K-pop stars in Dubai: EXO, DJ Raiden reveal plans for 2024, what going solo means to them

Xiumin, Chen, Chanyeol are done with their mandatory military service and have re-entered the industry determined to show fans a different side of themselves


Supreeta Balasubramanian

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KT Photos: Shihab
KT Photos: Shihab

Published: Tue 16 Jan 2024, 2:47 PM

Last updated: Wed 17 Jan 2024, 3:01 PM

Is it possible to overdose on K-pop? Ask any fan and the answer will likely be a resounding 'no'.

The 'K-pop Overdose' concert, held on January 14 at the Coca Cola Arena in Dubai, saw hundreds of fans attend. Xiumin, Chen, and Chanyeol from the world-famous boy group EXO took to stage with their solo hits. They were accompanied by DJ Raiden, a South Korean DJ, instrumentalist, and music producer.

The name of the show is a callback to one of EXO's most popular tracks, 'Overdose'. The song is a snapshot of 2014, the year in which it was released, featuring bright lights, electronic music, hairstyles that defy gravity, and of course, phenomenal performances.

Fast-forward 10 years, and the members have come a long way. Xiumin, Chen, and Chanyeol are done with their mandatory military service and have re-entered the industry to show fans a new version of themselves - one that is more authentic, raw, and genuine.

Khaleej Times caught up with the idols, as well as DJ Raiden, to gather their thoughts about the upcoming year and performing in Dubai.


Q. How do you feel being back in Dubai?

Chen: I feel great, it's fascinating to see how much love the fans have for me here. This time at the airport, fans came to greet me with roses. I haven't been given roses in a long time, it was very memorable.

Q. You have said that your solo music album was able to capture yourself as you are. What kind of image do you think you were able to show through it?

Chen: During my solo promotions, I was able to show who Chen as a person is most comfortably. I've been trying a lot of different genres, with EXO as well. When working on my solo albums, I am able to show my every potential. I try to show all my emotions and thoughts, not only in the title tracks but in the entire album.


Q. You have been active as an actor as of late, but we are also curious about your activities as a singer. What kind of music styles can we expect in the future?

Xiumin: To be honest, it's been 12 years since I made my debut, but I still feel like I haven't shown fans my full potential yet. This year I want to try many new things - not only in musical genres but also in live activities. I want to find different ways to connect with my fans as well, like my YouTube channel.


Q. You have many well-performing solos. Is there scope for a full-length solo album in the future?

Chanyeol: I really appreciate the love fans have shown me as a solo artist. In my upcoming solo album, I want to explore new types of music. This year I'm focused on being genuine and honest, and I hope that comes through in my work.

DJ Raiden

Q. You have an impressive body of solo work, you were in a band in the past, and you frequently collab with other artists. Which one of these is the most fun for you?

DJ Raiden: When I was in a band, I used to play the guitar, and as a DJ I work with equipment... the feeling is very different. Actually I've been getting close to Chanyeol, since I realised that he like playing the guitar as well. I feel like that's when I have the most fun, when I'm playing an instrument and jamming with him.


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