[Interview] Se7en Wants to be an Eternal Singer

It seemed like he would always be a boy, but already the last of his 20s are slipping by, and the 10 years he’s been in the business have made him a laidback and confident man. And now, the story of the years that changed Se7en has been wrapped up into his second mini album for all of us to hear.

Se7en said that the story was a good one, and that’s he′s happy with who he’s become. Enews met with Se7en to hear why on February 2 at the YG Entertainment building.

Se7en, who greeted us with the same old smile, collaborated with Park Jin Young, the head of his agency’s rival JYP Entertainment, for his new album. His first single cut When I Can’t Sing was written and composed by Park.

Their collaboration was enough to bring the song the spotlight even before its release, and the song has been staying on the tops of various music charts since its release on February 1.

And so Se7en announced his first comeback in a year and a half with a bang.

“I was watching the music charts and I felt great. I’m thankful that everyone didn’t forget about me even though I wasn’t active for a long time.”

Se7en said that he had learned popularity is a fickle thing over the course of his long career, but he still didn’t hide how happy he was about the explosive reactions, or forget to express his thanks.

Se7en said that he knew the song would be successful as soon as he heard it.

“Jin Young hyung kept joking that we should work together on a project someday, and in 2011, it actually became possible. The two of us met with [Yang] Hyun Suk hyung to hear the song. [Park Jin Young said] he had been keeping the song, and as soon as I heard it I loved its feel so I immediately told him I wanted to sing it.”

Se7en’s new album had mostly finished settling its track list, but Se7en brought in Park’s song, crowned it as the main single and started work on it. The finished track in the album is different from the one he first heard, but Se7en said he learned why Park emphasizes sincerity so much through their work.

“Everyone probably knows by now because of K-Pop Star, but CEO Yang Hyun Suk concentrates on impressions. He puts the charisma, talent and feelings the person shows onstage ahead of anything else. CEO Park Jin Young, however, always emphasizes sincerity. He hates anything insincere. I can’t say which style is better, YG or JYP, but CEO Park Jin Young definitely goes for sincerity. I learned what he meant by sincerity while I recorded this song.”

As if he had been almost brainwashed by the sincerity Park emphasized so much, Se7en kept using the word again and again himself.

His sincerity met with the easygoing attitude he picked up with the passage of time, and led Se7en to think that this album, which he worked on himself from start to finish for the first time, was his favorite and gave him the most personal pleasure.

His newfound attitude didn’t stop him from working hard though, because he wanted to stand proud in front of not only the juniors from his agency Big Bang and 2NE1, but also the many other juniors he would see in the scene.

“I’ve walked a smooth road for the last 10 years. Some think I didn’t do too well in America, but personally, I have great memories about the time I spent there. I learned dance and song, and I learned independence and responsibility while I worked with my American friends,” said Se7en. “If I was a kid before I went to America, I became a more mature person after I came back. And so now, rather than cling to popularity, I want to be a confident and proud big brother for my juniors.”

And he, in return, is indeed proud of his juniors, as he couldn’t hide his surprise at the power of the Korean wave sweeping through the world. He said he saw Girls’ Generation on The Late Show with David Letterman, and was “really surprised.”

“Making an appearance on The Late Show itself is a great achievement. I wondered whether Girls’ Generation really was going to appear [on the show] after reading an article about it, but I caught the episode because someone was watching it at the practice room.”

He added, “Girls’ Generation is incredible, and [after watching the broadcast] I felt that Korea’s K-Pop is really exceeding expectations. I felt something deep down in my heart,” and emphasized, “It’s hard for even American singers to make it onto The Late Show; I was really surprised.”

But back to Se7en’s own experience in America.

When asked whether he didn’t feel any regrets about his own promotion in America, he answered, “I do think if I had been in a better environment, it would’ve been better for me. But I think that’s in the flow and the timing. I myself was able to win a bigger success because back when I debuted as a solo singer in 2003, solo singers were rare. So I don’t feel any regret about my venture to America. I’m sorry I can’t show what I achieved there to the public, but still the things I learned there and what I achieved led to this album, and made up who I am now.”

Se7en says he’s now the backbone of K-Pop, and dreams of becoming an eternal singer. His attitude toward his past career and his future to come had us looking forward to what future he would be facing another 10 or 20 years from now.

Photo credit: YG Entertainment
Translation credit: Erika Kim



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