"I'm Thankful for the Power of Music", says SNSD's SeoHyun in her Newsis interview

SNSD's SeoHyun who currently plays the role of Sophie in the musical titled 'Mamma Mia', recently sat down for an interview with Newsis.

They talked about many things like her role, personality, and more, and you can catch them all below~

I thought her ‘Sophie’ would be gentle, innocent and cute. But in the musical ‘Mamma Mia!’, ‘SNSD’ group member Seohyun (25) was a bright and glamorous Sophie.

It’s a jukebox musical that incorporates 22 hit songs of Sweden’s global pop group ‘ABBA’. It debuted in 1999 on the West End in England and to date, it has played in 49 countries including US, Germany and France, in 440 cities, to over 60 million people. In Korea, it has played over 1,400 performances in 33 cities to 1.7 million audiences. At the end of 2013, the world tour team performed domestically as well.

It’s a combined growth tale of Donna, who used to be a lead singer of an amateur group in her youth but now a female owner of a small motel, and Sophie, her twenty year of daughter who has grown up without a dad. It’s a story that delightfully unravels when Sophie sends wedding invitations to three men who are her potential dads prior to marrying her fiancée, Sky, and the music of ABBA is superbly fitting.

While studying the character of Sophie, Seohyun said “I’m not creating something new within myself for Sophie, but I want the personalities that I possess to meet Sophie and come out naturally“.

Due to Seohyun’s innocent beauty and her image as SNSD’s maknae, people have come to think of her as cute and calm. But Sophie pleasantly shatters this misconception. “My personality changes depending on the people I meet. If I’m around comfortable friends or close people, I can be very playful. I do things that are bizarre, too. (Laughs) I tried to bring Sophie’s free-spiritedness out from inside of me. Maybe because I’m having fun and being free and bright, my real life has been impacted so I’m living enjoyably.”

Skimming off the premium as a Hallyu star, Seohyun won the role of Sophie, beating the 1:350 competition at the audition (for this season of ‘Mamma Mia’, all roles were chosen through auditions) and she is already solidifying her position as a musical actress. After ‘Moon Embracing the Sun’ (2014) and ‘Gone with the Wind’ (2015), this is her third musical.

Seohyun was rediscovered as a musical actress as Scarlett O’Hara in ‘Gone with the Wind’. This musical, made famous by the American novel and film, Seohyun acted the role of Scarlett which transformed her from a naïve girl in her mid-20s to a strong woman and received praise.

With ‘Mamma Mia!’, Seohyun is confirmed as an actress who is overflowing with talent and excitement in an ensemble cast. In ‘Mamma Mia!’, with 8 leading actors, there are many scenes where the actors are on stage as an ensemble. In a given piece, there are more scenes where an actor is singing alone or with a partner.

But in ‘Mamma Mia!’, in scenes like ‘Money Money Money’, Seohyun, who is singing and dancing amongst other actors, is not at all awkward. Stage she shares with SNSD members overlap but she’s just a musical actress, not a star. This is the reason why compliments toward Seohyun, who is polite and works hard, are not drying up among the experienced actors in ‘Mamma Mia!’.

Seohyun’s eye twinkled saying, “Becoming one with the ensemble and the scenes where I get to sing and dance with mom in the show are so fun and enjoyable. In that moment, I really become Sophie”.

In the world of musicals, which are dominated by female audiences in their 20s and 30s, there are a lot of musicals centered around male characters. Female characters can tend to be passive. But with Yeonwoo from ‘Moon Embracing the Sun’, Scarlett and Sophie, Seohyun has been in charge of characters who know pioneer their own lives in the musicals. This walk of life is the process by which Sophie grows in ‘Mamma Mia!’, which also overlaps with Seohyun’s walk of life in musicals. The musical stage on which we can confirm Seohyun’s healthy advancing appearance is her growth chart.

I always want to show my various sides, but it was regrettable because TV variety programs are limited. But I like musicals because I’m able to show the countless facets of myself. More than anything, I want to show myself through acting. I hope people see the various sides of me and are surprised. Ho ho.”

Seohyun, who is 167 cm tall and slim, her lines on stage are elegant and pretty. On a musical stage, which emphasizes visuals, it’s a huge advantage. It’s the same for Sophie. If you think she has a lot of know-hows on how to look pretty, as she has a lot of experience standing on big stages with SNSD, that’s mistaken. It’s because as a singer on stage, you need to adjust to the audience, but on a musical stage, you need to “focus only on the character”. Honesty is reflected in the character so she automatically appears pretty.

Soon, Seohyun will be seen on screen in the Chinese film, ‘So I Married an Anti-Fan’. “I tend to have a lot of greed. As an actress, as a singer, as a musical actress, I want to sing and act for a long time.”

In ‘Mamma Mia!’, ABBA’s hit songs pour out, with songs like ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘Honey Honey’, ‘I Have a Dream’ and ‘I Do, I Do, I Do’. Seohyun, who is a singer, admitted “I’m envious and I have a lot of respect for them” and when asked if she thinks there could be a jukebox musical with SNSD’s songs in the future, she responded “We will work even harder”.

Seohyun is also a member of ‘SNSD-TTS’, a unit comprised of SNSD’s vocal line. After appearing in musicals, her vocal skills have matured even more. After appearing on ‘Moon Embracing the Sun’, Seohyun took voice lessons to enrich her vocals said that she worries a lot about the ‘path of sound’ for each piece.

The genre of the three musicals were all different so the singing styles were all different. So I realized that there isn’t just one ‘path of sound’. Sometimes you use your voice, and sometimes you use the character. Numbers in ‘Mamma Mia!’ are pop, so if you vocalize only for that, it ruins your throat. It’s less musical-like than ‘Gone with the Wind’, but it’s more musical-like than a pop song. I’m singing, and worrying, in between those two.”

Through ABBA’s music, which continues to receive love after decades have passed, “I’m thankful for the power of music, which becomes a source of strength and comfort with hearts that love music”. The title of one of ABBA’s representative songs and one of the numbers in ‘Mamma Mia!’ is ‘Thank You for the Music’.


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