K-pop quartet Secret might be trailing behind the likes of Girls' Generation and Apink in popularity.
But when it comes to its members' solo efforts, they certainly pip these top guns.
Over the past year, Secret's Hyoseong and Jieun, both 25, have proven themselves to be competent singers by releasing outstanding mini solo albums.
In May, Secret leader Hyoseong, who is best known for her voluptuous figure and enviable C-cup chest, dropped her debut EP Fantasia.
While she could have easily played up her sexed-up image with seductive gyrating, it's her songwriting talent that is winning praise from critics this time round. She even penned the lyrics to two songs on Fantasia.
Jieun, on the other hand, has gained admiration for pushing the envelope with bold themes in her music.
Her dark, sombre single, Don't Look At Me Like That, released last September, has been called an equality anthem. It explores love that is deemed taboo in conservative societies, like LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) relationships.
In an e-mail interview with M, Jieun said she was drawn to the song because it is "unconventional". "The song's theme of 'equality for all' attracted me. And the lyrics were perfectly matched with the overall melody," she said.
"Personally, I think love does not discriminate. Love, in itself, is precious."
Hyoseong declined to answer questions about her hot bod, but told M she felt more liberated as a solo artist.
"Both group and solo careers have their merits, one cannot be preferred over another," she said.
"As a group, all of us have to collaborate to perform well. On the other hand, as a solo artist, I am solely responsible for the four minutes I have on stage. This gives me freedom, but with this freedom comes more pressure."
MORE FUN IN GROUP
One thing she admits though - it is a lot more fun with her teammates around.
"When I'm with my Secret members, time flies by no matter where I am. We spend most of our waiting time talking to each other and we never get bored.
"My solo gigs do not require as much preparation time for things like costumes, make-up and hairstyling. There is only one person as opposed to four."
Secret, which also consists of Hana, 25, and Sunhwa, 24, will be in town for a fan meet on June 27 at Resorts World Sentosa. Expect to catch their biggest hits like Shy Boy, Madonna and Poison.
Jieun said exposing themselves to "a wide variety of music genres" is de rigueur for the group. "We share similar music tastes. I am a fan of (US pop star) Ariana Grande, so I always recommend her latest songs to them.
"There are also songs by many other Korean artists in my current playlist... I am amazed by their creativity. I've been listening to all the new albums by artists such as BoA, BigBang and EXO."
WHAT: 2015 Secret Fan Meeting In Asia Singapore
WHEN: June 27, 8pm
WHERE: Resorts World Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa
TICKETS: $88, $128, $168 and $188 from Sistic (www.sistic.com.sg or 6348-5555)
This article was first published on June 17, 2015.
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