SOMI on Conversing with Cats, Cheesy Lasagna, and “Dumb Dumb”

SOMI. Photo courtesy SOMI.

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SOMI’s path to fame is not novel—in fact, it’s a time-honored tradition in the pop world—but her unique approach to stardom certainly is. The Ontario-born, Seoul-raised musician got her start by winning a TV talent competition, joined a musical group, and, as we’ve seen, easing the pains of young heartbreak with a record-shattering solo career. At 20 years old, SOMI is the embodiment of everything that the world loves best about her two homelands— a sugary sweetness that is distinctly Canadian, combined with the winking charm that is a must-have for any K Pop artist. In the midst of her jam-packed schedule, the singer-songwriter-actress-model (her endorsements include the likes of Nintendo, Fanta, and Shiseido) took a moment to talk to Interview about her latest single “Dumb Dumb” and the joy of digging into a big, cheesy helping of lasagna after a long day in the studio. — MEGAN HULLANDER


On her latest single “Dumb Dumb”: We came up with the song spontaneously on the spot— actually first in English. We left it at that for a while. Then, after finishing up my album, we went back to that song and decided that we needed to add a drop—to make it more dance-y. Fun fact, the original lyric was “Imma say it like it is/ cut the bullsh*t/ you dumb dumb.”

On the inspiration for “Dumb Dumb”: I really wanted a song that had a plot twist that could inspire some signature choreography. Because my two previous singles were about storytelling, I wanted to have my own dance. That was the approach. 

On staying active, even during her time off: I go out shopping, driving, skydiving, and I love any outdoor activity. 

On her childhood favorite musicians: It has to be Cyndi Lauper, Rihanna, and 2NE1.

On making the music video for “Dumb Dumb”: I was there from the first meeting with the director. I thought it would be fun to go blonde. We wanted to come up with scenes to match the innocent but confident girl described in the lyrics. I also participated in the casting with the director, and I think it turned out perfectly— from the male lead, to the girl who plays the young SOMI, to my friends. 

On her favorite meals: Big, fat, cheesy lasagna and Chung Gook Jang.

On what she’s listening to: “Dumb Dumb.” I get so much joy out of watching all my fans doing the dance challenge, and seeing all the content they’re making with the song.

On cheese: The older the better. 

On embracing her special-ness: I used to get called some names growing up. I struggled to get over it, and finally I started to embrace who I am. If anything, I feel special now.

On her Canadian dream team: Drake, The Weeknd, Justin Beiber. All Canadians. 

On playing dress-up, but making it fashion: I like to dress up for holidays, birthdays, and special occasions. Last year I dressed up as a Christmas tree! I like to have fun with my outfits! Just for myself… I get a kick out of it. People say it’s too much sometimes but I know they love it on the inside.

On her latest splurge: Vintage beads. I like making my own bracelets. 

On the longstanding cats versus dogs debate: I have a black cat named ZORRO but I can converse better with dogs.