Brian Joo’s Up-Close & Personal Concert Press Conference in Singapore, 11th of October, 2012
Brian’s thoughts on Singapore
Q: This is the first time that you’ve been to Singapore. How do you feel so far?
I feel great so far. [Everything’s great] except for the weather-the weather’s kind of gloomy. I had a warm welcome at the airport last night and it was mind-blowing, unexpected, so I’m really looking forward to tonight.
Q: You received quite a number of gifts last night.
I have a lot of flowers and a lot of junk food so last night, I was eating cupcakes and chips in the hotel.
Q: This is the first ever concert you are holding in Singapore. Just give us a little clue of things to come-what can fans expect at your concert tonight?
I’m pretty much like every other performer I guess-I want people to know my music out here in Singapore. I know I do have a few followers out here and fans. I felt bad in the past because even when I was a part of Fly to the Sky, I wanted to come and perform for you guys. However, we always ended up going to Japan, Thailand and China. This is my first time in Singapore so I just hope everyone appreciates my music and also most importantly, to have a good time with me. That is what I’m here for, and that is why it is called Up Close and Personal, because I want to know you guys, and you guys get to know me as well.
Q: How do you find Singapore?
I like it a lot, it is beautiful. Fans who know me know that I’m very OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). I like everything clean and organized. Coming to a country where everything is so clean, it’s like God is telling me “You Belong Here”. I think it’s amazing, I went to the hotel, looked around and it’s beautiful. Last night around midnight, I walked out to get a bottle of water, and walked around, and everywhere is really clean. I think that’s amazing, and countries can learn from this, from what you guys are doing here.
Q: Have you tried our chili crab?
I haven’t had the chili crab yet. I got off the airplane, got back to the hotel, and the first thing we ate was KOREAN food. I want to state this so everyone knows, I don’t hate Korean food, but when I travel I like to try the foods in that country-different cultural food from all over the world. If I go to Thailand, I’m not going to look for Chinese food. If I go to Russia, I’m not going to try French food. I want to try the foods that have from that country. So, if you guys (the organizers) are listening, I would like to try some Singaporean food! (Declares this earnestly)
(Interjections from the organizers who quickly promise Brian that he will get a taste of Singaporean food after the concert “tonight, tonight!”)
And the funny thing is, I’m probably the only K-pop person who does that. Most of the other K-pop guys want Korean food but I’m not like that. I’m totally different. I’m a little weirdo. (Laughs, and draws laughter from the crowd.)
Brian’s reflections on his music, musical journey and upcoming activities
Q: Can we expect a gospel album from you?
Actually, the day before I came here, I was supposed to record a single for a new gospel album with a bunch of other kpop singers. They have not yet decided on the name of the group combination yet, but there will be many artistes involved. We’re going to do an actual Christian album to help children around the world and donate proceeds from the album.
Q: Will we be able to purchase it internationally?
We’re still talking about that right now, as most of the album is going to be sung in Korean. I’m going to have an English solo, and that’s the only thing I know right now. [Whether it will be available internationally is not yet decided].
Q: Would you like to share with us more about your upcoming musical Loving the Silent Tears and your role in the cast?
I’m basically going to be one of the ensembles. I’ll sing the main Korean song with Heather Park in the form of a duet- she’ll sing her lines in English and mine will be in Korean. It’s a fantasy musical where two or three main characters travel the world-a fantasy world-and they go on a train and go to all these countries. Korea is one of the sixteen countries selected for this musical, so Heather Park and I are the representative vocalists for Korea. I don’t know the exact story line cause I have only read the lyrics of the song, and not the whole script. Right after [the concert in] Singapore, I’ll be going to L.A. to rehearse for two weeks for the show on the 27th of October and I will be working with people like John Secada, Jody Watley and even the choreographer who choreographs for Michael Jackson. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s something international and very huge for me.
Q: Are there any differences between how you feel for this musical and the previous one you did(RENT)?
The previous one was actually more nerve-wracking for me because it was my first musical ever. It was difficult because I had to memorize the whole script front to back pretty much all in Korean and there were more songs, more parts and more dialogue and more responsibility. In Loving the Silent Tears, it is going to be more group effort, and for me to be on a project like that. It’s going to be a big thing, but unfortunately it is only for one night. Hopefully we can continue to do the show internationally and not just in Hollywood.
(Loving the Silent Tears is a musical featuring a diverse star cast with a total of fifteen Grammy Awards, four Oscar Awards, three Tony Awards and six Emmy Awards. Hailing from many different countries, sixteen countries will be represented in the musical, bringing together a wide array of languages, cultures and dances into one spectacular performance. As mentioned, Brian Joo and Heather Park are the representatives for Korea.)
Q: Your latest album was titled Reborn Part 1. So is Part 2 coming out soon?
Part 2 was supposed to come out. But unfortunately, I left my recent label. I was with Jellyfish before, and Jellyfish and I actually decided to part ways, on good terms of course. Right now, I’m in the midst of talking to a new label and once I settle down, I’m going to [make decisions pertaining to] the next album, Reborn Part 2. I’m not sure if Reborn 2 will be a mini album or a full album with thirteen, fourteen tracks on it. Right now, I’m still in the midst of thinking of what I want to do, and I hope you guys will like the next album, whether its Reborn or not.
Q: First generation idol group Shinhwa who made a recent comeback. Can we anticipate a comeback from Fly to the Sky as well?
Of course. Hwanhee and I talk about it all the time. We felt that our breakup as Fly to the Sky in the past was a little too soon, even though we had been together for ten years. Unfortunately the main reason [for going our separate ways] was that we did want to do our own solos-career, life, sound. Basically, Hwanhee wanted to do more R&B music. Me, I wanted to do more pop. Music that kids can listen to, enjoy and have fun in the club-Hwanhee wasn’t really into that music. So we kept fly to the sky to more R&B dance ballads. And from that point onwards, Hwanhee did his own thing, I did my own thing. But when we get together, we create that music, that sound that we had in the past, because that what our Fly to the Sky fans love, so that’s what we’re going to do. Hwanhee has another year to do his military career in Korea, so once that’s over, we’ll actually talk about it, and hopefully we’ll come up with something soon.
Q: Is there a genre of music you would like to try?
Country music? (Laughs) I won’t say I’m well-rounded but I feel like I can fulfill any genre of music as long as I put my mind and heart to it. Not saying that I do classical music. I love listening to all kinds of music but with my goofy image, my crazy image and also my ballad song image, I don’t think I can do rock music. I listen to rock, but people do not expect it from me, nor do they want it from me. I might do it on the show or concert a few times, but that’s about it. I won’t produce a rock album. I will probably do more of the electronic, K-pop, house club music. Taking all these genres and mixing them together, that would be fun.
Q: If you had a chance to collaborate with a Korean female artist, who are you interested to collaborate with?
There’s actually a few. Lena Park, I loved listening to her when I was growing up. G.NA, of course-G.NA is like a little sister to me, and hopefully we can work on something. We were supposed to do a duet on her album at one time, but everything got delayed and pushed back. Maybe [a collaboration with] the Miss A girls? [They are] the girls that I’m very close to in this business. I love hanging out with them, so I would love to do music with them.
Q: And how would you describe your musical journey so far?
So far, I feel like I am still in that learning process even though I have been in the business for as long as I have been. Every day is a new learning experience for me. Even from watching other artistes, I could learn from them as well. Just because they are younger than or less experienced than me in the business does not mean that they are not better than me. I don’t like to compare, I don’t say who is better than me-everybody has their own musical gifts and talents. For me, being in the business for as long as I have been, that’s the mindset that keeps me stable in the business. [I’ve been] trying to keep my mind and my options open- it is not just music, but also variety shows, or when other countries ask me to go [there] to perform or be a part of some project-that’s what I do. As long as I’m busy-well, not that busy, but somewhat busy-to the point that I’m in the scene and people know that I’m out there and want to know me more and more. That’s why I continue to do what I do!
Insights: The REAL Brian Joo up close and personal
Q: We’ve seen numerous appearances on certain variety shows such as Strong Heart. So we have a rough gauge on how Brian is like on variety shows. But tell us, what is the REAL Brian Joo like in person?
To be honest, one simple word that describes me is boring. I’m a very boring person (Says this sincerely). Most people want to travel and party and sightsee and do all these things. The first thing I did yesterday after we landed? I went to the hotel, packed, had dinner went back to the hotel and stayed in my hotel room all night [even though] everyone else wanted to go out drink and party. For me, the party life is very work-related, so sometimes I just want to get away from that and be a boring person.
I love to watch movies. I love to listen to music. I love to sit in front of the television, watch television and have a bowl of popcorn. Pretty much like that. I’m just like everyone else. Everyone assumes that just because you are a celebrity, you work with the media and you have to have this fabulous star-studded life, which is not true. We do the same things you guys do. We wake up in the morning, read the papers, have breakfast and hang out with our friends. The differences are work life-our work is our lifestyle. And because of that, in my own time, I do nothing at all.
Q: That’s the side that nobody gets to see. Everyone sees the variety shows and Brian dancing…
Because of that image, people think I stand in front of the mirror every night by myself at home, and come out with these weird goofy dances. Trust me, everything I do is very spontaneous, and on the ball, right there and then. I don’t actually create these dances. If I did I have a problem, I should be in hospital. [Says it with a deadpan face, drawing laughter from the crowd again]
Q: You debuted when you were just a teenager [in 1999], and you’ve come a really long way. To all the new people in the industry-because there are a lot of bands debuting especially this year, and they are really young, even from the 1995, 1996 batch-what advice would you give to them or to the other artistes out there to stay grounded?
Actually the advice I would want to give is what a lot of the other kids probably would not take [right now]. They are still in that crazy “I’m young and getting world known right now” phase, because the internet is so advanced. I would tell kids to stay grounded by staying surrounded by humble people and realize that you are doing what you are doing because of the people around you who brought you up-your parents, your label and the staff. That’s what I do-I literally do not hang out with that many celebrities. I probably have, at most three or four, celebrities that I actually see and hang out with on a regular basis. [One celebrity would be] Siwon from Super Junior. When we hang out, we literally don’t do anything, we’ll just sit on the sofa and talk about random stuff- I’ll talk about my album, he’ll talk about his relationships with the other Super Junior members and when he wants to get married.
I hope the kids in the future can learn from [this]. Even though you are living this crazy celebrity lifestyle- girls, money, cars, [being able to say] whatever you want on stage with lights shining down on you-don’t let that get into your head because as soon as it comes to you, it can be taken away from you. I think a lot of kids live with depression because they expect to be at the top and stay at the top, but that’s not the truth. You have your ups and downs. I have a lot of friends in the business who are a lot younger than me and when I hang out with them, I try to show them the calm, chill, relaxed, not-celebrity-like lifestyle as much as possible. If they need advice, I am here for them, they have my number and I have theirs. I hope kids in the future do not let them get to their heads.
I tell my little cousin that too. She loves to sing, and she’s got a real good voice but I begged her not to become a K-pop singer only because her main goal was to make a lot of money and to be famous. I said to her: “If that’s where your heart is at, don’t do it.”
Music isn’t about money or fame. Music is because you love the music and you want to create music for other people as well.
(A long pause as all dwelt on the wisdom of Brian’s words…)
Well if you give us money that doesn’t hurt either! (Laughs out loud and the crowd explodes into laughter)
Brian’s love message to his BFFs
Q: Any shoutouts to your BFFs?
As you all know, BFFs are my fans. It usually stands for Best Friends Forever but I changed it to Brian’s Family and Friends because that’s what I honestly feel. I wouldn’t be here today if not for the supporters from all around the world. I don’t like the word fans-fans feel very distant, like a huge wall or barrier between me and the people who support me. I would rather use the words ‘family’ and ‘friends’. I really want to thank you guys from the bottom of my heart, for being beside me all these years since 1999 till now. I’m still living, still working, and still breathing and it’s all because of you guys, so thank you so much. I hope you guys will continue to support me, and I’ll continue to do my best to put a smile on [all BFFs’] faces! (Beams at everyone)
A summary of Brian’s journey in Singapore and his upcoming activities
Brian’s posts on Twitter charting his journey to Singapore, his experiences and his farewells, revealing his newly formed but strong attachment to Singapore and his BFFs here!
Indeed, this Up Close & Personal experience gave all an unobstructed view of Brian’s chiseled face Up Close, a chance to get Personal with him-to interact with the down-to-earth, friendly and charismatic superstar who is ironically interesting because he loves being boring-and to be a part of his ‘Family and Friends’. These charms explain Brian’s longevity in the entertainment industry, and are indications of more great achievements to come, don’t you agree?
Special thanks to Jig Asia Entertainment Pte Ltd for giving us the opportunity to cover Brian Joo Up Close & Personal Concert, 2012.
Event covered by Kenny@hellokpop & YunTing@hellokpop
Sources (News): silenttearsmusical
Sources (Pictures): Brian Joo’s Twitter and Kenny@hellokpop