With the release of her new EP, Lips on Lips, Tiffany Young is one of the hottest up-and-coming pop stars on the U.S. music scene, which is honestly a little weird to type because she's actually been super famous for over a decade. Young is a member of one of K-Pop's biggest girl groups, Girls' Generation, that's been killing it on the K-Pop scene since 2007. But if anything tells you that you need to give Young's first solo body of work in English a chance, it's Girls' Generations' reaction to Tifanny Young's solo album. Because despite going solo to pursue her musical aspirations stateside, Young's girls still have her back and know an amazing body of work when they hear it.
All my seniors who have paved the way to all the things that I've done with Girls' Generation and all the new music that new artists are doing. I support. I stan. I love.
So, why are you just now getting hip to Young's epic musical talents, you wonder? Well, while the industry she carved out a legendary place for herself in has been around and thriving since the '90s, it's perhaps just now getting the mainstream recognition it deserves in the U.S. thanks to the meteoric rise of fellow K-Pop stars, BTS. Young's solo debut stateside coinciding with K-Pop's explosion into the mainstream is pretty serendipitous, and that's not lost on Young.
"I am so lucky. I am so blessed. This timing is insane," Young tells Elite Daily, but she makes sure to point out that there was a steady build to this moment thanks to all the K-Pop legends that came before her, Girls' Generation, BTS, and the like. "I love everything that has been there. All my seniors who have paved the way to all the things that I've done with Girls Generation and all the new music that new artists are doing. I support. I stan. I love."
Now, with an iHeartRadio music award for Best Solo Breakout under her belt, Young is poised to show what she's got as an individual artist by taking over the U.S. airwaves. Her new EP, Lips on Lips, dropped on Feb. 22, and it's been getting so much love from fans. Which makes sense, since Young dedicated every fiber of her being to making sure the epic album reflected her vision of what she calls "fantasy pop."
I have been told and taught to shy away or not talk about issues. Coming out and talking about difficulties and struggles in my family has really inspired me to open up.
"I was very specific that I wanted to create fantasy pop because that's such an underlying theme and something I love in my life," Young shares. "I wanted to create something fresh and new."
She definitely succeeded — and did so with flying, unicorn colors, OK? For example, she enlisted the help of Babyface on the love ballad, "Runaway." I know what you're thinking. Babyface? Like, the Babyface? Yes, that Babyface. Young enlisted the 11-time Grammy Award-winning artist to collab on the track, and her reasoning makes so much sense.
"I have been inspired — I mean, who hasn't — by a countless number of Babyface records," she explains about the collab. "To be specific, because of the way that he whisks you away into this fairy tale fantasy love poem. That's exactly what I wanted to create."
But Lips on Lips isn't all fun and fantasy. Young opens up on the EP in one of her most vulnerable songs yet, called "Born Again." A song that channels her emotions surrounding her rocky relationship with her father into an emotional ballad about overcoming hardships and coming out on the other side of them stronger than ever.
"'Born Again' was inspired by opening up about family issues and being estranged from my father for a while, and coming from K-Pop and coming from an Asian-American background, I have been told and taught to shy away or not talk about issues," she explains. But now she's ready to explore those bottled-up emotions in her art. "Coming out and talking about difficulties and struggles in my family has really inspired me to open up and want to come out with full emotion, which really feels like a rebirth as a human being, as an artist, and that's what inspired that song."
Despite all the pain that Young channeled into writing "Born Again," it ultimately has a positive message. "There is a light and there is a way to thrive from it, and no matter how painful experiences may be, as long as you've grown and find a light in that situation, it's totally worth it," Young shares. "This song is about getting past the pain, and finding that love and light to take you further and deeper and make you stronger. It's about being resilient."
Wow. That's so powerful. From fantasy pop like "Runaway" and emotional ballads about the human experience like "Born Again," to sexy jams like the title track "Lips on Lips," Young's EP seriously touches on every single beat you could possibly hope for. And that's probably why her former Girls' Generation bandmates were beyond impressed with it.
While some bands' relationships go sour once members start to go solo, Young's relationships with Taeyeon, Sunny, Hyoyeon, Yuri, Sooyoung, Yoona, and Seohyun are stronger than ever.
It's so crazy to hear because they know me and Girls' Generation has built such a huge legacy. And to hear that from the closest, most critical people is the best feeling.
"They texted me yesterday and were like, 'I want the album,'" Young shares about the girls' reactions after hearing her solo album. "I was actually already writing a letter out to each bandmate to send them the actual physical CD... A few of them said it moved them to tears. A few of them said it was the best body of work to date."
It's clear from the way Young speaks about her bandmates that despite them going on hiatus and Young moving back to her home state of California to pursue a solo career in the States, there's nothing but love and support between them. They've formed an unbreakable bond over the past 12 years.
"They have known me inside-out from the beginning and loved me for who I am and have helped me stay strong and inspired me," she explains. "In the end, when I decided to move back home because there was a story that I needed to tell back home, they've always loved me despite anything that was going on in my life or the crazy situations that were at hand. They were there through it all."
And that's why their love for Lips on Lips means more to Young than anything. "It's so crazy to hear because they know me and Girls' Generation has built such a huge legacy. And to hear that from the closest, most critical people is the best feeling."
There's nothing like the support of your closest girlfriends, is there? You can click play to stream Lips on Lips below and hear exactly what Girls' Generation was raving about.