SINGAPORE – Sleep is a luxury for popular K-pop singer Chung Ha.

The 23-year-old, who was in town for the first time for a fan meeting held at [email protected] on Sunday (April 21), says: “When I get really busy sometimes, I have no time to sleep at all. On days when I can sleep a lot, I get about five to six hours.”

But the former member of South Korean girl group I.O.I, who has found success as a solo artist – her music videos have clocked over 20 million views on YouTube – has no complaints.

During a sit-down interview with The Straits Times at Gain City’s Megastore in Sungei Kadut, where her press conference was held, Chung Ha, who spent eight years growing up in Dallas, Texas, says in fluent English: “This is a time for me to charge ahead and work hard.”

Even negative comments from netizens cannot get her down.

She says: “Of course I get affected, I think everyone does but I’m still very thankful for what I have now.”

Chung Ha first came to public attention on the 2016 talent reality show Produce 101, dancing to Beyonce.

She was one of 11 members who successfully debuted as a girl group via the show, from a pool of 101 trainees.

The group, which was meant to be active for a year, disbanded in 2017.

While I.O.I released cute hits such as Very Very Very (2016), Chung Ha’s solo songs are edgier.

Songs like Gotta Go (2019) and Roller Coaster (2018) are bold and sexy, featuring the singer in sparkly fur coats or all-black ensembles dancing sensually.

“I’m not into cute stuff,” explains Chung Ha, who was clad in thigh-high boots and black shorts.

“I loved hanging out with my girls from I.O.I but as a soloist, I can express my opinions more with my music and performances.”

When asked if her American upbringing influenced her career, she says: “Definitely, I listened to a lot of pop music growing up. I don’t have someone I particularly listened to, I just listened to everyone on the radio.

“And it helps to speak English. To have proper pronunciation and be able to do this interview without a translator – that’s something that’s only possible because I spent time in America.”

The singer did not manage to spend much time in Singapore though, with her trip lasting less than 24 hours.

Still, she had food on her hit list.

She says during the press conference: “I was told I had to try this really famous toast – the kaya toast. I hope to eat that.”

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