Tiffany Tmrw Magazine volume #26 - Tiffany Young (HQ SCANS/12PIC)

[Music] TIFFANY YOUNG - As Forbes mentioned themselves, it's still Tiffany Young's generation, even if she's no longer a girl. #티파니영 #티파니


The expansion of K-Pop (the name given to the spread of popular music from countries such as South Korea and Japan) has seen a significant surge within western nations in the past decade. Most notably of which, belongs to the South Korean superstar 'PSY' who's viral song 'Gangnam style' took the world by storm in early 2012, becoming the first video on YouTube to reach one billion views. PSY catapulted the little-known sub-genre of music into the forefront of western minds continuing even to this day. Still heavily referenced by media outlets its iconic dance and lyrics that perfectly embodies the entirety of the K-Pop movement has become a western icon. Since then, K-pop has blown-up throughout the west with its popularity spreading like wildfire within nations such as the UK and US. With the song only recently being surpassed after five whole years in late 2017, by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth's 'See You Again' for the Fast & Furious 7 motion picture. PSY's phenomenal success has paved the way for other Korean artists to expand globally like, pop star Tiffany Young.

Tiffany Young instantly caught the eye of South Korean agency (SM Entertainment) and has since gone on to take over the world, spearheading the K-pop movement with the number one bubble-gum pop supergroup, Girls' Generation. Through a persistent, unending, work ethic and a compelling passion for life, Tiffany Young might be what finally establishes K-Pop in the western mainstream.

As Forbes mentioned themselves, it's still Tiffany Young's generation, even if she's no longer a girl.

Prior to the success of Girls' Generation, Tiffany was developing herself on her own. Raised in a family of dancers and musicians, she knew that this was the path she was always meant to go down, "For me it really is like this movie, it was a dream come true for me in a sense. that growing up and just, wanting. I mean, my Mom was a ballet major and she played the piano and the guitar, and she sang". You could hear the excitement in her voice, it was her birthday the next day. She adds "Growing up, I definitely loved music and just wanted to do it since the beginning, being scouted made it seem all the more like fate for a fifteen-year-old. I was just so in love - I still am in love with music, it gave me determination and this drive until I was getting my message or my feelings across to an audience of listeners, I'm just so glad that's why it all started for me in the sense of wanting to help others feel better, the way I felt better when listening to music".

Three years after losing her mother, Tiffany moved from "always clear and amazing" California, to Korea where she underwent the notoriously strenuous SM programme with a limited understanding of the Korean language. Despite its reputation, the recently turned 29-year-old singer compared the transition to Harry Potter: "Scouting was like getting an invitation to Hogwarts. It was like the music equivalent, and that gave me the more relatable context, but I was rewatching Harry Potter recently and I was like oh my god that's probably why I love moving and going to practice and language lessons and acting lessons - it was literally my Hogwarts".

Growing up through the juggernaut of a programme orchestrated by SM for three years, Young was in no position to deny its intensity stating, "It absolutely was intense, but I've realized that it is the best thing that has ever happened to me, it was truly educational for me and you don't get to realise that until later on." She continued thoughtfully "When it's going on, it's pretty tough. Especially because you're growing up so you don't even know who you are yet. But I'm so thankful because it has shaped me into the person and the artist I am today. I'm just so glad that the whole process of teaching you responsibility and, just how to prioritise things in my life, focusing on whether you love it or not it really just let me realize that I love music so much".


Throughout the following three years, Tiffany's determination and resilience was tested more than ever; dedicating her adolescence to learning Korean and finally getting the green-light from her initially disapproving father. But these struggles only drove her ambition, eventually landing her of Girls' Generation, where she enjoyed a decade of exceptional achievements. The eight-piece power group- made up of Tiffany, Yuri, Sunny, Hyoyeon, Yoona, Sooyoung, Taeyeon and Seohyun became one of the most beloved, admired and dynamic girl bands in K-pop history.

"I think the most amazing part was that we found family. My bandmates and I found family in each other". The girls shot to success with their hit song "Gee" and went on to boast 16 Number One singles, 1.8 billion YouTube views, and millions of album sales across their 15 releases. When Girls' Generation overtook the likes of Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and One Direction (while they were actually together) to win the Youtube Music Awards Video of the Year for "I Got A Boy" in 2013, creating shockwaves among Twitter stans.

Being a part of the Golden Age for K-pop, the prospect of a superstardom and the level of fame would be expected to have its consequences, but Tiffany remained optimistic and answered with the same uplifting, positive tone as though nothing in the world could shake her at all. Once again, making a childhood analogy "There's a lot more to it. I remember watching The Nutcracker last Christmas and watching the ballerinas perform I was – you know – they do it so gracefully you think that you can do it and it's easy that they're just doing it naturally when it's all just hard work and precision and I think especially for Girls' Generation that's what it's been about. When I was doing the last album for me at least. It was so much fun. I think that was a time where we were discovering ourselves while doing it".

There has been much speculation and debate on Tiffany's status within the group, many publications have wrongfully claimed that she has departed Girls' Generation. Late last year, it had been reported that two months after their 10th anniversary celebration, the K-pop act had reached a crossroads. While two of the members Sooyoung and Seohyun had left to pursue acting, it had been rumoured that Tiffany left to continue with her studies back in the States, this has since been refuted by tiffany and the group.

When questioned about the fans reaction and whether they felt betrayed she reflected: "I had a positive reaction from the fans and was able to make my decision because I had full support of my bandmates and the fans. It's amazing to have all the experiences that I have and also hear my bandmates and everyone else say "This is what you wanted your whole life'". When it came to her actual position in the group, the now 29-year-old had a lot to say about it. "It is a little tricky in the sense that we never disbanded as a group. I just couldn't stay at the label and we all trust each other enough that we're always a group. We are all in this space where we wanna try out new things. And it's not new, over the course of ten years we had years where we pursued solo projects. I feel bad that there is a mix up about people not understanding my status in Girls' Generation. To be as clear as I can be, I am no longer with the label SM, but the group of girls have agreed that we will always be together".

Admittedly, Young had experienced a lot at such a young age from losing her mother, which she confesses to be the major experience in her life that prompted her to take the risks she has, and significantly influences her sound as well as herself today "I think losing my mom at such a young age is where it all started, in a sense finding out how magical music is and how it made me feel better. The thought of me being able to make others feel better - at such a dark time – or in a sense of when you're losing your way, that definitely would probably be the biggest shift into why what and how I got to start music".


Even though the singers a pure mix of the best of both pop worlds, Tiffany claims that there is no major difference between the two sectors of music "I've always been very focused. Even for this current song "Over My Skin" it is very much what I love about K-Pop and the pop I grew up to. I think it can bring both worlds together". Perhaps, this has aided Tiffany in the studio, as a large number of producers tend to be European and from the West, including the likes of The Stereotypes who have worked with Bruno Mars to Kanye West's Label G.O.O.D Music. Young claims that the only difference is the process. "Well I started young, most of us started young. I think K-Pop is very much like the Early 90s of boy bands and girl bands and strong female divas". She continues "I didn't think it to be too different, but there definitely is a formula and a structure to how K-Pop is put together versus right now being back in LA and kind of navigating and learning the American market. The difference now is I am very on hand with the song writing process. Beforehand we had demos and we created from there but now I create from point blank".

Yet having such an influential, powerful following, the amount of pressure and demand that is constantly hauled over the group is inevitably overwhelming. As K-pop expert Hasan Beyaz of SheBOPS has suggested, when it comes to cultural impact, Girls' Generation have always unarguably been as influential as the Spice Girls. Tiffany, of course, being Posh with a sprinkle of Baby. "Absolutely! Until age 24, I had the pressure of having to always be perfect and it has to be all ready and absolutely finished. After that I realized that it's not real. You have to take in things moment to moment. And those moments never come back. And it really became about being truthful in your given circumstance and moment. And that really kind of left me to get to where I am right now I think. But until 24 I did feel like I could be perfect. But when I got older I thought everyone will feel that way but as you get older people tell you it's gonna get easy but no you learn what you are comfortable with and what you are not, and you get a lot more specific that's what helps you navigate through life. I think that's something I have been easing into that's why I'm so much calmer, open and ready. Trying to accept everything, taking in my surroundings. We are all human, I am human, you're human, no one is perfect".

From the release of her recent single "Over My Skin" on June 28th produced and co-written by Kev Nish and Khwezi of Far East Movement alongside Rachel West, it is clear the K-Pop sensation did not fall short on any expectations. The reminiscence of early naughts R&B, mixed with Justin Timberlake influenced tracks (a love that she did not hesitate to express throughout our conversation) show a confident ode to her devotion of life and female empowerment. Tiffany's American debut articulately brings her flowering growth to the forefront while demonstrating powerhouse vocals and unapologetic attitude towards being herself, and nothing less. "I always wanted to be an artist to watch and wanted people to keep checking back. And it's rare that you get to start all over again after thirteen years and I'm just so thankful that I'm a new artist now all over again." This new era of Tiffany Young, combining two different versions of herself, paralleling the strong female values of Girls' Generation while simultaneously reaffirming more seductive lyricism "We're Ladies Generation now, one generation". This enlightenment was perhaps a revival, which she heavily agreed with "Yeah absolutely, it's so special to feel this way". In terms of what Tiffany stands for as an artist she goes on to state; "I stand for positivity and love and growing and someone who's fearless. That continues to challenge, or discover, or find a revival in life. I hope it inspires others to continue to keep going on. That's what music is for me too". She continues "I always let love outweigh any obstacle or circumstance. That is definitely what I live by and after that it would be perfect, practice makes perfect".


Words - Ashley Morris
Photography - Alex Harper
Stylist - Anna Schilling
Hair - Kelsey Zahn
MUA - Kevin Nishimura
Photography Assistant - Darrin Bush
Location - Joe & Juice, Melrose Avenue, LA

This was originally written in print as Tmrw Magazine Volume #26 in August 2018.

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GGPM: Tiffany Tmrw Magazine volume #26 - Tiffany Young (HQ SCANS/12PIC)
Tiffany Tmrw Magazine volume #26 - Tiffany Young (HQ SCANS/12PIC)
[Music] TIFFANY YOUNG - As Forbes mentioned themselves, it's still Tiffany Young's generation, even if she's no longer a girl. #티파니영 #티파니
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