Teen singer Lee Hi said she has been practically living in a recording studio ahead of the release of her first album in February after she became an overnight star in 2012.
The 17-year-old's first single "1,2,3,4" swept the K-pop charts at the end of last year following her runner-up finish on the SBS audition program "K-Pop Star." She now ranks as one of the most promising singers in the K-Pop scene, but said the pressure and weight of her fans' expectations can at times get overpowering.
"Until I released my first single, I don't think I was ready to be a singer. Then my song raced to the top of several music charts and I didn't know how to handle all the sudden attention," said Lee.
"Singing is the most enjoyable thing in the world for me, but I still have a long way to go to build a successful career as a singer. I have to keep pushing myself to be better," she added.
"When I went to broadcasting stations, I used to feel so small among all the tall, slim and beautiful singers. I just tried to convince myself that I was the best," she said.
As is evident in "1,2,3,4," Lee is deeply attached to soul music. "I want to sing songs that are more soulful, similar to Duffy, Adele and Kimbra. That's the direction I’m going in with my first full-length album," she said.
Like most girls her age, she is not satisfied with her physique and has been working hard to get in shape.
"I can't stop exercising, because I still look a bit plump on TV. I've lost about 7 kg since September by spending two hours a day working out."