After 1TYM, I realized I should try to find infos about my queen now that I can actually read them… Just like I thought, there weren’t that many things about Gummy. Coicindentally, she announced last week she was now signed with C-JeS Entertainment after spending 10 years with YG. I think it was the right move because YGE is no longer that underground agency specialized in hip-hop/Soul/R&B. I think she no longer fits with their image, or maybe it’s the other way around… Anyway, I cannot wait to hear Gummy’s new material as in a full album and not a single from an OST.
Today’s music scene displays the much-awaited power of female singers. Gummy coming back as one of them is the big strenght that one could have imagined.
Released after two years of being away from the music scene, her 4th full album taking over online music charts is a scary sight. Five days after its release, it’s even threatening to steal the number one spot from Jewelry. (t/n: in case you’re wondering, we’re talking about “One More Time” and the E.T dance which was a huge hit for Jewelry back in spring 2008)
Because of the digital single boom of the rookie singers debuting on a daily basis, the ranking on music charts changes every day, so it’s hard to see the true outcome for albums. However, it is worth to notice the difference for Gummy whose comeback is already showing such “scary” results.
When she debuted, Gummy showed a different image than her peers. No flashy visual, no star marketing strategy by being a guest in many variety programs. Yet, from her debut 5 years ago until now, she’s been receiving steady attention from music fans who see her as a musician. This album meets once again fans’ expectations. She might still be in her 20’s, but she’s a singer who doesn’t worry about longevity on the music scene.
You have a very different image.
It’s because I completely changed my hair style. There was no specific reason like a change of heart. It’s just that I’ve been wanting to try a short hair style for a very long time, so I cut it off.
Your comeback was delayed several times. Was there any particular reason?
The album was finished in November (2007), but I traveled to Japan and my mind wasn’t into it. More than anything, I felt like it wasn’t better than my previous album, so I told Yang Hyun Suk to postpone the release. I started working again with the composers and I was still in a “the release has already been postponed, so let’s try to make it a little bit more perfect” mode, so it was postponed so often because I kept putting in and taking out songs over and over again.
In that case, what did you change with this album?
Every time I finish recording, I’m disappointed about some aspects of the finished product and it was the same here. However, I was happy with the creating process itself. People around me said that I tried many different genres with this album, but they’re all genres I tried at least once before. My title tracks are usually sad songs, so I chose a song with a light and fast beat this time around. It isn’t the desire to change. Yet, because I’m a singer, I’m looking for good songs and this is how the change comes naturally. With a track more uptempo, I’ll be able to show a different side of me on stage. You can’t expect me to just stand still when not singing. Visually speaking, there will be many dancers to fill the empty space on stage. If we take a closer look to the songs I have released so far, they were songs conveying this sad and desperate feeling which made them kind of hard to be listened at some extent. This time, this album is full with songs that anyone can listen and follow with ease.
While earning the title of “musician” when you’re in your 20’s, it isn’t easy to walk down a steady path. If you follow what we call fate, can’t it be also accomplished by relying on other great efforts?
Music is all I know, so isn’t music the way for me to receive more attention? It’s not something I have to make efforts about because I want to live with this image of a musician. I don’t avoid on purpose to appear on variety programs. To be honest, it isn’t easy to get noticed by the public through the three-minute performance I get on music programs. That’s why I acknowledge the necessity to be on variety programs. The truth is that I’m not the chatty type, so that’s the reason I don’t come out often in variety programs. I don’t look friendly either. There are a lot of my colleagues who feel uncomfortable around me. This is also the case for hoobae singers who get really uncomfortable around me. I want to do more variety programs this year, but this is a situation I’m a bit worried about.
It seems like there aren’t a lot of people you know on the current music scene.
The other day, I happened to watch Music Bank. I was with my manager and we thought this was really the idol world. For the ending, all the singers get on stage and I realized that I knew absolutely none of them. I sighed wihtout even realizing it. The only singer who performed that day and that I knew was Wax-unnie and I don’t know if she felt awkward too but she didn’t come out for the final stage with all the other performers. It’s not that I’m afraid to meet new people, but it isn’t easy for me to create a deep bond with other people. Besides, I spent so much time on my own that I worry a little if I’m able to act freely when I meet new people. But I’m not the only one having this kind of problems. When I watch TV with Se7en, he also says that he knows none of the singers we see.
Many singers who were with you left YG at their prime. It seems like there were some conflicts while they discussed the renewal of their contract.
This is something I was extremely worried about. I know the opportunity to transfer to another agency as your value goes up as a singer doesn’t come around often and conflicts can also arise in terms of artistic perspective. I’m in charge of my family, so people close to me often suggested me to transfer to another company. But I received so many good things by being in YG that I didn’t want to part ways with people I trust and that I’m friends with. It would have been hard to let go of all the things we did during all these years. So I decided to stop listening to what people said. I thought on my own and decided in the end to stay. I’m happy for those who left and kept having a successful career. Right now, I also want to do well and represent for YG.
[t/n: I don’t know who these YG singers (yes, plural) are.. When this interview was realeased, except for Wheesung, the YG artists who had left at this point were the ones whose careers weren’t at their best with YG like Lexy or Soulstar. People like Jinusean and 1TYM were no longer active but they were working behind the scenes, so really… I don’t get it.]
YG proved its power one more time through BIGBANG’s success. What do you think the secret is?
First of all, I think the musicians era is over and the idols period came back. I think the audience was glad to see a group like BIGBANG who can combine the musician aspect and the star idol aspect. Our company gave them the right support. BIGBANG brought the trance house music genre to people who were tired of dull music. They tried new and daring things and it worked. BIGBANG’s success was possible not because they were perfect at doing one thing but because all these three things (the right timing, the right music, the right image setting them apart from others) lined up to make it happen.
People know your name and that you’re a singer. Did you also find a financial stability ?
I still carry a lot on my shoulders because I have to take care of my family too. The situation improves every day and I hope it will keep improving in the future. If I could improve on the business side of things, it would be great, but music is all I know. To be honest, I don’t want to do business under the name I made for myself as a singer. Not long ago, my older brother opened a pojangmacha (street restaurant), my mum runs a bar called Gummy but she didn’t put even one picture of me inside. She never used me to promote her bar, but some fans find out one way or another and they go sometimes. I can be nothing but thankful for that.
What would you keep and change about the Gummy you showed until now?
I want to be at ease with myself and I hope people would see me that way and be comfortable around me. I don’t want to be a singer with many crazy fans nor I want to be a singer you think of on specific occasions. It’s not just my fans, this is also the case for me. The songs I sang so far tend to be the one you turn to more when you’re having a hard time rather than when you’re happy. Of course, singing the songs that are the ones you listen to this way is a great outcome, but I hope to present more Gummy’s albums full with songs of various genres that you can be hooked on either on a bright sunny day either when you feel depressed.
What do you expect from yourself?
I don’t know if wanting to make people’s hearts grow through music is something big, but I really feel like it made me grow. I’m going through this learning process and I always want to keep learning. Music can’t lie and that’s why I love music. (This may sound very annoying to hear but) I want to be someone sincere and who can’t lie. My dream is to become a good person.