2PM Junsu Is Great at Jun.K
Jun .K (2PM’s Junsu), despite his slightly unfortunate new name, has successfully gone solo! There’s no real way to determine yet if he’s going to be a Justin (as in Timberlake) or a J.C. (as in, who?), but so far, he’s gotten explosive responses for his fourth single, Alive.
Alive dropped on October 7, and rose to the top on Melon’s music charts the same day, as well as recording high ranks on other major music sites, such as Cyworld music.
Shinhwa′s Shin Hye Sung is back, alone this time, with another album of his own titled Winter Poetry. It is his first album in a year since embrace as a solo singer, but in between everyone knows he′s been busy with Shinhwa′s comeback and the group′s many TV promotions.
Jun.K has long been described as the singer/songwriter/composer of his idol group, 2PM, and has made attempts to legitimize this status by writing the songs HOT, Sunshine, Don’t Go, and Alive.
His single was a special track written specifically for 2PM’s Hands Up Asia Tour and is different from most of his songs, and is clearly distinct from 2PM’s much more dance friendly hits. For the song, Jun.K brought in an orchestra and created an interesting chorus that gives off a choir music vibe, while mixing in a hip-hop beat.
Though recently he′s been bringing big laughs with his members in the jTBC variety show Shinhwa Broadcast, the Shin Hye Sung that appeared at the interview with enews was a shy man that seemed to be nervous about his first interview alone in three years.
He first confessed that he felt awkward, saying, "It′s been such a long time since I′ve talked in an interview alone," but then went on to talk about his album and about himself.
"I′m happy to be back. It feels like I′m giving a present to those who′ve waited. Winter Poetry is a special album for winter, but I thought it would become too immature if I kept emphasizing that it′s for winter. I tried to take out everything that usually makes a song winter-like, and instead pour poetic emotions into all of the songs."
The new album is an extension of embrace, the special album he released last winter. Mate member Lim Heon Il, who produced embrace, again took the helm for Winter Poetry, and a dream team composed of composer Lee Ahn, Walrus member Yang Si On and Mystic Puzzle′s singer/songwriter Park Asher all worked together to perfect the album. It was a notable collaboration between indie producers and a major idol member.
"I′ve worked with famous composers over the course of my solo career. They were great, but as I grew older I began to feel I want express my own musical feelings and my own directions in my albums. I′m personally a big fan of Mate, and so I sought the band out to add some of its feelings to my albums. Last year we first met as producer and singer."
The 2PM members also showed their support and congratulations for Junsu’s solo debut.
The preview revealed through Real 2PM, a series posted on the group’s Youtube channel, contained the members’ congratulatory messages from when they visited a serious and nervous Jun.K, at his CD cover photo shoot.
Jun. K said, “Alive is a song which shows my own colors the most compared to my previous songs. I made up the chorus by stacking up tens of tracks of my own voice, and I put in even more emotion. I hope many people listen to it and enjoy it.”
Jun. K’s Alive can be downloaded through online music websites such as Melon and Dosirak.
Photo credit: JYPE
Shin Hye Sung was aiming to contain his own brand of emotions without following the hit-song formula in his album, which naturally means that the popularity of the album wasn′t on the list of things he really cared about.
"I would be lying if I said I didn′t care about such things at all, but still if you start to work on something with the results in mind, you can′t do anything in the end because then you′ll hit too many limitations. I regretted how I didn′t promote my album last year, and so this time I plan to perform on as many stages as possible and have more people listen to my songs."
Shinhwa is said to be the role model of many current idols, and is often called ′the most evolved idol′. The group managed to rise to its current status not only because it had lasted a long time without any member replacements or departures, but also because each member′s individual feats turned out fairly well.
When asked about the reason behind the success of his solo ventures, however, Shin Hye Sung hesitated, then answered carefully with a laugh, "Maybe it′s because [when I′m a solo singer] I can show what I can′t with Shinhwa since our genres are so different? I don′t think there′s any advice I could give that can be called a know-how [to being a solo singer]. Um... I guess it′s just experience?"
Near the end of the interview, Shin Hye Sung touched on how he′s sorry that the K-Pop scene has turned to center on single albums, and how songs are consumed so quickly.
"I remember when I was little, after I bought an album I would gladly listen to all of the tracks from start to finish. I′m sad that such things don′t happen often now. I hope those who listen to my winter album listen to all the tracks, from the intro to the outro, on end."
He is able to push on with such views thanks to his supportive fans. Shinhwa will be meeting its 15th anniversary next year, which means there are many fans who have been with the group for a long time since its beginnings.
Shin Hye Sung immediately said about his fans that "they′ve changed a lot compared to how they were in the past."
"Our fans have grown older and they′ve changed, just like Shinhwa has. In the past I thought they′d be glad to listen to any song we release, but these days it′s not so. Sometimes the fans call the agency to pitch their own ideas, and sometimes they give advice that′s so straightforward it sometimes hurts me. They′ve become more outgoing and influential."
When asked whether he takes his fans′ advice, however, Shin Hye Sung unexpectedly shook his head.
"I don′t really monitor reactions. I′m not often shaken or swayed by fan opinion, either. I just bulldoze through. Instead, I do choose to yield to about 20 or 30 percent of the opinions."
He finished, "I hope the album becomes a warm present for the cold winter. The future? I don′t have anything planned, really. I′m not a singer that′s really breathtakingly good at singing or can take on every genre thrown my way, but I know my limits and I′ll continue to show off my own brand of music with little changes within those limits. You can look forward to it."
Photo credit: Liveworks Company
Reach reporter Park HyunMin on Twitter @happygato!
- Jun.K (2PM) 20111009