Looking back at the history of R&B music, some believe it’s a lost art, that the golden age of beautiful and original voices are slowly vanishing. While this might be the case in the West, the East has more to offer, especially in Asia. South Korea, in particular, has recently become a leader in pop music and has helped to launch the careers of many gifted vocalists, such as 4Men, Noel, Vromance, Song Jieun, Penomeco, Suran, Dean, and a new emerging group called Voisper, to name just a few. So, what makes Voisper special? Well, they’ve not only begun to represent the new R&B and Pop movement in South Korea, but they have also proven that angelic yet powerful voices are still in high demand.
Video © KBS World
Voisper got together years before their official debut in 2016 with their first single In Your Voice. Growing up as high school friends, they decided to create something special after discovering their vocal abilities: a group with diverse, deep and well-controlled voices, voices that could be easily compared to legends like Boyz II Men, Az Yet, Naul, Brian McKnight, Park Hyo-shin and Shai. Prior to signing a deal with Evermore Music, Dae-gwang, Gwang-ho, Kang-san, and Choong-gi participated in Superstar K, a South Korean talent show; they also took part nine times in the Immortal Song: Singing the Legend, impressing the audience with their transcendent voices.
Video © Evermore Music
Voisper has just released a brand-new single called Keep Going, a song that brings a different sound to the music they previously produced. However, no matter what genre Voisper experiments with, it will always blend well with their extraordinary vocals. The group is soon to perform on TV, and then in February, they are set to hit the road once again. One thing is certain, they cannot wait to meet their fans and share their music with us. Ahead of their TV performance, we conducted an interview with Voisper and talked about their new release, their plans for 2020 and life in general.
Photo © Evermore Music
2016 was the year you officially debuted, but even prior to this you took part in Superstar K (2014). Was it your dream to become singers and be a part of a vocal group?
Dae-gwang: Originally, I was thinking of becoming a vocal trainer instead of a singer. I enjoyed giving my knowledge to others. As a vocal trainer, I’d be able to do what I love, singing, and also teach others. So that was my dream, not becoming a singer.
Gwang-ho: I was singing and preparing on my own towards becoming a singer but then I met these friends by coincidence. That’s how I became a part of a group.
Choong-gi: I didn’t start singing with the goal of “I will become a professional singer.” I simply began to sing because I liked it. I met these friends and started practicing with them, then went on a TV audition program by chance and became the professional singer I am today.
Kang-san: Actually, I originally believed that being a singer was such a faraway, impossible thing for me. But I met these friends somehow, prepared for auditions, and got to debut thanks to a good opportunity.
Your voices are sublime – deep, agile and well-controlled. Your live performances are breathtaking as your harmony is spotless. Did you receive any formal training before becoming professional singers?
Dae-gwang: We are friends who got together to sing in high school. So, even before we became singers, we were taking lessons, entering the music-related department in our school, receiving training and education to become singers, etc.
In 2017, you participated in Immortal Song: Singing the Legend nine times, with superb live performances and to huge acclaim from the audience – each time, you delivered an incredible show. Is there a difference for you between performing live and performing together on TV? Do you ever get stage fright?
Gwang-ho: When performing live (with an audience in front of us), we can work together with the audience and also see their reactions immediately. I think those aspects make it different from TV performances. I haven’t experienced stage fright yet, but I have to say a TV performance always makes me nervous. Even as our group’s years in the business increase, I don’t think that nervousness will ever go away. But I also think that nervousness provides momentum for us to work harder as we sing.
Kang-san of Voisper © Evermore Music
Within a short period of time, you released seven singles, one mini-album, an album, and you just released new music. What was the creative process behind Keep Going?
Choong-gi: For this album, we worked very hard and paid attention to more aspects of the song than before because it will be promoted through TV performances, which we haven’t done in a long time. We tried to show a new side of us that has never been seen before, and I hope listeners will feel that VOISPER has grown and improved.
In January 2020 you are set to perform live on TV, how excited are you about it?
Dae-gwang: We’ll be meeting you all again through our concert soon. Starting with this show, I’d like to prove how we are a vocal group with skills and show how we have improved more than before.
Gwang-ho: We deliberated a lot about how to show a new side of Voisper through this concert, and we are working hard as we prepare. I hope many of you can come.
Choong-gi: Because it’s been a long time since we held our last concert, we’re putting a lot of thought into how we can show a new and improved version of us. You can look forward to it!
Kang-san: TV performances are also good, but I have a greater desire to be closer to our fans. So I’m always excited whenever we have a concert.
Choong-gi of Voisper © Evermore Music
What’s the hardest thing about being in a band? As there are four of you, there must also be four different personalities. How do you work as a team? And how has your sound evolved since you first formed Voisper?
Kang-san: We know each other so well now, we know what the other’s thinking without even speaking. We continually adjust to each other and know when to be careful. I think it’s great that we have been friends since we were young. We are family to each other now, people we can’t live without.
Looking at the Korean music industry right now, where do you think you fit musically, and where do you aspire to fit in the industry?
Dae-gwang: We never thought about where we’d fit in the industry in terms of position or role. I think about being the most “Voisper” we can be, as being who we are is how we give back to fans who have stayed with us all this time. I believe that’s the path we must go on moving forward.
Gwang-ho of Voisper © Evermore Music
It seems like there is a gap in the market for you in the Korean music industry at the moment. As a purely vocal group, you represent the minority. In what ways do you hope Voisper can bring the spotlight back to vocal talent?
Gwang-ho: Singing well, and giving fans good music to listen to – that’s the way for us, I think. Towards that end, we work hard to continually make our skills and our music better than they are at present.
Are there any singers, vocalists or other idols who inspire you musically? Who motivates you to work hard and stay on track?
Dae-gwang: My role model is singer Lee Seung-gi. First off, he sings so well, but he’s also so multi-talented. He’s a variety show entertainer, MC, etc. I want to take after him, and how excellent he is in multiple ways.
Gwang-ho: For me, it’s Park Hyo-shin. I want to emulate how he just keeps on improving as time goes by, and how he always gives incredible music to people. I want to become someone who’s both a lyricist and a composer, like him.
Choong-gi: It’s IU for me. I think it’s so amazing how she makes her own songs and always creates great music to her fans. I want to become like IU one day.
Kang-san: I listen to Crush a lot, who recently released a full-length album. His unique lyrics and trendy melodies are a great help to me.
Dae-gwang of Voisper © Evermore Music
When you’re not working, what do you do to get away from it all and relax?
Dae-gwang: I started boxing recently. It fits me well, more than I expected. I think for a while, I’ll just be boxing whenever I get some free time.
Choong-gi: I usually watch Netflix or Youtube at home.
Gwang-ho: I’m a homebody. I like lazing around at home.
Kang-san: I usually spend my time making songs. I have my own Soundcloud account too. I’d like to focus more on songwriting from now on too.
What are Voisper’s New Year plans?
Dae-gwang: Personally, I want to become good at playing the guitar. My skills are really lacking right now. I’d love to get to play for our fans one day.
Gwang-ho: I want to begin seriously studying lyric-writing and composing. Of course, improving my vocal skills is also a goal.
Choong-gi: I bought a piano keyboard recently. I started making songs and would like to show them to everyone one day.
Kang-san: I want to work as a producer or a composer. I’ve always been interested in writing songs, ever since I was young. I’m as interested in songwriting as I am in singing, or perhaps even more. So I want to release an album full of my own music someday.
What’s next for Voisper?
Voisper: We are already receiving a lot of love, but we’d like even more people to learn about Voisper. We’d also like more opportunities to meet overseas fans. We plan to meet all of you more frequently in 2020. We’ll do our best to be the Voisper that continues to improve and grow. Thank you.
Video © KBS World (10.01.2020 Performance)
We’d like to thank Evermore Music for their assistance with the interview and Voisper who kindly took the time to answer our questions.
Written and interviewed by Maggie Gogler
Edited by Roxy Simons