K-pop star Chungha on her first studio album ‘Querencia,’ challenges she faced in 2020

Published February 17, 2021, 7:16 AM

by Jonathan Hicap

Chungha (Twitter) 

K-pop solo artist Chungha released her first studio album “Querencia” on Feb. 15 containing  21 songs including “Bicycle.” 

The album debuted at No. 1 on Korea’s Hanteo Chart and Gaon Music Chart, and topped real-time music charts. The music video for “Bicycle” has garnered 3.6 million views to date on YouTube since it was uploaded on Feb. 15. 

During a Zoom event with the media, Chungha talked about how “Querencia” came to be and the challenges she faced in 2020. 

“I have a therapist and she asked me like a psychological term. She told me that it’s like a shelter where you feel the most you. And I was like, I gave her the cheesiest answer.. But I started to rethink what my querencia would be. I thought it would be my album because the most time I spent all day would be my album. I would be practicing my album, I would be listening to my album,” said Chungha. 

She added, “And I had personal issues in 2020, as you know, I was sick. And I had a lot of other personal issues throughout 2020. Throughout that, I was like, what helped me the most, it  was my album. I should name it ‘Querencia.’”

The album was originally set for release last January but early December, Chungha tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This pushed the album’s release to February. 

Chungha said she loves challenges and “Querencia” was new for her as this is her first time to try rapping. 

“I love challenging myself. Any project that I would jump into. Like everything was really new for me like ‘Bicycle.’ I’ve never rapped. I’ve never done anything like that. It’s not exciting to stay with one single concept. I just jump into other things. That’s what ‘Querencia’ actually means. Being fun, exciting. I just kept on trying and trying,” she said. 

The album contains songs in different genres and styles, and it features Chungha’s collaboration with different artists including Changmo, Puerto Rican rapper Guaynaa and R3hab. 

“I just love collaborating with new people like producers, writers, designers, artists. Anyone I really learned something new and I find like a new part in me throughout that process. That’s the most exciting part of challenging myself. I was really open to anything. That’s what really helped me,” she said. 

One of songs in the album, “Byulharang (160504 + 170607),” has a special meaning for Chungha.   

“‘Byulharang’ is actually my fandom’s name. It’s kinda like their cute name for me. (The) lyrics are for my fans. I always try to reach out as much as I can. I just want them to know that it is their song, their own song,” she explained. 

The song’s accompanying numbers are Chungha’s two debut dates: the first with project group I.O.I and the second is her solo debut date. 

She said her fans helped her get through 2020, saying, “They were my biggest querencia.”

One important thing she has learned in her career up to making “Querencia,” she said, is that “I would be open. Always just be open not to music but to anyone around me.”