[Exclusive] Interview with Jay Park: Roundtable at the MTV World Stage in Malaysia
Soompi got the chance to attend a roundtable interview with Jay Park before his performance at MTV World Stage in Malaysia! We came equipped with a list of questions prepared by our very own Soompiers, as well as some of our own. It was our first time seeing Jay Park in person, although he had been to Singapore a couple of times. Surrounded by an entire security crew, our first (honest) impression of him was, “Well, he looks a little arrogant!” But we found out later that we were so wrong! Generally we’re accustomed to waiting awhile for these very busy celebrities, but the interview with Jay started earlier than scheduled. He was already seated when we were led into the interview room, so to our great dismay, we didn’t have enough time to prepare our video equipment.
Clad comfortably in a white sleeveless hoodie and black jeans, Jay looked very relaxed and was humming a tune as we settled into our seats. Although the interview questions were pre-screened, Jay always did his best to answer every question from the media. We really appreciated that he would take a moment to ponder the question put forth to him before giving his answer. It showed that he was trying to put some thought into it so he wouldn’t merely provide standard answers. He was willing to answer every question and even take photos with us after the interview! Definitely a very down-to-earth and polite kind of guy.
Click below for the interview and photos!
Soompi Q: How many tattoos do you have by now? Which one is your favorite and why?
Jay: I don’t know, I lost count a long time ago. I don’t really have a favorite, I just think all of them in a whole is my favorite. Yeah, I mean, if like one wasn’t there, I’d feel like it would be really weird. I don’t know… I don’t really have a favorite because I plan all my tattoos, you know, and I don’t just get tattoos like — well, every time I get one I think of what to get and what significance it has, what it means, and I get it. So.
Soompi Q (cont’d): So right now is only the left arm, and you’ll slowly be going to the right?
Jay: No, no, not yet, not yet. Just the left for now. And we’ll see for the right. Maybe later on in the road.
Q: Other than singing and dancing, is there any other thing else that you would like to try in future?
Jay: Not as of right now, I don’t have any thoughts, I’m more focused on my music career and just my career as an artist. It’s only been like a year and a half, so I still have a very very long way to go.
Soompi Q: So if you weren’t a performing artist today, what would you be doing?
Jay: I’d probably just be a dancer, probably just be battling, making choreography, just dancing.
Q: We heard that you are going to have an Asia Tour starting in August, so what do you have in mind for the tour?
Jay: As far as that goes, I’ve been so focused on the MTV World Stage that I haven’t been thinking about anything else. I’ve only been thinking about MTV World Stage, what I’m going to do, how I’m going to sing, how I’m going to dance, how I’m going to rap, so I’ll think about that after MTV World Stage is done.
Q: So Jay, you have fans all over the world, which part of the world have you not gone, but you hope to reach to the fans out there?
Jay: I really hope to go to Europe — I’ve never been to Europe before. I’ve actually never been to Australia but I’m going in September, so I’m really happy about that. And I haven’t been to South America yet, like Brazil, I wanna go to Brazil. [Editor’s note: Check Soompi very soon for news about Jay’s Australia tour!]
Q: Any particular countries from Europe?
Jay: People always tell me to go to the UK, France.
Q: You just went to Singapore for “Boys Nite Out” recently. What are your favorite things to do when you are in Singapore?
Jay: I love to eat chicken rice, that’s what I love to do. I just love to walk around and enjoy Singapore. Good shopping there and I like the weather, I like hot weather, the night life is good, there’s lots of stuff to do there.
Q: So for all these visits you’d been there, is there any memorable thing that has happened?
Jay: I mean, all the visits are memorable, ever since the first Wave House fan meet that I had there, it’s always been memorable. The showcase I had there, Boyz Nite Out, when I was there for the HTC Likes Awards, it has been great every single time. And I’m very good friends with the promoters there, Launch Entertainment, so I appreciate them always bringing me out.
Q: What do you think of KL so far?
Jay: KL’s been great, every time I come here it’s been wonderful. A good experience every time I come here, the fans have been great, the shows have been great, the food is great. They show me a lot of love.
Q: Any particular Malaysian food that you like?
Jay: I tried coconut rice last time, it was pretty good.
Soompi Q: You recently just came back from the Verizon APAHM US tour, and before that you toured throughout Asia. Do you feel any differences in performing in Korea compared to the US or other countries?
Jay: No, I don’t feel any differences. You know, every time I perform for me its the same, I just try to give it everything I got, and try to put on a good performance, and just try to leave people in awe, that’s what I do. And no, I don’t really feel a difference.
Q: Does a certain place or destination inspire you to write songs or come up with dance moves?
Jay: Yeah, definitely, when I went to the States for the Verizon tour, just listening to the radio, and what people are listening to nowadays in the States, it pretty much influenced me a lot. I found out about this rapper named Meek Mills, and he’s like my favorite rapper now.
Q: You are so busy, you definitely need a break soon. Where would you fly as your next holiday destination?
Jay: Holiday? I definitely plan to go to Seattle, I haven’t been there for about a year? So I’d just go there, chill with my friends, eat good food, just relax. Every time I rest, I like to b-boy a lot, so I plan to b-boy a lot. That’s not really rest, that’s just like, I’m just taking time off work to dance and stuff.
Soompi Q: You’ve established yourself as a hip-hop and rap artist. Do you have any unexpected musical style you’d love to try, or artist you’d love to work with?
Jay: I would sort of like to do a collaboration like a rock band, like how they did it in Run DMC and Aerosmith, “Walk This Way” (singing), I would sort of like to do something like that. That might be fun.
Q: If you could work with anyone in the world, who would you choose to work with?
Jay: Probably Usher, just because I’ve been a fan of his ever since sixth grade. Even his past album that he recently put out, I like it.
Q: How about Korean artists?
Jay: Korean artists? I really like 2NE1 and Big Bang.
Soompi Q: Do you have a favorite member of Kara? And would you have a collaboration tomorrow?
Jay: No, we’re not gonna have a collaboration, I mean I would be down to collaborate with them, but I don’t think they would want to collaborate with me. You know, our styles are so different, I can’t pull off the cutesy butt dances and stuff like that — I wish I could, I can’t. My favorite member? Probably say… I don’t know, I really don’t have a favorite member, I mean, they all have their own unique attractiveness, they’re all good girls.
Q: What do you have constantly on your iPod when you travel?
Jay: I like the song by Tyga featuring Drake, its called “Still Got It”. It’s like a feel-good song, it lightens up my mood basically.
Soompi Q: Out of all your hit singles, which has been your favorite?
Jay: I haven’t had any big hit singles, but I’d probably say “Girlfriend” is my favorite, just because it’s like a feel good song, it just kind of makes you smile when you hear it.
Soompi Q: What’s your favorite track on your mixtape “Fresh Air”?
Jay: It’s probably “Do What We Do.” I like R&B, so it’s probably “Do What We Do.” I enjoyed writing that song, I like the outcome of it. “Do What We Do.”
Q: You are known for your great dancing skills. Have you ever thought of opening a dance workshop?
Jay: I have actually, but I haven’t got the chance to yet. I don’t have a bunch of time to make a bunch of choreo to teach to people, you know? So maybe in the future, it’s definitely something I’d thought of, definitely something I’ve been thinking of, and something I want to do.
Q: So if there’s any advice you want to give to amateur dancers, what would you tell them?
Jay: As far as dancing goes, if you’re a dancer, you’re a dancer. It’s just like you have it in you. It’s like every time music comes on, you just dance. It’s like, what you think about, basically it’s like your life. If you have passion for it, if you work hard, I’m sure you will succeed in dancing.
Q: So what can we expect for World Stage?
Jay: You can expect just a crazy show. I’m going to just give it all I got, I prepare a lot, we rehearsed everyday, six, seven hours for two weeks straight, I put in a lot of new stuff. I wrote a special rap just for this stage, I prepared a special dance performance, we remixed “Abandoned,” there’s a dance break in “Star.” I’m performing “Carefree,” the English version of “Girlfriend” for the first time ever. So it should be a really exciting show.
Q: The song “Know Your Name” is about meeting a girl for the first time, so what kind of girl will attract your attention on first sight?
Jay: If you’re Scarlett Johansson, then that might attract me. I don’t know, it just depends, it could be anything. If you’re a dancer, if they have a nice smile, it could be anything. Confidence, definitely.
Soompi Q: Do you ever Google yourself?
Jay: Google myself? I do, I do, I have before, I Wikipedia’d myself one time, just because it’s interesting to see what people write about you, how they broke everything down and stuff like that, yeah I do sometimes.
Q (cont’d): So does it affect you in any way?
Jay: Nah, I don’t search myself up that much, and whenever I see a bad comment or something negative, it doesn’t really affect me.
Q: You have to stay healthy and hydrated during your tours. What are the three things that you can’t leave behind when you travel?
Jay: That I can’t leave behind? Probably like my laptop, just because I need my laptop for everything, to write lyrics, to tweet, to check my mail, to watch “The Simpsons” before I go to sleep. And all that. And my backpack, and maybe clean underwear? You gotta have clean underwear, that’s important.
Q: Since you travel so much, can you share any travel tips that you live by?
Jay: Travel tips? No, you know, I just try to rest on the plane, when I’m here, I just try to work out whenever I can, whenever I have spare time, and try to eat good and sleep well. And that’s it. I think health is like the number one thing, you know, you don’t want to get sick on a tour. You have to sing, you have to constantly travel, so if you get sick, it’s going to be hard, so you don’t want to get sick.
Q: I’ve asked some Korean fans what questions they want to ask you and I came across this interesting question. A lot of them want to know how do you take care of your skin because it’s so good for a guy.
Jay: Oh, it’s not that good for a guy; it used to be very very good. I think sleep is the best for skin, and just drink a lot of water. Yeah, that’s basically it, cleanliness and water and sleep.
Soompi Q: What is the reason that brought you to YouTube after your return to Seattle?
Jay: Ever since I was like, 2006 or 7, even before I debuted, I’d always watched YouTube, just because like you know, I would miss home, and so I would watch the battles that my crew AOM, they would go out on YouTube. Every so often, people would Facebook like YouTube covers of people, like there’s this guy named Jeremy Passion, he did a cover of “Can’t Help But Wait,” and Ne-Yo’s “So Sick” on a guitar, and I started watching that and I was like, “Wow, he’s so good” you know, but he’s not really well-known so it just became crazy to me, there are so many talented people on YouTube having fun with songs and I always wanted to do that, and then I finally had the freedom to do it. So I just started to do it, like I just started writing my own raps, little melodies and doing covers of different songs in my bathroom, so it just blew up like that. I think that’s where I started, that’s where I got, like, started to become my own artist from there. I have come a long way since then, but that’s where I started.
Soompi Q: Are there American foods you miss when you’re in Korea, or Korean foods you miss when you’re in the US?
Jay: Yeah, definitely. I definitely miss Mexican food. I mean, it’s not American food, technically; it’s Mexican food. Like guacamole and hot sauce and burritos and all that, I definitely miss all that when I’m in Korea. When I’m in the States, I definitely miss… but you know if you go to K-Town in LA, you basically get any Korean food, basically it’s like Korea. But I miss, I’ll say ddukbokki, I love ddukbokki.
Q: If you can promote one thing about South Korea, what would it be?
Jay: Promote? I’d probably say the food. Every time my friends come from AOM, they always love the food like Korean BBQ, they like the kimchi jjigae, the doenjang jjigae, they like all that. So I’ll probably say the food.
Jay: Cool guys, thank you very much!
Many thanks to Jay Park and MTV Asia for this wonderful opportunity! Hope you enjoyed this interview!
Article credit: Rebby@Soompi