After D.O. released his first-ever solo album Empathy to wide critical acclaim last month, the EXO member is proving that he is in a class all by himself.
Throughout his prolific nine-year career, D.O. (birth name: Do Kyung Soo) has been a lead vocalist of one of K-pop’s most decorated groups and has also proven adept in television, film and theater. D.O.’s breakout role in 2014’s Korean drama series That’s Okay, It’s Love led to him scoring award-winning performances in the blockbuster My Annoying Brother as well as 2018’s top-rated TV series 100 Days My Prince. His first solo single, “That’s Okay,” released in 2019, was solid proof of his potential as an all-around performer.
Over his beautifully arranged, eight-track album, D.O. flaunts his affinity for storytelling over a melodic mix of acoustic R&B and pop productions and lets the power of his delicate-yet-full-bodied vocals and emotive lyrics shine over stripped-back ballads like “My Love,” the confessional serenade “I’m Gonna Love You,” and the breezy folk-pop single “The Rose.”
D.O.’s vocals handle a range of tasks on Empathy, coming in as profoundly relaxing as they interweave with gentle guitar strums on the hypnotic “It’s Love,” while “I’m Fine” lets him effortlessly soar between his gorgeous falsetto and soulful low notes.
Bolstered by the success of EXO’s latest album, Don’t Fight the Feeling, which has become one of 2021’s biggest K-pop releases with more than 1.2 million copies sold and a music video earning 80 million views on YouTube since its release in early June, D.O. finally released his solo album, which lets him flourish as a star vocalist but also showcases his songwriting and language skills.
Notably, D.O. is credited with writing “Rose” and “I’m Fine” on the album while also offering a Spanish-language version of “It’s Love” as well as an English version of “Rose.”
To date, Empathy has sold more than 300,000 copies worldwide and topped the iTunes Top Albums chart in nearly 60 countries, while the music video for “Rose” has amassed more than 9 million views since its premiere. “I’m Gonna Love You” debuted at No. 90 on the K-Pop Hot 100, while “Rose” came in at No. 91. “Rose” also entered the World Digital Song Sales chart at No. 16, while the album peaked at No.14 on the World Albums chart. In addition to all the impressive numbers, D.O. seems to have found his musical identity as a solo musician, and Empathy is only the beginning of what is sure to be a fulfilling solo career.
–By Jessica Oak