Famous musicians introduce songs that brought them to where they are now, and songs that they love based on various themes. You may also find out where these musicians are these days.
TVXQ’s U-Know Yunho, who can be anything from an actor to a model
Music to listen to on a rainy day
U-Know Yunho’s ‘Music to listen to on a rainy day’
When I went to visit TVXQ’s leader U-Know Yunho on the 24th, it was drizzling as I made my way to my destination. It was weather that seemed to match the ‘Musician’s Choice’ theme he had chosen for the week which was “Music to listen to on a rainy day”. He, who had been waiting in front of the SM Entertainment office, happily welcomed this writer. Wearing casual clothes, he smiled brightly and said, “I feel good because it’s raining outside.”
“Rainy days are times for me to reflect on myself. Other friends usually go drinking on days like this, but I drive my car to an arboretum or I choose some good music to listen to.”
When asked about his recent activities, he brought up his photoshoot first. “I went to Hong Kong for a photoshoot, and it was nice to have a personal interview as I was partaking in the photoshoot. I’ve always been showing people the bright side of myself, but I never really had the chance to talk about personal things.” We were curious of his next solo venture. U-Know Yunho said, “I don’t want to let go of the music life that I’ve had for the past 5, 6 years and I’ve also been considering upgrading my acting skills.” He also said, “What I want to say the most is that I want to challenge the limits I’ve set on myself from more than one side.”
It was a surprise yet understandable to see U-Know Yunho, who admired Michael Jackson, create a music list that consisted of songs with sad or solitary melodies rather than dance-orientated songs. Also, seeing such a list gave us a feel of his extensive musical taste from Rock to New Age.
“I usually listen to music while I’m on the move. I don’t discriminate between genres; if I like the feel of a song, I’ll get it and put it in my playlist right away. At times when I feel like I’m going to explode, I sometimes listen to heavy metal music, and when my body’s exhausted, I listen to calm instrumentals. However, it can be said that the music I’m introducing today conveys what I’m feeling these days.”
U-Know Yunho’s dream is to be the founder of a welfare center. Influenced by his father who enjoys helping those in need, he is actively seeking out voluntary service activities he can do to help the poor and needy. He usually makes people feel flustered with his clipped tone and short yet strong accent which he may have inherited from being the group’s leader since his debut, but he slowly yet surely opened up in this interview with a softer tone and deep breaths. His words “I’ve matured as much as I’ve been hurt,” seemed to approach the writer more sincerely than ever.
Kim Pyung (Writer specializing in popular music)
U-Know Yunho’s First Album Choice: Chris Spheeris’ [Best of Chris Spheeris: 1990-2000]
“Two years ago, there was a time when I listened to all the CDs our fans sent us. This was one of the albums in that pile of CDs and I was immediately hooked. Although there are a lot of instruments involved, there is a sound that isn’t lost, and it’s the sound of nature. That sound seemed to just grab my heart. There wasn’t a distinct melody, but shall I say that the tune was able to express everything that it needed to? From then on, I searched for this artiste online and listened to his songs whenever it rained. The guitar part is the prettiest in this album. Most guitar parts from other sources rely on strength or technique, but the guitar in this album isn’t overused and you can tell that the singer tried to keep the sound as close to the sound of nature as possible. I felt like the guitar part represented his heart and his feelings. It has a calm yet mysterious feeling to it.”
U-Know Yunho’s Second Album Choice: Kevin Kern’s [Summer Daydreams]
“One of the songs called ‘Return to Love’ is a very famous song that is used in dramas and CFs, and all the songs included in this album calm your heart. I think I listen to this song the most when I feel depressed. It cleanses your heart, but it also has a sad and sorrowful feel to it. I first found out about the song in the drama [Autumn in my Heart]. After that, I listened to it a ridiculous number of times. I found myself hearing it a lot even when I hadn’t turned it on myself. I heard it on the streets, I heard it at home, I heard it in the cafes… It’s a song that I’ve heard so much that it’s left a great impact in my life. Sometimes, I think that I’d like to try this kind of music one day. Like taking this music and formatting it by adding narration to it or commentary through DJ-ing?”
U-Know Yunho’s Third Album Choice: Kim Hyun Shik’s [3rd Album]
“I first found out about Kim Hyun Shik’s music through the voices of Kim Bum Soo and Yu Jae Ha. I liked the songs so much that I practiced them a lot for a while. I thought that I needed to be familiar with the original to do so, so that was when I found the artiste Kim Hyun Shik. The song that first caught my eye was ‘Eclipsed Road’. I’ve said before that I like singers like Michael Bolton or Lim Jae Bum, and Kim Hyun Shik’s voice was just what I wanted. It wasn’t pure and clear, and the charm that came from his thick and burning voice struck a chord in my heart. I usually listen to this album on a rainy day right before I sleep. You can find its true charm if you listen to it then.”
U-Know Yunho’s Fourth Album Choice: X-JAPAN’s [Star Box]
“They are one of my favorite artistes. In 9th or 10th grade, I had a cousin who played the bass guitar, and she was a fan of this group. I began to like rock music because of her. But these artistes’ music didn’t feel like rock. More so in ‘Endless Rain’. This song really captures that feeling of singing with a heart full of longing, and I think that, that is the true charm of X-JAPAN. I like their songs because they both appeal and don’t appeal to the masses. I want to follow their example of being a genius, yet striving to always be one step ahead of trends. I think this song’s mixture of Eastern and Western influences contain all the charms that the band holds.”
U-Know Yunho’s Fifth Album Choice: Az Yet’s [Az Yet]
“Sometimes, I like to go jogging when it rains, and I listen to this album a lot when I do. It might be because I’m the bass part in our team, but I find myself paying a lot of attention to that part. Their style is a little different from BoyzIIMen, but the bass part is so amazing that it feels like they’re playing with their musical ranges. The part doesn’t lose its focus, but it leads the other parts like the melody. This music is great for when I go jogging or when I’m enjoying a glass of wine. The music itself doesn’t feel very sophisticated, that may be exactly why I’m attracted to it. I think people will like this music if they like harmonies. I also feel that men will enjoy this music more than women.”
“I’m going to keep the promise I made with myself and then I’ll cry my eyes out.”
The subject was changed to Michael Jackson. U-Know Yunho recently got on stage for the pop star’s domestic tribute concert. There is a famous story circulating that the American staff, who had looked down upon U-Know Yunho as an artiste famous only in Asia, changed their attitudes after they watched him perform. U-Know Yunho said, “I want to be an artiste like Michael Jackson who shines regardless of time,” and “I hope to be viewed as someone who keeps maturing and growing as a person and as a singer who is not fazed by the rumors floating around.”
“I think that I’ve pretended to be bright a lot as the team’s leader till now. But I’m someone who feels lonely very easily, so I constantly have to discipline myself to pay attention and come to my senses. Music has always cleansed my loneliness and sorrow. People say that I’m so strong-hearted that I never cry, but I’m only restraining myself to keep the promise I made with myself. When I get to the top, I want to cry my eyes out just once.” It may have been that his heart was already crying though his ‘leader’ position stops him from outwardly doing so.
Source: [Naver Music]
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Personal Note; I’m soo happy he listed Kevin Kern’s album there. I”ve never been a fan of instrumental music -well Maksim is an excuse perhaps- But my mom loves instrumental music, and back when I was 14 she used to listen to Kevin Kern everyday for 2 yrs straight. So it started to grew on me. And the album on the list is his best, in my humble opinion 🙂 🙂
And Jung, you do have a soft heart 🙂