Hyolyn, SISTAR Star, Makes Her New York City Solo Debut [Review]
During a Family Guy episode that aired a year ago, Peter Griffin turns on the television to find SISTAR's "Touch My Body" video playing as he gazes at the screen in disbelief. “What is this, and how can I make the rest of my life about it?” he finally asks.
That, more or less, sums up the general experience of Hyolyn's debut solo showcase in New York City over the weekend (March 18).
For the uninitiated, Hyolyn (sometimes spelled Hyorin) is one-fourth of the massively successful SISTAR, who've notched consecutive No. 1 hits ever since 2011's "So Cool." But she's more than just one member of a girl group: she's paved her own path over the years as a solo star, delivering a full studio LP LOVE & HATE in 2013, followed by a mini-album (It's Me) in late 2016. She guested on Far East Movement's latest album ("Umbrella") and just recently inked an international deal with Spinnin' Records, making her the first Asian artist to sign a contract with the EDM label. Oh, and one night before her New York debut, she was dropping down low on stage at SXSW in Austin.
In short: she's a singing-dancing-rapping powerhouse...and she probably doesn't sleep much.
If jet-setting across the globe over the past few days is taking a toll on the performer, she wasn't showing any obvious symptoms when she hit the stage at Flash Factory in Manhattan for her first-ever solo stage in New York City. (Then again, considering she's part of the K-pop industry, she's surely more than used to a demanding work schedule.)
Following an opening set by up-and-coming crooner Lijah Lu, who delivered some soulful melodies above slick beats, the SISTAR superstar came strutting out with her dancers to launch immediately into her rapid-fire set, including "Paradise," "Dope," "One Way Love," sub-unit SISTAR19's "Ma Boy" — and yes, even SISTAR's "Touch My Body," complete with the signature dance moves that had the audience squealing along for the ride.
If Hyolyn was out to prove anything, it's that she's a multi-talented force: she belted like Ariana (literally — she sang a cover of "Bang Bang" at the end and nailed every note), churned out genuinely fierce 'n' sexy, "yaaaas!"-worthy, hair-flipping choreography that left me shook — nay, stirred, rapped with the cocky flow of a pro, and generally delivered a superstar show stripped down to fit the intimate setting. (Pro tip in general: if ever you have the opportunity to see someone who fills arenas abroad performing at a small venue stateside, go.)
Hyolyn spoke briefly between songs and thanked the jam-packed, phone-filled crowd multiple times both in Korean and English, evidently enjoying the independence and thrill of promoting in a new territory, and the eager crowd gave the love right back. Roars of "encore!" rang out at the end, though she was gone, likely already off to her debut solo show in LA the next night.
But based on what she served up on stage, it's safe to say this won't be her last visit.
Check out photos above, and watch more assorted clips of Hyolyn's NYC debut below.