Veteran K-pop idol Rain is back – and he’s doing better than ever.
The South Korean singer-songwriter, musician and actor has spent much of the past year going viral for various dance performances and an occasional collaboration, but March will see him return in a big way: he started the month off by releasing a new album and it will end with him launching a new boy band, Ciipher.
Rain released his most recent album, My Life, in 2017. Wednesday saw the release of the new one, Pieces by Rain, a five-track EP fronted by the single Why Don’t We featuring Chungha.
The pair had promoted the single for several days ahead of its arrival, and the propulsive dance song was shared through a dramatic, one-take choreography video on Monday featuring Rain and Chungha.
The album also features the end-of-2020 single Switch to Me with J.Y. Park, under whose tutelage Rain developed his career while working with JYP Entertainment in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Rain has been one of South Korea’s most prominent musical artists and actors for several decades now, and has earned a reputation as a multifaceted entertainer. After making his acting debut in South Korea in 2003, he pursued a career in Hollywood, and was featured in films including Speed Racer, Ninja Assassin and The Prince.
His popularity surged last year after his 2017 song Gang went viral and he re-entered the spotlight. That led to multiple collaborations and television appearances before the end of the year.
He also collaborated with television personality Yoo Jae-seok and singer Lee Hyori to create the popular project group SSAK3, who dominated music charts in South Korea over the summer with their old-school style.
Last month, he collaborated with Grammy-award winning opera singer Sumi Jo and released the song Guardians as a tie-in to a new K-pop app, Universe.
The J.Y. Park collaboration featured on his first album of the 2020s is a nice nod to Rain as he produces a new boy band and picks up the reins metaphorically from his own producer.
Ciipher, a seven-member outfit, will release their first album, Ankkullyeo, on March 15.
While they’ll be the first group produced by the singer’s his R.A.I.N Company, in the late 2000s he also produced boy band MBLAQ and last year served as a judge and mentor on I-Land, which resulted in the formation of the new boy band Enhypen.
Last month, Rain performed Gang with Ciipher to kick off Rain Is Back. Three members of the group – Keita, Tag and Won – feature on a track on Rain’s new album.
In related news, Chungha released her first LP, Querencia, on February 15.