... He spent his teen years in achieving his dream of becoming a singer, and the red balloons followed him around for the next 10 years. He is the playful, oldest brother of JYJ, talented vocalist and a charismatic solo artist who commands audiences with a single standing microphone at his packed concerts.
He says he is an early riser; he runs to the fitness center at dawn. The shooting began early in the morning. His cheerful, pleasant voice wakes the morning as the staff busily prepare for the shooting. Let us breath in the music filled morning air of Vienna with the professional, Kim Jaejoong.
Movement 1: History of Austria, and Artist Kim Jaejoong
Starmedia(S): This is your first visit to Vienna. Is there any place particularly memorable to you?
Jaejoong(J): Shooting took place in many locations but Schönbrunn Palace was the most impressive. It was a fabulous, beautiful palace covered with fallen leaves.
S: Your solo album was very successful. And your solo Asia Tour was also a success.
J: It was the music I wanted to do and enjoy, and many of you loved it, too.
S: The genre of your solo album drew a lot of interest and became an issue.
J: Since I made music with the group in mind, there had been many R&B songs. I have to think differently when I go on stage as a group. I am not alone. But rock was the music that I wanted to enjoy on stage in fact.
S: Attempting rock music must not have been an easy challenge.
J: I say this all the time…. It was not an easy challenge for me. I could only do it because many people helped me and encouraged me. There are still many unfinished songs.
S: Your OSTs get a lot of love, too.
J: I never tell myself that I have to sing OSTs because I am in the drama. More like, if they ask me, I say, “Yes,” right away. Drama is drama and music is music. I can’t do what I want. (Laugh.)
S: You write your own lyrics and compose your own song, a singer-songwriter. You have talent in expressing your ideas (with words and melody).
J: I was attempting to write a book as well…(Laugh.) I write lyrics really fast. Most of the title songs I wrote, I think, took me about an hour each on average. Other songs took me months. Normally, I can write lyrics for two to three songs per day.
S: You participated in making almost every song in your solo album WWW.
J: Yes. I composed many and written many lyrics. The songs for that album came out really quickly. I wrote lyrics for two to three songs each day… Once, I had a dream an hour before the recording, so I asked the staff for forgiveness and changed the lyric in an hour and recorded the song. Things were just flooding out of me because I was doing what I really wanted to do. That is why that album is my favorite.
S: You also wrote lyrics for OSTs beside your solo album. Were they made in the same fashion?
J: ‘COLORS’ is a song I co-composed with Yuchun. I just composed the bass part at the hotel room first, and we finished it in about 30 minutes. OSTs for ‘Protect the Boss’, ‘Dr. Jin’ and ‘triangle’ were all written in 15 to 20 minutes.
S: I’m sure there must be pain involved in all that creative process. How do you refresh yourself?
J: I watch a lot of movies when I am off. At home with IPTV. (Laugh.) When I can’t get to sleep easily, I drink a little time to time. But there are times when I can’t fall asleep even after drinking a little. That is when I read like crazy and upload quotes I like from books on SNS. It would be nice to meet up with people and talk. But there are times when you don’t want to meet people. Then, I stay home and drink alone. I tend to drink more that way. Oops, this is not the right answer. (Laugh.)
Movement 2: Actor Kim Jaejoong Speaks with His Eyes in front of the Grand Opera House
2014 MBC Triangle: Jang Dongcheol/Heo Yeongdal
Kim Jaejoong created ruckus at a restaurant taking his shirt off and ran through the streets with only his boxers on as a street thug Heo Yeongdal. It was a shocking transformation for an idol star.
2012 Movie, Codename Jackal: Choe Hyeon
Kim Jaejoong’s first movie. He was looking for a movie he can film lightheartedly and found the scenario for Codename Jackal. He said, “I went all out. The members even didn't see me this funny. They will laugh a lot.”
2012 MBC Dr. Jin: Kim Gyeongtak
PD Han Hi said, “I only knew Kim Jaejoong as a young singer. I thought I had nothing in common with him. But when he put on the officer’s costume, he simply became Kin Gyeongtak. I was presently surprised by his acting as we filmed. I think he has instinct for sageuk(historical drama).”
2011 SBS Protect the Boss: Cha Muwon
In the drama Kim Jaejoong was a so-called, the exemplary boss. He took the role of Cha Jiheon’s cousin and tangled in a love triangle with him and No Eunseol, the secretary. He received praises from the veteran costars, Park Yeonggyu, Cha Hwayeon and Kim Hagyun.
2010 Japan Fuji TV Sunao ni Narenakute: Bak Seongsu
A drama set in Tokyo, Shibuya about 5 young people who met through Twitter. In an interview he said, “Since the character I played was not as sharp, I tried to look more nice, making my eyes rounder. Hahaha.”
S: You made shocking choices as an actor, and seems like they are working.
J: I started acting in an unusual circumstance. I usually attempted the fields I was attracted to first. Acting was not one of them I never thought I had what it takes to be a great actor.
S: Then, tell me the details on how you started.
J: That was the way that I could come out on TV under the circumstance I was in. I did it not because I wanted to but I had to. But as I was doing it, I fell in love with its charms. I enjoy it more as I do it more. Now, I can’t give up on acting just like I can’t give up on music.
S: If you started out as an actor, would you have tried to become a singer?
J: Yes, I would’ve. (Laugh.) Isn’t it a trend now days? Doing both acting and singing to show multiple sides of the artist. Trend is meaningless to me, I mean.
S: What do you mean by meaningless?
J: What I mean is… You may think that once someone becomes popular as a singer and has many fans, he or she may not have to try other areas. If one acts and sings at the same time, sometimes there can be confusions between the image as an actor and a singer as various images and concepts overlap. But I thought I shouldn't stay still. I had to challenge myself to try new things.
S: You also acted in a movie. Do you watch any particular genre of movies as part of research?
J: I enjoy all genres except horror. I live alone, remember? (Laugh.) I can’t watch alone. Only if someone watches with me.
S: Musical stage requires someone who can sing and act. Do you have plans to try?
J: I’m turning 30 and can’t say am young. But if you look at life as a whole, 30 is still very young and lively age, I think. (Laugh.) I want to challenge myself with as many things as I can. For musical… I think I can try even in my 40s and 50s. I want to focus on what I am doing now.
S: Is there a role model for you?
J: As a solo singer I want to follow the footsteps of Hydo. And as a singer/actor, Fukuyama Masaharu. He is so cool. Maybe it is the trend in Japanese entertainment industry, but many lose balance and focus on one thing. But he is really well-balanced and show great acting and music at the same time as he grow. I want to learn his tenacious attitude and want to age gracefully like him.
Kim Jaejoong got up earlier than the staff and finished his exercise before the shooting began. Spending all day contemplating on the poses as he changed clothes hundreds of times under a very tight schedule, he still managed to produce fabulous pictorials using his extraordinary focus. He was a real pro nonchalant in front of his blue-eyed fans who followed him to every shooting location.
If there were a reality program with a unique platform, “Survive in a place where nobody has gone to,” Kim Jaejoong would ace it with his volubility. Seeing him does what he had to do without a word under harsh circumstances made me think that he would be perfect for a survival variety show. So I asked. “How many days do you think you can survive if you were put in an uninhibited island alone?” He thought about it for a moment and answered, “Honestly, if I just had a knife, I can go on forever.”
He was not just his word. Kim Jaejoong kept his pace as an artist whatever happened around him. “Tenaciousness,” “Viability,” “Self-sufficiency” are his assets. There had been numerous bumps and curves in his life but he never gave up and was able to maintain his life at a steady speed because he had the firm determination that kept him in this difficult course.
Korean Cuisine Chef Kim Jaejoong wants to have a thrilling date with a chubby girl!
… “You are both stars, don’t forget it. When the stars exploded billions of years ago, they formed everything that is this world. Everything we know is stardust. So don't forget you are stardust.” –Quote from the movie Before Sunrise
Naturally, Kim Jaejoong received spotlights from everyone on the streets. Blond hair, chiseled jawline and the music notes in his hands… He was a star. Warm sunbeam on a cold metallic tea table and the blue chair that he is sitting on… It is all too magical. Could it be because it is the exact spot where the comical fortuneteller in the movie Before Sunrise reminded the young couple of them being brilliant stardust?
Movement 3: Chatty Kim Jaejoong seated in Kleines Café
S: Vienna is a city known for its art. Are you interested in any other artistic field besides music?
J: I love paintings. Interested in interior design, too. I have diverse interests. (Laugh.)
S: You are interested in interior design?
J: Yes, I have interests in furniture and accessories. I am not really particular about colors but like to have one base color and add colorful points with some impact. I tend to keep my favorite art works at home regardless of the interior of my house.
S: Do you often buy art works abroad? There are a lot of exotic accessories.
J: I buy a few abroad to keep for myself and as gifts for guests who come to my house.
S: You personally design bags as well. Have you studied for it?
J: It was a preliminary design I had when I first started the business. (Laugh.) It was purely an accident. One of my acquaintances suggested to me about outdoor bag business. I was a simple participant. But I started giving advices about the design and it came out to be a big bag with a backpack feel to it. It continued to sell till today. Sort of like an idea item.
S: You have a lot of pictures of food in your SNS. I heard it’s because you have a lot of sisters.
J: I am interested in cooking. I specialize in Korean cuisine. Someone gave me beef short ribs as present last holiday season, so I marinated them myself, grilled them and shared with Geunseok and other friends. (Laugh.) I can cook most Korean dishes well. Never tried Japchae(vermicelli noodles with beef and vegetables seasoned with soy sauce, sugar, spices.) though. It is too much of hassle for a guy who lives alone. I wanted to eat it more because I am abroad now? (Laugh.)
S: Do you enjoy traveling?
J: Love it. I ask my friends to travel with me if their schedule agrees. I never traveled alone properly. I need to travel more when I am still young. (Laugh.) Because it will be difficult to travel alone once I get old and have family.
Movement 4: Kim Jaejoong and a sofa waiting for its customer in a suite
S: You are originally from city of Gongju of Chunganam Province (about 1 ½~2 hour drive south of Seoul).
J: Yes. I came to Seoul alone when I was 16.
S: You must have been lonely without your family at such a young age.
J: I lived alone for a long time since I did that from when I was 16. Honestly, I feel really lonely even now. But it would be difficult to live with someone, feels like I have to care and do something for that person constantly. (Laugh.)
S: Do you welcome your friends when they sleep over at your place?
J: If they sleep over, I have to spend a whole they for them. (Laugh.) I feel like I need to cook breakfast for them and pack them something when they leave. (Laugh.) I am worried that would feel lonely when they leave.
S: Who is lonely exactly?
J: Me. I feel lonely 100% after they leave. I don't want them to leave and I express my feeling that way. But if they say they want to stay for days, it will feel uncomfortable for me.
S: Is there a unique friend?
J: Jang Geunseok! We get along really well. We drink together and both have emotional ups and downs. (Laugh.) Geunseok has faster and greater emotional swings but we are similar and understand each other when we are up and when we feel a little blue. We try to accommodate each other’s feelings. But he doesn't like to exercise…(Laugh.)
S: You are both busy so it must be hard to hang out together often.
J: We live very close to each other so we do hang out a lot. He is always active and energetic. I usually call him when I feel a little lonely, and he listens to me and we end up having lots of fun. He gives me energy.
S: Kim Jaejoong’s ideal type?
J: I like someone who is professional about her profession. And when it comes to her personal life, I want some one who is pure when we share our worries and feelings. I really don't have fixed ideal type… (Laugh.) I don’t have fixed preferences like innocent type or sexy type. (What about appearance?) I am on the skinny side so I wish the girl were not so skinny. Little chubby, instead of having volume. (Laugh.)
S: Relationship style?
J: I think it requires just the right amount of tension. In other words needs effort. Not sure about after I get married. But when you are dating, I don't like becoming too comfortable with each other to the point where you are ok about meeting each other without washing your face. I strongly believe in this when I was younger. People say you get looser when you get older but for me age didn't make much difference. (Laugh.)
Kim Jaejoong decided to appear on KBS drama Spy, scheduled to air in January next year. He will play a genius information analyst. Bae Jongok is casted as his mother so the expectation is high on the chemistry between the two actors. His enlistment seems eminent, and he must need time to wrap things up. However, he says he wants to keep busy until that time. He is full of motivation; he wants to enlist after he is done with the drama and working on an album activity. He is also confident about military life, says he is strong and fit. “Everyday and night with you~” It has been 10 years since his debut, I can see him still shouting ‘Begin’ as the oldest of JYJ, solo artist and an established actor as I seen him before like in a dejavu.