Finding an Artist among K-pop Idols
Text by Esther Klung; photos by K-Colors of Korea
Finding a real artist among K-pop idols is rare. Since most of them were trained by the entertainment they later work for, their creative development lies within fixed boundaries. Park Jung Min began his career as a member of the boygroup SS501 in 2005. Five years later the members decided to end their contracts with their entertainment company and go separate ways, even though they never officially disbanded. Park Jung Min was one of the first members who started his solo career. With that he reinvented himself, from boygroup member to solo singer; to artist.
He released his first single “Not Alone” in January 2011, just a few months after the end of his contract with DSP Media. Although still making pop music, he showed that he wanted to go in a different direction as an artist. The stars in his music video are people you wouldn’t expect in a K-pop video, which are still mostly about beauty and perfection. But with punks, an ill boy in a wheelchair and a crossdresser starring in the video its message is quite clear: be different, be yourself, you’re not alone.
In 2012 Park Jung Min made his solo debut in Japan, again showing a completely different image. As Romeo, which is his stage name in Japan, he released two mini albums and one full length album. As Romeo he shows a darker, sexier image.
Unlike most Idols he has not just activities in Korea and Japan but also works in Taiwan as an actor and is also singing the OST songs for Taiwanese dramas – in Chinese. As the international artist he wants to be, he also has a lot of fans outside of Asia and makes sure to let them know that he cares about them. In autumn 2013 he went to South America for a fan meeting and finally, in January 2014 he found his way to Europe, where he gave three concerts, in Dortmund, Paris and Moscow.
For the Reverso Tour Park Jung Min showed the three facets of his artistic personality he has developed till now. Before he entered the stage in Dortmund, the piano player Choi Min Soo sparked the fans with classical music turned into great acoustic pop songs. Then the concert consisted of three different parts, first Romeo took the stage, followed by Park Jung Min and as encore the fans got a throwback to the time when he was making music with SS501.
During the slightly more than 1 ½ hours he performed his Korean singles “Not Alone” and “Beautiful” and his Japanese releases “Give Me Your Heart” and “Tonight’s the Night”. Among the 15 songs in total was also an OST song that hasn’t even been released yet. The gathered fans, around half of them not from Germany, not only got to see a great show and to listen to a remarkable live voice, but they were also gifted with some unexpected fan service. Park Jung Min made sure to interact with the audience and so he asked them more than once to teach him German words he used immediately to talk with the fans.
How grown and professional of an artist Park Jung Min is he got to show thanks to the mess the technicians made during the concert. Although the wrong background music or wrong video started and he got interrupted in his conversation with the fans by music that started too early, he never lost his charm and found back into the show as soon as he started singing. When he made it clear, still very politely, how the chaos with the technic annoyed him, he showed one more thing: As an artist he knows his worth exactly and he knows what he wants. This is one of his strong points, because knowing what you want leads to ending up where you belong. And Park Jung Min belongs to the top among the Korean artists of today.