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Nikkei Entertainment July Issue – JunSu’s Part [060610]

June 7, 2010

-Even so, I, will still sing.-
XIAH junsu

As a THSK member, he has already spent five and a half years developing in Japan. JunSu, a member of the five-men group, began his solo activities using his full name on the 26th of May. This is an interview which will let you see his determination.

Vocal talents, ability to dance, good looks, these are some of the essential elements a South Korean boy band must possess, and to date, [these boy bands] have thrown the world into a unprecedented state of chaos. Without a doubt, JunSu is one of those causing this state of chaos.

Having a quality that no one else is able to imitate, he is thus able to gather the attention of the audience and put up performances that have been affirmed by thousands of people. The “voice”, which is a singer’s life-line, is an unsurpassed talent which he possesses.

Having gone through a difficult period when his voice was changing, the voice that emerged thereafter, if we were to describe it, it would be ”a hoarse yet high tone”. Fully displaying the limits of a natural voice, it has performed numerous beautiful melodies thus far. Within the list of songs the group has sung, the thrilling treble parts has been covered by this person many times.

This May, this person who possess such a voice, XIAH Junsu, will be releasing a new solo work. His thoughts regarding the group’s future direction and his own cannot be fully comprehended through these songs alone. Let us try to step in and see what all it is about.

“Men, while they cannot not appear strong, there are also times when they want to show the fragile side of themselves. This is exactly how I want to present myself, so I tried two songs which has completely different styles.

The first track is the self-composed <<Intoxication>>. There is an underlying meaning of “indulgence” and “yearning” in this track, and it’s a sexy R&B style track which sings about the basic instinct that cannot be suppressed. As this is a dance track, there is this cold suppression of the melody, and from within it highlights the hidden strength of a man.

The staff said, this is a track that has the same intense feeling as the previous work <<Xiahtic>>. Even so, I still wanted to try to change the entire atmosphere. After having decided on my solo activities, I wanted to present a more truthful side of myself. I want to present myself that can dance and sing live at the same time. In this track, I have placed in more emphasis on the R&B style, which is a style I personally like a lot. Most of the lyrics are English (it takes up about 80% of the entire song), and this is so that the overall effect of Western-style music is not undermined. This song required a lot of different means to keep the balance.

The second and third tracks (normal edition) is a collection of the traditional ballads. Both are focused towards the theme song of BeeTV’s television drama for mobile phones. One of the tracks is performed for the romance story in which fellow member YuChun is acting in. The other song << Kanashimi No Yukue>> is the theme song. The theme, which was somewhat deep and profound, was very quite interesting. I asked myself ‘this time, what is the significance behind the expression of this song’.

Even though this song is not self-composed, I chose it from amongst 20-30 other compositions. As to why it was chosen, one of the main reason was, it is quite a simple reason to me, throughout the entire song, from the start to the end, it is not purely about plain repetition of the melody and harmony, and it is not just about a single voice singing. To be able to put in one’s real feelings into the song, this was the part that suited me most. The lyrics are also very moving. In the later part of the song, where this is the line “Compared to the conclusion of happiness, changes have made me feel lonelier”, it touched me deeply.”

– Even if I am unhappy, I will suppress it-

“As a singer, I like this type of songs a lot.

To be able to express the song more vividly, I would think that the total absence of a single piano or guitar would be even better. That was the effect I was listening out for this time. Therefore, I chose this song. Even though it is sad, it also merged in the sorrowful emotions that have been suppressed.”

In his life as an artiste, the words “strength” and “sorrow” has memories attached to it. Especially now when he possesses the voice that “everyone wants to hear”, the issue of “the long period when his voice underwent changes” is also very well-known among fans. It is not enough to use the term “distressed” to describe it, and as JunSu would say, “That was a total despair”.

From the age of 15, it continued all the way throughout his second year in high school to the third. Even though the doctor said that “the duration for the voice change has ended”, there was still no improvement, and the hope of being able to sing seemed far away. Just trying to reach the higher pitches would make him exhausted and unable to produce any sound. While he had the desire to sing happily, gradually, however, he was unable to project any voice out. The doctor said, “You probably cannot sing anymore, stop singing”, and upon listening to such words, he would cry every night.

The trend of debuting at 17 years old is still ongoing in South Korea. The younger generation has always been made fun of numerous times while at work.

“I totally do not touch cigarettes or alcohol, and people usually ask, ‘Is it because you have a low tolerance of alcohol?’ I would be quite sad to hear this and think, so this is what you think of me, and there are times when I did not even want to explain myself. There were also people who said, ‘Can you sing with such a voice?’ However, after they heard me sing, they would be very surprised and say, ‘You can actually sing.’”

Generally, it is heard that most successful artistes would have had, at some time, gone through a period with memories of humiliation.
This will then become a source of motivation for them.
As for JunSu, he probably had such thinking, but after asking him, he said, “I don’t think I have had such hateful experiences. Because I have confidence in my singing.” Immediately, he revealed a dashing smile. To this person, confidence has already gotten victory over any hate and hurt, and that is probably why he is easier to understand.

After chatting so much, he was asked about his recording session at a radio programme and it was really bad (laughs).
However, his desire to stand on stage and sing became more intense.

During that period, he received a lot of letters from fans saying, “I like your voice”, and this has given him more confidence.
He commented, “See, it’s not that bad.”
During the period of the voice change, perhaps his efforts to force out sounds were not good for his throat.

“This was also probably why, my voice became, how do you say this, a bit weird, but it also made me unique. As I kept thinking like that, my voice gradually stabilized, and to me, it was nothing short of a miracle.”

Regarding singing, two years before, he was invited to a programme.
And that was in the year 2008, and that was his first time performing on Kōhaku Uta Gassen.

-A “Graduation Certificate” from his mother-

That was the first time his mother told him “I feel right now, you are at the stage where you don’t need me to give you anymore guidance.”

“My mother has always wanted to be a singer from a long time ago, but due to the vehement objections from my grandfather, she never got the chance to fulfill that dream. Because she is someone who can sing, so whenever I make a mistake in singing she would know. When everyone around me was complimenting me and saying “well done”, in actual fact, I was the only one who could grasp my mistakes, and my mother would always discover it too (laughs). ‘Why don’t you try singing it like this?’ she would always provide a lot of guidance.”

“There are four members in my family, including my twin elder brother.”

His elder brother, Junho, is a fraternal twin, and in spring this year, he has begun his own activities in China. I heard that for their mother who never got to fulfill her dream, she would hum songs as she does household chores, and when she is able to rest, she would sing as she plays the guitar.

“I learnt the method of pronunciation from my music teacher, I also learnt on my own accordingly. However, on learning how to involve emotions into the song, a lot of it was influenced by my mother. Our way of expression is basically similar (laughs). I have learnt how to use vibrato in singing since I was in primary school, and it was because my mother used to always do so, and I felt that was very impressive. I didn’t know then that that was a sort of technique. In school when everyone else was singing, the people around me couldn’t do it, and I was trying to figure out why they weren’t able to.”

With a mother like that, both her sons eventually became professional singers.
I heard their father sings very well too, but he ranks last in the entire family (laughs).

Which is more tiring, a dance track, or a ballad which requires no dancing?

[Intoxication] is a very intense dance track. Here, we tried asking “Dancing and singing at the same time, compared to singing a ballad which requires no dancing, how different is the level of fatigue”.

“That is a good question (laughs). The answer is it’s basically a different situation singing a ballad, there are times when it can be as tiring as singing a dance track, it’s wrong to say that it’s not tiring singing a ballad.” JunSu explained.

“Ballads is where everyone has to focus completely on the song, there are a lot of places in the expression of the rhythm, melody and song which you have to pay attention to.”

His method of singing, which requires him to give in all of his energy, is definitely a good way to burn calories. If you pay attention to this while trying to listen to him sing, it will definitely be more interesting.

In January this year, he made his debut on the musical theatre stage in Korea in the play “MOZART!” as the main actor.
Just based on singing alone, the experience has extended till now, and those who had performed had also commented that it was a complete change of style.
Despite being termed as Asia’s TOP singer, he still went through with it.

“It was tough. POPS who usually sing, even though the voice might break sometimes, as long as the emotions were right, the expression of the song can still be performed as well, right? But if you were to put such emotions in the musical theatre, it will be a complete NG (laughs). If you wish to express something extraordinarily, you first have to understand the lyrics well. Also, you must change yourself to become the role you are playing in order to sing it well.”

“To date, I have done a lot to express myself, but to express emotions as a completely different person, I have never done it before, so I really learnt a lot from this experience. Therefore, I want to participate in new performances increasingly, and develop further in my emotions. In the past, I knew very little about musical-related songs, and I rarely listened to them too, but I have been listening to more lately. I am very happy when I find that ‘there is such a nice song!’”.

While he continues to build up on his experiences, he continues to sing.
He’s only 23 years old.
Beginning activities as a solo artiste is only the “Second Chapter” of his life, and JunSu, who is quite sensitive towards the arts, has a bright future ahead.
Lastly, as someone who is able to sing as well as he does, what training did he go through in order to reach such a standard?
Upon hearing this question, he made a “bu-chi” sound as he burst out laughing.

“I have talked about this a lot, a lot (laughs). But what is worth mentioning is, there’s nothing impressive about someone who has had a wide range [in terms of vocal range], what is impressive is when the singer knows how to control the range well. In the songs that I have sung, what is most important is being to immerse yourself in that emotion. I don’t know the full range or limits of my vocal range, but it doesn’t matter. I always think that if I don’t work harder, it won’t be enough. Really. There is no 100 marks in music, but I want to work hard to achieve 99 marks.”

A face without make-up is more aggressive? Lyrics which are animalistic gives off a stronger emotion?

“Even though the songs that are prepared are not many, but there are a few,” JunSu said. “[Intoxication] was chosen from amongst the three works.” What grabs people’s attention are the lyrics, from the start of “Kill and touch me baby~” to “Bite me”, “Pulling off and leaving our clothes” et cetera are very animalistic words. It is very hard to imagine JunSu, who often pulls off gags in programmes saying such words, but such a change is something definitely to keep a lookout for.

PRIVATE TALK

Q: What did you eat today?
A: Bento! I really like Japan’s bento. If there is soup included in the bento which I buy from the convenience store, I would be very satisfied. The ramen is also good. But I stop eating from 6PM onwards. Rather than say that I’m dieting, why not say that it is a form of self-discipline, which I am now keen on.

Q: Are you still not able to drink?

A: I drink about 5 cups a year. If my heartbeat is too fast, I would be in a bad mood.

Q: If so, then under what circumstances will you be able to drink then?
A: Usually during an award celebration dinner. I don’t want to spoil the surrounding atmosphere (laughs). I would usually drink a bit of red wine on the plane or in the hotel. Sometimes it helps me to sleep better after drinking a bit of alcohol.

Q: Who sent the latest SMS to you and what did it say?
A: Elder brother. He said that he will be going to China next. He was in Korea recently, but he’s going over today. We have a very good relationship.

Q: What is the one song you listen to frequently in your iPod?
A: [All I Ask Of You], it is in German. In order to imagine my performance on stage, I also listen to my own songs frequently.

Q: Which Japanese artiste do you prefer and which song?
A: Ayaka-san’s [Minna Sora no Shita]. Ayaka-san is really very powerful.

Q: What have you bought recently?
A: A bag and wallet. I haven’t bought a bag in 3 years, and a wallet in 5. Even though I am not thinking of changing, but some of the fellow artistes help to choose (laughs).

Q: If you were to give a girl an accessory, what would you give?
A: Er~~ Necklace.

Source: Nikkei Entertainment + XIAHKING + baiduTVXQ 1, 2
Translation: kimuchi3005 @ OneTVXQ.com
Credits: OneTVXQ.com { One World. One Red Ocean. One TVXQ! }
Feel free to repost, but please leave the full credits intact. Thanks!

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