[Interview] ′Unpretty Rapstar′ Jessi Spills on Why She Left Korea, Struggling with Korean Culture and More
Jessi confessed that she struggled with Korean culture as a Korean American.
Currently appearing on Mnet’s Unpretty Rapstar, Lucky J’s Jessi spoke honestly about what she struggled with during her life in Korea during an interview with Newsen.
Having debuted in 2005 with the single album Get Up, Jessi promoted under the name ‘Jessica H.O,’ but left Korea after promoting Life is Good from the album The Rebirth, which was released in January of 2009, and returned to America where she grew up.
Later, Jessi joined the rookie hip-hop group Lucky J in July 2014 and released the song Can You Hear Me, resuming promotions in Korea after changing her name. About why she left Korea and changed her name, Jessi confessed, “I took a long break. When I went to America after wrapping up promotions with Life is Good, I was on the verge of giving up because I was struggling so much.”
Jessi explained, “Later, I retuned to Korea with a firm determination and changed my name because I wanted to start fresh. I wanted to start again from the beginning. I wanted to change everything from head to toe, including music and rap. However, even though I wanted to go for the innocent look, I couldn’t change my intense appearance.”
Then what was the toughest thing for Jessi during promotions in Korea that made her want to give up on her career as a singer?
Jessi said, “I struggled the most with the Korean culture. Since I lived in America for a long time, I frequently traveled back and forth. So I faced many misunderstanding and it was tough living in Korea alone without a family. I was lonely and missed my parents. I think that’s why I left Korea.”
Jessi continued, “At the time, people didn’t take my personality or my music very well. People didn’t listen to my music back then, but I was so surprised when people liked me on Unpretty Rapstar. The public’s response was not like this before. I think many things have changed.”
Finally spreading her name and beginning to earn recognition for her musical talent, what is Jessi’s final goal? Although she seems intimidating and intense on Unpretty Rapstar, Jessi was like any other daughter who thinks of her parents.
“Although I grew up in America, I want to be successful in Korea because I’m Korean. And I would like to buy a really big house for my parents. Since my parents went through a lot, I would like to buy them a big house so they can live without having to work.”
Meanwhile, Unpretty Rapstar airs every Thursday at 11 p.m. (KST)
Photo credit: YMC Entertainment