Co-Writer of the New K-Pop Hit “Supernova,” Parisalexa Says She’s Trusting Her Opportunities and Forging a Path Ahead

Parisalexa, co-writer of the newest K-Pop hit “Supernova” from the group aespa, doesn’t like to fly. But when the Los Angeles-via-Seattle songwriter/performer was invited on a trip to South Korea to collaborate on music, she took the chance. “A 15-hour flight across the world didn’t seem super exciting to me,” she says, “especially with people I didn’t necessarily know super well.”

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But the excursion ended up being “amazing,” she says. “It was a lesson for me in courage and jumping out on faith when it comes to my path and what if feels like I’ve been called to do. I took a chance and I think it’s paid off.”

As of this writing, “Supernova,” which was released May 13, boasts nearly 60 million streams on YouTube alone. The three-minute track is a percussive, sharp, and enlivening offering that is the sonic equivalent of that scene in Pulp Fiction when Uma Thurman gets a shot to the heart. It’s a track that Parisalexa worked on at a songwriting retreat (or “camp,” as she calls it) in L.A. During one of the days there, she sat down with the Korean songwriter Kenzie. Parisalexa brought the idea for the song, as well as its structure, melodies, and lyrics. She was prepared. And the two worked one-on-one to refine the number.

“It was a daunting task,” Parisalexa says. “Kenzie is very well respected for what she does. But I had a concept for the song already written out in my notes. When I heard the beat, I thought, ‘This definitely fits.’ She was vocal producing me but most of the lyrics were mine.” Paris wrote the lyrics in English and most of them were later translated to Korean. Her original melody was largely kept the same. “The recording doesn’t sound too far off [from the original demo],” she adds.

A String of Successes

For the artist whose career began in Seattle, the work is just the latest in a string of successes, which includes collaborating with singer Normani and appearing on the NBC show, Songland. Now, she’s working closely with K-Pop producers and labels, influencing one of the hottest genres in pop music today. Parisalexa, who is also a solo artist in her own right, says she particularly enjoys writing for other people.

“I really love words and I really love expressing myself through melody and cadence and metaphor,” she says. “It’s a direct way to indirectly say how you feel. It allows a certain veil of ambiguity while also being a way to get strangers to relate to one another.”

If it wasn’t for songwriting, Parisalexa says she would likely would have pursued a career in psychology. She likes to dissect thoughts, to get at their origins and influences. She likes to read others and get a sense of who they are via nuanced traits and ticks. It’s these types of observations that she can see and decipher and repackage into a song. “It’s an honor I don’t take lightly,” she says. “It gives me a chance to try on and imagine myself as someone else.”

Exchanging Ideas

Interacting, or exchanging ideas, with people can be an odd thing. For example, when it comes to K-Pop, the genre was largely influenced, Parisalexa says, by Black American soldiers traveling to the country and teaching people there about music, dance, and culture. Now those aspects are being absorbed and reinterpreted by Korean performers and sold back to the world. It’s not unlike the British Invasion, which saw artists from the UK learn about American blues, R&B, and rock and roll and then return back to the United States with their interpretations. And now Parisalexa finds herself in the middle of it, sharing what she’s learned with artists from who grew up tens of thousands of miles away.

“They’re not shy about how integrated that they are with African American culture,” she says. “And how much they admire it. It’s so powerful to be a part of the new age of African American people still influencing the sound and creating it.”

Back in the Pacific Northwest, Parisalexa says her mom is watching the “Supernova” streams climb and sending her daughter links from outlets like Forbes about its success. And Parisalexa, who got connected to these opportunities through her publishing representatives, says she enjoys the good news her mother is relating back to her. But she’s also working (sometimes 12 hours a day) to stay focused on the tasks at hand. “Everyone’s mind [here] is so focused on the next thing,” she says, happily. “We got to keep working, got to maintain this. And it’s not toxic. We’re focused and driven.”

But Parisalexa says these songwriting retreats are hyper focused and then she finds time to do other things in between. She recently released the solo song “Menace,” with another, “Resist,” set to drop later. She also has an upcoming performance at Seattle’s popular Bumbershoot music festival and a gig with the touring NPR Tiny Desk concert series and contest. She placed in the top 15 of this year’s contest—another honor in and of itself. “I’m trying to do as many things as I can,” she says.

Trusting in the Opportunities

As an artist today, it can be hard to find your path. Sometimes a way forward requires taking chances in a number of different arenas. A career in 2024 more often than not means cobbling opportunities together. Grabbing what you can and pushing forward with faith and as much poise as you can muster. And Parisalexa is a prime example—so much so that she’s taken to social media of late and given short tutorials to others who want to know how she’s done it.

“There’s no real road map,” she says. “So much about the journey of being a musician or a creative person is ‘I feel defeated’ or ‘I feel like I’m not doing anything that matters.’ It’s hard to know if you’re even working towards success. But for me trusting in the opportunities presented is so important.”

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Photo by C&J Creative / Courtesy TwntyThree

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