When rapper Soyeon and her (G)I-DLE bandmates were preparing to debut in 2018, she wasn’t happy with the song provided by their management, so the then 19-year-old wrote, and co-produced, their hit first single “Latata”. She’s since become a K-pop unicorn – a woman who, as an active idol, holds the group’s writing and production reins, with her name helming the credits on five successful EPs and a studio album. Soyeon’s tenacity has helped fellow members Minnie and Yuqi to stand alongside her in the spotlight as songwriters, even as she grows ever more vocal about the misogyny and objectification faced by women in the music industry.
“Before debuting, it was rare for female idols to learn composition, so when I said I wanted to compose and produce, everyone thought it was strange,” she said in an interview with Teen Vogue about (G)I-DLE’s record-breaking single “Tomboy”. Soyeon then doubled down on its follow-up, “Nxde”, referencing the world’s great blonde bombshells and disdainfully mocking the belief that beauty and intelligence in a woman cannot be simultaneously held qualities. Since striding on to the world stage, she’s been divisive as an idol and writer, her still-ascending career peppered with steep learning curves and creative speed bumps. But, more so, it’s one of wild ambition and groundbreaking triumphs. Soyeon is kicking down long-guarded doors for generations of women K-pop idols yet to come.
Text Taylor Glasby