[INTERVIEW] Kim Junsu’s World tour in New York: “I already saw a gleam of hope and future.”
“I already saw a small gleam of hope and future.”
JYJ Kim Junsu (XIA) who started his domestic activities as a solo singer went beyond an Asia tour and began to hold exclusive concerts in the US, South America and Europe. Before starting his World tour as a solo singer in New York on August 30, Kim Junsu held a press conference to meet with Korean and American reporters at a hotel located in Manhattan, New York on August 29 (local time).
Even though he immediately started his World tour after the Hong Kong finale concert on August 26 which concluded an Asia tour stopped by 6 countries including Korea, he showed up with confidence and no signs of fatigue at all. In his first solo activities, he has captivated domestic and overseas fans with his androgynous image, but he laughed and said “It is my intention and I am happy to hear that I look gay but I am not gay”.
Prior to the Asia tour, last May, he released his first solo album ‘Tarantallegra’ and for the World Tour, his first English single called ‘Uncommitted’ was put on sale.
The World Tour starts off in New York on August 30, goes on to LA on Sept 2, Mexico city on Sept 6, Sao Paolo – Brazil on Sept 8, Santiago – Chile on Sept 10, then it is planned to be continued in October in Europe countries like Paris – France etc. Next, here is the Q&A with solo singer Kim Junsu.
– What do you think when starting your World Tour right after concluding the Asia tour?
I have been in a lot of Asia Tours but it was the very first Asia Tour of my own. I started off with many worries and concerns but when performing in Hong Kong, I thought back at the first time when I gathered my courage. Because there are no broadcast activities whatsoever, releasing not a single but a full album is a big burden and releasing a full album for my concert also gave me pressure. In the middle of many worries, I gathered my courage, released my album and I have received much more love than I thought. Rather than saying I got the fruits of my labor from the concert, it has become a chance for me to see a gleam of hope and picture out my future. The year 2012 feels like a dream and it is such a significant year in my entire life. Starting off my World tour in New York, I will do my best and be responsible as a representative of Korea and Asia who gets to hold concert in the US and even in South America.
-What is the difference between your Asia tour and you World tour?
There is no big difference. Because it is a World tour, I will sing the title track ‘Uncommitted’ from my English single in New York. The basic format is the same but it is the extension of my first solo tour.
– You will also sing musical songs at the New York concert. What musical did you see yesterday in New York?
The musical songs that I will sing are originally in German but I will sing them in Korean. Yesterday, I watched the musical ‘Spider man’ for the first time in the US. It is splendid.
– During the Asia tour, you changed your hair color for each country.
Many discouraged me and it was also very tiring but I was very determined to do that. After dyeing my hair for 2 countries, it would look like I put less devotion if I stop changing my hair color. Willing to be devoted and do my best for each concert, I dyed my hair to the symbolic color of each country and it was fun. Because we continuously fillmed videos for every concert so when looking at my hair color, I could tell which country that was from. Red is for China, blue for Indonesia, purple for Hong Kong and yellow for Thailand. I just had a hair cut so my hair is shorter and it is now under treatment. Haha.
– You have your World tour right after the end of Asia tour. Do you have any concern about your physical condition?
Not at all. Compared to the past, I feel more relaxed and I am handle my schedule very well. I have adapted myself during the Asia tour so I am not worried anymore. I was a bit concerned about the time difference but since the concert only lasts for 2 hours, I am okay with it.
– Do JYJ members give you support for your World tour?
They congratulated me. We always give support and congratulate each other whenever we work for drama, musical or concert. I am very thankful for the other two members.
– You appeared in the music video for your English single as a playboy with two female models.
Although it is not a music video with a completed story, the image cut and drama cut are well harmonized. It was fun and interesting to act as a bad boy. This was my first time working with an American music video director and all the staff were also American. I also felt quite pressured to act with American models for the first time but the staff told me to act naturally and gave me advice here and there while we were filming. I think the editing is also very good. That kind of dramatic factor can’t be seen on live stage but I will show a choreography that matches with the R&B tempo since ‘Uncommitted’ is an Urban pop song.
– The featuring in ‘Uncommitted’ was well used. Have you ever thought of collaboration?
At first, I didn’t want to change anything beyond the guide. If there were too many Korean factors in it, it would break away from my intention of releasing this single so I didn’t want to change anything. I also tried to get out of my singing style a little bit when singing the song. I really like the voice of composer Automatic so I thought that it would be ideal to use his voice in a rap part or the narration. The song is bright, not so heavy and similar to a ballad but it has rhythm so I sang it in a way that can revive its feeling. In order to give a sense of live performance to the song, I took off my headset and had fun singing with a microphone in my hand. The song ‘Tarantallegra’ in my full album was a song to see but ‘Uncommitted’ is a song to listen so I chose it as the title track.
– The models in your music video are all beautiful. Are they close to your ideal type?
I don’t have any ideal type of appearance. The 2 models came with many other extra actors. The one who appears at the ending scene is a Romanian-Korean model and she was chosen by my agency.
– Sales for the record is good (150,000 copies) and you are also the first Korean male solo singer who has a World tour that includes Asia, the US, South America and even Europe.
Doing everything by myself is very burdensome. When the director of my agency told me about holding a World tour in South America and Europe with my solo album, I was half in doubt. I was worried a lot and even thought about acting in drama. Last year was a dilemma to me. If I want to have broadcast activities, I will have to act in drama but what I am confident in is singing and dancing on stage. I had many thoughts in mind and I also had my pride, I want the album that I would release to be good but I was worried whether it would be right to invest that much in it. My agency said they would invest but it was me who got worried. I want it to be good but I’d rather not release it if I wrapped up my solo activities when no one even knew about its release. When I was in the middle of rehearsing for the musical ‘Elizabeth’, the director of my angency came to me with a main role in a drama and we had a talk. While talking about whether I should take the role in this drama or not, suddenly a desire of releasing an abum, of taking the risk filled my heart. Singing is what I am confident in the most so I want to do something I am confident in and because the other two members were doing well in acting so it’s even harder for me to get started on it. I asked the director whether it was good to release an album and I would try even if it might end up in failure. It is not an era where I can solely depend on broadcasts like before, everyone from all over the world can easily access to the contents through online websites like Youtube so even though I can’t appear on broadcasts, the situation is not as desperate as it was before. First, I talked about the concept of my music video. Since I release an album but cannot show its contents through singing on live stage or broadcasts so I put a big bet on the music video. I am thankful for my agency who immediately agreed to invest an amount that is 3 times bigger than what a regular popular singer would need and I am also happy that the result is good.
– You have transformed into an androgynous image.
Overseas fans like it and some of them also described it as ‘gay’. As an artist, it matches with my intention to show an androgynous image and I am happy to hear that. However, I want to take this chance to clarify that I am not gay.
– You received praises from Bruce Automatic, the composer you worked with for your single, and from the music video director Marc Klasfeld, etc. Do you feel the possibility of shaking the center of Pop music as a Korean singer?
Rather than feeling that possibility, I think it’s more important to have in mind the spirit that I have to do my best and show more than 100% of my ability on stage. If I think about how succesfull the result would be then carry on my activities, it will be really tiring so I just put in my efforts with enjoyment. Right now, I am happy to carry on activities for my concert so I am working with a desire to do my best. Since popular American staff like composer Automatic gave me praises, I am going to work even harder.
– What is your assessment about your own Asia tour?
Although I don’t have broadcast activities, I saw hope when I am able to get closer to fans from overseas. I was very surprised to know that the music video ranked 1st on Chilean or German charts. I also saw the light when I am called ‘vocalist Junsu’. The ability of a vocalist when working as a trio and when working as a solo is very different. I have found my own color as XIA and after wondering how I would have to express my own music, this have become a chance for me to show my unique color. As I am currently in a team, it became a big pressure and for that reason, I must show a more distinct music. Through XIA’s album, I am preparing for my next album and finally, I saw my own way. Rather than focusing on the result, this album is where I saw the hope, seize the chance and gather courage to release my next album.
– Is there any other place you want to challenge in this World tour?
Where I have never been to – Africa. Haha. There are 3 South American countries in this tour but at the moment, fans from Argentina and Peru still want to have concert in their country. However, due to my schedule and many other circumstances, I couldn’t go there so I felt disappointed. I want to go to many countries, or even Africa, in the future. Particularly, I felt bad that many fans from Peru who have waited for so long were let down. If I continously hold concerts in the future, I will go to the countries that I haven’t been to.
– What about your future plan?
Drama is a field I want to challenge someday. I am ready at any time if there is a drama that suits me well. I think I will regularly carry on JYJ activities next year. There are many big and small events as JYJ now but we will carry on activities fully as JYJ next year.