Jung Yonghwa returns with First Solo Album, full of his own style
From dramas to composing, performing at concerts, being in a band, to MCing. Jung Yonghwa fills up his year-round schedule and lives each day by the minute. He begins a new challenge with a solo album. For someone who’s racing toward a million mileage, a restless life is not so exhausting.
I heard about finishing your arena tour in Japan successfully. Is there a special stage that’s memorable to you?
To me, it changes every time. For each show, I’d think “Ah, today’s performance was the best.” At the end of the last live shows, I felt that our level of performance improved a little. That’s what we wanted the most.
This was a large-scale tour that mobilized more than 100,000 audience. It must have been quite different from when you were a band in the Japanese indies?
Now that our size expanded, there’s more to experiment with. We performed on a circular stage that turns 360 degrees, which made it very close to the audience. It was so much better for bringing out their reactions. The stage I’d only imagined became reality. But there are drawbacks, too. Sometimes I perform as if it’s granted. Before debuting in the major market, although I wasn’t as good, I felt that I really work hard. I often pledge myself not to forget what I felt back then.
Soon, your first solo album will be released. How will Jung Yonghwa’s solo album be different from CNBLUE’s album?
In the case of CNBLUE, I tend to think of the color of the band, first. While writing songs, if it seems to veer too much toward my own taste, I skipped those decisively. In this solo album, I collected such songs. Without the pressure to take the group’s color into account, I did all I wanted to do. You can think of it as an album that reveals more of Jung Yonghwa’s style and voice.
You must have songs that would surprise us then?
I tried many different collaboration works with other artists. There are quite a few surprises. To reveal a little, I tried a song in hip-hop melody with YDG sunbaenim. I was in charge of composing and writing the lyrics, and YDG sunbaenim wrote the rap lyrics. It’s called “Mileage,” a medium tempo that’s still groovy. I also worked with Verbal Jint sunbaenim (Energy) and Yoon Dohyun sunbaenim (Cruel Memories…), so please anticipate them. Ah, JJ Lin, a singer-songwriter in Taiwan (Checkmate) also participated in this album. We first met at the Taiwan leg of CNBLUE’s world tour, “Blue Moon” and became friends as we met at several awards show.
You filled the last CNBLUE album and this solo album with your compositions. It seems like your participation is becoming dominant.
It’s not that I think all singers have to write their songs no matter what. I do it because it’s fun. Through composing, I seem to find my own style. It began when I first installed a demo program for composing on my computer when I was in middle school. I wasn’t even dreaming to become a singer back then…
What’s the song you first made with that program?
It’s called “Easy Love.” I listen to it sometimes, it’s quite alright. I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote that title though, haha.
I’m curious what kind of music you were listening when you were in middle school. Is there a musician you wanted to aspire to?
I listened to many genres without discriminating, from alternative, R&B, to hip-hop. I was especially into metal. I loved Ronnie James Dio the most when I was little.
Now that you continue to write songs, you’d have to have many experiences. Having many romantic relationships seem to help, how is it in your case?
Of course, being in a romantic relationship helps writing music. But writing 20-30 songs a year, I can’t fill it all up with my own experiences. I don’t have time to have that many relationships, either. I tend to observe those around me or use the stories I heard from them. I watch a lot of movies and look up my old memos, too.
Speaking of romantic relationships, women seem to have fantasies about Jung Yonghwa. You’ve done many roles that resemble characters in girl-comics.
I think it’s because of the roles I’ve taken so far. But none of them was similar to how I am in reality. When I’m in love, I try to entertain my partner and I love being playful. Although I’m nice, I’m never the kind that looks after them from afar and has heartaches by myself.
Whether you have a girlfriend or not, you must feel lonely sometimes. How do you overcome those feelings?
Demonstrating an extreme level of focus, I work. Haha. That way, I forget being lonely or any other hardship.
How do you spend time when you don’t have a schedule?
I compose. To me, a day without schedule is a composing day. Am I being really boring? But really, when I have free time, I’m the type that rather works than plays. I tend to be worried even before things happen; it makes me nervous when I’m not doing anything. It must be because I don’t have the leisure to do so. Even when I’m in Japan, after concerts, I just go to sleep after eating dinner. I’m planning on traveling from now on.