It’s been a long time since we last heard from sweet solo artist JOO, but she made a welcome comeback recently with the ballad Cry and Blow.
It’s her first release in almost five years, and her first release under her new label, Woollim Entertainment. She made the move earlier this year after her contract with JYP expired.
JOO first caught the public eye – and JYP’s eyes too – on SBS’s Superstar Survival. She became a JYP trainee in 2006, and made her debut with Because of a Man in 2008. However, it was another three years before she released her first EP, Heartmade. Why such a long wait? Well, JOO faced some tough times when some pictures of her pre-debut days, featuring boyfriends and cigarettes, emerged. Resulting netizen support for her was low, and at the same time, her own self-confidence was shaken. She has said in recent interviews that she experienced stage fright and anxiety attacks while performing.
From 2011 to 2014 she concentrated more on her studies in theatre, and on musical roles, to rebuild her confidence. She appeared alongside members from B2ST and APink, in roles including as Brenda in Catch Me if You Can, and Han Ji Eun in Full House.
Now she has joined Woollim Entertainment, home of Lovelyz, Infinite and Nell. She told Naver: “JYP feels like my hometown… I spent a lot of time struggling alone.” And on Woollim: “It feels like I’m getting a brand new start. Joining Woollim was like being adopted by a wealthy family.”
This month is extra good timing for her to comeback, as she’s promoting at the same time as BTOB – and she’s the big sister of BTOB’s Jung Il Hoon. With her brother around for moral support, her new softly waved honey-blonde hair, and a new agency supporting her, JOO is clearly hoping to make a fresh new start on the Kpop scene.
Cry and Blow
Ice Cream – a duet with Leeteuk from SuJu
Because of a Man
BTOB and Joo – You’re My Angel