The 32 year old singer joined the army in July 2008, and returned to the public in May 2010 – in every way except through his music. He appeared on many radio shows, and even began working as a DJ again on MBC’s FM Music City, held a concert, judged MBC’s The Great Birth and Mnet’s Superstar K3 and is currently receiving much love for his warm-hearted image on KBS’s 1 Night, 2 Days as the ‘leader’ of the 90-100 year old viewer participants.
He’s seemed to have returned in every way, and yet, hasn′t released a new album till now. When asked why he took so long to release an album, the ironic answer was that he was “lazy.”
But the ‘lazy’ Sung Si Kyung has finally come out with his new album. The album, titled The Beginning, appropriately takes the listener back to the good ol’ days, when music was about music and singers could actually sing. The first single off the album, I Like It is a typical Sung Si Kyung ballad, and while ‘typical’ sometimes means ‘boring’, in this case, the song is just a simple reminder that singer Sung Si Kyung is back, and in a big way.
“That’s the 19th time I was asked that. (Laugh) It’s because I was lazy. My emotions needed some time to adjust after I was released from the army. I usually need a lot of time to adjust to things like that. I’m like the listener ratings for a radio program. You know how it takes a long time for radio listener ratings to rise? I’m a bit slow too. I’m like that in relationships, too. It takes a long time for me to snap out of it. Just think of my delay as the long time to rediscover my senses as a celebrity.
Singing and acting are two very different things. The method you use for acting doesn’t change with time, but popular song changes so much in a short time. It’s been three years since I last came out, and honestly, I can’t seem to adjust. Like, for example, today (Sung Si Kyung performed on a live music show this day), I’m the only one that goes by only my name, ‘Sung Si Kyung.’ It’s like I’m secretly trying to get in a girl’s washroom but just can’t blend in with the surroundings. Everyone else is an idol, and they’re all young. I’m the only one that stands out.
I hope my album becomes popular. That will help me save face in front of my juniors. That will also help me tell my juniors that I’ll get them dinner. Anyway, I’ll really work hard. I want to hear from others that Sung Si Kyung still works.”
“I spent a lot of time considering whether I should put in some changes or not. I thought that rather than changing [my style], it would be important to announce that I’m back. It’s a ‘typical Sung Si Kyung ballad’ album.”
The album features the musicians Yoon Sang, Kim Kwang Min, Yoo Hae In, and Hwang Se Joon. I personally really like Yoon Sang. The song It’s Not True written by Yoon Sang in your album was my favorite.
“It’s like the beginning and end of Yoon Sang’s midi music. He is a musician I can’t help but acknowledge. His chord work is refined and the song is chic, and he also collaborated with the best lyricist, Park Chang Hak. He’s a great musician.”
You sang a duet, We Were Great, with the ‘new trend’ Park Jung Hyun.
“I wrote the song thinking of her as the female singer in the first place, but because she’s so busy, I didn’t really think it would work out. But she gladly said yes. It was great to work with her.”
You write songs, but why don’t you write lyrics? You’re good at speaking.
“For some reason I can’t write. It’s different from speaking.”
You shot a kissing scene with Jo Yeo Jeong in the music video for your title song.
“It was good. I imagined she was my girlfriend. Yeo Jeong is like my little sister, and she’s the type of girl that you just want to care for. Because she’s an actor, she led me well.”
“I think that’s the 17th time I’ve been asked this question too. There’s still a lot to talk about regarding love.”
I saw you as a judge in Superstar K3. Your English was great.
“I’ve just worked hard. I like pop a lot, so I studied English. I lived in Hong Kong when I was about five, but I was too young. It wasn’t the time to learn English. But my older sister was in elementary school, so she learned some, and she’s good at English. I was jealous of her, so I studied English even harder. I even read Reagan’s biographies in middle school, and I read erotic books in English too. I’m also very skilled at pretending I’m good at English. So everyone’s fooled by that. (Laugh)”
How was it judging for an audition?
“It’s great that a lot of doors have opened, but because there are too many auditions, none of them really have authority. But in any case, it’s a great chance for the ‘wannabes’. When I debuted, it was really hard to become a singer.”
There’s a lot of talk about I Am a Singer. What do you think?
“All of my performances are like the performances on I Am A Singer. I believe that it’s wrong to try to rank songs. How can you compare things like that?”
These days Hallyu is booming. You’re popular in Japan too. Tell us what you think about Hallyu singers.
“I had a performance in Japan. I found there was some demand for my songs. I’m studying Japanese, too. Popular songs in Japan have great lyrics. Next year I’m going to take on Japan with some standard tactics. I’m jealous of Japan because its popular song business has a wide base. Regarding Hallyu, it’s good. I feel proud. But I wish we would accept more from other cultures as much as our culture is spreading. Our country won’t be shaken by other cultures anymore. That’s our pride.”
Are you going to try acting?
“I think it’ll be fun to try. There’s a certain charm to acting. Singers act onstage, too. The methods are different, but they’re the same type of job. I don’t think I’ll be good at it, but I think I’ll be better than a first-timer. Of course, I won’t be as good as an actor.”
Sung Si Kyung, in his 30s. How do you think you should live in your future?
“I think I should be diligent. I think I’ve been drinking a little too much.”
How about love?
“I don’t think I’m unattractive. I’ll meet a good person without getting caught. (Laugh)”
Photo credit: Jelly Fish Entertainment
Translation credit: Erika Lee