Ailee Talks Music, Life, and Her Fur Babies Ahead of “I Am: Here” Concert in Kuala Lumpur

The K-pop star is coming back to us like the first snow.

American singer and songwriter Ailee is set to dazzle thousands of her fans this month as she brings her I Am: Here concert to Kuala Lumpur’s Mega Star Arena. Promising a night of electrifying performances and entrancing visuals for what’s going to be her first solo concert in Southeast Asia, the K-pop princess is slated to perform a medley of her greatest hits, pulled from her diverse discography.

The concert is somewhat a homecoming for the star as it marks her second time visiting the country since her appearance at the Golden Disk Awards in 2013—just a year after her triumphant debut. “I am most grateful for the fans who welcomed me so warmly. I remember everyone singing along all in Korean and I was just shocked at how good they all sounded!” she recalled.

After over a decade of carving her name in the music industry, the 34-year-old chanteuse has built a formidable resume for herself, with four studio albums, six extended plays (EPs), and numerous chart-topping singles under her belt. Not to mention the string of accolades that she has raked in thus far including four consecutive Mnet Asian Music Awards for Best Female Vocal Performance.

How does it feel to have your first solo concert in Southeast Asia, particularly here in Malaysia, after 12 years of career?

I am truly grateful and honoured to have the opportunity to hold a solo concert here in Malaysia. I am diligently preparing for it, and I’m very excited to meet my Malaysian fans.

Is there anything you’d like to do again when you’re here?

When I return to Malaysia, I’m most definitely looking forward to hearing my fans’ voices and I definitely must eat nasi goreng again! It’s my favourite!

Touring and performing long hours could take a toll on the most skilled artists. How do you maintain your stamina and vocal health?

Physical fitness is really important. I drink a lot of water regularly and do strength-training exercises whenever I can. When I have a busy schedule, I make sure to keep my throat from getting dry since I use it a lot.

Any particular songs from your discography that you’re especially excited to perform live for your Malaysian fans?

I heard that I Will Go To You Like The First Snow from the Goblin original soundtrack is one of the most sung songs at karaoke! So I’m especially excited to be performing this song. Hopefully, my fans will be able to relive the scene from the drama and also show off their karaoke skills!

What is the most requested song by your fans and why do you think that is?

It’s difficult to pinpoint just one song. When I ask fans what they want to hear at my solo concerts, they always request a really wide variety of songs and I’m extremely grateful for that.

Do you have any messages for your fans who will be attending the concert?

There will be special surprises but you’ll have to find out for yourself there. I’m working hard on the concert, so please look forward to it and let’s have some fun! I really miss you, Aileeans!

What would you be doing when you’re not performing?

I would unwind with my fur babies Som, Cookie, and Kanu! They take away my stress as soon as I walk through the door. My perfect, relaxing day is when I’m doing absolutely nothing and just taking all-day naps with my dogs.

Beyond music, do you have any other creative outlets that inspire you?

I watch a lot of different content on YouTube whenever I have the time, and I enjoy watching shorts as well! I like to observe how people think and feel and try to apply that as much as I can in my music.

You have also tried your hand at acting before. What kind of stories or roles would you be interested in exploring?

I did some acting for a VCR video last year while preparing for a national tour concert. It was indeed challenging but fun, and I enjoyed participating! If there are good stories and roles, maybe I’ll consider giving it a try.

How do you get inspired when you’re working on an album?

When I listen to demo songs, I often find certain ones particularly intriguing depending on the situation or my current interests. I further develop these songs, making them more specific. I watch a lot of YouTube content and I get a lot of ideas from that as well.

What’s next for you?

I have been experimenting in the studio with different types of sounds that I am interested in these days. I’m not sure if I’ll be back with a full album yet but I’m excited to let my fans know that I am currently recording and counting the days to share my music with them!