IU Talks About Dealing With Insomnia, Her Upcoming Album, Self-Love, And More

IU, who was recently chosen as GQ Korea’s Woman of the Year, talked about her personal habits, her musical career, and more in a pictorial for the men’s fashion magazine.

In the interview, the reporter brought up the 12th anniversary concert that IU had held through “Yoo Hee Yeol’s Sketchbook.” In particular, the reporter mentioned how she had said that her song “Knees” was written about the feelings of becoming an adult who wasn’t able to sleep at night.

IU said, “It seems that the reason that I toss and turn at night is because I’m on guard against something. That’s the simplified explanation for the mechanism behind insomnia that the hospital gave to me. That I can’t sleep because I’m on my guard.”

She continued, “I sleep well about one night out of three. Yesterday, I slept well. It seems to get worse when the seasons change. After a good summer, my insomnia will get worse as it turns to autumn. Even if I exercise a lot and spend time in the sunlight, I can’t always sleep well every night.”

IU shared that she had suffered from insomnia since she was 20 years old. “If I think about it in simple terms,” she said, “I think that I suddenly became really busy and my sleep patterns got messed up. It was a point in my life where I had to be constantly on standby, ready to work as soon as I woke up. If you fall into a deep sleep, it’s harder to wake up. So I think my body naturally became on guard against deep sleeping. Nowadays, I live according to a steadier routine if I’m not promoting an album. I try to wake up around 9 or 10 a.m. In the past, I’d wake up around 2 p.m. I try to do stuff during the day and sleep around midnight.”

The reporter also brought up IU’s songwriting record, which currently stands at 54 songs. IU said, “The first songs that I think of are the ones which I’m proudest of. I like the lyrics to ‘Knees,’ ‘Heart,’ and ‘BBIBBI’ a lot. There’s also a song called ‘Full Stop.’ Son Sung Je gave me the track and I wrote the lyrics, but I really like that song. It’s very calm and doesn’t have a clear climax, so it’s not a song that will automatically become a hit, but I hope that sometime it will get rediscovered and get its moment in the light.”

IU also talked about her “true self.” She said, “I have a lot of love in my heart. Hahaha. I have so much love, not just in romantic relationships, but also self-love. As I reached my late twenties, I started to differentiate between self-love and self-esteem. In the past, I’d get those things confused. I would wonder why I still felt so lacking when I knew that I loved and cherished myself. I thought a lot about it, but it seems self-love and self-esteem are different. I have a lot of self-love, but I think that I am lacking. But regardless of whether I’m lacking or not, I love myself.”

IU also talked briefly about preparations for a new album. She teased, “I’m planning to release it next year. The concept has already been decided: greeting/farewell [the word insa means both in Korean]. Because it’s the last album of my twenties.”

She added, “I debuted when I was 18, so people have seen me since my mid-teens, but my whole twenties have been spent in the spotlight. I wanted to share a word of greeting/farewell to those who have been watching over me. Not in a sorrowful way, but in a bright way.”

Watch IU in “Hotel Del Luna”:

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