When it comes to artists on my Ultimate Bias list, Henry Lau is definitely on it. In my early days of K-pop, I tended to gravitate toward foreign idols or idols who spoke English. That allowed me to relate to them a little more and ended up being a bridge to their respective groups.
I can specifically remember two videos that kind of helped introduce me to Henry Lau in a positive way. Especially when Korean fans weren’t necessarily the most welcoming to him at the time. Thankfully, both videos are still on YouTube.
The first is this video, though not the original upload, of Henry spending time in New York more than 10 years ago:
My first impression of him was “Oh! This guy’s pretty cool. Someone you can hang out with.” Then I saw this second video:
And I know this is the exact video I watched almost 10 years ago since it still shows my Like of it:
Seeing him being so friendly and nice to his fans like this was definitely amazing to me. (As is the behavior of the very respectful and calm fans as well.) Second first impression was that Henry was an all-round nice guy. Considering he was a member of one of the biggest groups in Korea, it was refreshing and maybe even a little surprising to me. Afterwards, I began following him and listening to Super Junior-M.
When he released his first solo album Trap in 2013, I think that solidified me as a fan of his. Talented and humble, that’s certainly a great combo.
I think my favorite song of Henry’s is “Monster” which he released in 2018 just before the expiration of his contract with SM Entertainment.
In the two years since, Henry has established his own studio, joined Monster Entertainment Group, continued to release fresh music and make his Hollywood feature film debut.
Earlier this year, he featured in the Far East Movement-produced track “Nice Things” with English artist AlunaGeorge.
Excellent song, both the English and Chinese version. (Even an edited solo version featuring Henry’s lines from both versions.)
Back then, I was craving a fresh full album from Henry featuring the same vibe. And now in November 2020, it’s here!
Journey is Henry’s first album in six years and its an excellent showcase for who he is as a person and an artist.
Title track “Radio” is an emotional pop ballad. The dreamlike music video matches the song’s vibe and Henry’s passionate vocals and performance. Just excellent.
The rest of the album features fun and funky tracks “Hands Up” (featuring pH-1) and the cameo-filled “Come Over.”
My favorite tracks from the album aside from “Radio,” however are the two in the middle “Right Now” and “Just Be Me.” Both in a similar vein as the title track, they definitely line-up with my favorite songs from Henry’s discography. Midtempo, vibe-worthy tracks that if you’re familiar with Henry, you’d know they were his songs.
It’s always exciting when your favorite artist comes back with fresh music. Even more so when they’re a Bias of yours. And Henry Lau is definitely one of mine. So happy for this successful release and am looking forward to many, many more!