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Fan Chant: Soloist LEO Unpacks the “Team Effort” Behind His Debut EP, COME CLOSER

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Welcome back to Fan Chant, a weekly column for K-pop fans, stans, and newbies alike. This week, 131 Label artist LEO digs into his new EP. As always, if you haven’t already, feel free to subscribe to my companion newsletter to get Fan Chant delivered right to your inbox each week!

For Australian-born artist LEO, the sparkling world of South Korean music was always the destination.

“The music, culture, the people — everything about Korea fascinated me,” he tells Consequence, reflecting on the road to releasing his debut EP. The project has now arrived — COME CLOSER is four R&B-infused tracks with visuals and choreography that still manage to keep the artist planted in the K-pop world.

Watch the video for the EP’s title track below, and read on for the interview with LEO.

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I love the R&B energy across Come Closer. What was the process like for creating and narrowing down the tracks for this project?

The process around the making of this EP was pretty special. Again, this being my first EP I wasn’t sure what it meant to “create” great music. What I realized through the process is that creating great music really is a team effort — my team gave me the support I needed and was patient with how we framed the songs. We wanted a good-flowing vibe for the story, and a wide variety of sounds sonically. Overall I’m very pleased with how it came out!

Why did you choose to lead with “One Look?”

As soon as I first heard the track, it just felt like my song. The color of the cover art is light blue, and when you listen to the song it’s almost like you can picture the color light blue. It just goes together perfectly. It reminds me of the spring/summer of 2023 and the vibe I had at the time. It holds a very special place in my heart for sure!

Tell me how the collaboration with B.I came about. Were you guys actually in the studio together to work on the track?

B.I wanted my first EP to be special, and when I thought about who I wanted to collaborate with, B.I was the first person that came to mind. I wish we had more time to work in the studio together but throughout the process, we were so much in contact it almost felt like we were!

Originally from Australia, it feels like you have a global mindset when it comes to music — what do you love about working within the South Korean music world in particular?

I think even while I was living in Australia, a part of me knew that my future would be in Korea. The music, culture, the people — everything about Korea fascinated me, and thus really pushed me into moving here at such an early age. I think the global mindset is not really because of my experience as a Korean-Australian, but more so because I appreciate music from all around the world. There’s just something about Korean music that makes your heart bounce. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s fun yet nostalgic at the same time.

Who are some artists you haven’t been able to hit pause on lately?

These days, I’ve been really into Tommy Richman’s music. I think it’s a breath of fresh air for sure! I love 4batz, who also has a very refreshing sound and vibe.

Tell me one piece of art (film, book, TV show, album) that left you feeling creatively inspired lately.

I was re-watching a Korean movie from 2001 called Wanee & Junah and it was incredible to be able to feel the vibe of the summer of 2001 in Korea. The imagery, acting, the fashion, the rainfall, sounds of the analog era…it was like I was there even though I hadn’t been born yet. I was immediately inspired to create a nostalgic song with a vibe that suited that movie!

P1eces – Listen Up!

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RM of BTS really dropped a song clocking in at almost seven minutes long — it’s not for the charts, it’s for the heart! I’m super into the short film that accompanied the song’s release, directed by Lee Sung Jin, who created Netflix’s BEEF (which I was also extremely obsessed with).

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