresh new start to people who’ve been there, done that I guess. And since EDM music has become so mainstream lately, it’s even easier for artists to move back and forth. And collaborations are always fun for artists looking to reach audiences they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.
As far as music is concerned, who gives you your inspiration? Who did you look up to when first starting music?
I grew up listening to artist like Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey. So I’m pretty much an Asian soul sister. But I listen to all types of music. If it’s good, I like it.
What are your five most played songs on your iPod currently?
I’m really digging Let Her Go by Passenger, Unconditionally by Katy Perry, Days To Come by Seven Lions, Strict Machine by Goldfrapp, and Gluttony by Ghostkick featuring Jeanie.
Who are some of your favourite artists currently?
There’s too many great artists out there… can’t choose!
When you have spare time, what do you do for fun?
I watch anime, eat Japanese crepes, shop. I love the culture in Tokyo, so anything I can do out there. I also run a little online jewelry site for fun, with items I find on my travels.
Name one thing that fans may not already know about you.
I like to play video games. Although not so much these days as it takes up too much of my time if I get started. So I’m on a video game diet right now.
You have been involved as an artist for some time now, and music styles and tastes are changing quickly in this day and age. Where do you see music going in the future, in the sense of changing tastes, and will this allow you continued creativity down the road?
Music always cycles back. Like r&b music was MIA for a while, and it seems to be returning thanks to Drake, Arianna Grande, etc. I do see music becoming less boxed into one genre, as more and more artists are creating music that sounds like a hybrid of different genres. It’ll be exciting to see what’s next.
Any final words for the readers?
There are fans who’ve been with me from the beginning who are still following what I do today so I’d like to say Thank You for your support! I’ll be releasing new music in the months to come, so see you all again soon.
A huge words thanks going out to both Lola and her management at XP Entertainment for allow us to do the interview! Keep an eye out on this singer, lots more exciting material to come from her very soon! Until next time readers, that was a rhythm.connection exclusive!