Ballad singer JOO has released a new single, “Cry and Blow,” for the first time in almost five years. Talking about her long hiatus in an interview, she begins to cry.
JOO debuted in 2008 under JYP Entertainment with the song “Because of a Man.” Her strong points were her clear tone and vibration, but she received a lot of negative comments online following her debut and could not perform well due to stage fright.
The singer put out only two albums during her seven-year contract with JYP. The contract ended last January and she joined Woollim Entertainment in April. “Cry and Blow,” released on November 2, is her first release since her album “Heartmade” in January 2011.
In the interview, JOO says in a choked voice, “In the past I could not release music or sell out. But I will probably continue to have these concerns as long as I do music.”
She expresses mixed feelings about leaving her former company. “JYP feels like my hometown,” she says. “I spent a lot of time there struggling alone. I wanted to sing but nothing would go right and I was lonely. But it was there that I first achieved my dream of being a singer, so I am grateful.”
During her hiatus, the singer acted in several musicals and focused on her studies. She took part in the musicals “Youthful March,” “Catch Me If You Can,” and “Full House,” and recently graduated from studying theatre at Dongguk University.
“When I did musicals I would apply for a leave of absence, and then I would re-enroll to study,” she says. “With the exception of one semester, I received scholarships. I didn’t study a lot in high school because I was a trainee, so I thought campus life was very fun.”
On her switch to Woollim Entertainment, she says, “It feels like I’m getting a brand new start. Joining Woollim was like being adopted by a wealthy family.”
She has also worked through much of her stage fright. “I had a little during debut, but it was worst during my promotions for “Bad Guy,” three years after my debut. On MBC’s “Quiz to Change the World,” I was performing the song for the first time and I just thought of the past three years. I cried and couldn’t sing properly and felt really guilty. After that I was scared to stand in front of a camera, and thought that being a singer wasn’t right for me.” Singing in musicals alongside other actors helped her get over her stage fright.
“I first wanted to be a singer when I was in the fourth grade after seeing BoA perform,” she says. “I debuted at the same time as IU. When I came back with “Bad Guy,” IU was receiving a lot of love for “Good Day.” Ever since then, she’s been putting out lots of albums and she’s become a representative singer of Korea. When I was younger, I was envious, but I think she’s amazing for blazing her own trail. Since I’m back at the starting line, I want to show people the things I can do well.”
This comeback is particularly special for JOO because she is promoting at the same time as her younger brother, Jung Ilhoon (BTOB). “My mother was comforted during my hiatus by seeing my brother perform,” JOO says. “She really enjoyed seeing the two of us on the same music program.”
In the future, the singer wishes to continue to put out new records and to become a singer that builds anticipation with every release. “On ‘Hidden Singer,” BoA had fans that still remembered all her old songs and sang along with her. As a fan and a singer, I was really moved. I hope that I can be a singer like her and sing every song with my whole heart.”
At the end of the interview, she says shyly, “I said I definitely wouldn’t cry during interviews, but now I feel cathartic.”