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hmm… all the dead amazing korean singers…

April 27, 2006

it’s kinda late… 2:52 am… will be flying to germany tomorrow afternoon… trying to stay up so i can sleep on the plane…
well, i’ve been checking out a couple of rock/pop singers i used to listen to a lot when i was in middle school/high school in korea… and somehow they all happened to have died young… two out of three singers died when they were about 33 years old… and the other even earlier… it’s pretty strange…
the first singer i remembered is called kim, hyun-sik… of course kim is his last name but in korea your last name comes first… he had this sad, soulful and warm voice resonated with me for a long time… his voice always reminded me emptiness of life – well, don’t forget that i was also an outsider teenager – which gave me some kind of comfort… also his voice was somewhat similar to the ones of pansori (korean traditional singing) singers which was not velvety smooth but rather husky, murky in a way yet fiery… he sang many love songs about lost love and loneliness… which is also kinda the same theme in my music… well, i don’t write songs with words but i think most my tunes, at least the ones on my last cd were about that… it’s funny because if somebody would ask me how i did it, i wouldn’t have any real answer but that’s what i was feeling when i was writing them… going back to kim, hyun-sik, he died of liver disease due to his heavy drinking… and i remember the day he died… was senior in my high school and when i heard that news i went to the library and cried… somehow it felt like i lost a good friend of mine…
anyway…
then this other singer named kim, gwang-seok (the last name “kim” makes up for one third of korean popularity if you didn’t know it already) who also died when he was about 33 years old… he actually committed suicide and was living in the same apartment block as where i was living… it was shocking… also he had this sad, quiet, resonating voice that always felt lonely… he sang more about other aspects of life than love… he was more like a poet who celebrated little precious moments of life you might ignore or forget… nobody knows why he really killed himself since supposedly there wasn’t any will… but i think he was suffering from a severe depression…
then the last one who died even younger, think he was 26, was called yu, jae-hah and he was more of a song writer who wrote these sensitive and intricate songs about lost love… and he was hit by a car as soon as his debut album was released… i was 13 when he died… oh, crazy enough but he died on the same day as kim, hyun-sik… yu, jae-hah had a very clear and beautiful voice and sang without any ornaments… and his words were so poetic…
well, why am i remembering all these dead singers…? and why are the ones who shaped my teenager life… which sometimes i feel like i haven’t grown out of it yet… i don’t know yet… but thought it was interesting that i always seem to go back to that time of my life when i’m writing music…
maybe one day i’ll figure out how my music is really connected to that period of my life…
hmm…

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One Comment
  1. I guess anything that we listen to — especially when we were young — are the things that inspire us, directly or indirectly. It simply goes into your blood without you realizing it. It’s the vibe of their music that is resonating in our heart strings, not the exact notes or style or whatever. Talking about this, I miss my days listening to Sam Hui, my all time favorite pop singer —- who’s still alive by the way —- who has a simple voice (almost without any technique). Dunno how is his new music now, but I still loved what he did before.p/s: I wouldn’t call our surnames “last names”, I would rather call them “family name” or “surname”. Because they simply do not come “last”! 🙂

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