By Jeff Benjamin for 

The color cyan contains an essence of a cool, calm and bright blue, a sentiment that fits well into the next step of Kang Daniel’s story.

Both in album sales and technical abilities, the star is one of the top performers in the K-pop industry since breaking out on his own last summer with his first solo EP released under a self-created entertainment company. But a brave move of breaking out completely solo led to stresses like a legal situation with his former label, issues appearing on television and parts of his personal life being revealed—all leading to a hiatus for the artist just as he released a new single at the end of 2019. Understandably, Daniel was looking for calm.

Like his debut album Color on Me, Kang Daniel’s Cyan has an understated sense of pop sophistication to it. Lead single “2U” has a subtle-but-rocking synth-pop sound that’s refreshing as it is catchy. That theme continues throughout the five-track set that includes the snappy, electro-pop cut “Jealous” and the half-beat-heavy, half-funky-harmony-driven “Interview.” It doesn’t smash you over the head with an overwhelming amount of sounds and influences like some of the best K-pop can, but instead invites you to settle in and learn more about the increasingly colorful music world Kang Daniel’s creating.

The singer-dance-entrepreneur came to the United States in February of this year, not only to put the finishing touches on Cyan (a new EP that he tells Forbes he “put his heart into”), but to film a reality show that lets viewers watch him experience the joys of everyday life and travel (Hello, Daniel is currently airing on South Korean television). On a relaxed, sunny day in Los Angeles, Daniel speaks with a self-assured calmness about his new projects as well as about overcoming the hardships that came before them.

While he hadn’t revealed Cyan as the album title at this point, no doubt he was embodying several elements of the color in this interview. Read on for more about Cyan, Daniel’s journey and what’s coming up.

Jeff Benjamin: There is so much to talk about but, first and foremost, I want to know how are you doing? I don’t want to focus too much on the past, but we know you needed to take a break in December, can you let us know what was going on?

Kang Daniel: It’s really good to see you, it’s been a while and last time you came to Korea. But this time I got to come to L.A. to say hi to you so that’s a great pleasure. I’m here working on the projects that I’ve been preparing a lot, but everybody runs into a wall sometimes and that happened to me in December. But what gives me courage, and what I want to focus on more than what happened to me, is that I overcame my obstacles and it’s really that which gives me courage to move forward.

Full interview on