Artist of the week – Jang Nara
Name: Jang Nara
Birthday: March 18, 1981
Blood Type: A
Family: Parents and Brother
School: Chungang University – Department of Theater
Hobby: Watching Movies
Favorite Musician : Park Jin Young, Park Mi Kyung, 1TYM, Faith Evans
Our featured artist this week is cute and lovely singer and actress Jang Nara. As a kid, she has already appeared in the play 'Les Miserables', with her dad (who is now her manager). She officially debuted in May 2001 with her first album. Many people thought she debuted as an actress, but she actually became a singer first.
Her first debut song is "Burying My Face With Tears", an R&B type ballad. But the reception of this song was not great. At the time Jang Nara debuted, there were lots of new female singers and she's "just one of them". This song missed the top 10 and went to only No. 12 in the music chart. Her music activity stopped for a while.
In June 2001, Jang Nara made her official acting debut in the popular MBC sitcom "New Non-Stop". Over the years, the "Non-stop" series have produced so many outstanding entertainers in Korea today. Jang Nara also got her big break after appearing in this sitcom. Her cute and lovely image was well received by fans.
To show her multi-dimensional talent, Jang Nara also made her debut as MC of the gayo show "Music Camp" with Ji Sung. More and more people in Korea knew Jang Nara by then.
Late in 2002, Jang Nara resumed her gasoo activities and released the 2nd single "Confession" (one of my favorite songs of her) from her 1st album. With the popularity she gained in "New Non-Stop", a lot more people knew and discovered her. As a result, this song did much better than her 1st single. It went to No. 1 on most music charts in December 2002.
With the success of "Confession", Jang Nara was named "best new female artist" on most year end gayo award ceremonies in 2001. Her album sales were steadily climbing every week, despite the album being released for more than half a year.
To cap off her success in 2001, Jang Nara released a 3rd single "April Story" from her debut album early in 2002. This song again hit No. 1 on most music charts. That's amlost unheard of for a female singer to have two No. 1 songs in her debut album – I think that record still stands as of now!
In April 2002, Jang Nara landed her first lead role in the drama "Successful Story of a Bright Girl", co-starring with Jang Hyuk. This drama was very popular not only in Korea, but in other Asian countries as well. Oversea fans started to recognize Jang Nara.
With the success of her first drama, Jang Nara quickly landed the lead role of another drama "My Love Patzzi". This time she co-starred with Kim Jae Won and Kim Rae Won. This drama actually had a low rating in Korea, but more successful overseas subsequently. She sang a few songs on this drama, including "Sweet Dream", "May Be This Is Love", and "I'll Be There". Fans are waiting anxiously for Jang Nara to release her 2nd album.
In October 2002, her 2nd album was finally released. Within a few days, 200,000 copies were sold, and it was one of the top selling albums in 2002. "Sweet Dream" instantly became a No. 1 song. To this date, it is still her most popular songs. Jang Nara is so cute on the MV of "Sweet Dream".
Jang Nara's skyrocketing popularity made her winning 2 DaeSangs (KBS and MBC) at 2002 year end, splitting with BoA that year. Many people compared Jang Nara and BoA but they are of very different style. Besides "Sweet Dream", Jang Nara scored another No. 1 song with "Snow Man" in early 2003.
Jang Nara made her movie debut in 2003 with a comedy "Oh Happy Days", co-starred with Park Jung Chul. Sadly, this movie was a flop at the box office, and we have not seen Jang Nara in another movie since then.
In December 2003, Jang Nara released her 3rd album (in my opinion that's her best album). On this album Jang Nara changed her style to sing more rock type songs, and she was performing with her own "Jang" band. The title song "Last Pray" once again was a No. 1 song. The music video of this song was made in Switzerland with very beautiful scenery. Even though this song was successful on the chart, but clearly it was not as popular as her 2nd album.
Jang Nara made a bold move in 2004 – she wanted to develop oversea markets. Many singers choose Japan as the destination of their oversea advanture, Jang Nara instead choose to go for the Chinese market. Even though her popularity in Korea is slipping, she's still very well known especially in Chinese markets, especially her dramas. The boldest move is that Jang Nara is moving to Beijing China to live full time there to develop her new career. The loss of Korean fans is the gain of Chinese fans. She released her first Chinese album in 2004 – most of the songs were covered version of her hit Korean songs. Her Chinese pronounciation is not bad. She also started making Chinese dramas. Up to now she has released 3 Chinese albums and participated in 3 Chinese dramas as well.
In December 2004, Jang Nara returned home briefly to release her 4th album "My Story", but her busy schedule prevents her from appearing in gayo shows to promote. Still, her title song of this album "Winter Diary" reached the top 3 in music charts. In 2005, Jang Nara returned to Korean drama and starred in the KBS mini-series "Wedding". However, the rating was very poor.
Jang Nara spent almost all of 2006 in China, where she's very successful. She returned to k-pop in 2007. First released a digital single "I'm Not Happy" in January, and a month later, released her 5th Korean album "She". The title song "Calling Out Love" is a powerful ballad that required good vocal skills in the chorus part. Jang Nara performed this song many times and we can see that her vocal skills has improved a lot compared to her earlier days (I wouldn't think she'd able to sing this song 2 years ago). At 26 now, her image is also a lot more mature and that is a nice surprise to her fans.
When she started out her career, Jang Nara is not the best singer out there, but she always gives 100% on her performances, and she always sings live. Her vocal skills improves on every album, and she is not afraid to try out new style of music. Over the years, we are seeing that a cute little girl has grown into a beautiful, mature woman.
Vol. 1 – First Story (2001) – Burying My Face With Tears, Confession, April Story
Vol. 2 – Sweet Dream (2002) – Sweet Dream, May Be It's Love, Snowman, I'll Be There
Vol. 2.5 – Jang Nara and Friends (2003) – Oh! Happy Days, Pinokio, Friend
Vol. 3 – 3rd Story (2003) – Last Prayer, Starry Night, Because I Am A Woman
History My Love – Best Hits Album (2004) – various hits from her first 3 albums
Vol. 4 – My Story (2004) – Winter Diary, I Love School
Digital Single – Lady Like (2007) – I'm Not Happy
Vol. 5 – She (2007) – Calling Out Love, You & I, Everything For You