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Jay Park recently proved his ever-growing popularity with a successful Australian tour, wowing crowds with his incredible singing, rapping and dancing talent, as well as his casual wit and laid-back interactions with audience members. During the Sydney leg of his tour, he bravely sat down with us to have a chat about the special relationship he has with his fans, success, and all things Australian.
Jay Park isn’t your usual K-pop artist – this he admits himself. I highly doubt any other idol would allow an unashamed fan to hold a one-on-one interview with him, at the risk of it all going oh-so wrong. The risks for Jay are just as great: fans, though passionate, are sometimes unpredictable. And yet his “open lifestyle”, as he calls it, allows for this giant leap of faith.
But Jay has always been such a person, and his relationship with his fans has always been special. Known as Jwalkerz, they are particularly committed to supporting Jay, the man who describes himself as someone who “works hard, plays hard”, and aspires to be “a decent human being”. It’s obvious that he feels and appreciates that love. As soon as you ask about Jwalkerz his face lights up, and phrases like “well mannered”, “kind hearted” and “supportive” roll easily off his tongue. There was a strong sense of respect from him for the fans who “try hard not to go overboard”.
Having said that, “overboard” to most people seems “normal” to Jay. For one, the casual nature of our interview made it look as though it was like any other conversation between two people. Not even the odd gifts fans give him could phase him – underwear and all.
“There’s a rubber butt someone gave me one time. That was sort of strange. I was like ‘what am I going to do with this?’” he laughed. “That’s probably the one time I had no idea what to do with a gift.”
But to some extent, Jay’s fandom also seems to be a mystery to him as he expressed curiosity about them and their love for him – a perfect example of how humble the man is.
“I want to know why they’re my fan, first off. I want to know what kind of music they like from me best. What kind of look and style. I really want to know that kind of stuff. Even if it’s something I won’t like or probably won’t do, I just want to know. I’m curious why they like me.”
Despite what it seems, though, it’s not always a perfectly harmonious relationship. Jay expressed his frustration when Jwalkerz react negatively to his actions, noting that it happens particularly when he curses, drinks, or gets new tattoos.
“Sometimes it makes me think ‘oh man, what can I do?’ I can’t – I’m not going to change myself. I am who I am. Hopefully one day these people will learn to accept me for me.”
박재범은 최근 그의 대단한 가창력, 랩, 춤실력, 그리고 그만의 캐주얼한 위트와 느긋함으로 관중과 교류하며 나날이 커져가는 그의 인기를 입증하며 호주투어를 성공적으로 마쳤다. 그가 시드니에 있는동안, 재범은 우리 (jayparknetwork)와 함께앉아 팬들과의 특별한 관계, 성공, 그리고 호주에대한 모든것에 대해 이야기를 나누어보았다.
박재범은 흔한 케이팝 가수와는 다르다 – 이것은 그도 인정한다. 그 어떤 가수가 과연 나같이 뻔뻔한 팬과 잘 될지도 모르는 인터뷰를 해줄지 모르겠다. 재범의 리스크는 이 인터뷰만큼이나 크다: 팬들은, 물론 열정적이지만, 때로는 예측이 불가능 하기때문이다. 하지만 그가 직접말했듯 그의 “오픈된 생활은”, 이렇게 큰믿음을 우리에게 허락한다.
하지만 재범은 항상 이런 사람이었고 팬들과 그의 관계는 항상 특별했다. Jwalkerz로 알려진 이 팬덤은, 자신을 “열심히 일하고 열심히 놀며 (Work hard, play hard), 좀 괜찮은 인간 (decent human being)” 이 되고싶다는 재범을 헌신적으로, 각별하게 응원한다. 그리고 그가 이런 사랑을 느끼고 감사해하는것은 명백하다. 제이워커즈에대해 물어보자마자 그의 얼굴이 환해지고, 그의 입에서는 “매너좋다”, “마음씨 좋다”, “지지한다” 라는 말들이 쉽게나온다. 그에게서는 “도를 넘지않는” 팬들에 대한 강한 존경심이 묻어나왔다.
보통사람에게는 “오버” 하는것이 박재범에게는 “보통” 으로 보이는것 같다. 한가지말하자면, 우리의 캐주얼한 인터뷰는 그냥 보통사람 두명의 대화같았다. 그는 가끔가다가 받는 팬들의 별난 선물에도 크게 동요하지 않는다고 한다 – 속옷마저도.
“한번은 고무엉덩이 같은걸 선물로 받았어요. 그건 조금 이상하더라고요. 저는 생각했죠, ‘내가 이걸로 도대체 뭘 하지?’” 그는 웃었다. “그게 정말 처음으로 제가 받은선물로 뭐할지를 몰랐던거 같아요.”
하지만 재범이 팬들과 그들의 사랑에 호기심을 나타내는것을 보며, 그들이 그에게는 다소 미스터리 같다고 보였다 – 이것은 그의 겸손함을 보여주는 완벽한 예이다.
“제일먼저 그분들이 왜 저의 팬인지 알고싶어요. 저의 어떤 음악을 제일 좋아하는지. 또 어떤 스타일과 콘셉트. 그걸 제일 알고싶어요. 제가 안좋아하는 것이거나 제가 아마도 하지 않을 스타일이라도, 그냥 알고싶어요. 그들이 왜 저를 좋아하는지 알고싶어요.”
하지만 그들의 관계가 완벽하게 조화롭지는 않다. 재범은 제이워커즈가 자신의 행동들 – 특히 욕하거나 술마시거나 새로운 문신을 할때 -에 대해 부정적으로 반응하는것에 대해 낙담해했다.
“가끔씩은 (그런 반응이) 저를 이렇게 생각하게 만들어요 ‘하지만 내가 뭘 할수있겠어?’ 전 할수있는게 없죠. 제가 누군지 바꿀수는 없으니까요. 이게 저에요. 언젠가는 사람들이 그냥 이런 저를 받아들일수 있었으면 좋겠어요.”
More often than not, though, it’s a fair game of give and take. This mutual appreciation has sent him to hold concerts all over the world, and brought him all the way Down Under. Jay has often mentioned via social media that he wanted to come our way, and he was particularly interested in Australian wildlife – saltwater crocodiles, kangaroos and “kualas”. It would seem as though he had an enjoyable trip, albeit a short one.
His knowledge spans from meat pies to vegemite (something he “doesn’t love, doesn’t hate”), to kangaroos and koalas. But his previous tweets had aroused some doubt about his expertise – did he actually know how to spell ‘koala’?
“K-U-A-L-A? Is that right? K-U?”
I cringed and shook my head, offering the correct spelling and informing him that Australian fans now spell it with a “u”. Not being a perfectionist with his spelling, he smiled sheepishly and suggested that the word be changed in the dictionary to suit.
When asked about Australian colloquialisms it was a different story, and he was very eager to try out his Australian accent, which admittedly needs a little work.
“I know ‘cheers’. They don’t say cheers anywhere else. Maybe ‘cheer up’, but not ‘cheers’”.
I softly pointed out that his accent sounded British, and added that Australians usually couple ‘cheers’ with ‘mate’ on the end. He frowned in concentration and tried again.
This time, he was spot on.
He then rattled off a slew of phrases such as ‘ta’, ‘heaps of’ and ‘bloke’ – words I myself had not known were uniquely Australian. When Jay proudly announced that he also knew “bashing”, I couldn’t help but think that the man would never run out of surprising things to say to people. Bashing?
“Bashing. Instead of ‘beat up’… an ass-whoopin’”.
I raised an eyebrow and offered a polite “oh…”, quite taken aback that this sort of word was in his vocabulary.
Jay qualified again. “‘He’s gonna bash me’”.
The master of Australian slang, however, was not so cluey about pop culture references, although he quickly learned what taking something “straight to the pool room” entailed. He gestured to the gift on the coffee table from Jay Park Network staff and members.
“This is going straight to the pool room”, he said with a smile.
Jay is not just your regular class clown, though. Approach the subject of his career and it’s immediately obvious that he takes his work very seriously, and a lot of thought has gone into every step he’s taken so far. Unlike many artists, he manages to get the balance right between maintaining a humble disposition and striving to constantly improve.
“To some people, success is about how much money they have, how many fans they have, or how much fame they have. For me, I feel like I’m already successful. I’m taking care of my family, I can help my friends and I can help the people around me just by doing what I love to do. Of course, I don’t mind being more successful and making more money. But it’s not all about that. [Having said that] I just want to get better and better. You know how music changes and evolves? I want to keep up with those trends and new styles, but at the same time I don’t ever want to lose my originality.”
그렇지만 이건 기브앤테이크의 공정한 게임이다. 이러한 상호간의 감사한 마음은 그를 전세계로 콘서트를 하러 보냈고, 또 이곳 “밑에” 까지 오게 만들었다. 재범은 소셜미디어를 통해 종종 이곳(호주) 로 오고싶다고 말했었고 특히 호주의 야생동물에 관심을 보였다 – 악어, 캥거루 그리고 “쿠알라” (재범은 코알라의 철자를 항상 틀리게 썼다 ^^;). 짧았지만, 재범은 여기서 재밌는 시간을 보낸듯 하다.
그의 (호주)지식은 고기파이부터 그가 “싫어하지도, 좋아하지도” 않는 vegemite까지, 그리고 코알라와 캥거루까지 이르렀다. 하지만 그가 사전에 썼던 트윗들은 그의 전문지식을 조금 의심하게 만들었다 – 그는 정말로 코알라의 철자를 알고있었을까?
“K-U-A-L-A? 맞죠? K-U?”
나는 약간 움츠리고 고개를 저으며, 그에게 맞는 철자를 알려주었다. 그리고 또 이제 호주 팬들은 코알라에 (재범처럼) “u” 를 쓴다는것도. 스펠링 분야에서 만큼은 완벽주의자가 아닌 그는 주뼛주뼛 웃음을 짓고는 사전에 (코알라) 철자를 바꿔야 한다며 주장했다.
호주의 구어체에 대해 질문을 받았을때는 또다른 이야기었다 – 그는 그의 호주발음을 써보고 싶어 안달나 있었다. 물론, 좀 더 연습은 해야할것같아 보였지만.
“’Cheers’ 는 알아요. 그건 다른나라에서는 안쓰니까요. (*호주에선 “Cheers”를 “Thank you”로도 쓴다) ‘Cheer up’ 은 들어봤지만 ‘Cheers’는 못들어봤어요.”
나는 부드럽게 그의 발음은 영국에 가깝다고 말해주고, 호주인들은 보통 ‘cheers’ 뒤에 ‘mate’ 를 붙인다고 조언해주었다. 그는 집중하려 눈에 힘을주고 다시한번 도전해보았다.
“Cheers, mate!” (* “Thank you, friend”의 의미)
그리고 그는 “ta”, “heaps of”, “bloke” 같은 문장들을 쏟아내기 시작했다 – 그가 말하지 전까지는 나도 이 문장들이 우리 호주에서만 쓰이는것인줄은 알지못했다. (* 호주에선 “Ta”는 thank you, “Heaps of”는 “많은”, “Bloke”는 “man” 의 의미로 쓰인다) 재범이 뿌듯하게 자신은 “bashing” 이라는 단어도 안다고 밝혔을때, 나는 그가 언제까지 사람을 놀라게 할지 궁금했다. Bashing 을 안다고?
“Bashing… (좋게말해서) ‘때린다’ 이런뜻이죠… 엉덩이를 확 차버리는거죠.”
나는 그의 어휘력에 좀 놀랐지만, 그저 눈썹을 치켜올리며 공손하게 “네…” 라고 대답했다. 재범은 또다시 말했다. “그는 나를 때릴거야.”
하지만 호주은어의 마스터님께서는 이곳의 대중문화와는 거리가 멀었다. 하지만 금방 “straight to the pool room” 의 뜻을 배웠다. (* “무언가를 아주 소중히 간직하다”) 그는 커피테이블 위에 올려진 Jay Park Network의 스텝과 멤버의 선물을 가르키며, “This is going straight to the pool room” 이라고 웃으며 말했다.
그렇지만 재범은 학창시절 반에 한명씩은 있는 흔한 웃긴아이가 아니었다. 그의 커리어에대해 말을 꺼내자마자, 그가 얼마나 그의 일과 지금까지 그가 밟아온 걸음 하나하나를 얼마나 진지하게 생각하고 있는지를 알수있다. 다른 아티스트과 달리, 그는 겸손함을 지키는것과 쉬지않고 자기개선을 하는것의 균형을 정확하게 잡고있다.
“어떤사람들한테 ‘성공’ 이란 돈이 얼마나 있고, 팬이 몇명있으며 인기는 얼마나 많은지가 중요하겠죠. 저는 제가생각하기에 이미 성공한거 같아요. 저는 제 가족을 지키고 있고, 제 친구들 그리고 제 주위사람들을 제가 좋아하는 일을 하면서 도와줄수있잖아요. 물론, 더욱 더 성공하고 더 돈을 번다면 싫지는 않죠. 하지만 그게 다 가 아니에요. 계속 잘하고 싶어요. 음악도 계속 바뀌고 진화하잖아요? 저도 이런 트렌드와 새로운 스타일에 뒤쳐지지 않으면서 저만의 색깔도 잃고싶지 않아요.”
When asked who specifically he thought achieved such a goal, Jay instinctively and without hesitation elected the King of Pop, someone he has previously credited as one of his biggest influences.
“Michael Jackson was very successful. Of course, he had a lot of money – a lot of fame. But he had a really good heart. He was a good person. And even though people ridiculed him, no matter what happened he continued to be a good person.”
And Jay has a fail-proof plan to follow in MJ’s footsteps: hard work and high standards in every aspect of his career. He openly admits to being very hard on himself, and sees solid commitment and rigorous practice as the key to evolving as both an artist and a human being. It is an admirable quality, and as I see it, it stems from his own steely determination, the love and support of his family and friends and the effect his fans have on him. Without a doubt, their unyielding belief in his abilities has contributed to him getting this far.
“[Some people have said] ‘you got me through depression’, or ‘you inspire me’, ‘you’re my inspiration’. That kind of stuff makes me think. Because I’m not a serious guy all the time – I joke around a lot. But stuff like that makes me think ‘oh man, I really do have a big influence on some people’. It makes me want to become a better person”.
Jay may never completely comprehend the effect he has on the people around him – that’s part of his charm. But undoubtedly, Jay Park is just starting: the Jay-effect will be felt for many years to come. And who knows? Another trip to Australian shores might be on the cards sooner than any of us expect.
재범생각에는 누가 그가 앞서말한 목표들을 이루었다고 생각하는지 물어봤을때 그는 즉각 망설임없이 “팝의 황제”라고 대답했다. 그가 평소에 그에게 가장 큰 영향을 준 사람들중 한명으로 꼽았던 사람. 바로 마이클 잭슨이다.
“마이클 잭슨은 굉장히 성공했죠. 그는 굉장히 부자였고, 명예도 있었지만 마음씨도 좋은 사람이였어요. 참 좋은 사람이였죠. 다른사람들이 그를 조롱했던 순간에도 그는 상관없이 계속 좋은사람이였어요.”
박재범 또한 마이클 잭슨의 행보를 따라갈수있을법한 절대 실패할수 없는 좋은 계획을 가지고 있다. 그것은 바로 자신의 일에 열심히 최선을 다하고 그것을 높은 수준으로 끌어올리려는 노력이다. 그는 자신이 스스로를 많이 힘들게 하는 스타일이라고 인정했다. 그리고 본인이 세운 목표에 헌신하는 것과 엄격한 연습이 그가 아티스트, 그리고 인간으로서 발전할수있는 중요한 요소라고 덧붙였다.
그것은 그가 가진 강인한 투지로 부터 나오는 존경스럽기 그지없는 그만의 성질이다. 강인한 투지뿐 아니라 가족과 친구에게 받는 애정넘치는 응원과 더불어 팬들이 그에게 미치는 영향력도 한몫하는듯 보였다. 분명 재범의 능력안에 담겨잇는 그 완고한 확신이 그를 여기까지 오게 했으리라.
“몇몇 분들이 저에게 “우울증을 이겨낼수있게 해줬다” , “영감을 준다”, “나의 뮤즈이다” 라고 말씀해주실때 약간 고민하게 되요. 왜냐하면 저는 그닥 진지한 사람이 아니거든요. 오히려 장난끼가 넘치는 사람이죠. 그런 말들이 “아이고, 내가 진짜로 사람들에게 큰 영향을 주지 않으면 안되겠는데?” 하고 생각하게 되는데 이게 제자신을 더 좋은 사람이 될수있게 도와주기도 해요.”
박재범은 아마도 자신이 주위사람들에게 어떠한 영향을 주고있는지 잘 알지 못하고있는듯 했다. 어떻게 보면 그게 그의 매력이기도 하다. 하지만 이것만은 의심의 여지가 없다. 그는 이제 막 여정의 시작에 서있고 J-Effect또한 몇발 더 나아갈 가능성이 많다. 그리고 누가 알겠는가? 우리가 예상했던것보다 그가 더 일찍 호주로 돌아오게 될지.
by Briar Francis
Jay Park Network would like to thank Jay Park’s Australian tour organizers, Soul Manna Live, for allowing us to conduct the interview, and their constant support in general of Jwalkerz. Without them this whole tour, let alone our interview, would not have been possible. Images are courtesy of Jwalkerz Australia (Twitter: @JwalkerzAus).
글쓴이: Briar Francis
제이팍 네트워크는 박재범의 호주투어를 주최한 Soul Manna Live에게 감사의 마음을 전합니다. 그들의 도움과 응원으로 박재범과의 인터뷰를 무사히 마치게 되었습니다. 그들덕분에 인터뷰는 물론 호주투어 공연또한 성황리에 마치게 되었습니다. 사진은 Jwalkerz Australia (트위터: @JwalkerAus) 의 허가를 받았습니다.
ARTICLE BY BRIAR@JAYPARK.NET
TRANSLATOR: Lydia@JAYPARK.NET & idenesswego@JAYPARK.NET
DO NOT ADD/REMOVE ARTICLE &CREDITS.
Amidst the sea of K-pop idol groups, Jay Park has risen in the ranks as a multi-entertainer — singing, rapping, dancing, and producing his way to the top of the charts. During his stay in New York City for Verizon’s APAHM Tour, the Korean-American R&B sensation met up with MTV K for an exclusive photo shoot. Between takes, Jay tells us what it’s like to finally tour the states, and what he’s got planned for his fans across the world, beyond just K-pop.
Here are some of the photo shoot taken by MTV K:
For more photo shoot shots, check out
Also check out their Jay Park’s interview with MTV K:
Jay Park: A New Breed of Idol (Interview)
Jay Park came back after enduring the hardship. I met him at the music program set, between his rehearsal and the actual recording. I sat down without a thought at first, but immediately felt bad, seeing the mark on his face that indicated he had not been able to get sufficient sleep. I felt I stole his precious time to get some sleep. But as soon as the interview started, I felt the innocence and the sincerity from his squinting eyes that were trying to make sense of my fluent Korean. More liberated than anyone, also more polite, was this 26-year-old man, Jay Park, who never showed pretense or hypocrisy. Now let us hear his story.
Q: You don’t seem to be caught up in achieving success at all costs. You seem like you’d be happy somewhere else, if you were to just give up on all this. But how did such a free-spirited man like you become a celebrity, who is always psychologically pressured?
J: I never had any thoughts of becoming a singer. Becoming a singer or a celebrity was not my dream. I just loved music and dance. But somehow, time passed and now
I am a singer. But the most important thing in my life is my family. I wanted to succeed for my family, loved making them happy by making money and now, I want to succeed even more for the people around me and to be of any help. When I came back (to Korea), I came with my family and AOM. I thought I was dreaming.
Q: I thought you started dancing first but it seems like rap-writing came first.
J: I started listening to rap music in middle school. I naturally came to like rap. As I listened to it often, I began to rap along, and slowly started to write my own lyrics. It helped to read a lot and listen to lots of music when writing them.
Q: You are not perfectly fluent in Korean yet, but you are quite witty. Do you get complimented on your humour when you speak in English as well? When you write in English, I cannot tell. It frustrates me.
J: I have done any broadcast in English so I don’t know. My friends would never admit this but I personally think I’m the clown in the group (laughs). I am still in need of improvement when writing lyrics in Korean. It frustrates me too because I don’t know if I wrote it well or not. I show it to the hyungs beforehand and get approval. I think that’s unfortunate. I put in a lot of effort of course but it’s not an easy thing to improve in.
Q: What is the background of your family like? Are they in literature or dance?
J: Not particularly. I was a kid that loved to play basketball and music. My brother was the type to stay in his room and play video games while I was the one to go out. Now that I think of it, that’s why we didn’t spend much time together. I wasn’t very good at it but I was also interested in dancing too. I worshipped Usher as my idol and I wanted to copy
everything he did. I wanted to make my body like his and dress like him. I practiced (dancing) a lot watching Michael Jackson or Usher videos when I was young, but I really started dancing properly in my first year of high school. Since then, I started to go dance with friends, and became more interested by watching videos.
There are star tattoos on his neck! Oh, behind his ear too… OMG honey skin! Anything looks good on him~ // Right: The cappucino that Jay drank today…Still lookin good before the interview.
Q: When others were leaving to study abroad, Jay you, on the contrary, came to Korea. I know a bit about the school life of that age group. They all sleep in class, forgetting about studying. Did you find that weird?
J: Whether it’s Korea or America, not all students can be interested in studying. There are people that play sports, or those like me who perform in music. It’s not like I don’t know
why they sleep in class. So there was nothing weird about it. To be honest, I tried hard myself not to fall asleep at first. I was a trainee, and I did not
want to add to the prejudice that everyone from America is like this. But I couldn’t hold on for too long. I ended up sleeping a lot later too (haha). Problems about Korea’s education system? There will not be no problems, but it’s funny that I am the one to evaluate it. I didn’t go to school here for long. But really, it’s the same in America. There were even kids that attended only two classes a year. There are a variety of students everywhere. The Korean friends were much nicer to me than I thought. They played basketball and went to the cafeteria with me… Now that I think of it, I am very grateful.
Q: Other than your school friends, most of the people you met first were at work. So I thought it was unfortunate that you may have considered all of Korean
people to act like them.
J: At first it was strange. I felt this really wasn’t for me. I came without knowing what a trainee or a singer really was. Since I came to Korea without any knowledge or determination, I couldn’t understand why my lifestyle had to be different – it was really hard for me. But as time went by, I became used to everything very fast.
Q: A friend of mine saw you on the plane few months ago. (He/she) said you slept until you got off the plane. You must have been very tired.
J: Ah, I really hate flying. I’m honestly afraid of it. So I get on board when I’m in a really tired state. On purpose. If I kept sleeping, then my plan succeeded (laughs). I’m not much of a sleeper usually.
Q: I remember you getting off the ship to join the <Hot Blood> team on Mnet. You didn’t seem to like it. Let’s be honest; did you find it weird to be on a show that had nothing to do with music?
J: Thinking back, I did have reluctance towards it. But I never thought lightly of it. I wasn’t confident about acting out the scripted scenes or being funny on variety shows. But I thought I should put effort into it since I had to do it. It’s good to enjoy the things you do. Back then, a lot of people helped me… During MBC every1′s <Idol Army> especially, Boom hyung really helped me in various ways and led me well. The staff members as well.
Q: On the recent episode of <Radio Star>, Kim Goora talked about you. Did you know that?
J: I didn’t watch it personally, but heard about it from the fans. Actually, Goora hyungnim told me the same thing during the recording of IS2. He said, “Jay’s ex-member was really nice”. That must have been after the recording of Radio Star, right? (on IS2), (goora) hyung, staff members, the scriptwriters and especially the scriptwriter in charge of me are very considerate. I think that’s why, even though I get nervous, it’s still more comfortable than any other programs. The secret to being loved? I’m not sure. If I really had to pick, I’m really goofy. I guess I talk funny too. Well, I guess they just look at it in a good way.
Q: Before IS2, there were a few other opportunities too, as I heard. There were a few performances that were recorded, but were never aired. How disappointed you must have been.
J: I was alright. But the fans were very disappointed. But they can see me often on youtube or performances, even if I’m not on TV. I think they just want more people to know about me because they are my supporters. Because they want me to succeed. Because if I don’t appear on TV, they can’t let other people know about me; I think that’s what makes them sad. Of course, I also want more people to listen to my music. If I don’t go on TV, I can’t promote my songs very easily. But I don’t hang onto that. I am always optimistic, and think that things will all go well someday.
(to be continued in part 2)
Reporter Jung Suk-Hee