Jay Park says, “My music lacks mass appeal? Please open up to me” (Interview)
He now demonstrates a very strong fan base. Thanks to his new musical partners, his talents have successfully been displayed. He used to be a muscular dancer, but now he is an artist and a producer.
Park has a unique tattoo on his left arm. It’s tattooed with a flag, which insinuates the fact that he is from Seattle and Seoul, and three words-family, friend, and music-in English. It is also tattooed with shoes and a mike, which show his passion for B-boys dance. He said those are the ones that give him energy. He has recently released a new album and given us an interview.
- This is your first full-length album as a solo singer. What does it mean to you?
▶I’ve prepared a lot for last two years. I wrote nearly 30 songs and selected the best out of them. Some of my fans pointed out that my songs lack mass appeal, so I considered my fans’ tastes a little bit, this time. However, I’m not the type of person who makes plans and put them into action. People usually plan a strategy, but I’ve created the songs in my own style again. In terms of the fact that I’ve kept my own style in music, this first full-length album means a lot to me. I want to work a lot to promote this album to many people.
- Your new album has recently topped the R&B chart of U.S. iTunes.
▶I think it’s amazing. I guess it sounds friendlier to the people in the U.S. I suppose people like this album because the songs from this album are more like U.S. pops. I usually communicate with overseas fans through YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, and I feel like I’m more popular in overseas countries than Korea (Park laughs).
-Can you tell us about your new album?
▶My first album is titled “New Breath” in the meaning of starting new music. Working with various different artists gave me a mixed feeling. From pop songs to R&B and hip-hop, diverse kinds of songs are included in this album. I feel really great about having produced this album.
- How was working with Rob Knox, a famous producer who worked with Justin Timberlake?
▶I got to know him through a TV audition program. He said he was a fan of mine. He willingly gave me songs for free (Park laughs). I felt good because his philosophy about music was very close to mine. He also thinks it’s important to maintain his style in music, rather than making hit songs.
▶I got to know Dynamic Duo through street dancers and underground rappers that I know. And I asked them to participate in my album when I made a guest appearance on a radio program with them. I got to know Tiger JK through various concerts. Last year, I participated in Tiger JK and Yoon Mirae’s concert in LA as a guest and performed with them by chance. Because I admire them so much, I was so honored to work with them.
-There’s a kissing scene in the music video of your new song.
▶I’m worried about my fans, being jealous. There’s a kissing scene in my music video, and it’s the third time (Park laughs). Regarding my music, which lacks mass appeal, my fans first asked me to get songs from famous composers. But they understand me a lot now. I want to act with Min Hyo Lyn in my next music video.
- Because your music is usually a trendy urban R&B genre, you’re often compared with Big Bang’s Taeyang. How can you distinguish your music?
▶It’s true that I’m often compared with Taeyang. I’m always excited about his music. It’s true that we both love soft R&B and hip-hop, but our styles are different. I really want to make genuine music. I want to make R&B and hip-hop songs that I love, and I wish people can see it’s Jay Park’s music whenever they listen to my music.
- There’s a track that you’ve created in collaboration with Art Of Movement, your old B-boy crew members from the U.S. What does AOM mean to you?
▶AOM members are my old B-boy friends that I met when I was 16. We’ve grown passion for B-boys dance together, participating various dance battles in the U.S. I’m planning a special performance at my first exclusive concert with them. I want to show our performance to my fans.
- Please tell us about your first exclusive concert, which will be held in March.
▶I’m holding my first exclusive concert at Olympic Hall on March 3. Based on a band performance, I’m planning to have various different performances. The performance with AOM is also included.
- Your album jacket photo is very unusual. Is it your idea?
▶I saw a man’s skull face faint on a YouTube video by chance. I found out later that the man was called “Zombie Boy.” I wanted to express double-sidedness of myself by showing two different faces together – Jay Park as an ordinary person and Jay Park when performing on the stage.
▶I’m shooting the program on February 13. Immortal Song 2 is different from other TV music programs. I think it’s a good chance to show performances and music of my own style. Because all other singers have great talents, I’ve already given up on winning (He laughs). Because I can truly be satisfied about myself through this show, I’m just excited about performing on this show.
- If you compare the time when you were an idol group member and now as a solo singer.
▶Comparing to the time when I was an idol group member, I now can make any types of music that I want. However, I’m also undergoing trial and error while making music that I want. When I was a group member, all I had to do was caring about my part when performing. But I feel more burdened now to perform on the stage by myself. I don’t think I’ll ever become an idol group member again. But I’ve once talked about making a project group with GONZO. If I have a chance, I want to make a project group.
- Is there a musician you want to work with?
▶I want to work with Ssamdi. And I heard Nabi likes my music. I want to make a duet song with them.
- Aren’t you planning to enter the global market?
▶I’m planning to. If I have a chance, I want to make a lot of songs in English. I’ve always been dreaming of making a guest appearance on The David Letterman Show. It means a lot because almost all musicians appear on that show to promote their songs. It doesn’t have a fancy stage but it looks great. I was so amazed and proud when I saw SNSD performing on that show. I dreamed of performing on The David Letterman Show, watching Usher performing on that show.
- Because you used to be an idol group member, there are some people who comment that your producing talent is underestimated.
▶It depends on how you see me. If I can confidently express my thoughts through music, I think I’m an artist. It doesn’t matter how you call me, either dancer or rapper or singer. I’m just interested in this because I like it. I want to be a singer who can be good at both singing and rapping like Chris Brown. I want people to listen to my music. That’s all. I wish people open their minds and ears and listen to my music.
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