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Kara's Hur Young-ji cheers 'Toi Toi Toi' on her new solo journey

By Choi Ji-won

Published : Sept. 12, 2023 - 17:13

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Hur Young-ji of Kara poses for picture during the press event for her first solo single, Hur Young-ji of Kara poses for picture during the press event for her first solo single, "Toi Toi Toi," held in Seoul on Tuesday. (RBW, DSP Media)

Hur Young-ji of Kara launched her solo career on Tuesday with single "Toi Toi Toi."

Hur's solo debut comes nine years after she started her singing career as a member of popular girl group Kara in 2014.

"Toi Toi Toi," a German expression wishing luck to performing artists, was suggested by her sister, Hur said.

"It's like 'fighting!' (in Korean). My sister recommended it after hearing all three songs and it sounded like a perfect match. With the single, I'm rooting for my own solo journey and everyone who is setting off on each of their adventures."

Fronting the three-song package is "L.O.V.E," a bombastic pop-dance track brimming with the singer's chipper and bright energy.

Famed singer-songwriter duo Rocoberry composed the melody and star lyricist Seo Ji-eum wrote the words.

"L.O.V.E" is her anthem, and in it, she turns into a cheerleader for love.

"Love here refers to the general love, not just the one between lovers. Life is like a journey, and I wanted to encourage people on each of their paths with a pleasant energy of love," she explained.

Adding to the single's uplifting mood are "Focus," singing of self-confidence and centering one's attention on oneself, and "Climax," which draws the exhilarating emotion Hur feels at this moment of her life.

Hur contributed by creating the lyrics of "Climax" and unveiled the song early at her solo meeting with fans held in June.

With the partly self-written song, Hur says she pays tribute to her first solo song, "Memory Clock," which came out online in 2017.

"If 'Memory Clock' had sung of encouragement, with 'Climax,' I revel in happiness and shout to my past self to look at how happy I've become now. ... These days, I'm always wondering how I could portray this gratifying feeling to fans, and hearing the song's guide version, I almost broke down in tears from elation," she said, adding that "Climax" was the first song confirmed and recorded for the single.

It was a long-awaited solo debut that came just at the right moment, the singer said. Joining Kara in 2014 when the group, originally launched in 2007, dropped its sixth EP, "Day & Night," Hur took her first step as a solo artist in 2017 with "Memory Clock" but said she considers "Toi Toi Toi" as her official start.

"I needed time reflecting on myself, and that took long. But it was an essential time. I'm here now because of then. It was long haul, but to be honest, it hasn't been so long that I could look after myself and love myself properly."

It was with Kara's recent comeback that Hur was able to finally grasp her bliss in life, the singer said.

Kara -- now consisting of Hur, Nicole, Seung-yeon, Gyuri and Ji-young -- dropped the special album "Move Again" in November in celebration of the group's 15th anniversary and returned as a full group after seven years. The quintet made a splash at the annual Mama Awards with their comeback performance.

"We were shocked at how much love we received. We thought about celebrating our anniversary small with an online livestream," she recalled.

"We have many things prepared that are still in the making. We're always ready to come back as a full unit, so please continue to support us."

Surfing this heyday of her life, enjoying it to its fullest, is all she can do now, Hur said.

"We face walls in life, but I always believe there is a way around. I still have much time to have fun and I'm planning to do just that."

Hur hoped her new songs might also present such pleasant experiences for listeners.

"The focal point with this single was making easy-listening music. I hope that people might find themselves humming to the tunes after listening to it."