It’s been less than a year since the release of his debut solo album, Mirrors, but Jackson Wang is ready for more. Best known as the funny, fitness-focused member of GOT7, JYP Entertainment’s suave seven-member boy band, Wang is here to reintroduce himself as a solo artist, and he has even more to say than the first time.
“The stuff I’ve released in the past is a process of me finding myself,” Wang says. “Just finding who Jackson Wang is and what’s my symbol. I’ve done a lot of rap and I’ve done a lot of R&B. I’ve started to find I’m more in the middle. Every time we release something, I’m more sure of my originality.”
Wang’s color has never been illustrated more than in his new single, “100 Ways,” an upbeat, electronic ear worm where he sings about a lover who’s separated by time. The music video, which was released with the song on March 20, stars Wang as a Chinese warrior who travels through time to reunite with his one true love.
“I love sharing my own culture. That’s why I chose this Chinese love story theme to express the song,” says Wang, who was born in Hong Kong. “This character had love but wasn’t able to be with the lover in his first life, so he overcomes time to come back to find her to tell her, ‘I’m the only one that you need.’”
Ahead, Wang, who expects to release his second album toward the end of the year, talked to StyleCaster about the inspiration behind “100 Ways,” how he almost became an Olympic fencer and how his solo music different from the songs he makes with GOT7: “When I release something with the group, it’s a rainbow. But when I release something by myself, you just get me. You get Jackson Wang.”
On how he became a part of GOT7
I was an Olympic fencer and I was preparing for the London Olympics back in the day. But then there was this opportunity for me to be a singer, and I didn’t hesitate. I flew right out to Korea and went after my dream. At that time, I also had an athlete’s scholarship to Stanford University. My parents didn’t really want me to go to Korea. They were like, ‘You’re in a good position. A lot of people would dream to have an athlete’s scholarship to Stanford and go to the Olympic games. Why would you want to give it up?’ But I thought, ‘Why not? I just want to do whatever I love in life. We only live once.’ It’s so corny to say that, but it’s a fact.
On the inspiration behind “100 Ways”
What I’m trying to express in “100 Ways” is there are a lot of elements that we can’t control in life. Time and love would be two of them. Throughout the music video, I can control both. Also, the choreo represents the tension and the energy. At the end, we chose each other. We’re happy to return to the afterlife together, having conquered time and found love.
On why he chose not to rap on the song
I’ve done a lot of R&B and I’ve done a lot of rap. I’ve started to find the middle point and more of my own color. It’s not like I decided not to rap. It’s just that I feel like that’s my color right now. The more I release and every song I release, I start to feel I’m actually more of myself.
On how his solo music is different from GOT7
When I release something with the group, it’s a rainbow. It contains a lot of different colors, different elements, different sounds, different ideas. But when I release something by myself, you just get me. You get Jackson Wang. It’s my true color. With the group, it’s one seventh of myself. It’s still my color, but I’m one seventh of that color. Full myself, you get 100 percent me.
On what fans can expect from his second album
It’ll be something they’ve never seen and nobody is doing this. I promise you, no one is doing this.