Sunday, April 1, 2012


April 1, 2012 Interview

Jay Park came back after enduring the hardship. I met him at the music program set, between his rehearsal and the actual recording. I sat down without a thought at first, but immediately felt bad, seeing the mark on his face that indicated he had not been able to get sufficient sleep. I felt I stole his precious time to get some sleep. But as soon as the interview started, I felt the innocence and the sincerity from his squinting eyes that were trying to make sense of my fluent Korean. More liberated than anyone, also more polite, was this 26-year-old man, Jay Park, who never showed pretense or hypocrisy. Now let us hear his story.

Q: You don’t seem to be caught up in achieving success at all costs. You seem like you’d be happy somewhere else, if you were to just give up on all this. But how did such a free-spirited man like you become a celebrity, who is always psychologically pressured?

J: I never had any thoughts of becoming a singer. Becoming a singer or a celebrity was not my dream. I just loved music and dance. But somehow, time passed and now I am a singer. But the most important thing in my life is my family. I wanted to succeed for my family, loved making them happy by making money and now, I want to succeed even more for the people around me and to be of any help. When I came back (to Korea), I came with my family and AOM. I thought I was dreaming.

Q: I thought you started dancing first but it seems like rap-writing came first.

J: I started listening to rap music in middle school. I naturally came to like rap. As I listened to it often, I began to rap along, and slowly started to write my own lyrics. It helped to read a lot and listen to lots of music when writing them.

Q: You are not perfectly fluent in Korean yet, but you are quite witty. Do you get complimented on your humour when you speak in English as well? When you write in English, I cannot tell. It frustrates me.

J: I have done any broadcast in English so I don’t know. My friends would never admit this but I personally think I’m the clown in the group (laughs). I am still in need of improvement when writing lyrics in Korean. It frustrates me too because I don’t know if I wrote it well or not. I show it to the hyungs beforehand and get approval. I think that’s unfortunate. I put in a lot of effort of course but it’s not an easy thing to improve in.

Q: What is the background of your family like? Are they in literature or dance?

J: Not particularly. I was a kid that loved to play basketball and music. My brother was the type to stay in his room and play video games while I was the one to go out. Now that I think of it, that’s why we didn’t spend much time together. I wasn’t very good at it but I was also interested in dancing too. I worshipped Usher as my idol and I wanted to copy everything he did. I wanted to make my body like his and dress like him. I practiced (dancing) a lot watching Michael Jackson or Usher videos when I was young, but I really started dancing properly in my first year of high school. Since then, I started to go dance with friends, and became more interested by watching videos.

Left: There are star tattoos on his neck! Oh, behind his ear too… OMG honey skin! Anything looks good on him~ //
 Right: The cappuccino that Jay drank today…Still looking good before the interview.

Q: When others were leaving to study abroad, Jay you, on the contrary, came to Korea. I know a bit about the school life of that age group. They all sleep in class, forgetting about studying. Did you find that weird?

J: Whether it’s Korea or America, not all students can be interested in studying. There are people that play sports, or those like me who perform in music. It’s not like I don’t know
why they sleep in class. So there was nothing weird about it. To be honest, I tried hard myself not to fall asleep at first. I was a trainee, and I did not
want to add to the prejudice that everyone from America is like this. But I couldn’t hold on for too long. I ended up sleeping a lot later too (haha). Problems about Korea’s education system? There will not be no problems, but it’s funny that I am the one to evaluate it. I didn’t go to school here for long. But really, it’s the same in America. There were even kids that attended only two classes a year. There are a variety of students everywhere. The Korean friends were much nicer to me than I thought. They played basketball and went to the cafeteria with me… Now that I think of it, I am very grateful.

Q: Other than your school friends, most of the people you met first were at work. So I thought it was unfortunate that you may have considered all of Korean people to act like them.

J: At first it was strange. I felt this really wasn’t for me. I came without knowing what a trainee or a singer really was. Since I came to Korea without any knowledge or determination, I couldn’t understand why my lifestyle had to be different – it was really hard for me. But as time went by, I became used to everything very fast.

Q: A friend of mine saw you on the plane few months ago. (He/she) said you slept until you got off the plane. You must have been very tired.

J: Ah, I really hate flying. I’m honestly afraid of it. So I get on board when I’m in a really tired state. On purpose. If I kept sleeping, then my plan succeeded (laughs). I’m not much of a sleeper usually.

Q: I remember you getting off the ship to join the <Hot Blood> team on Mnet. You didn’t seem to like it. Let’s be honest; did you find it weird to be on a show that had nothing to do with music?

J: Thinking back, I did have reluctance towards it. But I never thought lightly of it. I wasn’t confident about acting out the scripted scenes or being funny on variety shows. But I thought I should put effort into it since I had to do it. It’s good to enjoy the things you do. Back then, a lot of people helped me… During MBC every1′s <Idol Army> especially, Boom hyung really helped me in various ways and led me well. The staff members as well.

Q: On the recent episode of <Radio Star>, Kim Goora talked about you. Did you know that?

J: I didn’t watch it personally, but heard about it from the fans. Actually, Goora hyungnim told me the same thing during the recording of IS2. He said, “Jay’s ex-member was really nice”. That must have been after the recording of Radio Star, right? (on IS2), (goora) hyung, staff members, the scriptwriters and especially the scriptwriter in charge of me are very considerate. I think that’s why, even though I get nervous, it’s still more comfortable than any other programs. The secret to being loved? I’m not sure. If I really had to pick, I’m really goofy. I guess I talk funny too. Well, I guess they just look at it in a good way.

Q: Before IS2, there were a few other opportunities too, as I heard. There were a few performances that were recorded, but were never aired. How disappointed you must have been.

J: I was alright. But the fans were very disappointed. But they can see me often on youtube or performances, even if I’m not on TV. I think they just want more people to know about me because they are my supporters. Because they want me to succeed. Because if I don’t appear on TV, they can’t let other people know about me; I think that’s what makes them sad. Of course, I also want more people to listen to my music. If I don’t go on TV, I can’t promote my songs very easily. But I don’t hang onto that. I am always optimistic, and think that things will all go well someday.

(to be continued in part 2)

Reporter Jung Suk-Hee



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