Kim Junsu’s profile.
The story is not about Junsu appearing in the workroom who had underwent transformation beyond imagination with his hair style. Not only in front of the camera, throughout the entire interview process Kim Junsu clearly and specifically told us what he wanted. He debuted 8 years ago, even though from the beginning until now, he was a celebrity every moment, but now he has changed to where he is no longer hesitant or scared about his choices, so the more mature him, his story now is more candid and more interesting than any other time. He successfully completed the Asia tour with his first solo [[TARANTALLEGRA]] , and before the world tour begins, we met with Kim Junsu.
In the February interview, you predicted the winning team of the European cup 2012, after considering for 3 minutes, you shouted “Spain!” Will it really be like your prediction? Will you watch the competition this week?
If it happens during the time of a concert abroad, then I would not watch it. If I have schedule from early in the morning, I wouldn’t be able to watch it. I would record it to watch. In actuality before the final round, I would go with the crowd. In my heart I will support Italy, but I had originally looked out for Spain. (laugh)
So you would record the midnight matches and watch later, what about when you are free?
We don’t usually have free time, I wouldn’t put aside the schedule from the company and not think about it, because I would get the information beforehand, and then follow it through. Therefore I can take care of my mood, and schedule some time for breaks, so in this way makes it more relaxed for me to live my life.
Your 1st SOLO album [[TARANTALLEGRA]] went on sale in May, and started your Asia tour with Seoul, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan and China, how does it feel now that you are entering the final phase?
When my first SOLO album was released, I was a little afraid, but when I started doing concerts, that concern was gone, and I have gotten more confidence, so in the future release of my albums, the direction can be clearly planned out with expectations.
You should be able to feel the expected album. Even though the album contains songs of all genre, but is there a consistency of Junsu’s style?
It was initially a target to collect a diversity of genres. R&B with the slow rhythm is for the people who likes to hear me sing ballad songs so I recorded ballads. But the title song I want to use a song I can perform. A lot of people believed that my suitable title song should be ballads, so I want to go above expectations and that’s when I can make the clearest judgment. Ballads appeared a lot in the SOLO songs and they have been sung from TVXQ to JYJ activities, so this time for my title song’s style I want to use ‘performance’.
So the result is “TARANTALLEGRA”, after hearing this I felt curious, did this song have a melody or an image first?
Image, there’s no question that it’s the image. In the past when I composed “Xiahtic” and “Intoxication”, it was the dance first. Until now if you hear the name you would want to dance, you wouldn’t even need the melody, but “TARANTALLEGRA” had the image first, then the dance, then the melody. Actually at that time, there were a lot of dance songs that I composed, whether it’s American styled rap or R&B, or TVXQ era’s “rising sun” kind of military songs. But this time I want to try moving away from all those kind of styles. At that time I was influenced by [[Elisabeth]]. The meaning of “death” adds more facets to the impression of Tod, fitting well with this album, and music of that region, the path, the style, the dance… Everything is restarting.
So not talking about the music, the new album’s visual aspect is a very intense style, when you said you want to have this kind of album, what were the reactions of people around you?
In the beginning they were worried, honestly the intense style can’t be seen by the naked eyes, even though “oh, so intense” this kind of shocked reaction is there, but to connect that part with very a favorable impression of the stage, to grasp it in the degree is hard. But, compared to other Korean singers to be able to go this intense style is because right now I can’t appear on any TV activities. Um…… I should say I’m not participating. Right now (laugh) because it’s already such a situation, I would like to try some diverse shocking image. One would need to be assessed if it were to be broadcasted, and if it was just a little overboard then it would be banned, because anyway right now it’s only uploaded on YouTube or in blogs, so I want to present something I want to do. Because of this, right now the range of music I can make, compared to getting a favorable reaction, I want to have more fear and horror. Even if it gets bad comments, I think telling everyone what I want to do is more important. Compared to horror, poison is more meaningless. Fortunately the company incorporated my opinions, and gave me support and cooperation to the maximum.
In place of the market focusing on TV you are turning towards the market focusing on CDs, how do you feel about the change?
So from now on I will always challenge new things. Until I’m lost in all of it or receive criticisms from the crowd. Of course, even though it is our responsibility to find our answers in the appropriate place, but we will continue to work hard and bring to everyone a different side of us.
This time’s album is not only from the identity of a solo singer, but to some degree it’s more like a solo performer.
When I was little I was often asked “do you like to dance more or do you like to sing more?”. Actually I would not put singing in the first place, I also like dancing at the same time. Of course, during group activities we have different responsibilities, so compared to performing my focus is on singing. Even though I also like singing, but this is afterall my solo stage, so I want to use this time to express with music and adding performing that’s consistent with it. In reality, in the early production stage of Tarantallegra, everyone were surprised. Because the recording is live mix, without the instruments, so the reaction was very bland. (laugh) But I begged my manager to believe me this once, “If we add the MV then it’ll be alright, this song is not just for listening” I convinced him like that. Even though it is for special promotion, but releasing MV before the audio has this reason included.
This MV has strong beat and it also has a fantasy concept to complete the image.
For the MV there was a lot of pressure. The dance as long as I dance well it’s alright, but to make the visual image is not as easy as me just wanting it. From the beginning there were some filming angle problems. For an example, when I dance I really dislike the camera moving. Honestly, that’s the tricks for people who can’t dance, so it distracts the focus. The scene and angle change is okay, but when the camera shakes, that moment you would not see the dance and overlook it. But director Lay really did good capturing the footage. The company trusted in me and invested 5 million (2.8 RMB or about $438460.4) with no concern of the outcome even if it’s going to be unsatisfied.
About the song “Tarantallegra”, someone commented that “hearing this song would make you unconsciously start dancing”, as a magical song, in the MV what kind of existence did you want to convey?
I don’t want people to feel like I’m God. But to portray neither male nor female, a more gender neutral existence. So the makeup was more feminine, the hairstyle also challenges femininity. Certainly, this has to thank . Not only this time, my music in the future will also be influenced by the musical. Tarantallegra came from the inspiration from the “Death” in to have the fantasy and mysterious image.
From debuting as an artist that didn’t put much thought into the visual aspect, to now maturing to challenge such an elegant style, I’m curious as to how your thoughts change.
Honestly as an idol I’m not one who cared about self management. (laugh) I’m that way not because I want to deliberately ruin my image, but it’s more because as a singer should express through his or her singing, dancing, and ability. What if the camera was a little closer, I wouldn’t know. During the past 3 years with the relaxed activities that are almost all professional that even my hair is usually the same. But taking on the role of “Death”, so I thought I should loose some weight. I want to express beyond gender and neutral-gender feeling, but I looked rather round. (laugh) So to be consistent with the role I started losing weight, even the fans that liked me before also like how I became after the change. So judging from that, even though as a singer singing is most important, but I can’t overlook the reality that the fashion and visual aspect that may be preferential to the public.
Thinking carefully, even though you released your solo album after debuting for 8 years, it feels a little late, but at the same time it seems like it’s also because only until now you can produce such an album.
No matter what this is music I want to produce, everything is as I understood it, it was produced according to my ideas, and for that I am very grateful.
When you first decided on the title song, and started practicing after receiving the notification.
The title song is sang according to how the director wanted it, but of course the mv and everything is different from how it was decided before, I think this is good. Ah, there is one thing we were able to decide on, hairstyle. (laugh)
So many times you have said “I want to do something that’s me”, in the end because it was not decided based on “what was like me” but doing what you want to do and express it, so now you have your own style.
Yes. Of course if I just did what I want to do, following one path, is not okay, later I want to try styles that people will accept.
Have you ever thought of trying something completely different kind of performance?
One day I want to be in a musical theater to hold a month long concert. Need to be well prepared, not only my music, but popular music, and the musical songs I didn’t sing in my concerts needs to be sang, not dancing but perform with a live band. No fancy gimmicks, just songs filling 2 hours. If i can have this kind of concert it would be great.
What you want becomes more and more clear, and to this point, you won’t be hesitant during a discussion. Doing what you choose to do and taking the responsibility, is this the difference between an idol and artist?
So, actually it started with this album, my personality slowly changed. Originally I’m someone that would never say “dislike”. It’s better to just not talk. But right now I know I can’t hide like that, or else I can’t produce good works and have good appearance. Of course with not talking, it would give a nice good image that would not be scolded, but if I did that I would never get the 100% I want for this album. For example, even though is not good, but editing it a little would become better, because of that moment, someone needs to stay up overnight a few nights. Like this kind of situation, the me before would never open my mouth to ask for it, but to do well for that person too. I want perfect professional ideals, even though it would make us tired, even if I get scolded, I cannot not say it. The important part is saying it clearly, properly convince that person so the person responsible will not be angry. As an artist would feel that is the right direction. No matter if it will succeed or not, I understood that making a decision after I understood everything and when when I make the decision without understanding anything would result in very different outcomes.
I heard that you find it troublesome to match clothings in the past, so you would buy the entire outfit from the mannequin on display (laugh)
Even so, I don’t really like to buy clothes, but when everyone say I have to buy clothes, I would sometimes buy some. But starting from last fall, I started shopping a lot, before at the airport I wouldn’t go to any of the stores, but now I would go often. Because first of all I believe that as a singer working hard for the fans is a good feedback. Even though there is a sense of obligation, but I never thought of this as “work”, but as an attitude I should have as an artist, no matter what is a charismatic performance. Actually this is something I would never do with my original personality, look at this, I did my nails…… (laugh)
But, if you have your nails done once it’s like you are poisoned, isn’t that right? (laugh)
Yes. It’s like eating habits changed, because if I don’t do it it feels really weird. Actually, because this kind of style, some of the overseas fans would think the main character in “TARANTALLEGRA” is not me. Some would say “so handsome, is he ‘GAY’?” (laugh) Even though I’m not “GAY” but I like hearing this kind of comment. As long as I can show everyone a different side, no matter if am “GAY” or not, as an artist, I feel like this definitely the main reason that will add more points to me.
On one hand, on the stage you can be someone completely different from your usual self, and on the other hand, how does it feel to stand on the solo stage as XIA?
When filming the MV, I kept thinking being part of the musical was a very good choice. Compare to before when I only wanted everyone to see my handsome image in front of the camera and lip-sync, I am different now. My interpretation and expressions are better. I participate in musicals is not only because I like musicals, but because being part of the musical helps me in improving myself.
Singer, especially a male singer with charm coexisting with success, finally decided on expression and mastery of the stage. I saw your performance in Seoul, I felt that you as an individual singer has full presence. Very different from group activities, it seems as you gained experience as the a god character on stage in a musical helped you mature.
Of course, musical is not just one person, but everyone working together, but I learned a lot in the courage aspect. On stage as long as you are confident, no matter how not good you are you would still be good, but if you are very good but not confident you would look awkward. Of course I’m not saying how good I am, but when I stand on stage it will not look empty, so I gained this level of confidence. (laugh) Even like this I still feel nervous. When it was group activities, during a concert, when we have solo activities, the members could take turn to rest. But this 2 hours I had to complete on my own, from distributing physical strength to TALKSHOW it’s really not a joke. Adding that this is an album with artistic appeal at the center, so there is a lot of dance music, and cloth needs to be changed with the music, plus need to digest singing the songs live and etc., there’s a lot of responsibility……. but no matter what, I worked hard to get it down. (laugh)
Watching “TARANTALLEGRA” live dance stage, the distinguishing part is different from the activities of recent idol groups or singers, coupled with a high degree of completion of the stage presence, thinking about so many people that didn’t get to see this there is some pity.
Every time I dance to “Tarantallegra” I would think if I could dance to this once on TV it would be so good, every time I think of this I would fee pity. It’s not that I want to be number one, it’s just that I feel that about what I want to perform something can maybe done through the stage. Actually, because of this I want to make a MV that could be replace TV broadcast.
At the concert, the “INTOXICATION” stage was what left the deepest impression for me. Using 2 dancers and a big mirror for the interpretation of the stage, maximizing the charisma of the stage. How did this idea come about?
Actually that mirror was hurriedly placed in 2 days before the concert. “Intoxication” stage is using the previous group dance and made better. Just then the dance director Zeiri said we should have 2 dancers on stage, so we thought doing it this way would be better. Also, need to reflect from the tower, so the practice room only had one light on, at that time I had this idea. So I suddenly had the suggestion “what if we put a mirror on stage?” when I sad this I felt the expression change of the performers. They say there isn’t a lot of time, no, so I begged saying “we can, please do it for me, please.” Actually i knew doing this would be hard, but as an artist I can’t easily give up things to express myself. I even know that if this thing is spread I could be condemned as “unreasonable artist”. (laugh) In the end what was touching was when they actually did it for me, using the mirror to let the audience see the front, back and all different angles of the dance, my mood was really good.
Actually the dance in “Tarantallegra”, adding the intense dances of “set me free” “mission” and others and live performance you can digest it all, so you are that kind of person through practice hard dances, to make it your own, and finding fun in it?
Oh~ that’s interesting. In the beginning, if there’s something I can’t think of then the dance wouldn’t come out, I don’t know from what moment I was beginning to be not have to think and my body would be able to respond with dance moves. Actually doing the “Tarantallegra” tour, it gradually becomes easier. The musical too, my body could perfectly digest it and still could continuously update, new facial expressions, new body language, and other areas that are very interesting.
Do you dance when you are not in the practice room or the stage?
A lot of times I would start dancing when I’m writing music. After writing 8 lines (or 8 counts) i would begin dancing, and it’s not being forced to dance, also I don’t even know how I would start dancing to they rhythm. At this time I would feel “ah~ looks like this song is about done’, and then I would add modifications. in situations like this I already made about 100 songs.
Giving audience 3 wishes during “genie time”, every time they would ask for the “Angel Xia” expression, but every time you would be shy, what makes you shy?
Ah~If you ask me suddenly to do it, it’s not that I don’t like it, it’s very interesting, very good. As long as it’s at concert I can continue doing it from now on. Because the people that will see are all my fans, so it doesn’t matter. But at a “public area” or “external event”, or “congress meeting” to perform “angel Xia” I would feel like I’m going to be crazy soon. (laugh) Doing this (“angel Xia”) in front of dads holding their kids on their necks, as a man to man I would feel embarrassed. I’m already 25 years old (sigh).
This time Indonesia is in your Asia Tour, I heard it’s your first time going, I felt very surprised~
I’m surprised too. I never been there so I felt that was weird. Actually before there were many times we talked about going to Indonesia, but every time because of certain reasons I couldn’t go, I felt really regretful. This time for my solo concert I took the opportunity to feel the new emotions. So I came to this foreign country by myself, but having so many people come to support me I am very grateful. On the other hand I’m sorry I only came now, but I still have a lot of beautiful memories.
If you could go to Indonesia again, do you you have anything you want to do?
This time I was at the hotel, thus didn’t have time to taste the delicious food in Indonesia, next time I want to taste the delicious food there. I also heard the country has a lot of resorts, so next time I want to find some beautiful resorts. I have a lot of fantasies about the ocean, blue sky and coconut trees, so I want to go somewhere like that.