BoA Speaks Out In Interview
PART ONE: “I WANT TO DO MUSIC THAT MANY CAN SYMPATHIZE WITH.”
Q. A word on having domestic activities in a while?
A. I’m anticipating it and I’m nervous. Since I had nonstop activities in Japan and America I didn’t have that the gap of not doing any activities.
Q. Is there a reason why you decided to come back now?
A. On August 25th, it will be my 10th anniversary (in the industry). We finished recording the album early to match this date.
Q. What does this album feature?
A. We pre-released “Stand By”, composed by Kim Dong Ryul. Even until now, the image of being a dancing singer was strong, but now I’m in my twenties. I was able to sing a ballad that women can relate to. It is an advantage for me in my twenties to be able to sing a song that many people can relate to.
Q. There is a lot of attention on the fact that you had worked with Kim Dong Ryul and other talented musicians.
A. I made the suggestion. In Japan, I had worked with various musicians and also had several collaborations. I wanted to meet as artist to artist. Kim Dong Ryul and Nell’s Kim Jong Wan are musicians that have excellent sensibility.
Q. What is the reason behind naming your album and title song “Hurricane Venus”?
A. After receiving the song, I felt that it needed a strong word. On the internet I saw the phrase “storm explosion” a lot. So I thought of words like tornado and hurricane. In the past, hurricanes were named after a woman. Also on the internet, I saw that “goddess force” was being used a lot. So I thought of “Venus”. Some people said that it was immature, but I was able to get over that.
Q. Please tell us about your music video for ‘Hurricane Venus’?
A. It had to unconditionally be sophisticated and fashionable. Showing my cool side is good, but I wanted to show my humorous side. I liked Sienna Miller who was the muse in the movie “Factory Girl” so I asked for the music video to be like that. (note: BoA’s talking about the “Game” music video.. so either the reporter wrote the wrong question or BoA wasn’t paying attention.)
Q. It feels like you and your dancers became more elaborate. How did you care for the stage productions?
A. I dance with all male dancers. I don’t think there was a reason to insist on using all female dancers. Putting femininity and masculinity together gives an unconventional feeling. The choreography is a little difficult and complex. At this rate I feel like I need to join a circus soon. (BoA laughs) The arrangement of the choreography is dynamic and powerful.
Since last year, BoA cut her hair and had shown a neutral image. However on stage BoA, herself, is feminine.
Q. In this album you’ve participated in composing and writing the lyrics.
A. I didn’t plan on writing any songs. I composed and wrote the lyrics for “Let Me” and “Haru Haru”. The lyrics for “Haru Haru” are dark and sad. It is similar to the song I wrote the lyrics for in Japan called “Moon & Sunrise”. The melody and chords are bright, but in contrast the lyrics are sad. “Let Me” is a song about my passion for dancing.
After coming back to Korea from Japan, I purchased a computer. I had nothing else to do so I made some beats. It was fun. After doing so I had created a song. I thought my company wouldn’t use the song but they ended up selecting it. The song was able to shine more since Jinu (hitchhiker) did the arrangements for the song. “Haru Haru” is arranged by Gakushi, whom I’ve worked with in Japan.
Q. What kind of evaluation do you want on this album?
A. I want people to say, “As expected, it’s BoA.” I want them to say that with both my performance and music. Through this album I wanted to show the most diverse things I could do. As I reached my twenties, I wanted to do music that many can sympathize with.
I hope the 5 year gap can be covered. It’s been a while since I released a full album so I really hope many people will listen to it. I want to hear that my music quality is good. Since I’m an adult, can’t I drink alcohol and go to karaoke? Meanwhile the message of my songs were a little scary. But now, I want to do songs with sensibility. I want to try doing dance-ballads. I want to do songs that many people can enjoy in many directions, in various ways.
Q. The talking point of the Korean music industry is the problem of plagiarism. As you participated in this album did you think about it?
A. Not because that incident(Lee Hyori’s composer Bahnus’s plagiarism and fraud case) had happened, but all artists should always be concerned about plagiarism. I’ve never made anything without thinking about it. I didn’t worry more because of what happened recently.
PART TWO: “I’LL DECLINE OFFERS TO BE ON VARIETY SHOWS; I’LL TWITTER INSTEAD”
Q. There is a 5 year gap from your last domestic activities.
A. During that time I’ve been doing activites in Japan and America. I’ve also participated in OSTs. As I’ve done activities as a singer for 10 years, challenging yourself is important as well as trying something new. But first, I have to do well myself. I found that it’s more important to do things that you know how to do well. For me, my weapon is performance. Solving that skillfully is the best thing I can do to make a stage that my fans will like.
Q. In Japan you’ve appeared on variety shows, but you haven’t appeared on variety shows in Korea. Do you not have plans to appear on them again?
A. No, but I will twitter diligently.
Q. The PD for the SBS variety show ‘Strong Heart’ asked for you to appear on the show through twitter.
A. I saw it in an article. I’m not confident that I’ll be able to be fun through what I say. I think I’ll cause damage to the show. My fans didn’t want me to do variety shows. For now, I want to try leading the stage well.
Q. The past few years you were focused on your activities in America. What did you gain from it?
A. Apart from the results of my activities in America, I benefited a lot from the activities and my American album. I studied a lot of music and choreography. Releasing an album in America, itself, is an honor.
Truthfully, in between 2006 and 2007 it was hard for me mentally. I was tired of living the same, repetitive life. However, as I made the album in America, I received a fresh shock and felt joy for music again. This album and my album released in Japan earlier this year were influenced by my activities in America.
Q. If you were to give a grade on your activities in America?
A. Personally, I benefited a hundred percent. I think the movie offer came in because of my extension of activities in America.
Q. Any disappointing points in your activities in America?
A. Communication. Despite my busy schedule I tried learning (English), but came up short.
Q. How did the movie come about?
A. The movie offer came earlier this year. Personally, I’m a fan of the movie “Step Up”. Through this movie I thought about street dancing and formed my passion for dancing. Actually, the rumor about me going into acting has been around, but I hesitated about doing it full time. Since “Step Up” is a dance movie, I’ve decided to appear in it. As a singer being able to save my dancing through a movie will help my career. Also, the dance movie director I like the most gave me the offer, so I thought that I had to do it.
Q. But why did you decide to act now?
A. I didn’t want it to interfere with my main occupation as a singer. I’ve decided to do this because it’s a dance movie.
Q. Is there a difference between activities in Japan and America?
A. There isn’t a big difference in activities in Japan and Korea, but America is different. It’s very large and there’s a lot of weight on radios. There aren’t a lot of music programs in America. There isn’t a lot you can do through the broadcast media. I did radio and club promotions.
PART THREE: “TEN YEARS PASSED BY LIKE A BULLET.”
Q. You’ve hit 10 years since your debut. How do you feel?
A. It hasn’t sunk in yet. Ten years passed by like a bullet. Looking back, I did do a lot. I released many albums. I’ve learned languages to the point of being sick of it. I think there will be more days in the future. I’ll be 35 years old for my 20th anniversary. Right now, there isn’t a big difference from Hyori. (BoA laughs) I think I’d be a dance-singer then too.
Q. During the last 10 years, what were your best and worst times?
A. I was the most happiest when I received my first Daesang for “No.1”. At that time, there weren’t alot of solo artists. It was a time when I had debuted at the age of 13 and someone like me had even dared to receive something like a Daesang. I wondered if I could even reach number one, but I recieved a Daesang. It felt good when I reached the number one spot on the Oricon charts, but they don’t directly give you an award. So I didn’t really realize it. However, if you win the Daesang, they’ll give you an award, so the feeling came to me.
Difficult times were in 2007. After debuting till the year 2007, I had a repetitive life of recording albums, album activities, and end of the year ceremonies. It was to the point where I wanted to say, “Stop making me sing.” It was very suffocating and hard.
The job of a singer only has “output”, but no “input”. The fact that I couldn’t learn something made me think that my confidence was waning. That was the most difficult thing. I wanted to work hard, but really had nothing to do. In fact, at that time I wanted to study abroad. For the moment, I wanted to play. I wanted to learn about many cultures in foreign countries. Even though I went overseas a lot, I only worked and didn’t have time to go sightseeing. I was disappointed about that.
However, just in time, the word came out about advancing in America. I was able to regain interest in work. As I started to compose I learned about new music. I played while learning new choreography in America. I knew then, that there were many worlds that I still didn’t know of.
In Japan and Korea, there were a lot of feminine dances, but I’m better at masculine choreography. The track “Eat You Up”, from my American activities, has masculine choreography. The people that I did the choreography with all loved Michael Jackson. Given the chance to receive lessons while living as a singer was fun.
Q. You must have been really shocked when Michael Jackson passed away.
A. I was in America when he passed away. The hospital he was transferred to after he died was in front of my house. I thought it was a bogus rumor saying that he had died. I didn’t believe it for two days. Among those that were doing the choreography for me were chosen as dancers for Michael Jackson’s tour. He said he was going to get tickets for me. I was really saddened when Michael Jackson passed away.
Q. You’ve been doing activites for 10 years. What is the strength that BoA receives to concentrate on music and performances?
A. When I said I was coming back, there was a lot talk about many expectations. I’m thankful for the expectations and that I’m remembered still as BoA the singer. In the meantime, articles about me kept coming out. I’m thankful to SM Entertaiment’s media and public relations.
Up to now, I’ve sang around 400 songs. I still have many things to do in the future. I want to continue to grow the brand called BoA.
Q. How is the Korean music industry now, compared to when you debuted?
A. It has developed a lot. The quality of music programs are better. I think I can show better performances because the camera work, among other things, has improved.
Q. Do you have anything you want to accomplish in the future?
Being in a movie is a new challenge for me. I want to have fun shooting the movie. Since the album came out now, I need to do my best with it first. I like adventure. I’m not the type that continues to do just one thing.
Q. Did the way you think change when you reached your twenties?
A. Instead of trying to do absolutely well, I now want to understand the song. Before, I had an obession of just doing well. But now I try to think of a way to figure out the song in my own way.
I want to enjoy the activities. Isn’t it harder to maintain the top position than climbing to the top? I’m worried about how I can maintain this position. In my teenage years, I wasn’t ill and physically fit. Even though I didn’t sleep much I was up and about the next day. In your twenties you get ill often and you’ll have a lot alcohol engagements.
Not long ago I had an wrist injury and dislocated my shoulder. Also, it was determined that I have an herniated disc. So, I became cautious for my body. But on stage, I can’t do so. My wrist was in such a bad condition that the microphone felt heavy. I had to bandage my wrist for the performances. I received physical therapy and I do exercises for the muscles holding the bone.
It made me think that I need to take care of myself for the next 10 years, so that I can continue to dance and do activities as a singer. I want to dance and sing as long as my joints allow me to.
Q. Do you have any desires as a composer or producer?
A. No. I don’t have the qualifications to be a producer. As for composing, I need to study more. For singers, songs and performances are important. I think that you have to do something that your the best at.
Q. It seems like a repetition of life without privacy.
A. I like watching movies. It’s to the point where you can say, “If you want to see BoA go to the movie theater.” When I play, I play hard. I even drink and meet with my friends. If I do that I end up working harder. I’ve been able to balance work and time to rest really well.
When I go out, surprisingly I don’t get recognized often. I get told often that I’m much smaller than what they thought.
Recently, I was scouted on the streets. It’s “BoA’s humiliating incident.” I met with staff and we were browsing clothes when some man kept following us. The man asked me if I was possibly a model. I was wearing kill heels at that time, but since it was at night, I don’t think he saw them. I told him that I was a celebrity. I don’t think I could say that I was BoA with my own mouth. After I left, the man asked my staff which celebrity I was. When they told him that I was BoA he said, “Is that how BoA looks like?”
Anyways, he saw me in a good way so I don’t feel bad.
Q. Do you date?
A. I need to, but there’s no one. I’d like someone who would like me. I’d like a congenial friend. But dating doesn’t work since I live abroad most of the time. I need “a man that’s like a wife”.
Q. In the future, do you think you can continue to do what you did until now, doing only music activities?
A. I want to if it’s possible.
Q. Future plans?
A. I’ll be working hard to promote the album. At the end of the year, there are plans to release a single album. This year is going to be just as crazy. There will be a SM Town concert in Korea, America, China and Japan. And I also plan to work hard on shooting the movie.
Translated by suejinners @ soompi.
(Please do not take this out of soompi without my permission!)