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“I Wanted to Show a New Side of Me”: BLACKPINK’s Lisa on Her Solo Debut

With her single album LALISA, BLACKPINK’s Lisa has become the third member of the global phenomenon to make her solo debut.

Less than 24 hours after the release of her solo debut LALISA, BLACKPINK’s Lisa had racked up an impressive 70.3 million views on YouTube, breaking the record set by Taylor Swift’s “ME” in 2019. Within 49 hours, the title track “LALISA” had crossed the 100 million views mark, arguably the fastest music video by a solo artist to do so in the platform’s history (although YouTube has yet to confirm). 

That’s not what Lisa was concerned about, however. For her, one of the major attractions of her debut was the fact that fans would see her without her signature bangs for the first time. Yep, sounds about right for a member of one of the world’s biggest girl-groups. 

“[This album] is all about my name, which embodies my most confident self,” said Lisa of the eponymous album — the rapper was born Pranpriya Manoban, but later changed her name to Lalisa Manoban —  in a press conference shortly after the release.

“I wanted to show people a new side of Lisa,” she continued regarding her vision for the album, “The album cover, styling — I was involved a lot during [all of that]. Regarding the choreography, I wanted to accentuate and emphasise certain dance moves.” 

Working on a solo album, she said, was worlds apart from preparing a BLACKPINK release, something she said she had to get used to. 

“When [BLACKPINK] are working together, the waiting room is so noisy and abuzz, but this time when it was just me, it was so quiet. I was missing them.” she says. “But I did work very hard, even if it was just on my own.” 

The rapper also stressed that in reflecting who she was, she also wanted the album to embody her Thai heritage. 

“I was talking to Teddy [BLACKPINK’s producer] that I wanted to imbue this release with a Thai vibe, and he came up with an arrangement that captured the perfect mood.” she said. “And then we used black and gold, the colours that represent me, as well as the album design — I did those parts by myself.” 

“I also told the directors that I wanted to wear a traditional Thai costume in the music video, and the end result was marvellous. We also incorporated a little bit of Thai traditional dances in the choreography. There is also a very distinct Thai mood in [part of the] song as well.” she explained, referring to the song’s bridge that features Lisa on a golden throne, clad in a similarly hued Thai dress featuring the sa-bai (breast covering) and the zin (sarong wrap).

The rapper also features a mongkut, a traditional headdress and dances against a backdrop of what is speculated to be the Prasat Hin Phanom Rung historical park, all nods to her birth country. 

Of course, being the third BLACKPINK member to have a solo release meant the pressure on her was intense. 

“Jennie and Rosé did such a great job [with their releases]. I wanted to do a great job as well,” she said, before going on to thank her members for their support. “All of the members came to the set to cheer me on, and even when it was late in the morning, they stayed on. It was very reassuring.” 

Being backed by the support of her fans and members, she said, was enough for her solo release. Despite the massive (ongoing) success of LALISA, she wasn’t too concerned about performing on the charts. 

“Rather than the charts, I just wanted people to notice new sides of Lisa, my performances, and my songs.” she said. “If it makes my fans happy, I could not ask for more.”