I haven’t done this in a while, but I had to when I saw that the latest star to be featured in 10Asia’s “All that Music” series was the rising “it” boy, Kim Soo Hyun (Dream High). Whatever you may think of him, the boy has talent, and I expect we’ll be seeing a lot of him in the future.
And then I squealed in delight when I saw his music recommendations. I was surprised to find that he has quite a mature taste in music for his age (most of his song picks come from the first half of the 1990s), but I must admit I liked him more for it. Korea produced some great music during that decade, and there’s something sexy about a young, up-and-coming actor recognizing and appreciating such great music from before his time.
(Note: The translation here has been done by the original source, with some minor tweaking from me.)
There are actors who are born with the genes to do melodramas. And Kim Soo-hyun is one of those few actors who have that rare talent as shown in his role as the younger version of actor Go Soo’s character, Cha Kang-jin, in the SBS TV series Will it Snow for Christmas? in how he gazed at a girl while saying, “I’m not interested but strangely, I keep noticing you.” Or how in a television commercial, he practices confessing his love while facing a wall, but ends up wearing a mask, uttering the wrong words and running away when he is actually in front of that woman. With simple, clean-cut features, like that of a character from Mitsuru Adachi’s comics, and eyes so dark that they seem unlikely to reflect light, Kim delivers genuine emotions to viewers whether he is smiling or crying.
Kim, who started on the path of acting after enrolling in acting classes during high school to change his reserved personality, has appeared in wide variety of genres, including the MBC sitcom Kimchi Cheese Smile, the KBS drama Jungle Fish and the SBS drama My Father’s House. And last year he showed impressive acting as the younger version of Sung-mo (Park Sang-min) in the SBS TV series Giant. “What I think about and am greedy about doing is making my character appealing. I want to be told that people get a peculiar feeling from my characters and that they’re memorable. That’s why I tend to focus a lot on my voice and the look that my eyes give off.”
Most recently, his role Song Sam-dong, a boy from deep in the mountains who discovers his talent in music after following his first love Hye-mi (Bae Suzy) to Seoul, was a character he “felt more affection for because of the belief that I’d be able to grow with him.” Regarding the pressure of having to put on various performances for his role as a high school student at a performing arts school preparing to make a singing debut, he had said, “I was worried a lot at first because I’m not musically talented like Sam-dong but I worked hard at preparing and got a lot of help from my fellow actors so I’m having fun filming the show.” In fact, he showed singing and dancing skills just as good as the actual singers in Dream High, and his song “Dreaming” from the drama soundtrack has received a positive response. Below are Kim’s recommendations on music albums that stimulate his sensitivity.
1. Kim Hyun-sik’s “KIM HYUN SIK VOL. 6”
“‘My Love By My Side’ is usually the song that people think of when it comes to Kim Hyun-sik, so I bought his sixth album containing that song only to find that all the songs on that album were good. My favorite is ‘Making Memories,’ and it may be because the lyrics sound like they express how my character Song Sam-dong feels. I think the emotion expressed goes well with Mr. Kim’s distinctive voice. And the lyrics may be sad but it rather feels like I’m being consoled by the fondness the song delivers… It’s an album that makes me think of many things.”
Kim Hyun-sik – “추억 만들기” (“Making Memories”)
2. Boohwal’s “Loss of Memory”
“I dreamt of becoming an actor in high school, and Boohwal’s ‘The More I Love’ was the song that moved my heart then. It doesn’t contain any fancy techniques but it moved my heart with its calm yet captivating vocals which lingered about my ears. There is a black and white photo of the band members inside the yellow album jacket. The title track of the album was ‘Loss of Memory’ and on the cover it said ‘Controlling your desire to wait is the first step to you making an attempt to forget what is in the past.’ I didn’t know what it meant exactly but I still thought it was cool for some reason. (laughs) That romantic sensibility… I think that somewhat forlorn melody aroused my sensitivity.
Boohwal – “사랑할수록” (“The More I Love”)
3. Kim Hyun-chul’s “32°C Summer”
“To start with, the title of the album itself, ’32℃ Summer,’ is somehow exciting and refreshing. Of the songs in the album, a lot of people like ‘The Train to Chucheon’ and so do I but if I had to pick another that I like just as much, it would be ‘In a Black Skirt.’ When I close my eyes and concentrate on the lyrics, I can picture what the song is singing of and it makes me smile. A girl in a black skirt silently walking past me! It’s as if I can feel the tremor from that overwhelming moment. When would I be able to meet that girl in a black skirt passing by me? (laughs)”
Kim Hyun-chul – “까만 치마를 입고” (“In a Black Skirt”)
4. White’s “The Logic Feel”
“I came across ‘Seven-year Love,’ the title track to this album, while shooting a photo spread one day. I was aware that the song I heard that day was a remake, and so I looked for the album with the original song. There were many great songs in it but I found myself listening to ‘Seven-year Love’ the most. I even thought of wanting to be the main character of the song because I envied the numerous emotions and memories he must’ve made while having eyes only for one person for seven years.”
White – “7년간의 사랑” (“Seven Year Love”)
5. Seo Ji-won’s “Tears”
“As it was released in 1996, it’s the most recent album of all the albums I’ve been listening to these days. (laugh) Each and every song in this album moves me, probably even more so because we can no longer listen to the late Seo Ji-won’s voice. ‘Gather My Tears’ in particular is a song I listen to on repeat because I’m in love with his sad yet powerful voice. The lyrics are set forth as if reading a diary one has kept but it’s so earnest that I find myself stopping all else to listen to it. It made me realize the power that a short few minutes of a song can have.”
Seo Ji-won – “내 눈물 모아” (“Gather My Tears”)
Published March 10, 2011
Reporter: Choi Ji-eun
Photographer: Lee Jin-hyuk
Editor: Jessica Kim