[Interview] The ′ReBorn′ Brian Dreams Many Dreams
Brian is a musician who always manages to come out with some classy music. Like the Korean American he is, all his music also contains a whiff of authentic pop.
The same goes for his most recent album ReBorn Part 1. His first single cut Let This Die gives off a different feeling compared to other songs popular in the scene these days. While it′s of a medium tempo, it doesn’t have that conventional melody often found in ordinary pop songs. It’s like a neat and clean version of Britpop.
“I thought a lot about what songs I should put in my new album. I got a lot of songs from America last year, too. Before, I used to think of what I should sing, but for this album, I thought of what music I wanted to work on. This song gave me and my company a great feeling. It was the music I wanted.”
Let This Die was composed by Jeff Hoeppner, who previously composed f(x)’s Pinocchio, and features Tiger JK. Tiger JK rarely participates in other singers’ albums, especially for those outside of The Movement, but he took up Brian’s collaboration offer after listening to the demo version of the song.
“They say that in order to be popular in Korea, you have to have a bouncy quality to your songs, but I didn’t want to follow that. I should be working on the music I want to work on," said Brian. "Lady Gaga said that those who only perform the music others want and don’t do their own music can’t be called musicians. My sincerity toward music reached Tiger JK, and that’s how we came to work together.”
Brian met with us after his performance on Mnet’s M Countdown. His clothes were quite fancy. His song is a medium-tempo Britpop piece, but just looking at his clothes, it seemed people would think he was singing a powerful dance piece.
“I don’t like the stereotype that you have to wear suits when you sing ballads. Fashion is fashion, and music is music. (Laugh)”
Brian made his debut 13 years ago, making him a veteran singer. He debuted as a member of the vocalist idol duo Fly to the Sky, and now he’s proudly standing onstage alone as a solo singer. He’s especially passionate toward music, producing his own albums unlike many other singers from idol groups.
“Of course at first I was coached by my company, but as time passed, I found my own style. It’s not easy to ask someone else to produce your album. Once, I heard that a critic said my songs had “real sound” on a radio show. There are a lot of new fans who started to like me after listening to my music.”
As Brian can speak fluent English, he also dreams of venturing overseas. He filmed a music video for the English version of his recent single and released it on the internet. The video is proving to be fairly popular, shooting past 10,000 views in just one day. He’s also communicating with his overseas fans in English through social network services.
“These are great times. Back when I made my debut, we couldn’t even imagine of going overseas, but now Girls’ Generation is appearing on The David Letterman Show and Korean artists are performing in South America and Europe. The world has changed a lot.”
Because he’s been hit by racism as a Korean American in America before, he welcomes the idea of Korean artists traveling overseas even more.
“When I attended middle school and high school in America, there were a lot of people who didn’t know there was such a country called Korea. My job every day was to let people know about Korea. I used to make my friends listen to songs by Seo Taiji or H.O.T., but now, Americans look for Korean songs and listen to them on their own. I’m happy that [recent Korean singers are] showing that Asians can do it, too. I’ll also work harder.”
Brian plans to debut in America after becoming more well-known among overseas fans. If he starts promoting in America, he can spend time with his family again, whom he’s lived apart from for 13 years.
“I still have a lot of things I want to do. I want to go overseas, and I want to try out acting in Korea. I also want to promote in America as a Korean and break down that wall. I really want to succeed in America, and I want to take up acting there, too. I want to be on sitcoms and the like," said Brian. "I’m an unfriendly son who’s never told his mother that he loves her. If I start promoting in America, I’ll be able to see her more often.”
Photo credit: Jellyfish Entertainment
Reach reporter Oh MiJung on Twitter @isyutar!
- Brian 20120215