Tiffany Young feels empowered, wants fans to feel the same
UPI News Service, 11/06/2019
"Way that I move/ Got the whole world watchin'/ I'm in a mood/ And I don't want to hide it," say the opening lines of Tiffany Young's latest release, "Run For Your Life."
The lyrics embody the moment in which the singer is living artistically and personally, after years of being active in the K-pop world and attaining creative freedom with a new solo career in the United States.
"Throughout my career before, because I started at a young age, I never felt like I could really, fully express when I was sad or mad or overly excited," Young told UPI during a call from her tour bus in Vancouver, Canada. "But now it's about, 'No, I feel good.' And if I feel good, I'm sure that energy is going to channel positively to everybody else."
After a long, successful career as a member of the iconic K-pop girl group Girls' Generation, Young came back home to the United States to launch her solo career. With a new stage name, new record label and new creative independence, Young released her EP "Lips On Lips" in February. The EP debuted at No. 9 on Billboard's Heatseekers Albums chart, and she won Best Solo Breakout at the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards.
This year has been a busy one for the "Born Again" singer. Not only did she drop an EP and release three singles from it, plus the loose tracks "Magnetic Moon" and "Run For Your Life," but she also embarked on a mini-showcase tour in the United States and Canada in March and performed a few shows in Asia in August.
Young is back on the road with the 18-stop Magnetic Moon North American tour. Unlike the previous one, which followed a very raw, introspective EP, this tour marks a more experimental stage in her career. She's bringing back the theatrics from her K-pop background and going for a more empowering and strong persona.
"I wanted to bring energy, [and] it's much more grown now," she explained. "Being in my 30s, the story and the message I want to share [is to] encourage everyone else to start embracing yourself."
Named after her second-to-last single, "Magnetic Moon," the tour takes the essence of the song and "Run For Your Life," which showcased Young picking up choreography again and allowed her to experiment with more eclectic genres and different ways of portraying her overall message of embracing oneself.
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Both songs also bring back something that became lost in music somewhere in the last decade: the pop diva.
"Energy, fabulous looks and dance moves," she said about what she's embodying throughout this tour. "Girls' Generation has been about that at a young age. But now, I want to bring all the things I love about pop and K-pop together and bring that message of inspiring young women and men to use their voices and feel fabulous and move to their own rhythm."
Young wrote "Run For Your Life" with producer Fernando Garibay, known for his work with Lady Gaga, after wrapping up her mini-showcase tour. Feeling inspired by the fans' energy at the shows, she channeled that into a song about fighting for her dreams and knowing she's on the right path. She also wanted the song to make her fans feel as embraced by her as she did by them during the tour.
"It's about having good intentions, feeling good, fabulous and ultimately shining, running through life," she explained. "Because there are moments where I'm like, 'Is this for me? Am I supposed to be doing this? Should I not be doing this?' You know, those moments of self-doubt. And then you really, really sink yourself into those feelings and find that love and that fire inside you where it's like, 'Wait, don't worry about all those self-doubts.'"
Even when writing the song, Young could picture what fabrics she wanted to wear and how she wanted the lighting to look in the music video. She took it up with stylist Jaclyn Fleurant and choreographer Joy B and decided to go in a more daring direction with fashion and feature some ferocious dancers.
"I never wore bodysuits or anything that revealing or moved that aggressively, so it felt really empowering to be doing that with such fierce dancers," Young said. "I'm just so happy and excited and honored to bring such talented artists to the video. Cause those are some of the best voguers, dancers and drag queens in the Korean scene."
Empowerment and being her own woman is central to Young's identity as an artist, and she cites several pop divas who have influenced her. As part of her set on her Magnetic Moon tour, the starlet performs a diva medley where she covers songs by her favorite female artists like Lee Hyori's "Invincible," Uhm Jung Hwa's "Invitation" and Girls' Generation's "Run Devil Run."
"I just love 'Run Devil Run,'" she said. Released in 2010, the track signaled the first time the K-pop group broke out off its innocent concept and showed a more grown-up side. "It feels more like me than ever."
Being an icon as one-eighth of Girls' Generation -- K-pop royalty -- it doesn't escape her that young women all over the world and even other women in girl groups look up to her. She said every time a K-pop group performs a cover of a Girls' Generation song, the members share the videos on their group chat, and it's usually her sending them.
"It's an honor to watch because I still do that," she said. "I still search and grasp onto my role models and mentors, and I'm just honored that our music is doing that for young girls. And if they ever read this interview: I support. I stan."
One year into her stateside career, Young has continuously surprised fans by illustrating different sides to her that she hadn't been able to reveal during her decade-long career in K-pop. The "Lips On Lips" era was all about showing vulnerability, but "Run For Your Life" is about being strong for herself and her fans.
"The first EP was more about experimenting with sounds and genres, and this new era is the hyper-focused sound of a confident woman," she said. "I hope I can continue the theme of everybody feeling empowered and moving and feeling fabulous."
The Magnetic Moon North American tour ends Monday in Los Angeles.
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