Tuesday, March 18, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: JYJ members talk about individual projects

By JONATHAN HICAP, Manila Bulletin
Apart from their responsibilities as members of JYJ, the members of the popular boy band have pursued individual activities ranging from films, TV series, theatrical roles and solo albums. In an interview with Bulletin Entertainment, JYJ’s Jaejoong, Yoochun and Junsu shared some of their solo pursuits.
(Clockwise from top left) Yoochun in ‘Three Days;’ Jaejoong and Junsu performing at their solo concerts (SBS and C-JeS Entertainment)

Kim Jaejoong launched his first solo mini-album “I,” in January last year and the repackaged version “Y” a month later, which, cumulatively, sold more than 200,000 copies.
“I” zoomed to the No. 1 spot on Korea’s Gaon and Hanteo charts and peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s World Albums chart.
Jaejoong released his first regular solo album “WWW: Who, When, Why” in October the same year, which topped the iTunes charts in 12 countries even as it also entered the music charts in 34 countries including Europe and Latin America.
“‘I’ was a mini-album. It was a rock album… I put into it the kinds of rock genres that I like, such as hard rock with strong messages, and more lyrical rock ballad. It received rave reviews and so led to my first official album ‘WWW,’” Jaejoong said.
Jaejoong wrote all the lyrics for the songs in “WWW.”
He explained, “Rockers need to internalize the feeling and characteristics of songs and become totally immersed as you sing. So I wanted to write words, if not songs, for myself. ‘WWW’ contains various songs that can be delivered in the genre of rock and the title song is ‘Just Another Girl.’ It’s modern rock.”
Jaejoong had his first solo Asian tour, “Your, My & Mine,” from January to June last year, with stops in South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, China.
The 16,000 tickets to the Seoul concerts sold out immediately, while his three-day Yokohama tour drew 45,000 fans. The whole tour attracted 83,000 fans.
To promote “WWW,” Jaejoong held the “Kim Jaejoong: 1st Album Asia Tour Concert,” in November last year, drawing a total of 110,000 people with stops in South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and China.
“I was extremely happy. Actually, I’ve said this to my fans in Japan, China and Taiwan, that those concerts were the best ones ever in my life, and all of my fans shared the same feelings and happiness through the songs. I could feel their hearts and was really grateful. They gave me a great deal of energy and cheers. It’s regretful that I haven’t had a concert in the Philippines either as JYJ or solo. I hope to meet our fans in the Philippines at an earliest possible date,” he said.
Park Yoochun focused on Korean drama projects for his solo projects, making his  drama debut in 2005 via “Rainbow Romance,” followed by “Banjun Theater.”
In 2010, he starred in “Sungkyunkwan Scandal,” which earned him the best new actor award in the KBS Drama Awards and 47th Baeksang Arts Awards. He also won the outstanding Korean actor in the 8th Seoul International Drama Awards for the same.
He went on to star in MBC’s “Miss Ripley” in 2011 with Lee Da Hae; and SBS’ “Rooftop Prince” and “Missing You” in 2012.
Yoochun won the Popularity Award in the TV Sector of the 48th Baeksang Arts Award for “Rooftop Prince,” as with the Popularity Award by Netizen and Attractive Actor Award at the 7th Seoul Drama Awards.
“Missing You” became one of the top 10 most searched TV shows in the Philippines on Google.
Yoochun currently stars as the elite presidential bodyguard Han Tae-kyung in the drama “Three Days,” which started airing last March.
“Han Tae-kyung loses his father to a suspicious accident and starts to dig into mysterious accidents, which lead to a grave conspiracy against the President,” Yoochun related.
“In my previous roles, there were always issues to deal with, as a prince in ‘Rooftop Prince,’ as a detective in ‘Missing You,’ and again as a righteous bodyguard who dares to give his own life to justice in ‘Three Days.’ Particularly, this drama goes like, one event leads to another and reveals a greater conspiracy. I think it is important to express the subtle flow of emotions of Han Tae-kyung as he goes through all that.”
Junsu has taken the theater route, making his stage debut in 2010 via “Mozart.” More than selling out about 45,000 tickets in five minutes, the musical earned him the Rookie of the Year Award and the Popularity Award at the 16th Korean Musical Award.
He went on to appear in the musical “Tears in Heaven.” He won the Popularity Star Award at the 5th Musical Awards; the Ticket Power Award in the musical sector of the 2011 Golden Ticket Awards; and the Popularity Star Award in the 17th Korean Musical Award.
His next project was the musical “Elizabeth.” He made history with 32,000 seats reserved ten minutes after the box-office opened. He bagged the Shinhan Card Popularity Star Award at the 6th Musical Awards for the role, as with the Main Actor Award and Popularity Star Award at the 18th Korean Musical Award.
Last year, Junsu starred in “December,” which he described as “a musical made in the form of a juke box.”
“It compiles the songs of the late singer Kim Kwang-suk. He is one of the musicians most beloved by Koreans. In the musical, Yoon Ji-wook is a musical director who cannot forget his first love. I played a young Yoon Ji-wook in his 20s in Act I and then a middle-aged Yoon Ji-wook in his 40s, who still misses his first love in Act II,” he said.
In the last four years, Junsu essayed many different roles in musicals.
He released his first solo album “Tarantallegra” in May 2012, which sold 130,000 copies and landed at 10th place on Billboard’s World Albums chart, first on Japan’s iTunes chart, first on Germany’s Asian Music Chart, and first on Yin Yue Tai Chart, the largest music video site in China.
He embarked on his first world tour in 2012, with stops in Asia, North America, South America and Europe.
Junsu followed up with “Uncommitted,” his English album that sold more than 90,000 copies.
“Performing in a musical gives me a different kind of happiness than what I feel as a singer (as part of) JYJ,” Junsu shared. “In musicals, I play a character and interact with other actors and actresses along the storylines written by the writers and the whole piece of work should be appealing to the audience. As a singer, I only have to tap into my own characteristics, talents and songs, but in musicals, I am just a part of a whole piece. After the show is over, I feel extremely happy and grateful to the audience particularly in the curtain call. I am so much thankful to the audience who always takes an interest in and comes to see my musicals,” Junsu said.
Link to my original article on Manila Bulletin online:

To contact the author, send email to sangchusan(at)gmail.com

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