Automatic is the president of InRage Entertainment and SONY’s producer. Ebony Rae Cunningham is the vice president of InRage Entertainment. She worked as vocal stylist for “Uncommitted.”
Korea.com’s JYJ Fan Club’s staff LeNeha got a chance to interview these two Hollywood celebrities who made Uncommitted possible with Xia Junsu.
- You already have a band plus you are composer as well and Sony’s producer too. You are a multi-talented person. Tell us something about your InRage band.
Automatic: My band, Asphalt Messiah is a rock and hip hop band. We call it “Ghetto Metal”. We rap about current events from politics to what’s going on in the streets. Kacy Jones is the founder and guitarist. I am the lead singer. Lamar is the drummer and Milky is the bass player. These guys are incredible musicians and really good people. We have an exciting live show. Our fans go crazy!
- When is your band InRage releasing new music?
Automatic: Asphalt Messiah has signed our first deal to release a single with Universal in the first quarter of next year. The single is called, “Let’s Get Dirty 2Nite”.
- Ebony is the voice stylist for Uncommitted. And we all have seen her and Junsu’s hard work paid off in the single. But what do you both think how Uncommitted have been without Ebony?
Ebony: My main goal on this song was to help Junsu feel comfortable with singing the English. He had already been practicing the song before we recorded and he has a great ear, so he knew the song well. What I did was breakdown the lyrics so that he heard exactly what it should sound like in English and how he should make those sounds. He was so shy at first. He would cover his face and giggle. Then, he would start talking to June, C-Jes executive, really fast in Korean. She told us that he was saying that the song was really wordy. He embraced the challenge, though and kept re-singing the lines until he sang them like you hear it on the record. Junsu has the best fans ever and I know they will support him no matter what. And, Automatic wrote and produced such a great song; we felt that it was going to be popular. Since this was his first English/American single, we had to make sure that he felt comfortable with the English so that it came across on the record. Junsu learns really quickly. He has a great ear and he is a hard worker! So, we didn’t have any worries about the outcome. So many of the fans have commented about how his English improved. Most listeners have said they can understand him well, so I think we accomplished what we set out to do.
- Ebony is your future wife and business partner as well. Would you like to tell us your love story? Many fans are awaiting to know this part about you.
Automatic: We met in the studio and we’ve been here ever since! Ebony was hired to sing on a soundtrack for an independent film that I was producing. She came to record with me in the studio and our chemistry was instant. We free styled (made up songs on the spot) and recorded. Then, she offered me some of her cashews and I fell in love! LOL
Ebony: He made me some tea. All by himself. It was so nice of him. Shortly after we met, I went out of town for a few months. We talked on the phone for hours everyday. When I came back into town, he picked me up from the airport and here we are today.
- Your single Uncommitted gives a fresh and new feel rather than the feeling of a sad song. After its release till today it is still on number 1 on all the charts all over Asia especially. So what actually you had in your mind when you were working on this song? What did you wanted to convey through your music to the audience?
Automatic: When I wrote the song, I wasn’t thinking about if the song would sell or be a popular song, I was writing this song because of an experience my friend went through. The unique perspective of a player who wants to stop being a player and wants to become a perfect mate, but the woman he really loves doesn’t believe that he can be a good man. I wanted to convey that people can change when they fall in love!
- What difference did you felt in working with Xia Junsu and other artists so far? Moreover, we have seen Rick Mancia tweeting about Junsu’s fans and even Maxi the makeup & hair stylist for Uncommitted MV tweeted that he worked with big names of Hollywood but no one cared but when he worked with Junsu he was overwhelmed by the response of Junsu’s fans.
Automatic: The difference is the Junsu fandom is filled with millions of people who actually care about the welfare of the artist. They are quickly becoming our friends and fans and they have this real heartfelt concern about Junsu, about us, about our creativity and about where our careers are going.
Ebony: We’ve fallen in love with the fans of Junsu and JYJ and now we want to give back. So stay tuned because we have a surprise coming…
- Did you and your staff had to face any interaction problems with Xia Junsu in the start? Is there any memory you would like to share with us regarding Junsu’s interaction problems between you and your staff?
Automatic:Not at all! As soon as he walked in the studio, I gave him a hug and introduced myself and Ebony and everyone on the team. He was ready to get right to work and start recording, but we wanted to talk with him for a minute and work with the English for a while so we asked him to come sit on the couch near us.
Ebony: Automatic is so good at making everyone feel comfortable. He’s just a nice guy at heart and that comes across with everyone we work with. We played him another song we wrote and he was bobbing his head and drinking his tea while sitting on the couch. Then, we worked on the English and he got in the booth and we all had a great time!
- How did you find Junsu as a person? Apart from work does he still holds a serious personality or a jolly one? Would you like to share some funny incident or memory you had with Junsu?
Automatic: I would say he’s both. There are times when he is very funny and there are times when he is serious. When it comes to working, he gets very serious and gets right to work. He laughed a lot when it came to pronouncing English. When he did a great take on the song, I went crazy and that would make him laugh.
Ebony: Sometimes Automatic would be yelling something great because he was so happy with Junsu’s performance. Junsu didn’t know what he was saying, but he would look over the mic, out to Automatic, then over to June, then over to me all with a serious face. Then, when June would tell him that Automatic was happy with his singing, he would smile and say “oh, oh, okay, okay.”
- Have you met other Jaejoong or Yoochun? Do you have any plans on working with Jaejoong or Yoochun in near future so far?
Automatic: We haven’t met yet, but we are looking forward to meeting them. We’ve heard so many great things about them. We are hoping that we can record many songs with all of them.
- What are your thoughts on Kpop and Hollywood indulgence?
Automatic: I think it’s long over do for Kpop artists to collaborate with artists from all over the world. Music needs something like that to help keep things interesting.
Ebony: We’ll probably see if sooner than we think. Psy’s “Gangam Style” is making such a big mark right now on American culture. Since he has signed on with Justin Bieber and Scooter, it seems very likely that there will be collaboration with him and a major American artist soon.
- You recently attended Junsu’s concert and even Junsu’s mom tweeted pictures with you. How did you felt watching him performing in the entire concert? What were your feelings when he performed Uncommitted? Are there any special memories of this concert that you would like to share with the fans?
Automatic: We were AMAZED by his performance! His stamina and work ethic are incredible. The ability to perform for two hours while dancing and to be as accurate as he was is incredible. We were overjoyed when we got to see him perform Uncommitted. We love the choreography and his singing was on point. When Junsu’s mom placed the light stick around my neck and gave us the thumbs up. We gave her one back and we started dancing to the song.
Ebony: Junsu actually gave a shout out to Automatic from the stage and all of the fans cheered for Automatic. That was so cool of Junsu to do! He’s such a great singer and performer. We also though it was cool of him to give the fans three wishes. They asked him to do the gangam style dance. He was so shy. He did it for about three seconds. LOL
- We have seen that you have been interacting with Junsu’s fans. What are your thoughts about his fans dedication towards him and you?
Automatic: We’re fans of his fans! We hope to have a fandom as cool as his! We try to talk to everyone to let them know we are just like them. If you reach out to us, we’ll get back to you. It may take some time, but we will get back to you.
Ebony: Oh my! They are so generous and considerate. Just really good people. It’s been fun chatting with them.
- What is the most special thing which any of your fan has done for you?
Automatic: We have had fans design artwork for us, fans who have offered to help us promote and fans who have recorded videos singing Uncommitted.
Ebony: The fans are so supportive and nice. We really appreciate it and we know Junsu does too. You’ll be able to see some of the fans artwork on the new InRage website soon. We are re-launching the site next month, so we hope everyone will check it out. We will be doing a countdown on twitter and Facebook so that everyone knows when to come check it out. We also have another cool surprise for the fans coming soon….