Whoa. What a fantastic article. Youngbae always surprises me with how eloquent and intelligent he is. Maybe because he’s so shy and quiet, I forget he talks at all! In this interview/article, YB responds to the compliments from the 21 critics who claimed that he would be the most successful as a solo artist among “idols” in Kpop. As expected, his answers are humble yet sincere.
DongA Journal – chosen via a survey conducted among experts as “Best Idol” – BIGBANG’s Taeyang
When I entered Mnet’s Standby Room (on the afternoon of September 2), I saw BIGBANG’s Taeyang, who just woke up from his nap. Taeyang, who has just finished the recording for Cable Chanel Mnet’s “M! Count Down” is waiting for the live show to start. After releasing his first solo mini album in 2008, Taeyang revealed his first album ‘SOLAR’.
Taeyang said, “This period is the busiest since BIGBANG’s debut (in 2006)”. Additional tracks such as ‘I’ll Be There’ are included in his ‘SOLAR International Release Album’ and it was released on Apple iTunes where it is climbing the R&B charts – number 1 in Canada, number 4 and 5 in Japan and America respectively. On the 25th and 26th, Taeyang is holding his solo concert at the Hall Of Peace, Kyung Hee University, located in Seoul.
From the survey, the 21 music experts from DongA Journal agreed that Taeyang is the number 1 idol from an idol group who will have a succesful solo career. He is also the best dancer as well as vocal singer.
When asked what he thinks about this, Taeyang revealed his trademark eye smile, “I’m a bit embarrassed, but of course I am thankful too. This makes me think that the effort I put into the album, as well as the stage performances, did not go to waste.”
‘I’ll Be There’, which is released internationally, comes in both English and Korean versions. On Youtube there are videos of foreign fans covering Taeyang’s ‘Wedding Dress’ and ‘Where U At’, therefore it is safe to say that Taeyang may be aiming for an American debut. “Rather than suddenly announcing an American debut, maybe by slowly expanding the area of activities like what I am doing now, I will have better opportunities.”
Taeyang chose R&B, a genre that solo artists rarely choose. “When I was young, I shared a room with my brother who is five years older than me. My brother always listened to Black/African-American music, so at that time, it was as if I lived with Stevie Wonder, Boyz II Men, Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, Brian McKnight and Jay-Z.”
Because of his introvert nature, whenever his parents asked him what he wanted to be when he grow up, he always said ‘pianist’ instead of ‘singer’. “If I said I want to be a singer, I was scared my parents will let me sing and I was shy.” Taeyang entered YG Entertainment when he was 12 years old and went through six years of training before debuting as one of the five members of BIGBANG.
Taeyang did opening acts for various famous American singers including Alicia Keys and Brian McKnight when they held their concerts in Korea. “To stand on the same stage with the idols I admire since I was young makes me nervous. But as a singer representing Korea, I want to do my best.”
For a period of time, Taeyang was said to imitate American singer Usher, “If I am simply imitating Usher’s trademark performances, that will be humiliating because to stand tall, you have to fully understand Black/African-American music. But it’s the same with what Usher said, ‘to be the best you have to [study] the best’.”
To carry off sweet R&B songs like “I Need A Girl”, Taeyang always make effort to be heart-touching. “This is very important to singers. In fact, after a long period of not having these heart-touching moments, I think I’m better at singing sad songs and I usually face a lot of difficulty when it comes to sweet love songs.”When the interview was about to end, Taeyang told the reporter there was something he must say. [“I grew up feeling, through music and film, the sensibilities(*) of the analog times. But these days, it seems to be an age wherein it’s getting harder and harder to feel those emotions. Competition is becoming greater and music and film fade instantly like expendable goods… I think the reason teenage crime has become an issue in society lately is because [they] haven’t been able to feel that loving(**) sensibility. My goal is to make music that will enrich their souls.”] (Translated by Silly@ATY)
Silly’s Translation Notes:
* sensibility, sensitivity, impressionability, receptivity….
** so hard to translate… kind of like a warm fondness, but stronger? Deep emotions, compassion….