For his debut solo single, pop star Wonho decided to take charge from the get-go. Born Lee Ho-Seok, the Korean musician not only co-wrote “Losing You,” he also produced the track and sang it in English. The heartfelt ballad resonated with listeners, hitting No. 1 on the iTunes Top K-Pop Songs chart in countries such as the United States, Australia and United Kingdom. Wonho said that working on his eight-track EP (“WONHO 1st Mini Album Part. 1 Love Synonym (#1): Right for Me”) during the pandemic helped him maintain a sense of normalcy during an abnormal time. Accustomed to constantly jetting off to destinations for work, he said he tries to stay active every day. “It’s a really different reality we live in now, (but) I’m making sure to keep my routine going,” he said. “Workout daily, eat healthy, spend time in my recording studio and work on new music and production. And, of course, go out a bit for air.”
Q. You have traveled so much for work. Was there one particular place you visited where you thought, "I would love to return here for a vacation one day."
A. I always enjoy traveling and always want to come back to my fans. I do, however, want to travel to the United States with my family to show them all the great things I experienced.
Q. How have your travels influenced your music?
A. I love to watch the great street performers in each city — sometimes for hours. I am mostly inspired by the amazing musicians of New York. They will make a bucket drum and (showcase their) amazing rhythm.
Q. Once this pandemic is over and you’re free to visit anywhere, where would you like to visit?
A. European countries. I would definitely take a lot of pictures of the beautiful scenery and stop at restaurants to taste different kinds of food. However, the most important thing I think about is hoping that everyone stays safe, healthy and happy in this current situation.
Q. During your first visit to the United States, was it like how you imagined it would be?
A. It was much more vibrant than the United States I had imagined. And our fans’ bright energy kept me feeling energized when I met them.
Q. What was the most memorable trip you took?
A. I enjoyed the trips I went on with my family, but the most memorable time I can remember was the first time I got on a plane after I became a singer.
Q. What's the most important thing you've learned from your travels?
A. That people all over the world are the same. We all look for love. We all share similar emotions, struggles and being human. The language or culture may be different, but that doesn’t change the human experience.
Q. Do you work on your music when you’re traveling?
A. Sometimes, yes. Usually my schedule is very packed though. But I might capture an idea on my phone or get to a studio if I can.
Q. What are your five favorite cities?
A. New York, Amsterdam, Vienna, Bern, and Paris.
Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. New Zealand, because I think my body and mind will feel refreshed if I exercise while breathing fresh air in the green environment.
Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?
A. My sportswear is a must! Whenever I have a short time to exercise, I can refresh myself and replenish my travel stamina. I also pack a massage machine.
Q. What would be your dream trip?
A. There are so many places I've dreamed of, but I've never had a chance to visit. Therefore, I would say traveling around the world, to as many countries as possible!
Q. What is your best and/or worst vacation memory?
A. My best memory is from my vacation to Jeju Island. I’m usually so busy. But there, I spent a lot of time looking at the sea, relaxing and clearing my head. I never look at any experience as the worst. I am grateful and humbled for everything in life.
Q. Where have you traveled to that most reminded you of home?
A. I think that every place has something that reminds me of home. Home is where I live but it’s also, my fans, the people around me and my family. I see good people everywhere I go, and my fans are always with me. I also love to try Korean food everywhere – besides, of course, the local traditional food — which keeps me even more connected to home.