South Korea’s most popular musical export may be K-pop, but the country’s music industry is vast and full of talent. Son Seung-yeon, also known as Sonnet Son, is one of Korea’s most prominent vocalists. She blew the audience away with her dynamic singing on the original version of the show The Masked Singerand is one of the country's rising divas. Now she’s hoping to bring her music to the rest of the world through “I’m Not A Warrior,” her collaboration with Walter Afanasieff, the renowned songwriter who won a Grammy in 1999 for producing Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.”
Released today (Sept. 13) and premiering exclusively on Billboard, “I’m Not A Warrior” is an expressive ballad that Sonnet Son imbues with touching hope and meaning.
The inspiration for the English-language song comes from Sonnet Son's desire to see change in the world come through love not violence. “We sometimes opt for being a ‘Warrior’ to survive in violent circumstances like a war, terror, poverty, etc.” she tells Billboard. “And as a ‘Warrior,’ we fall into the violence due to jealousy, hatred, or anything you could name, but I wanted to call out to the world that we are ‘Not a Warrior’ and show that the only way we could survive through it all is by love. This song is about how unnecessary it is to be fighting when our lives only last for a century and that we don’t have time to waste on becoming a warrior to fight.”
The collaboration between Son and Afanasieff came about through a project launched by AMP Vezt Korea, which aims to bring together talent and producers from across the globe through its AMP Global Projects. "Warrior" is the inaugural release. "I’ve always been in love with 90’s pop music, so I was very well aware of how successful he was and still is in the music industry, as the producer for Mariah, Celine, and Michael Bolton," she says. "I felt like I was dreaming. I was constantly looking through my booth window [while recording in LA] to see if he was happy with my singing and vice versa. All in all, it was such an amazing experience, and it was more than an honor to have been working with Walter."
Son says she wanted to participate in the project as a way to help showcase the diversity of South Korea’s musical talent as more attention turns to the country’s K-pop scene. “I always dreamed of going abroad with my career,” Song says. “K-pop music is pretty hot at the moment, and the genre is, as some of you might already know, consists of perfect dance movements and singing in groups. I, of course, love K-pop idols, and many people love them too, but I wanted to show that there are many many Korean artists performing through a variety of genres as well.”
Check out the exclusive video premiere of Sonnet Son’s performance of “I’m Not A Warrior” below.