Monday, December 5, 2016

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IU talks candidly about her full life history (concert review)

IU has successfully finished her exclusive concert held in Seoul from December 3-4. I've been there, and of course, the female kpop star showed top class performance. She proved her ability as a very competitive young singer, and a total of 15,000 audience got enthusiastic about her performance.

By the way, it was not just an ordinary concert. Most of kpop singers focus on singing their songs at their concerts, and the concerts usually consist of a series of live performance. However, IU focused on delivering her real stories to audience. She talked candidly about her full life history through the concert, while she placed her hits very appropriately between the stories.

It has already been 10 years. When I was a middle school student, I became a trainee of Loen Entertainment. As my fans may know, I was a very shy girl, and even the staff members of Loen Entertainment had difficulty becoming intimate with me. I was a solitary person and I even didn't like to talk to others.

My problem was that I thought I had nothing. I was poor, and there were so many other trainees who were much prettier and taller than me when I became a trainee. They even sang better than me. That's why I liked to dream alone. In my room, I dreamed of becoming better.

After becoming a trainee, my agency provided full support to me. The accommodation was really great and I had a room to myself. The room was very warm in winter, and my fridge and freezer were always full. My female manager cooked for me too.

However, I felt like I was getting into debt somehow, and I went into debt, as it turned out. Actually, trainees have to pay their debt to kpop agencies after they debut. All the lesson fees, room charges and food expenses are trainee's debt. I've paid up my debts, of course. It is thanks to you. Well, my agency is one of the warmest kpop agencies, anyway, haha.

In 2008, I released my debut song "Lost Child." I was still a middle school student then. Actually, I've been trained only for 10 months, haha. Anyway, "Lost Child" is a very difficult song to sing because the lyrics are really difficult to pronounce. After debuting, I've worked very hard. I released single, mini, and full albums one after another. I even didn't have sense of time.

You know, I've finally accomplished my dream of becoming a singer, but I couldn't realize it even after making a great hit with "Good Day." Frankly speaking, I realized it in 2014. Yeah, just 2 years ago. In the year, I was 22 years old, and I released new songs throughout the year. In spring, I released "Not Spring, Love, or Cherry Blossoms," and I love the song because the song is much loved every spring. And on May 16, 2014, I released my new album "Flower bookmark." I was very moved because the album was loved by so many fans even though the album was a special remake album.

After releasing the remake album, I held a concert at a little theater. I have a very happy memory about it.  I love all the songs I performed at the concert, but "Meaning of you" is my favorite. The song makes my heart throb. 

And after finishing my concert, summer has come to the world. You know, I do not usually release my new song in summer because I think summer songs do not fit my voice well. But I released "Anxious heart" in the summer of 2014. Frankly speaking, when I listened to the song, I didn't like it because it didn't suit my taste. But I realized it is a very good song when I was preparing for this concert.

In the fall of 2014, I really wanted to take a break. However, a very famous kpop singer called me, and it was a real honor for me. Yeah, he was Seo Taiji, and I sang "Sogyeokdong" with him. I've never been to the village, but I sang the song with a very scenic landscape in my mind. And I could be featured as a singer in the album of god, one of my favorite singers in the year.

So, in 2014, I was loved by so many people. I became the singer of the year, and I've won so many trophies. However, I became very restless at that time because I thought I didn't deserve it. I couldn't just enjoy my success and I began to hate myself. That's why I didn't appear in any TV programs and I was just hiding in my house. I wasn't sure if I could meet your expectations. I went though a hard time, and I even couldn't sleep.

As I couldn't sleep, my brain was befogged all day. It was a vicious circle for them. By the way, my contract with Loen Entertainment ended at that time, and I had to make a decision. Of course, my agency is great and I didn't have to look at other options, but I couldn't make a quick decision because I was in a bad condition. 

Eventually, I renewed my contract with my agency, and I began to take the initiative in producing my music. I've really wanted to produce my album on my own, but I hesitated about what to do when I was hard at work on my new album. I've really thought much about the album, my conclusion about that was that I should talk frankly about myself. Yeah, the album was "Chat-Shire."

"Chat-Shire" contains everything about me. I love the album, and I'm still in love with the album. I know some people don't like the album, but I'm very thankful to those who listened to the album very carefully because it means they care much about me. As it was the first time for me to produce my album on my own, I know it has left much to be desired. I'm sorry about that. But the album contains myself just the way I am, and that's why I could sleep soundly when I finished producing the album.

It has been a year since I released "Chat-Shire." I've been preparing for my new album, and yeah, I've appeared in my drama "Moon Lovers : Scarlet Heart Ryeo." I enjoyed filming the drama, and I could become intimate with the other actors. And after finishing filming the drama, I'm taking a break these days. 

I think I opened my heart to others and became more cheerful because I could explore myself through "Chat-Shire." I like who I am now, and I'm not fearful of people's great love any more. Of course, I'm still trying to explore myself because I want to be a singer who can sing for you for a long time. And I'm still dreaming. Just like I achieved what I've dreamed of in my teens, I want to achieve what I'm dreaming of now. If I achieve those things in my thirties, you will be aware of what I'm dreaming of now.

In 2014, when I couldn't even sleep, I wrote "Knees" in my room alone. You may sleep when I sing the song because I wrote the song because I really wanted to sleep. Some say the song is a very dark song, but it's not true. I really wanted to live, and the song is about hope. I wish you all a very sweet dream awake or asleep.

Monday, November 28, 2016

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Seo In Guk will join the army in early 2017 (Interview)

Q. It seems like you're getting high praise from many people for what you've done in your drama "Shopaholic Louis." Especially, it was very impressive that you showed a very subtle acting with your fingers.
Seo In Guk: Louis is the one who's lived in the cage. And I thought he should be fearful of everything around him. I wanted to express his anxiety delicately.

Q. What did you pay attention to most when you acted the character?
Seo In Guk: I cared much about his way of speaking. I thought the way of speaking is the key to express his personality, and I tried to voice various opinions concerning it.

Q. Could you pick one memorable scene from the drama?
Seo In Guk: I cried a lot when Louis' grandma walked in her red shoes. I want to praise the drama's writer very highly because she described death so beautifully. It was absolutely a perfect scene.

Q. When "Shopaholic Louis" began to air, the drama couldn't get high ratings. However, it became number one in ratings later. What did you feel about it?
Seo In Guk: It's true I was really worried when the drama couldn't get high ratings. But a miracle happened. I appreciate the viewers for their love, and I'm really proud of the drama.

Q. What does "Shopaholic Louis" mean to you?
Seo In Guk: I think it's a fairy-tale drama. Even though so many bad things happen and there are so many bad people in the real world, "Shopaholic Louis" is a heart-warming drama which gives energy to many people.

Q. Through the drama, you got the nickname "Meong Mung Mi."(a male who gives off very cute charm like a puppy) How do you feel?
Seo In Guk: When people say I look like a Shiba Inu or animation character Eddy, I feel not bad. It's a favorable expression, right? And when I acted Louis, I tried to imitate the cute act of puppies.
Q. I heard that you were the one who always tried to liven up the mood of the drama set.
Seo In Guk: Well, first of all, I like to talk with people. And I can easily make friends with the other actors because I try to talk to them much. What is important to me is being happy on a drama set. That's why I want to have a good relationship with the other actors. Some say it's a business relationship, but I don't think so.
Q. How did you enjoy acting with Nam Jihyun?
Seo In Guk: Even though she's younger than me, she's an experienced actress. I think she's a great actress because she was perfectly capable of speaking in a dialect and expressing her emotions at the same time. If I have a chance, I want to act with her once more.

Q. How was your kissing scene with her? You've filmed a total of 4 kissing scenes.
Seo In Guk: The first one is the most memorable. I think a story between two main characters is more important than their kissing scene. We had our story, and that's why the kissing scene could be beautiful. I was very nervous when I filmed the scene.

Q. I wonder if the character is similar to your real-life personality.
Seo In Guk: I think I have many faces. I'm sometimes very manly and lead people, but I sometimes act cute too. What Louis and I have in common is that we both are straightforward.

Q. It seems like you're focusing on your activities as an actor not as a singer.
Seo In Guk:just do the best I can with what I am given. I've recently appear in two dramas, "38 Task Force" and "Shopaholic Louis," but I've been continuously working on my music. I have both acting and singing on my brain.

Q. It's very notable that you've played a variety of different characters in your dramas since debut.
Seo In Guk: Actually, that was not what I intended to do. However, it's true I'm very proud of my filmography, and I'll keep trying to show various aspects of myself.

Q. Are you satisfied with your acting performance in "Shopaholic Louis"? And don't you feel burdened about people's high praise on your acting?
Seo In Guk: It was really hard to play Louis because it was not a normal character. Every time I played the character, I was worried at what the people's reaction would be. And yeah, I feel very burdened about people's high praise. That's why I suffer from a lot of stress before starting filming my new drama. I think I'm easily frightened.

Q. You'll be 30 years old next year. When will you join the army?
Seo In Guk: I think I will join the army in early 2017. I'm not worried about my life in the army but I'm worried if I lose my sense of trend in the army. Well, frankly speaking, I'm worried if I gain a lot of weights in the army because I'm sure I will adjust very well to army life, haha.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

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The Correlation between 2NE1's breakup and BLACKPINK's success (+ YG's quick decision on WINNER)

YG Entertainment finally made an official announcement about 2NE1's breakup. Well, it absolutely is a very sad news for Black Jack.

As you may know, Park Bom's drug scandal in 2014 was the prologue to 2NE1's breakup. Since then, 2NE1's comeback has been delayed again and again, while Minzy, who felt frustrated about just wasting time doing nothing decided to leave the team last April. Minzy couldn't even have a chance to release her solo album during 2NE1's 2-year hiatus, and she suffered from anxiety about her future.

Since Minzy left 2NE1, the rest 3 members, CL, Sandara Park and Park Bom have prepared for their comeback. YG hoped 2NE1 will make another strong comeback. You know, 2NE1 still is one of the most popular kpop girl groups, and the girl group is the team who built YG into one of the biggest kpop agencies along with BIGBANG.

However, things have recently changed. As I mentioned before, people in the kpop world raised the possibility that 2NE1's comeback will be delayed due to "Choi Soon Sil Gate." Korea is being rocked by the political scandal, while YG has been suspected to be connected to the scandal in some way. In this situation, people began to believe that Park Bom could escape punishment when she was mixed up in a drug scandal thanks to President Park Geun Hye’s confidant, while the public criticism against her is getting stronger again.

What do you think it means? CL and Sandara Park might have to wait another 2 years to make a comeback! It's too harsh to them. YG concluded that the agency can't control this kind of situation any more, and it had no choice but to part with Park Bom.

By the way, do you think YG decided to part with Park Bom only because the agency is worried about CL and Sandara Park's future? No, that's not all.

You know, YG's new girl group BLACKPINK debuted last august. When BLACKPINK debuted, the girl group received great attention from people because, yeah, the girl group was first ever YG's rookie girl group in 7 years. Some said they could never be as successful as 2NE1, but the results exceeded expectation. They've topped various music charts with their debut album, gaining huge popularity at home and abroad. And the girl group made a very successful comeback with their second album in November.

What do you think one of the reasons why YG didn't even think about 2NE1's breakup when Park Bom linked her name with a drug scandal? It is because 2NE1 was one and only girl group who could make big money for the agency. But things have changed. BLACKPINK is doing great in the kpop world, and YG is now zeroing in on the young and fresh girl group. What YG thinks about BLACKPINK is that the girl group has as good singing ability as 2NE1 but is much prettier than 2NE1.

And it was also a surprising news that YG decided to part with WINNER's Nam Taehyun. You know, it has been just 2 months since the agency announced that he's going to take some break due to his health problem.

By the way, there are reasons why YG could make this kind of quick decision on WINNER and Nam Taehyun. First, YG learned a lesson from Park Bom's case. YG couldn't make the other WINNER members wait for endless hours. Second, it has been just 2 months since Nam Taehyun stopped his activity, but it has been a long time since he became entangled in "the problem," which means YG can't be sure that the problem will be solved soon. Third, YG got iKON. The agency doesn't need to focus only on WINNER because iKON is doing good now and the group is receiving attention as the next BIGBANG.

Friday, November 25, 2016

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Why nobody knew Moon Heejun was dating Crayon Pop's Soyul

On November 24, Moon Heejun, a member of legendary kpop idol group H.O.T, announced that he's going to marry Crayon Pop's Soyul. It was absolutely a surprising news not only for kpop fans but also for all the people in the kpop world because nobody even didn't know Moon Heejun was dating the female idol who is 13 years younger than him.

Actually, people in the kpop world including journalists and writers usually can hear about somebody's dating rumor before it is reported. However, even people close to Moon Heejun - including the H.O.T members - never knew he was dating Soyul. Do you know why? Here's a reason for it.

Moon Heejun has had his heyday in the 90s as a member of H.O.T but the team was disbanded in 2001. After then, he debuted as a solo singer. Well, by the way, he received a great deal of criticism from people only because he does rock music. People made a mockery of him, saying, "He pretends to be a competent rock musician even though he is just a former member of an idol group who is deficient in his musical ability.

But, things turned around after Moon Heejun completed his military service. 

In Korea, all able-bodied men over 19 are required to serve in the military for 20 months. The constitution clearly states that every Korean citizen has the right, as well as the obligation, to serve in the military without any discrimination. Famous Kpop stars are no exception.
However, 20-month-long compulsory military service is an unavoidable source of trouble for Korea's young men since they must suspend their studies in colleges or quit jobs at the peak of their youth. Especially, for Kpop stars, who tend to have short careers, compulsory military service is exactly what they want to avoid. 

In this situation, Moon Heejun has completed his military service without any complaints. Besides, he didn't made any complaints during taking a fierce public criticism even though he had to live through such a hard time. That's why people began to feel good about him.

So, as Moon Heejun has experienced a dramatic change(super star→unlikeable rock singer→likeable entertainer), he began to be very careful about every single thing in his life. He realized that a very small thing can have a great effect on the ups and downs of his life, and he tried to keep everything about his private life secret. Of course, his girlfriend Soyul was influenced by him and she also tried to be cautious not to tell secrets.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

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Why many want to cast Sulli despite her lack of acting ability

When SM Entertainment announced that Sulli has decided to leave f(x) and she will be focus on her activities as an actress, many people in the kpop world were worried about her because they(including me) thought that she has no enough acting ability to be active as an professional actress.

Well, it's true that she couldn't have proven her competitiveness as an actress since she began to act in 2005. The thing that she has not been recognized as a competitive actress for such a long time means - in the strict sense - she is not talented in it.

However, all the people's predictions on Sulli's future as an actress were wrong. Sulli is now receiving love calls from various dramas and movies. Even though she's not the type of person who really wants to maintain a hectic schedule and she accepts just a few of invitations to appear on dramas and movies, it's true she's now a much sought-after actress. Especially, it is notable that she's had a meeting with famous movie director Lee Chang Dong because he is well known as being so particular about selecting heroines for his movie.

People in the Korean entertainment world say there are two things special about Sulli. 

First, she is different from the other ordinary female idols. She expresses herself very freely through her SNS and doesn't care about haters. Even though SM Entertainment has been worried about Sulli's freewheeling lifestyle, people in the entertainment world, especially those who are in the film industry really like it because they think such a mindset is essential for artists. 

Second, Sulli has a mysterious appeal. She sometimes looks very pure and innocent, but sometimes looks very sexy and louche. One of the most important requirements to become a competitive actress is the diversity of one's image. People in the film industry prefer an actress who has a variety of images because she can play various different characters. And the image of an actress sometimes is much more important than her acting ability because all the competent directors know how to devise simple but effective solutions to her lack of acting ability.(Adjusting the length of lines of dialogue, using camerawork, etc)

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How I.O.I Kim Sejung achieved a great success with her first ever solo song

I.O.I's Kim Sejung released her first ever solo song "Flower Road" on November 23. Well, the result is way above expectations. The young female singer topped various online music charts, beating strong competitors such as TWICE, BLACKPINK and Taeyeon. Many people in the kpop world predicted that she's going to do well on the charts, but nobody expected her to be this popular.

As you may know, talented young music producer Zico took part in producing "Flower Road." He wrote both melody and lyrics of the song, showing off his outstanding producing ability.

Even though I can't say "Flower Road" is very fresh and it's true the song is a kind of a variation of Zico's previous song "It was love," the song is quite good. As the story of the song is based on Kim Sejung's letter to her mother, the song contains very sympathetic messages, while it's notable that Zico, the writer of the song, didn't use hard words to deliver the messages.

In the song with a beautiful and enchanting melody, Kim Sejung speaks very openly and with candor about the promise to her mother. You know, the theme "mom" appeals to all the people, while Kim Sejung's story can arouse so many people's sympathy because many of music fans already know about her great fondness for her mother.

From a common-sense standpoint, good songs should be ranked high on music charts. However, things are not that simple in the kpop world. In reality, the popularity of a singer usually(or always) has greater influences on music chart's rankings than the quality of his or her song.

Fortunately, Kim Sejung has been gaining great popularity in Korea. Since she appeared in "Produce 101," she has been receiving attention as a very promising idol star, while it is very notable that she is considered as one of the most likeable young female entertainers. To become a likeable person is essential for entertainers, but it's never easy. However, Kim Sejung, a cheerful girl who is very sincere and has altruistic mind, succeeded in capturing many people's heart.

Actually, Kim Sejung's great success means a lot in terms of the generational shift in the kpop world because the thing that she's achieved more than expected means she is more popular than people think. As she is a likeable idol who is not only pretty but also talented in various fields including singing and dancing, it is expected that she will become a representative female kpop star in the near future.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

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Actor Cho Sungha's candid comments about Girls' Generation Yoona & Yuri

(had an interview with him after the end of "The K2")

Early this year, I appeared in "Neighborhood Hero" with Girls' Generation's Yuri, and I could enjoy acting with Yoona through recently ended drama "The K2." I think I'm so lucky, haha. Yuri has a nice personality. Whenever she came to film the drama, she made me really happy. She is more than just a pretty face. And when I met Yoona for the first time, she gave me a hug as if I'm her real father. So I treated her as if she's my real daughter too. She laughs a lot and has a positive energy which makes people happy. Both of them are faithful and always make thorough preparations for their acting. They do their best to do their bit. I'm sure they have a lot of potential and they'll be able to be active as actresses for more than 50 years. Actually, I've chosen Seohyun as my favorite Girls' Generation member before, and I hope I will be able to enjoy acting with Seohyun some tome or other. And these days, I think Sooyoung is doing really good as an actress. If there is a chance, I want to act with Sooyoung too. Well, I think I have to meet all the Girls' Generation members in my drama, haha.

Friday, November 18, 2016

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EXO D.O doesn't have much dating experience (Interview)

Q. What made you decide to appear in your new movie "Brother"?
D.O: I was stuck on my character. Even though I was worried about playing the sight-disabled character, I tried to do my best. I took part in an experience program too. And I think I could show new aspects of myself by playing the character. Unlike my previous characters who usually are gloomy and had a wounded heart, he becomes very cheerful after mending his broken heart.

Q. What kind of roles do you want to play as an actor?
D.O: Maybe I can take a shot at a melodramatic role someday, but for now, I want to play a very serious-minded character. As many people think I'm a calm boy, I want to play a character who is completely different from it. I can play a comic character too, and I hope I will play a horrible character some time or other.

Q. What is the attraction to acting?
D.O: Acting has a great attraction for me. In real life, I don't usually get very angry or give myself over to grief. However, I can express all the emotions as an actor. I get vicarious satisfaction from acting. And when audiences feel empathy for my character, I go into ecstasy. That's why I try to perform on stage as a member of EXO and be active as an actor at the same time.

Q. Do you think your acting is developing?
D.O: "Brother" is my third movie, and I think I'm getting better. When I filmed my first movie "Cart," I didn't know anything and I was so nervous. But I know a little more about movie now, and I feel comfortable when I film my movie. Of course, acting is still very difficult, but I'm satisfied with what I'm doing now. I'll keep trying my best.

Q. People say you're really good at acting even though it hasn't been long since you began to act.
D.O: Well, I don't know what to do now. I think it just means I didn't cause trouble to my movies. I'm just trying to enjoy acting.

Q. You're a singer as well as an actor. What if your schedule as an actor conflicts with EXO's schedule?
D.O: I'll sing, of course. I know what happens if we perform on stage without one of us. I'll never cause damage to the members due to my individual activities.

Q. In "Brother," you talk about dating with actor Cho Jung Suk. Tell me about your own experiences of love.
D.O: I don't have much experience of love. I've dated a girl when I was a student, but I even didn't know what love is. Actually, I still don't know love. I think I'm experiencing and learning love indirectly through my movies, and I'll be able to become skillful in dating someday.

Q. EXO-CBX has recently released their debut album. Don't you want to be active as a member of EXO's another sub unit?
D.O: I love their song. And I want to take part in a project for another sub unit if there is a chance.

Q. What's your goal?
D.O: I know chasing two hares at once is difficult, but I'll try to do my best to live up to people's expectation. I hope I will be able to show a great performance not only as a singer but also as an actor.