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K-pop the Jay Park way
Publication Date : 18-01-2013
The singer-rapper will perform his R&B and hip- hop to show there is more to the genre than Psy
The entire world may have embraced South Korean pop music as a self-referencing, ironic and irresistibly catchy phenomenon, courtesy of Psy's "Gangnam Style" video.
But 25-year-old singer-rapper Jay Park is determined to show that there is more to it than a chubby man in sunglasses with a clever hook.
Over the telephone from Seoul where he is in the recording studio, Park says: "Right now, Psy has the biggest song of last year, the most viewed video ever in history, so of course, when people think of Koreans, they're gonna think of 'Gangnam Style', Psy. I think that's cool, he did his thing and killed it.
"But I'm definitely gonna come out and show them a different side of K-pop."
He has his work cut out for him for it would be hard to match Psy's viral success in the form of over a billion YouTube views.
But Park is undeterred and hopes to bring his brand of hip-hop and R&B to the masses. One such possible way, he says, is through duets in the easy-listening style of "My Boo", a 2004 hit by Usher and Alicia Keys.
The singer will start by bringing his tunes to Singapore today, where he will be performing at The Star Theatre. He says tonight "is not really a full-length concert but more of a showcase".
"Previously I've sung only a few songs in Singapore but for this show, I'm going to be performing maybe 15, 16 songs. You're going to be able to see what I can do onstage - the dancin', rappin' and the singin'.
"If I really do a concert, you'll know what to expect after watching the show."
The audience can expect some B-boy moves but Park urges you to go see what he is capable of. The setlist will include songs from his recent album, "New Breed", and from his mixtape, "Fresh Air: Breathe It".
New Breed peaked at No. 1 on the South Korea Gaon Weekly album chart and No. 4 on the Billboard World Albums.
Park says he has been here so many times that he has lost track and jokes that "Singapore is such a small area, I think I've pretty much seen it all".
Last year, his visits included a performance at April's Star Awards, album promotions in May and Boyz Nite Out in June.
"The reason I keep on coming back is because I love Singapore just the way it is. Everything about it is just good - the fans, the food, the girls, the nightlife, whatever."
A world tour is not on the horizon yet as Park is in the midst of preparing for his third album.
He plans to work with top Korean hip- hop producer Primary and someone from Korean label Amoeba Culture, and "would love to do a duet with a female singer".
Possible collaborators he would like to have include Han Ae Ri of the now-defunct Baby V.O.X Re.V and Hyorin from Sistar.
He says: "They're incredible singers, very talented at what they do. They do the R&B type of music which is exactly what I want to do."
When it comes to women, he says: "The teeth are really important to me. When they smile, they just have to look good.
"Maybe also a cool girl who gets my humour. It's definitely not bad when they are cute and sexy and all that," says Park, who is single.
The multi-talented artist recently hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live (SNL) Korea on December 1, where he acted out R-rated skits and parodied Eminem's "Love The Way You" Lie music video.
"I'm definitely a fan of SNL USA. I have been watching it ever since I was a little kid. I'd like to do more funny things. I see myself doing more comedy stuff in the future," he adds.
But it was only after taking part in SNL Korea that he realised that comedy is not a bed of roses.
He says: "After doing it, I gained a new- found respect for the cast members because they have to work their a** off.
"It's all day Saturday, they have got to memorise the lines and they have only a couple of days to do so. It's crazy."