Music Critic Kim Bong Hyeon’s affectionately labeled Korean R&B “Trinity” all went home with awards at the 8th Korean Music Awards held last February 23. (Deez was awarded “Best R&B/Soul Song” for “Sugar” and Jinbo was awarded “Best R&B Soul Album” for “Afterwork”. Taeyang received the Netizen’s Choice Award for Best Male Vocalist. KBH interviewed both Jinbo and Deez immediately after the awards. Here are excerpts from the interview that mention Taeyang (who was unable to attend since he was busy filming the Big Bang SBS Special at the same time.)
Excerpt from Post-KMA Interview with Jinbo and Deez. (Full interview here at 100beat.)
KBH: That’s true (laughs), but no. I think this was a good result. If just one person got both awards, it would have been a little regrettable. How do you feel about Taeyang?
Jinbo: I wanted to meet Taeyang tonight, so it’s too bad [that he didn’t attend the KMA]. Actually, there was someone seated in front of me with Taeyang’s hairstyle, but it turned out he was a heavy metalist (laughs). Taeyang is, how should I say, a kind of source of hope for people like us. Because the music we do is not mainstream in Korea. But I think if someone like Taeyang makes good use of his power and opportunities, the R&B/Soul scene can grow with him.
KBH: I actually wrote recently that “Within his environment, condition and position, Taeyang will be able to achieve things for R&B that Deez and Jinbo cannot.” It seems similar to what you just said.
Jinbo: He’s Korea’s Usher, in one word (laughs).
KBH: Jeon Gun, who made Taeyang’s “I Need A Girl,” mentioned in our interview that you and Deez are both so good that it’s annoying. How do you feel about Jeon Gun?
Jinbo: I saw that interview. First, I’m very thankful. My parents worry about me (laughs). The people around us don’t really even know what I do. But I think his comment can be a credit to me. And if you look at his music, he’s making trendy R&B. That he’s working with someone as well-known as Taeyang and achieving mainstream popularity and spreading the R&B sensitivity with the work is a big deal in and of itself.
KBH: Did you tell your parents about your award?
Jinbo: They probably watched at home. My mother hadn’t said anything before, but a few days ago she suddenly pulled out her social security number. She said she needed it to vote for the Netizen Award (laughs). That I had to win. So I told her, “Why bother. Look at Taeyang’s vote count – it’s ten thousand something.” At that point she said, “It’s ten thousand?? I thought it was a thousand something…”
KBH: What would you say about Jeon Gun?
Deez: I listened to “I Need A Girl” a lot. I listened to other songs, too, on YouTube, and it seems like he makes good trendy R&B music. He’s clearly a seasoned pro.
KBH: What about Taeyang?
Deez: First of all, he’s so famous and everything he does becomes an issue (laughs). Like Jinbo said earlier, I think he’s someone who can have a big role in the revival of R&B. “Take It Slow” was especially good.
Jinbo also mentions Taeyang in an interview he did for Rhythmer Magazine. (Full interview here.)
First, I need to be drawn to the music. Whether or not it’s popular comes after that. But I’m not against music that’s trendy and popular. I think, if given the opportunity, I’d like to work on something that’s popular. But it has to be well-made. I’d like to work with Taeyang in that context. There are a lot of musicians on that side who don’t understand the music they’re doing. They appear on shows and call themselves R&B singers, but I think many of them probably feel burdened by the label. There are clearly singers who are considered R&B singers because of a concept but can’t actually sing R&B. But when I read Taeyang’s interview, I get the feeling he has things he wants to do [a direction he wants to go, clear ideas as an R&B singer.] It seems like he wants somebody who can support that. Personally, if I get a chance, I think it’d be great to work together. I can do a good job… (laughs)
Netizens’ Choice for Male Artist of the Year – Taeyang
Beyond an Idol, a Dignified Musician
If [people] still refer to Taeyang using phrases like “for an idol” or “compared to other idols,” we are probably overly stingy people. To call him an “R&B musician” is not being exhortative or overrating him, but rather recognizing the truth as it is.
This becomes evident if we look back on 2010 and consider just how few R&B albums were better than Taeyang’s. Taeyang has already had the honor of winning Korean Music Awards with his mini album. This year’s first full length album showed even greater growth but was regrettably overshadowed by Deez and Jinbo’s immense presence. Though an absolute comparison is not possible, one could say that while Taeyang’s was a great album that met expectations, Deez and Jinbo’s albums soundly exceeded them. Strangely, though, Taeyang is the one who most captures my interest.
Of course, there are key terms like “young age,” “hidden potential” and “potential for growth.” But even putting those qualities aside, [I believe that] within his environment, condition and position, Taeyang will be able to achieve things for R&B that Deez and Jinbo cannot. In order to witness Taeyang get to the denouement of this R&B dungeon and see a joyful ending, I will gladly be a hidden influence for him.
– Kim Bong Hyeon (Music Critic, KMA Jury/Selection Committee Member)
Translator notes: The last sentence is probably confusing in translation. He’s basically likening the R&B genre in Korea to a dungeon – in the shadows and restricted to its small circle, i.e. not mainstream – and he wants to see Taeyang, with his status, break through and bring R&B to the mainstream. And “hidden influence” is a poor translation, but I didn’t know what to call it. It usually has a negative connotation, but obviously KBH is using it to say that he will be a quiet supporter.
TRANSLATIONS BY SYLVIA@ ALWAYSTAEYANG | Please credit when posting elsewhere
Thanks to YB Mania for the Hankyoreh scan!