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Courtesy of AURA Corp

BTS super producer Adora on finding her voice as a soloist

Having appeared anonymously on some of the best-known tracks by BTS and TXT, the producer and singer is stepping into a solo career in her own right – here’s why she’s looking to craft memorable songs over chart hits

Hidden vocals are an open secret in the K-pop world, a sometimes overlooked – yet welcome – addition to our favourite tracks. For BTS fans, aka Army, it’s always been widely appreciated. While women are largely overlooked in the producing and songwriting world, they tend to have a tangible presence on the most timeless songs. On ballads like the emotional “Spring Day” or the ephemeral “Love Maze”, you’ll likely hear an angelic female voice blending effortlessly into the vocals by the biggest boyband in the world. Now, it’s time for that voice to shine on its own.

24-year-old Adora, born Park Soo-Hyun, was originally introduced as the only female in-house producer on Big Hit Music’s team. Almost five years later, and her solo debut aspirations are finally coming to fruition. It’s why her excitement for her moment is palpable through a Zoom call, where she sits readily with her short pink hair and a genuine smile on her face. Her work on other K-pop artists’ music has allowed her a distinct perspective as she debuts with new company AURA Entertainment. It’s nighttime in Seoul, around 4am, but Adora is just as lively as she would be in the middle of the day. It’s because music is her passion, full stop.

When asked how she feels about this new venture, Adora is honest. “First off, this was a dream job of mine for a very long time. So I am very happy and excited, but also very nervous. Honestly, I’m quite nervous about everything, especially about how I can give everyone good music in the future. Even with “Make U Dance”, which just came out, I think I was very worried about how it would be received.”

The song features Eunha, a former member of GFRIEND and current member of soon-to-debut group ViviZ. It’s an electronic, high energy, alt-pop track that proves a bold and unique debut for Adora. Speaking about the collab, she likens Eunha’s contribution as a perfect contrast to her own singing style. “Unlike my voice, she has a very bright and clear tone, which I think amplifies the paradoxical element of the song. So to compare, I would say Eunha is like the angel of a fairytale fantasy and I’m the devil in a grim fairytale!”

The singer goes on to explain that she doesn’t want to be limited by a specific genre. “Make U Dance” surely encapsulates Adora’s ability to experiment, but even with the feats she’s accomplished, she’s looking ahead to new possibilities. “Even when I worked as a producer, I still felt like I lacked a lot of musical experience. So I want to try lots of new things in the future without any limitations,” she says.

“Because this was a song written for (BTS), it was slightly difficult to really consider or even show my own artistry in the song itself” – Adora

When asked about her work with groups like BTS and TXT, she glows with positivity. “They are very big artists. So just being able to work with them made me very happy and honoured. I was able to gain a very bright career and if I had to do it alone, I probably couldn’t have come this far. That’s how I learned a lot about the power of working together, not only with music, but in the sense of the industry itself.” This comes as no surprise, as Adora’s hand on Big Hit artists’ discography is vast. Because of that connection, the question of what track reflects her own tastes the best comes up naturally in conversation. “Out of all the songs I participated in, there is a song called “Wings”, which is the first song I worked on, so I feel more affection towards that song. Because this was a song written for (BTS), it was slightly difficult to really consider or even show my own artistry in the song itself. But you can look forward to seeing my own colour and style as an artist through my own music in the future!”

We reminisce a bit more on Adora’s musical journey, and the determination she has for a successful solo career shines through. She explains how she was a trainee for a long time while working as a producer, although singing was her first dream. “Due to health issues, I had to take a break. So the biggest difference is that I have to sing the song myself, but it was a little harder to set the standard of what is good and what suits me, and looking at myself objectively.” 

Taking the leap to finally make her debut may have been a new challenge, but Adora was ready and chose a company that would allow her to be true to herself. “When I first met up with AURA, they asked me a lot about what I wanted. They always had confidence in me and I thought this company could solve any potential problems through communication. That was the biggest reason.” The choice was evidently a good one, as she seems happy, comfortable, and hungry to explore more of the possibilities a solo career entails.

Outside of her own work, it’s evident in Adora’s personal taste that her music history knowledge runs deep, and is less interested in trends than she is in crafting songs that people will remember and appreciate. She highlights American alternative/indie artist Upsahl as her current favourite. “I recently listened to this artist’s full album. Within one song, she uses scales in a very colourful and fun way. That’s what inspires me a lot and teaches me so much!” It’s this hopeful perspective that proves Adora will go far. Even when discussing her future, chart positions and numbers are never the goal. 

“I don’t want to obsess over how well my music does on the charts. I just want to receive and share good energy!” – Adora

Instead, she wants a career that’s a touch more purposeful. “First, I hope my music can reach many people. That’s my goal. I want to look far into the future and show steady growth! So I don’t want to obsess over how well my music does on the charts. I just want to receive and share good energy!” With the cheerful vibes of her debut, she’s well on her way to accomplishing this.

From just one chat with Adora, it’s impossible not to notice the relatable yet magnetic star power she radiates. At such a young age, she’s rightfully gained respect that few women, in the South Korean industry or beyond, have been able to find with producing. It gives her an autonomy over her sound that shouldn’t be overlooked. Her touch on some of the best K-pop songs of our generation will never be forgotten, but it’s high time she gets her own flowers.

This conversation was translated by Louisa Liu