[Exclusive Interview] TE.O is Calling You to Listen to Payphone

TE.O is calling us to listen to his brand new single “Payphone,” the RnB track was released on 17 February. The song is a complex story focusing on the importance of Payphones be it, unrequited love, or in TE.O’s case relying on one with a battery-dead mobile phone in modern times the Payphone is still there regardless of the situation. 


Alongside releasing original music, TE.O made his solo debut in 2018 with the melodic single album Paradise. He’s been showcasing his many talents such as covering songs in different languages on his Youtube channel for a few months, gathering more interest outside of Korea. I sit down to talk about his new single, shooting music videos, and whose shoes would he want to be in for one day!

Following the song’s release an aesthetically cool music video with jazzy vibes, the setting of a jazz musician on stage came naturally. To come out with the retro feel, the artist worked with a video director to find an antique outfit and filming location.


Your new single “Payphone” is described as an R&B topped with a jazzy touch, what is the single about and what was the creative process for the track?


The story is about a man who was rejected by his ex-girlfriend. So he needs to use a payphone because his cell phone was blocked. Recently, my cell phone was broken, so I needed to use a payphone. It’s quite a special experience for me. That’s why I made “Payphone


Alongside the single is the music video, which sees you looking sleek. What inspiration did you take to create the visuals for the video, and what was the most fun part of the whole creation process?


It reminds me of retro music, so I wanted the set to be antique and retro. So we prepared the concept and outfit that fitted it. It was a fun episode, everything was fun while shooting. But if I have to pick one, the ending scene (throwing a book). That’s my favorite part of the music video.


2022 saw you release two singles “Bomb” and “Paint Over”, both have a smooth R&B flow. How would you describe your music style, and do you take influence from any artists in particular?


I want to continue to show new and diverse styles, so I want to describe my music style with onions. Even if you keep peeling it, something new keeps coming out.  And I don’t get influenced by a specific artist. I think my style was created under the influence of many artists who play pop and R&B.

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