Back with new album, Se7en dreams big to take on U.S. stage

By Kim Hyun
SEOUL, Nov. 2 (Yonhap) — With four albums under his belt and an increasing fan base across Asia, South Korea’s R&B/hip hop singer Se7en sees a tough road ahead before reaching the U.S. market but says he has a dream to push him through.

Returning with his fourth album Se7olution, the 22-year-old didn’t hide his ambitions to take on the huge pop market with a single album due in the United States next year.

"It won’t be as easy as it sounds," Se7en said in a press conference at a Seoul hotel for his new album on Wednesday.

"But thinking of what I’ve come through — when I was young, I dreamed of becoming a singer. When I became a singer, I wanted to be the top," he said. "Four years later, now I’ve come to this stage where I can reach the United States. You have a dream, practice hard for it, then you can get there some way," he said.

Se7en’s new album released Tuesday mellowed a bit with romantic R&B songs, rather than his trademark hip hop style, like the song "La La La" which features his voice rather than his dance performance. His future single in the U.S., he said, will return to hip hop, a popular trend for dance club music.

To catch the trend, his management YG Family said it is working with famed U.S. producers like Richard Harrison, whose credits include Beyonce’s "Crazy in Love" and Usher’s "Confessions" albums, and Mark Shimmel, who discovered Usher and Tony Braxton.

The U.S. market, however, has barely welcomed Asian singers. Japan’s pop diva and song writer Hiraku Utada had a lukewarm response to her 2004 U.S. debut album. South Korean singer Bi (Rain) drew mixed responses when he held a concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City in February.

Despite the shadows, the articulate singer remains positive about his dream. Besides preparing for local drama sequel "The Palace 2" where he plays a lead role, he is honing his English, a key factor in building his name in the U.S. He has proven his fluency in Japanese at concerts.

"When you go to Rome you follow Roman rules. In Asia, many people liked my Korean songs, but that won’t be the case with the U.S. It is home to R&B and hip hop music," he said, "Some will ignore me and others will take an interest in me. And I’m thinking of the second case and of people who will like my songs and my dancing. I started it to break the bias that Asians can’t do hip hop."

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Source: Yonhap News