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Korean idol plays it safe


Publication Date : 24-04-2012


Korean idol Kim Hyun Joong, 25, is best known for his breakout role as the princely Yoon Ji Hoo in the idol drama Boys Over Flowers (2009) and as the leader of K-pop band SS501, out of which he has carved out a solo career too.

After a few visits here in recent years - during which he had auctioned off standees of himself for up to more than S$6,000 (US$4,800) each for charity - the actor-singer returns for his Asia Fan Meeting 2012 tour on May 4 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The tour will also take him to Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.

Here are some things Life! found out about him in an e-mail interview that is the equivalent of an anatomically correct Ken doll - there is only the smile and perfect hair with no controversial bits to mar his image.

His e-mail interview technique makes perfect sense since the man comes from a land where plastic surgery is commonplace.

Don't like the nose you were born with? Get a new one. Don't like questions you are asked? Cancel them out.

Here are some of the questions he took a scalpel to: How do you stand out from other solo artists such as Rain, Se7en or Taeyang and G-Dragon from Big Bang? Do you find it harder to succeed in K-pop as a solo artist, compared to being in a K-pop band? What is the one fashion style that you really like?

Forget about him speaking out in support of fellow entertainers in South Korean show business who have been harassed.

Questions about Open World Entertainment CEO Jang Seok Woo, who is being investigated for alleged charges of sexual harassment, were all crossed out.

While he will not admit it, he sounds - just a little - like he could be looking over his shoulders at the competition from other singers.

Asked about the potential rivals he could have emerging from Korean reality competitions such as The Voice Korea and Superstar K, he says: "I believe I should try to show my commitment and dedication in order to get fans' support. If I believed only in my capability and tried nothing else for myself, the fans might have not returned to me."

What has he been doing to 'develop his capability' then?

Since last year, Kim has been concentrating on his solo career as a singer with hits such as "Kiss Kiss", which he says has the "feel of soft love confession song", and "Lucky Guy". His solo efforts seemed to have paid off. The last time he was in Singapore, for the 13th Mnet Asian Music Awards held in November last year, he bagged the Best Male Solo Artist award. He says he was "very pleased" about this win: 'What I can return to fans' support and love is to keep working hard."

In fact, the frequently touring star explains how busy he has been since going solo.

He not only spent time on 'activities for two mini albums in Korea', but also had to make time for a Japan tour and promotional activities across Asia, meeting his fans, he says. The pop idol attributes his busy schedule to wanting "to show better performance not only on the air, but also at fan meetings or promotions where I could face the fans directly".

He sure works hard for his money, er, sorry, we mean his fans.

"Looking back, I never felt more excited and pleased than last year although I was terribly busy. I don't feel that there are difficulties when I practise and I want to practise more to show better music and greater performance, especially when I think of my fans who support me."

Few things please him more than when his feelings align with his fans' desires.

When he films music videos, he "actively" gives his opinions on styling.

Of the "Kiss Kiss" and "Lucky Guy" videos, he says: "I thought about the image which is more suitable to the song's feeling and can be delivered well to the fans. Fortunately, fans also feel the same so it was a good result (smile)."

His careful answers are tailored not just for female fans, but also for potential employers.

With leading roles in only two TV series so far - Boys Over Flowers in 2009 and Playful Kiss in 2010 - surely he would not mind a movie role.

But he will not say anything that could even remotely be construed as ingratitude. He says he does not "insist on acting in only one field among drama, movie or any specific genres". What he is 'just looking for' is a ''character which is suitable to me and can be well acted by me with fun".

"If the opportunity is given to me, I want to challenge any role whatever it is because there are lots of stories and nice characters."


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