College friends got together and formed Sweet Sorrow, a group slowly gaining popularity.The group released its second album “SweeticS,” Feb. 21. From left, Kim Young-woo, In Ho-jin, Song Woo-jin and Sung Jin-hwan. / Courtesy of Mezoo Cultures
By Kwon Mee-yoo
Sweet Sorrow, a K-pop group, released their second album, which covers pop, ballads, jazz, bossa nova and even rock.
The group consists of four male vocalists, In Ho-jin, Song Woo-jin, Kim Young-woo and Sung Jin-hwan.
The name of the group, “Sweet Sorrow,” comes from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” They came up with this name when they were going through hardships in 2002.
“Back then we were students and practiced in a basement. There is much sorrow in difficult times, but in the difficulties, we learn, grow up and it becomes sweet,” said Kim, an English Language and Literature major who first thought of the name.
“Over six years, the name expanded in its meaning. Now, Sweet Sorrow is not merely a memoir of the hard times but tells that everything has diversity,” said Kim.
“In conclusion, it’s just like how we live our lives.”
The four met at the Glee Club, the male choir of Yonsei University. In, the oldest and the leader of the group, explained how they formed Sweet Sorrow. “The Glee Club had two concerts every year, summer and winter. Eight members of the choir formed an a cappella group to try something new at the concerts and arranged songs that garnered good reactions from the audience. Later, only four of us were left,” said In.
Although they come from a prominent university and could have chosen other career paths. “I am just happy that I can sing now. My friends work at major companies or banks. I could have done the same, but I chose the music. I’d have been regretful otherwise,” said Song.
Their turning point as professional musicians came when they won the Yoo Jae-ha Music Competition in 2004. They received first-prize with their original namesake song, “Sweet Sorrow,” and they were contracted by sevral agencies. Finally, Sweet Sorrow signed a contract with Mezoo Cultures and released their first album named “Sweet Sorrow” in November 2005.
Their first album was not a big hit. Later, they worked on the soundtracks for the 2006 drama “Alone in Love” and “War of Money” in 2007 and got recognition. Later in 2007, they took part in “Showvival,” a Korean version of “American Idol” aired on MBC. Sweet Sorrow immediately gained popularity for their arrangement of hit songs and won during the program’s second season.
“We gained self-confidence and many fans by participating in the program. We first thought our music was for women in their 20s-30s. However, we have many fans in their teens. We then realized that we might have limited our boundaries,” said In.
They released their second album, “SweeticS,” last week to show their charm through their original music. They composed all songs on the album, keeping with their principles.
“First, someone brings the motif for a song. For example, In made up a melody for `Good Bye,’ the main song of `SweeticS,’ while he was in the shower. We thought the melody was good and cooperated with each other to compose a song,” said Song. “We are very democratic. When we write music or lyrics, we don’t decide by majority, but unanimously.”
Sung, the youngest said, “We have been working in this way for such a long time and it is very natural to us. There’s a synergy for working together like this.”
“The title means `the study of sweet (sorrow),’ like economics or linguistics. This album is an archive of what Sweet Sorrow has learned until now,” said Kim. At their Web site (www.sweetsorrow.co.kr), visitors can “attend lectures” of the four sweet professors through video clips.
Since they are known more for soundtracks or “Showvival,” this album is more important to them. “We have to satisfy those who only know Sweet Sorrow from `Showvival’ and also show them where we are headed,” said Kim.
Songs on the second album are much lighter than on previous albums. “All theses songs reflect the present Sweet Sorrow. I guess the cheerful and bright mood of this album is our current state, more cheerful and brighter than before,” said Song.
The group is open to other fields such as acting and comedy on variety shows. For instance, the leader, In, will appear as a guest star in an episode of KBS’s “Drama City,” which will air March 8.
However, they emphasize their roots in music. “We will always be faithful to our music,” said Song.