Cube President Hong Seung Seong Talks About Park Jin Young & 2AM
President Hong Seung Seong of Cube Entertainment, producer of singers B2ST, 4Minute, and G.Na, said that Park Jin Young “is a partner who gave me a lot to think about.”
She went through too much for anyone to say she was just unlucky.
This is the story of Ivy, who pulled through and made a comeback after two years and six months. She appeared in the K-Pop scene in July 2005, and in a meeting with the press she said with an awkward smile, “It’s already been seven years since my debut, but I’ve only been active for less than two years.”
President Hong made this statement during his book release event for his essay ‘If You Stop Now, There Will Be No Spotlight’ (Seedpaper). The event was held on August 31 at the restaurant Stove in Seoul Banpo-dong. 4Minute’s Nam Ji Hyun, B2ST, Huh Gak, and A-Pink also came to congratulate President Hong.
President Hong founded JYP Entertainment with Park Jin Young, and then left the company 10 years later in 2008 to found Cube. While with Cube, he helped bring up the singers 4Minute, G.Na, and B2ST.
President Hong said, “The 10 years at JYP Entertainment were very important for me. I learned a lot from Park Jin Young. He pours all his passion into his work. He’s crazy for it. When I founded Cube, I was determined to make it grow bigger than JYP.”
He added, “I left JYP Entertainment because I wanted my own company and I wanted to produce my own artists. I feel especially sorry toward Jo Kwon, who stayed in JYP as a trainee for a long time, and back then, I pledged to make his group 2AM the best group.”
President Hong wrote of how he managed 2AM in his essay. According to his book, President Hong managed 2AM’s activities in the group’s early years. However, he heard that Park Jin Young wanted to bring 2AM back to his company, and in the end, he sent the group not to JYP Entertainment, but to Big Hit Entertainment.
He said through his book that he was sorry he “couldn’t stay with the group to the end.” He added, “They’re not with me in Cube, but I still cheer for them. 2AM is like my first son.” Fittingly, 2AM was present at the event to congratulate President Hong.
Photo credit: Seedpaper
4Minute’s Nam Ji Hyun, B2ST, Huh Gak, and A-Pink also came to congratulate President Hong.
Her smile, however, probably meant more than it seemed to. It’s heartbreaking for a singer to have only been onstage for two years out of the seven she’s called herself a singer. Regardless of whether she was at fault or not, Ivy yearned to stand onstage a lot.
Fortunately, Ivy recently wrapped up the lawsuit with her former agency regarding her contract. After being freed, she joined a new agency, one that houses the singer Kim Bum Soo, and is now preparing for a new takeoff.
It’s been a long time. You must be feeling so emotional about your comeback.
“Honestly, the future of the singer Ivy looked really dim. I always thought I would never be able to release an album again. I kept thinking that I’m getting older, and got worried on whether I would be able to sing again, leading to my loss of confidence. Now, however, my album has been released and I’m here [for the interview]. I’m excited and it’s like a miracle that I can feel like I’m starting over again.”
You made a comeback in 2009, but you didn’t get to promote fully. How did you feel?
“At the time, I came back with a dance piece, but I only got to appear on a main channel once. It wasn’t because of anything done wrong on my part; KBS and MBC had blocked appearances [of all agencies] because of the producer incident. I felt that it was unfair. Because of what I went through back then, I realized how thankful it is that I can appear on music shows. Now, my current agency is taking care of the problems well, and I feel great because that means I can sing on more stages.”
Your album is full of ballads; what happened?
“I’ve been preparing it for a long time. I received thousands of songs, but I couldn’t find one that I liked, and then I met the single I’m promoting now. Please think of it as an announcement that I’m back. I will be coming out with a dance piece within the year. I’m planning a studio album for sometime near October.”
All of the songs, starting with your first single cut ‘Broken Heart’, feel more relaxed.
“At first when I asked composers to write songs for me, they kept writing me songs like Sonata of Temptation. So this time, I tried to show off how I could be more comfortable. I tried to pull back from anything too sad. I sang the song thinking people will be more moved by serene emotions.”
How did you get to sing so comfortably?
“I left behind a lot of my desires. When I promoted Touch Me in 2009, I wanted to be great because I was coming back after a two year hiatus, but because for this album it was a miracle that I would be coming back at all, I prepared for it with a light heart. The same went for when I sang for it. Setting aside my desires to be great lifted the pressure from me.”
You must have felt a lot during the course of your tumultuous career.
“My thoughts changed a lot. I actually debuted when I was 24 after training for four years, ever since I was 20. I lived like a child because I had no experience in society and I hadn’t enjoyed many different experiences with my friends.
"Then I learned about the world through many incidents, and after some other incidents I realized that I wasn’t fit to be loved as a star by the public. I feel sorry that I couldn’t take care of the incidents more wisely. I do think that I was able to mature even for just a little thanks to those incidents.”
How did you spend your unexpected hiatus?
“I personally wasn’t able to make a division between the life of the singer Ivy and the life of the person Park Eun Hye, but while living as a normal woman during my hiatus I learned about life. I also blogged a lot, and that was helpful. I learned that I could be happy as a woman outside of my life as a singer, and I think I found true happiness inside me. Happiness is what I think it to be, and how I make it to be. (Smile)”
What misunderstanding do you really want to clear up?
“The one I don’t like the most are the ones that say I can’t live without men or that I look like I’ll use men because I’ve been involved in a lot of scandals involving men. Of course, I have to take charge of that image also. It’s not like it can go away if I talk about it now. At first I felt it was unfair, but I started to act more modestly because of those misunderstandings.”
What was your biggest concern during your rest?
“I didn’t worry over much. In the past I would think about a lot, but I felt that it didn’t help in solving anything. People say that I’ve transcended everything now. I just work hard on what’s given me. It helped that I had set down a lot of my desires.”
You went on a long break, but the name Ivy still has a sexy image.
“Sexiness is essential for female singers. I don’t dislike it. I like it a lot. I think I won’t be called sexy anymore in a few years. (Laugh) It’s good to hear praise like that when you’re still young.”
You’ve been missing for a long time and idols are fairly active these days. What would you do if the younger ones asked ‘Who are you?’
“Lee Seung Chul sunbaenim (senior) once said that a fan approached him and said it was great that he was debuting when he’s so old, and that he’ll become popular across the country if he works a little harder. It’ll be more severe for me. That’s why I think I’ve gone back to my attitude as a rookie—since I’m starting over. I want to be loved for a long time after this. I also want to clear a spot for myself as a person who can sing.”
I thought you would’ve gotten sick of showbiz; what made you come back?
“My longing for the stage. Even now, everything other than standing onstage is stressful for me. The joy I feel onstage, however, helps me overcome all the difficult processes. They say you get addicted to the stage; it really has a drug-like power.”
Son Dambi and Lee Hyori will also be making comebacks soon. Do you want to help solo female singers draw attention again?
“Of course I do. I want to show off the power of women. I hope other female singers make comebacks also. I hope everyone can help each other.”
How happy do you feel these days?
“Out of 100, 85. I was having a hard time, but a lot of the roadblocks have gone away and I can sing again. I’m happy for the present in which I can feel thankful for the smallest things. Of course, when I see malicious comments the score goes down by a few points.”
Ivy was honest and cheery from beginning to end. She was prepared to escape from her original mystical image and show off the real Ivy. Everyone makes mistakes. Ivy made her own. Through that process, however, she learned a lot, and matured.
She is now preparing for her second flight with her first mini album Interview, which was released in April. She’s put down everything that was shackling her down, and she’s aiming toward a new start in a new place. Her real flight has just begun.
Photo credit: Polaris Entertainment