Hello, KStreetManila readers, and welcome to another This Month’s Beat, where we put a spotlight on one Korean artist releasing new music for the month.
We’ve seen several popular groups and soloists debut and make their comeback for this month, but this time, we decided to focus on an artist who we think is worth noticing.
Meet indie artist and composer Stella Jang.
The word “Stella Jang” may not be a popular name, but you might have encountered her work in ways you didn’t expect.
You might have heard one of her songs in one of your favorite dramas, or she might have collaborated with your favorite artist.
You might have also taken part in the #colors challenge on TikTok, which featured her song.
Or, you might have jammed to a BTS song that she had co-written.
So yes, Stella Jang has been present in the Korean music industry, and her work speaks for how talented she is.
Born Jang Seong Eun, Stella wanted to be an artist after being inspired by BIGBANG’s rapping skills. Though she was already working for an international cosmetics company in France, she quit her job and moved back to Korea.
She signed with Grandline Entertainment and debuted with the digital single “Dumped Yesterday,” a chill song that describes the feelings of a girl who was dumped by her boyfriend the day before.
This was followed by two more digital singles in 2015, “It’s Raining,” which featured Verbal Jint in the track and Louie of Geeks in the music video; and “Portrait of You.”
“I Could Be Every Color You Like”
Finally, Stella released her first mini album, Colors. The title track of the same name is only two minutes long, sang purely in acapella.
“Colors” became a hit on popular app TikTok, featuring users changing “colors” based on the lyrics.
Colors was followed up by Stella’s second mini album Vanishing Paycheck with the lead single of the same name. Unlike the whimsical “Colors,” “Vanishing Paycheck” sings about likening a monthly paycheck to a lover that quickly disappears.
Stella returned to releasing digital singles with the chill “Alright” and the uplifting “You As You Are.” She was praised for the latter single for her shift to a more ballad tone and her piano-playing skills in the MV.
As if the last two digital singles weren’t enough, Stella showcased her versatility in her next digital single, “Cheerleader.” Unlike her previous songs, “Cheerleader” featured auto-tune and a peppier tone about promising their lover whatever they want once they can afford it.
Venturing into the OST Path
Stella was finally invited to sing for K-Drama OSTs in 2017, starting with Temperature of Love and I’m Not a Robot.
Since then, she has contributed to the OSTs of 12 more K-Dramas, including A Poem a Day, The Secret Life of My Secretary, and At Eighteen. Here, we get to see more of Stella’s balladeer side.
More Displays of Versatility
Stella continued gaining fans and impressing existing ones with her subsequent releases, showing how she can venture into versatile territory while keeping her signature sound—chill and soothing.
She released her three digital singles in 2018: “I Go,” “Under Caffeine,” and “Your Heart My Heart.”
A Busy Year
The year 2019 saw a flurry of activity for Stella. She started the year by releasing the song “No Question” with Mad Clown.
In March, she released her third mini album, Hazardous Materials. The title track, “Fine Dust,” is a ballad addressing air pollution and how she longed to go out and see clear, blue skies without wearing a mask.
Her digital single, “YOLO,” once more showcased her acapella prowess.
It’s also in this year when Stella debuted as a member of CSVC, a project girl group that is also composed of CHEEZE’s Dalchong, Lovey, and Park Moonchi. The group took on a nostalgic 90’s concept in their two singles “Summer Love …” and “Just 4 U …”
In between CSVC promotions, Stella collaborated with Kim Jaehwan for the song “Vacance in September.” She also released two more digital singles, “Miracle (feat. Paul Kim)” and “Recipe.”
The Long-Awaited First Studio Album
Stella started the year by announcing that she co-wrote BTS’ “Friends,” a song from their MAP OF THE SOUL: 7 album.
Finally, she revealed that she will be releasing her first studio album, “STELLA I,” almost six years after her debut. The title track, “Villain,” tells about how we perceive each other as the bad guys in an ugly situation.
With a long career, versatile songs, and an understated charm, Stella Jang is an artist worth checking out. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for her in the future, whether it’s a new song, a K-Drama soundtrack, a collab, or a song written for someone else.