You might know K-pop star AleXa from the reality competition show American Song Contest, where she won for her clever, EDM-tinged song "Wonderland" in 2022, but now she's taking things in a whole new direction with her new single "Sick."

Released in February, "Sick" dives into the world of early '00s pop-rock with its hooky guitar chords and chorus that begs to be chanted in a live setting. And it's all a throwback to the musician's angsty teen years spent listening to artists such as My Chemical Romance and Evanescence.

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In the song's explosive music video, AleXa confronts the idealized version of her crush and defeats him after a bloody physical battle in a visual metaphor that explores toxic relationships and self-worth. The action-packed, boundary-pushing video even has fans calling for the singer to act in a new K-drama or action film ASAP.

Below, PopCrush caught up with the next-gen K-pop star to chat about the making of "Sick," her emo/pop-punk roots and what's next for the singer-songwriter.

Watch AleXa's "Sick" Music Video:

Congratulations on your history-making performance at Jingle Ball! How did it feel to be the first Korean solo artist to perform at Jingle Ball last year? Which artist were you most excited to meet?

Thank you very much! It brought me great joy to perform on the Jingle Ball Tour as the first-ever K-pop soloist to do so! It was a dream come true.

It was cool to meet LANY since Paul and I are from the same hometown!

Speaking of tours, you're currently on your 2024 U.S. tour. What are you most looking forward to sharing with fans on this tour?

I’m just happy to be on stage again and to perform for my fans.

What inspired your new song “Sick”? What was recording it like?

We spent days in the studios, both in the U.S. and in Korea, trying to get the sound right. “Sick” was actually produced by a team of really talented songwriters and producers that I’ve been lucky to work with, and I think the brilliance in the lyrics is in the fact that it can be up to interpretation by the listener.

My personal interpretation of the lyrics are the complete opposite of its initial intent; I see the story of "Sick" as the person you’re with/you love being so self-centered with a god-complex that it makes you sick.

Since “Sick” has pop-punk influence, who are some of your favorite artists of that genre that you’re channeling in this new era?

I don’t know if I would personally classify "Sick" as pop-punk, but more like soft rock-pop? I’m excited for the next few releases that really delve into the pop-punk/emo genre that call back to my teenage days. I’m a huge fan of My Chemical Romance and want to emulate their vibes in future releases.

In the spirit of “Sick,” what are some of your biggest icks in a relationship?

If you’re bad at communication and don’t understand basic human respect, then don’t talk to me.

What can you reveal about your next album?

We’re aiming to release a mini-album by summer, so "Sick" will be on that track list along with a song that I actually helped write and compose.

When it comes to songwriting, what is your process like? Are you a lyrics person or a music person first?

It depends on the mood and what the desired outcome is; it differs every time, there’s really no exact answer for me.

Lastly, just for fun, if you could do a karaoke duet with any other star, who would it be, and what song would you choose?

Evanescence and "Bring Me to Life."

Barrier-Breaking Women in Music

To celebrate these pioneers, Stacker used data from primary news sources to compile a list of 50 women who broke barriers in the music industry. Many of these names are well-known; but are you familiar with know about one of the first Indian singers who won over crowds in North America? What about the rock star who opened up doors for hip-hop icons? Or the pop star who became an owner of a professional football team?

Gallery Credit: Seth Berkman

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