No break-up songs in Got7 member Mark Tuan's solo album
When American singer and K-pop boy band Got7’s rapper Mark Tuan released his first solo album The Other Side in 2022, fans wondered if the 30-year-old had gone through a devastating break-up because of songs such as Let U Go, Broken and Selfish, which speak of regret and a broken relationship.
But the California-born Taiwanese’s answer is no.
“There’s no break-up track on the album,” he said in an interview at The Fullerton Bay Hotel last Saturday afternoon.
Tuan, who has songwriting credits on all the 20 tracks in the album, explained: “The whole album is me telling my story, but it’s written more metaphorically than literally. It’s open for fans to interpret in their own way and also written in a way for people to be able to relate to it when they’re listening.”
The Los Angeles-based star was in town for the reopening of the YSL Beauty boutique at Ion Orchard last Saturday evening, which attracted hundreds of enthusiastic fans. Unlike his Got7 teammate Jackson Wang, who frequents Singapore for work, this was Tuan’s first time in the city in four years.
He was the emcee for his members’ Jay B and Yugyeom special unit showcase here in 2019. A planned Got7 concert in 2020 was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We didn’t have lots of time to go around when we used to visit (for concerts), but we always got (to eat) chilli crab,” he said.
This time, he had more time to explore. He enjoyed the Dickson Nasi Lemak at Joo Chiat and also had plans to visit Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Singapore.
His more relaxed and independent schedule comes amid a hiatus for Got7. All members of the septet collectively left their long-time agency JYP Entertainment in 2021 and separately sought out new management. The group remains intact and released a self-titled EP in 2022, but things are on hold now as members Jay B and Jinyoung serve mandatory military service.
“We still text all the time,” Tuan said. “Youngjae sometimes texts me about his lyrics, like, ‘Can you check if this makes sense in English?’ And I was at Jackson’s show in LA and Yugyeom came to my show in Thailand too.”
Tuan held a three-night concert at Bangkok’s Impact Arena in May as part of his The Other Side Asia tour. Stops in Kuala Lumpur, Taiwan and Macau have also been confirmed. A Singapore stop has not been announced.
He said: “At that time, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but the biggest reason for me going home was because my whole family is there and I wanted to spend more time with them.”
He added: “A music manager got in contact and put me back into the recording studio. And it felt kind of fun to talk about the bottled-up emotions and feelings that I had and to tell the story I wanted to tell.”
For The Other Side, which he spent more than a year working on, he wrote some 50 songs, which eventually got filtered down to 20. The tracks on the introspective album are very different from the dance-heavy pop songs of Got7 that made for energetic stage performances.
He said: “This was a very personal album, but in the future, there’s definitely going to be more K-pop-style stuff, so to speak, with the choreography and music videos. I definitely should practise my dancing, but I did have 10 years of experience, so I think the fundamentals are there.”
No matter the genre of music, Got7 and The Other Side are both important parts of Tuan – so important that he tattooed the number 7 on his back and the words “The Other Side” on his forearm.
While these tattoos commemorate something special for the star, he has many tattoos he gets for fun, like a smiley face on the inside of his bottom lip.
“It doesn’t hurt, but you feel your head vibrating during the tattooing,” he said.
His most “random” tattoo? A butterfly on his left leg.
“People assign it meanings when they see it’s a butterfly. Like, ‘Oh, it signifies a new beginning’, when actually I just had an empty spot that I wanted to fill.”