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Throughout this month, Taeyeon has been promoting the release of her debut solo album, something we’ve been waiting for for a long time. In fact, at Taeyeon’s first “Taeyeon’s Very Special Day” concert, fans held up signs saying, “We waited for this moment, Taeyeon-ah”, a message of how much they, and surely every Girls’ Generation fan, really looked forward to Taeyeon’s solo debut. For some, it was a much longer wait than they probably first imagined. After all, with Taeyeon, it was not a question of if she would have a solo debut, but when. Ever since the success of “If” all the way back in 2008, and many OSTs since, Taeyeon was bound to have her own album. And yet, it somehow took seven years after “If” for Taeyeon to come out with “I”. SM Entertainment gave out solos in an Oprah-esque fashion to everyone but Taeyeon, one of which she was actually featured in, before it was her turn. Finally though, the wait has ended.

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Taeyeon’s fans weren’t the only ones waiting for her solo, however, because Taeyeon herself has been as well. In a phone call with Taeyeon on “I-Contact”, Tiffany said, “As an 11-year long friend… I think this is the moment that we’ve waited for for 11 years.” Hearing this made me wonder, what was it that Taeyeon had been waiting for? I’ve always felt that it wasn’t that Taeyeon couldn’t do a solo album, but that she wouldn’t. She’s chosen to wait this long. There is no way that anyone in their right mind would take eight years to give KIM TAEYEON a solo, which means that at some point, Taeyeon must have refused an offer. Why?

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Of course, we can only guess as to the reason Taeyeon has only chosen to debut as a soloist now, and there are probably very few people who really know. Personally, I think that Taeyeon disliked the idea of performing on stage by herself, so much so that she pushed back her solo to be with her members for as long as she could. She loves and depends on her members, because as much as she is a bright, charming leader with them, she can be a tiny, timid person on her own. Taeyeon took on the world with eight others, making the start of her career very different from someone like BoA. In 2012, Taeyeon traveled without her members to perform “I Love You” at a concert in Japan for “Athena: Goddess of War”. At the event’s press conference, Taeyeon said, “Being on such a spacious stage by myself feels a little bit lonely.” More than three years later, it seems things haven’t changed (no wonder, since the strangest stuff seems to happen to Taeyeon when she’s on stage, from being nearly dragged away, to falling in a hole). In OnStyle’s “Daily Taeng9Cam”, we get a glimpse at Taeyeon right before her solo debut stage on Mnet’s “M! Countdown”, where she’s nervous and misses her members, despite having done this hundreds of times, despite performing with them on the very same show just weeks earlier. At her second “Taeyeon’s Very Special Day” concert, which Yuri attended, Taeyeon said it was weird that Yuri was watching from the audience instead of being on stage with her. Having performed for such a long time with eight others, or seven, or two, it may be weird for quite a while. Eventually, Taeyeon will get used to performing alone, but I think that, even though they may send her text messages, even though they may be in the audience, even though they may be backstage, Taeyeon will always be happiest when her members are next to her.

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So why do this solo? Unfortunately, Taeyeon’s time performing with her members may be running out. Girls’ Generation’s contracts were reportedly renewed for three more years in 2014, meaning that as of now, there are only two more years of Girls’ Generation as we know it, and then who knows what will happen. While everyone would love for Girls’ Generation to continue forever, we’ve seen recently that things don’t always work out the way we want them to. All of the members of Girls’ Generation who want to remain in the entertainment industry must establish themselves now, while their popularity is still high, in the field where they hope to be long after Girls’ Generation has ended. Yuri, Sooyoung, and Yoona have been acting in dramas and movies; Jessica, Tiffany, and Hyoyeon have all entered the fashion scene in some way; Seohyun has been cast in musical after musical; Sunny just does everything. Taeyeon, however, has shown neither desire nor aptitude in any of these. Instead, it is clear that Taeyeon was born to sing: it is something she loves to do and is amazing at. She is respected not just as an idol, but as a vocalist. Her voice has been heard by people around the world whom she will never meet, but whose lives she has touched. What else would Taeyeon do? Finally, we see why this solo is so important for her. In a magazine interview from 2013, Taeyeon said, “I’ve wanted to do a show in a small theater for a long time.” As difficult as it is to perform without her members, this solo and concert series are what Taeyeon must do to establish herself for after Girls’ Generation, but also are what Taeyeon want to do, because they are her dreams come true. They are Taeyeon’s future.

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And perhaps they can be part of the future of other members as well. Just as the little leader started Girls’ Generation’s foray into social media, maybe the success of “I” will begin a trend of solo debuts for other members. An article earlier this year reported that Taeyeon, Tiffany, and Girls’ Generation-TTS will all have promotions in 2015 following Girls’ Generation. SM Entertainment has not confirmed that either Tiffany or Girls’ Generation-TTS will indeed have album releases, but Tiffany’s self-written “Bittersweet and Crazy” that she teased at her birthday party and on “Yoo Heeyeol’s Sketchbook” suggests that we may see another solo soon. Hopefully there are many more to come.

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It would be unfair to Taeyeon not to mention one last thing: the most important reason for her solo. Taeyeon is so loved by her fans because their love is returned. Whether it be through Instagram posts, or in acceptance speeches, or by standing up for them on television shows, Taeyeon shows in many ways that she loves her fans. Now, through this solo, Taeyeon has found another way to return her fans’ love. Taeyeon knew how much we wanted her solo debut, and though it was a long time coming, she gave us a fantastic album and some amazing performances. She showed us her love once again. Without a doubt, this moment was worth the wait.

Disclaimer: Views expressed are solely those of the author and are not representative of the Soshified community as a whole.

Written by: bhost909@soshified
Edited by: moonrise31@soshified

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