Saturday, April 14, 2012

KOREAN MUSIC: Son Seungyeon of Mnet’s “The Voice of Korea” (2)

보이스코리아: 손승연 (Son Seungyeon, or Sohn Seungyeon)

Good gracious me!  Korea’s got too many reality TV singing/talent competitions popping up everywhere ever since the success of Mnet’s “Superstar K” (2009~present); and it’s just too much for me to even follow (who wouldn’t?)  In fact, this is the worldwide hysteria caused by the worldwide success of Fox’s “American Idol” (2002~present), which was preceded by the likes of “Pop Idol” (2001~2003, ITV), “The X Factor” (2004~present, ITV), and “Britain’s Got Talent” (2007~present, ITV).  There had existed TV talent shows that used the “audition’ format, on the other side of the globe than the U.S. or Britain though. Even in Korea, there were TV live shows involving the viewers’ voting online or by ARS (Audience Response System) before these British or US live TV talent shows.

By the way, before Mnet’s “Superstar K,” MBC once had such a show, Shobaibeol (쇼바이벌, Show + Survival, “Show! Survival!”), which was canceled in less than six months due to low ratings (05/26/2007~11/02/2007).  I think the show’s failure was mainly due to the fact it failed to attract voluntary “live” participation from the viewers as the contestants were to receive scores only from 300 ordinary people selected from the ordinary viewers, not from the professional musicians; there were three professional judges involved only to critique.  The show was a prototype of MBC’s NAGASU (나가수; 2011~present) or Naneun gasuda (나는 가수다, “I Am a Singer”) as both of them featured professional singers to compete each other; Shobaibeol was to promote the unknown newbie singers while NAGASU was to revive the forgotten singers.  Through the show, Shobaibeol, the likes of V.O.S, 8eight, Sweet Sorrow, Kara, or Poppin’ Hyun Joon (aka Happy Hyun Joon or Nam Hyun Joon) made their names known and eventually rose to stardom.

Okay, enough of this stuff, let’s get back to the topic:  I know you may already be fed up with all these singing competitions, but you still gotta see this girl! – Son Seungyeon, or Sohn Seungyeon, of Mnet’s “The Voice of Korea” (VK).  While watching her performance, I was so happy that all her hard work and efforts were paying off for her.

 If you want to learn more about Son Seungyeon, click 

Son Seungyeon: Mnet's "The Voice of Korea"
BMK's Muldeureo, “I'm Stained (With Your Love)"

Son Seungyeon: Mnet's "The Voice of Korea"
BMK's Muldeureo, “I'm Stained (With Your Love)”
(Longer Version with Fluff and Judges' Comments)

Before her performance, Son said, “I’ve been singing passionate, loud songs all the way since the blind auditions, so I want to sing with a little bit more emotion and soul this time.”  Her coach, the singer Shin Seung-hun (신승훈), jokingly advised her to pick up a man and briefly date with him until the live performance starts since she was too young to understand the meaning of the lyrics and thus having a hard time putting her emotions into them.  But everyone was mesmerized with her breathtakingly soulful singing as she quite freely (for her age) controlled the subtle elements of the song, such as emotion, tempo, and dynamics.  She became the first VK contestant ever to receive a standing ovation from the live audience (and also from the judge, Gil (of LeeSsang)) even before she was done singing.

Here’s what the judges said:

Gil (of LeeSsang):  When you sing, you have to of course fulfill a certain vocal dexterity or a sense of rhythm; but (there's more than that.) (Just like) Son Seungyeon knows how to “draw” music, i.e., how to narrate a song, in spite of her young age.  She definitely gave a very moving performance that made me feel like the music she had “drawn” came home to my heart.   

Baek Ji-Young:  I don’t think Son Seungyeon needs a boyfriend; I think dating will interfere with her singing career. (Baek was “totally jokingly” opposing Shin’s advice here.)  For she seems to have the instinctive talent to understand a song itself.  I was amazed by the way she communicated with us, delivering the meaning of each and every line of the lyrics.  As Gil just put it, the music she meant to draw has just captured my heart.  (To Seungyeon) You did so well.  Congratulations!

Shin Seung-hun (or Shin Seung Hoon):  It’s been said the scores (i.e., sheet music) wouldn’t tell you the most important thing about music as they show you only music notation.  So I tried to teach her what’s not written in the score but what she must learn.  But she’s only 20 (in Korean age; 18 in Western age) and too young to understand what the phrase, Muldeureo,1 means.  It means, just like my fingernails stained pink from balsam petals, I’m stained with your love.  So I explained to her the meaning behind the lyrics, word by word, and also shared with her the stories of my bygone loves.  Her performance tonight proved that she had understood it right, so I’m really happy.

(I don't know why Kangta didn't critique here.)

P.S.  At first sight, (I thought) Seungyeon looked like Kim Shinyoung (김신영), who is probably my most favorite Korean female comedian; a prettier version of Shinyoung, if you will.  I think Seungyeon is getting more stylish and beautiful lately.

[LIVE] BMK: Muldeureo, “I'm Stained (With Your Love)”

1. The Korean verb muldeulda (물들다) translates to “be dyed, stained, colored,” in which mul means “dye, color” and deulda “get in, enter.”  The song poetically yet painfully depicts a woman who became so used to her sweetheart’s presence that she could not do anything without him; she was so lost in love and losing control of her emotions as portrayed in the song, “I’m stained in your love.”  Now her heart aches for the lost love after he’s gone out of her life.

[The Usage of the Verb]
나뭇잎이 붉게 물들었어요.
namunnipi bulgge muldeureotsseoyo
The leaves have turned red.
하늘이 붉게 물들었어요.
haneuri bulgge muldeureotsseoyo
The sky is tinted red (at sunset).
친구가 나쁜 친구한테 물들었어요.
nae chinguga nabbeun chinguhante muldeureotsseoyo
My friend was badly influenced by his bad friend.

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