He’s like the hot sun on a summer day when he’s expressionless, and when he smiles he’s like warm sunlight on a cold winter’s day. Looking at Taeyang of Big Bang, his name fits him so well. The sight of him as solo artist Taeyang rather than as a member of idol group Big Bang was especially Taeyang-like. Known for being unable even to make eye contact with women outside of his company, he was quite a shy young man. But when he spoke about music he became sincere and sure of himself.
◆ Much better with ‘I Need a Girl’ than with ‘Only Look At Me’
I met with Taeyang who recently made a comeback with ‘I Need a Girl,’ the title track off of his first official solo album. “It’s much better now than when I was promoting ‘Only Look At Me.’ It was hard to digest the lyrics of ‘Only Look At Me’ that talked about cheating on someone and asking her not to do the same, when I didn’t even have any experience with dating. But the lyrics to ‘I Need a Girl’ talk about an ideal type of girl that I want, so I was able to put my sincerity into it (laughs).” During the time he was promoting his first solo track ‘Only Look At Me,’ the fact that Taeyang never had any experience dating became the hot topic. Taeyang, who to this day still hasn’t dated, says in 2010 he definitely wants to find a girlfriend. “Honestly when I’m asked to describe my ideal girl, I don’t know what to say. It’s because I don’t have a definite type. But singing ‘I Need a Girl’ I started thinking that this kind of girl would be perfect.” A line from singer Byun Jin Sub’s song ‘I Hope’ that makes an appearance in ‘I Need a Girl’ speaks of all guys’ romance about women.
◆ Not copying Usher, just influenced by him
Seeing Taeyang, unable to hide his shyness, it’s not easy to picture Taeyang as an artist on stage with his showy performances. But through his comeback stage, Taeyang showed us a sexy yet sensual performance with a female dancer. There seems to be overlap between American pop artist Usher, who held a concert in Korea on the 3rd, and Taeyang. “It can’t be helped that Usher is a role model to me. I think people have a tendency to confuse being influenced by someone with copying them. But if you follow the history of African-American music, there’s Usher, and before him there was Michael Jackson, and before him James Brown, and others. Since the hottest artist today is Usher, I can’t help but be influenced by him.”
1TYM’s Teddy took over producing Taeyang’s first official solo album, and G-Dragon did a featuring while Sandara Park participated in the music video. “With Jiyong, we don’t consider ourselves to be helping each other. If there’s something we can do, we do it. With Sandara Park, to be honest, it’s because the boss made her.. (laughs) We tried looking for a model that fit the lyrics of ‘I Need a Girl’ but there wasn’t anyone, and since it was more comfortable for me to work with someone I already knew, it just happened that way.” The track Taeyang is most satisfied with on this album is ‘Superstar,’ a song put together by Teddy. “Living with Teddy for a year and a half, we talked about music a lot. That’s how this track came about. It’s a song with a style that’s new to our culture, with a hip-hop beat combined with instruments reminiscent of old-time soul. I like all the tracks on the album but I am happy when I listen to this one. When this song was born, there was an uproar. (Waving his arms in the air) Like that (laughs).”