14 April 2009
Celebrate Black Day with Lee An
Lee An, a Korean singer based in Singapore is single and available. He invites YOU to eat Jjajangmyeon with him on Black Day.
Background music 'Ficton' (픽션), from Lee An's 1st album The Birth
Now, get to know Lee An in this EXCLUSIVE K-popped! Interview...
Stage name: Lee An
Real name: Lee An
Date of birth: 27th Apr 1980
Blood type: A
Hobbies: Car racing, Scuba-diving
Family: Grand mother, Father, Mother, Sister and Me
Education: Parkland College, USA
SINGAPORE: You are currently based in Singapore. Why did you choose to be based there and what do you like most about Singapore?
Lee An: I had a chance to visit Singapore for a performance for a Korean community event back in 2006. At that time I was also planning to explore my career as a musician to countries outside of my homeland. While I was in Singapore I fell in love with the place, I like Singapore as a ‘food paradise’, the cleanliness and most of all the friendly people. Moreover I think Singapore is one of the centralised hub to connect to other South East Asian countries. These are the reasons I chose Singapore to be my music base.
HOMETOWN: Where is your hometown and what do you miss most about it?
Lee An: My hometown is Seoul. What I miss most about is my grandmother’s cooking. She always cooked for me when I stayed at home. Especially when I’m sick, I will really miss her cooking.
MUSIC: Tell us about your music – who/ what inspires you and how would you categorise your music?
Lee An: I like all kinds of music, but especially more for rock music. I hope to experiment more varying music styles for my next new album.
I was singing for a rock band since I was a high school student. At that time I love to sing songs from Bon Jovi & Metalica. Their music was what gave me the inspiration to start my music life.
NOT KOREA: Why didn’t you start your singing career in South Korea?
Lee An: I did have my singing career in Korea but I was into creating songs for other singers as I was also a music producer then. I was really interested in all kinds of creation works related music. After my first visit to Singapore, the local music company proposed to me to start my singing career here in Singapore. After some consideration, I decided to start here. No other Korean singers have started around these regions hence I decided to take up the new challenge. My wish is that being here I can also have an exchange in our individual music specialties, not just on Korean pop music.
SOUTH EAST ASIA: On the scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being “having the most potential”, what do you think is the potential for Kpop music in South East Asia, especially Singapore and Malaysia?
Lee An: I think the potential for Kpop music in South East Asia is a “7 ”.
After a couple of years trying to work on music here, I realised that each country’s music has its own different attraction. Different songs, and different styles of singing, so it’s not possible to say which is good or not good enough.
Kpop has good advantage from the K Wave, which is made popular from dramas and movies. So it’s not only Kpop music itself which is special, it also receives good influences from multiple entertainment area.
Lee An: As a Korean singer, I would like to say thank you to South East Asian people who loves the Korean culture.
But it does not mean I just use the K wave as an advantage, I hope I can exchange more music experiences with regional musicians. And from there, I hope to create more music which is unique and special, for the people who loves music.
COMING SOON: You’ve been actively promoting your music – mostly in Singapore – for the past two years. And now, you have plans to break into other South East Asian countries. Tell us, what do you have in store for us over the next two years?
Lee An: Yes, my actual promotional activities were mostly focused in the past one year. Before that I still needed to set up many things as a foreign artiste into a foreign land. I wished I had visited other South East Asian countries earlier, but did not have the chance till December last year.
Finally I started my promotion in Indonesia from last January, at the same time I had the chance to introduce my music to Taiwan and Hong Kong too. Apart from this, since last year I have also started to work closely with many Korean government agencies who promotes Korean tourism to SEA countries.
I’m very happy to be someone who is able to be a cultural bridge in between countries.
For the next two years, I will work hard for my music career in the area of Korea-SEA music exchange, introduce Korea to SEA, and also to introduce SEA to Korea.
COLLABORATION: You were a music producer for 6 years before launching your singing career and during that time, you’ve worked with many artists on their album. Among those you’ve worked with, who would you like to collaborate with as a singer?
Lee An: My all time idol is Korean singer Lee Seung Chul (이승철), I think he is a great musician and possesses a good voice which is really suitable for ballads. I had the chance to work with him on one album project in the past and even a short appearance in his MV. Listening to him has a calming effect and the lyrics to his songs are very touching and sometimes bring tears to the eye. If I have the chance, Lee Seung Chul will be the one whom I wish to be able to collaborate with in singing.
MANDARIN: You’re learning Mandarin and have even used the language in some of your songs. Tell us a funny incident while learning Mandarin.
Lee An: Yes, I practised Mandarin very hard for my EP album, “Us”. When I produced it in Korea, I called on support singers for the chorus part, however they have never sung in Mandarin before. They have only 30 minutes to practise the exact pronunciation, so it was really too short a time for them! In the end I had to record the chorus part by myself with multiple recordings. After that, I arranged all the voice into one.
Another challenge was for the ‘r’ sound, it is a bit difficult for Koreans to pronounce. So if you listen carefully, you will notice ‘li zi’ from my lyrics. It is supposed to be ‘ri zi’, but even though I knew it, during the recording I couldn’t correct it.
For learning Mandarin, I used to tell the media about ‘la bi xiao xin’ animation ‘lao shi’. I learned many basic expressions from the comic character. However, most other Mandarin phrases I have learnt from friends & fans. One particular phrase which I have learned from a friend was ‘000 jiu shi 000”, so when someone asks me a question which I could not answer due to my limited knowledge in Mandarin, I will respond in the fashion for example: “Ni yao qu ma?”, “wo bu yao”, “wei shen me?”, “bu yao jiu shi bu yao”. So now others have labelled this to be ‘Lee An’s’ style of conversation! (Laughs) yes, but I know I should stop using this phrase, otherwise my Mandarin will have no improvement.
JAJANGMYEON: Will you be eating jajangmyeon come April 14? (That is us asking if you’re still single and available? ;-))
Lee An: Yes, I will be eating jajangmyeon come April 14. It tells people I’m still single, yes. Actually I have already eaten jajangmyeon for pre Black Day celebration with my friends. You can see it in the Video clip! ;-)
여자친구: Please describe your ideal girl and what you would do to show her how special she is?
Lee An: My ideal girl is someone who is ‘cute’ and ‘feminine’. Most important thing is I need to have a special feeling that I can connect with the ‘girl’. Without this inner feeling the relationship would be meaningless.
MALAYSIA: When will you be coming to Malaysia?
Lee An: I hope to be there around July or August with my new album promotion. Hope to meet more people, and to share my music and hope they will like it. Also I would love to meet K-Popped! (Aww...thanks. We would love to meet you too! Thank you for granting us this interview and we wish you all the best in your career! Readers...leave Lee An a Black Day message...)
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Special thanks to Alice of Boom Korea for making this happen.
* Thanks for the videographer/editor Lee Che Wen