Jung Seung-hwan is back. On Wednesday, the singer released his first physical album in two years – an EP titled âFive Words Left Unsaidâ.
âI felt like I had waited so long for a new release so I can’t imagine what my fans must have felt,â Jung said in a press interview on Monday. “I want to say sorry to my fans and thank you [for waiting]. ”
The main track “We, From The First” is a heart-wrenching ballad about a man who develops romantic feelings for a close friend, but is unable to express himself and suffers quietly on his own. Jung says that the main track of this EP remained undecided, let alone finished, until the last moment.
â’We, From The First’ was such a tricky track,â he said. âMy team and I have changed his melody and his lyrics so many times. At first it was supposed to be a breakup song, but I felt like the melody and the lyrics didn’t go together when I sang it. To me, the melody felt more like a serenade, so we changed the theme to unrequited love.
âThe moment I heard the full version, I knew it had to be the main track. I know I’m abstract, but I felt a kind of energy in this song, which is why I chose it as the lead role.
Although he delivers the song with his suave and captivating voice, Jung confessed that âWe, From The Firstâ is not based on any personal experience. In fact, he says he is unable to relate even to the lyrics of the song.
“I’m a little hesitant to say this because it might ruin things for listeners, but I’m not the type to have a crush on someone and suffer on my own for so long like the lyrics,” he said. -he declares. “In all honesty, I had a hard time understanding the lyrics to this song.”
In order to sing it convincingly, Jung said he uses inspiration from romantic movies and TV series.
âI watched actor Ryu Jun-yeol’s love scenes in the ‘Reply 1988’ series over and over, trying to get some emotions,â Jung said.
Perhaps thanks to excessive observation, Jung managed to play the role of the amorous protagonist himself in the music video for “We, From The First”.
“I lacked confidence [in acting] in the beginning, and this clip required the most acting skills of me than any other video to date, âthe singer said. âBut other professional actors who have played with me have helped me on set, and I also think my acting has improved a lot over the years. In the end, I did an amazing job of playing the character of a shy, loving guy.
Whether it’s singing or acting, the singer says he’s not afraid of melodrama.
âUsually my personal preference is to sing a bit harshly to emphasize the painful melody itself,â he said, âbut some songs are just meant to be cheesy.â
âSome people think that being cheesy makes a song bad, but it closes so many possibilities if I struggle to avoid being cheesy,â he continued. âSo I don’t deliberately try to avoid cheese. In fact, when I analyze the nature of a song and it feels necessary to me, I get completely out of date. If you sing it the way you like it, there is nothing wrong with being as emotional as you want it to be.
Jung is also well aware of the characteristics of the ballad genre.
âIt’s very easy for that kind of thing to get clichÃ©,â he said. âThe usable chords are so limited that they have almost become formulas. There is a limit to creating new melodies using these chords, and most of them have already been played by someone else. Creating a good ballad within these limits is all about real little twists in the details, which makes all the difference. ”
“That’s why I respect [veteran ballad singer] Sung Si-kyung; he never repeated himself throughout his long career, but released countless hit ballad songs. Sometimes I pity him jokingly that he has already done something new that I’m trying to do.
Jung also mentioned Sung’s new song âI Love Uâ released last week: A Pop Dance Floor the 42-year-old singer challenged himself with.
âI respect Sung for constantly challenging himself with new areas,â he said. âWhen I saw Sung dancing in his music video, I thought maybe it would be me in 10 or 20 years. No one knows, so I’ll stay open to anything.
Ballads are traditionally associated with the fall and winter seasons in the K-pop industry, but Jung decided to release his EP in late spring.
âIt’s true that ballad songs are more successful in winter,â Jung said. âBut ballad fans listen to the genre regardless of the season. Also, this time my main song is about young love, and which seasons better represent youth than blooming spring and summer? So I think this EP is made for this season.
“I also think that I am in the spring of my life right now, since I am only 26 years old [in Korean age],” he added.
Although he is relatively young, the singer has a lot of experience in the world of music. Jung and his voice first rose to fame when he appeared in the fourth season of SBS’s hit audition show “Kpop Star” (2014-2015). He made his official debut as a singer in 2016 and, having started his career at such a young age, had ample time to interact with and learn from seasoned musicians.
“Some of them [musicians] have been in the industry longer than I am alive, âJung said. âThey teach me things that I never knew or thought of, broadening my perspective, especially in my current agency Antenna Music [run by veteran singer-songwriter You Hee-yeol]. ”
âNow that I know the process of bringing a song to the world, I’ve learned that music can never be created by one person. It’s a team effort, âhe continued. âThe experience moved me and within my team, I try to do my best in my first role as a singer. But I’m also trying to broaden my musical spectrum, working on lyrics and songwriting.
âFive Words Left Unsaidâ marks his third collaboration with K-pop veteran IU, who wrote âLove Letter,â the EP’s fifth track.
âShe actually played a ‘Love Letter’ demo on the KBS show ‘You Heeyeol’s Sketchbook’ first, and I uploaded a cover version to social media for fun,â Jung said. âThen IU contacted me and asked, ‘Would you like to take this song?’ I was just very grateful. I never imagined this would become my song.
Jung concluded the interview by suggesting a few main points to consider when listening to the EP.
âThe album’s title is ‘Five Words Left Unsaid’ not only because it has five tracks, but also because of a deeper meaning,â he said. âFor me, every song is inspired by something that hasn’t been said in certain situations; words that could not be said for any reason. These lyrics were then developed into a full song, and this EP consists of these five songs.
“Words [of this EPâs tracks] are very universal stories. So, if you come across a lead that matches your experience or current situation, feel free to step into your feelings. I hope my songs stay on people’s playlists for a long time. ”
The singer has been nicknamed the “seson of ballads âsince its appearance in 2014 onâ Kpop Star â; seson was the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) title for the crown prince’s eldest son, a joke about the youth and promise of an artist Jung, on his way to becoming the next prince of ballads.
âThe nickname sometimes makes me blush, but I’m honored because it’s not a title given to everyone. I hope this EP will become my springboard to become the prince.
BY HALEY YANG [[email protected]]