by Nickie Wang
South Korean pop star Kim Hyun Joong dropped by Manila last week to meet and greet fans. Around a thousand K-pop aficionados bought Kim’s debut album, Break Down, for a chance to meet the Korean heartthrob up-close and get a high-five.
The High Five Touch session of Kim with his fans is an event that started in Taiwan. The promotional event then continued in Vietnam, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and in the Philippines, and in all those territories, the 25-year-old singer and actor has always been well received.
In the Philippines, as early as 9 a.m., TriNoma mall was not even open yet Kim’s fans were all agog to get inside the mall to purchase the CD, so they could have a ticket to meeting their idol. According to PolyEast Records, the local label that distributes the Break Down album, the original plan was to let 300 fans get a once-in-a-lifetime high-five from Kim but even before lunch over a thousand fans have already bought the album.The first 500 fans who bought the CD were lucky enough to exchange high-fives with the South Korean star at around 6 in the evening.
“Thank you for all the love you’re having toward me. It’s inspires me to bring up better songs and better performances,” a message to his fans, which Kim told the local press before he headed to TriNoma’s activity area.
Kim Hyun Joong is best known for his for roles as Ji Hoo and Baek Seung Jo/Gelo in the hit drama series Boys Over Flower and Playfull Kiss, respectively, and being the former leader of the band called SS501. He first visited Manila in June last year when he joined the K-pop boyband Beast in a sold-out concert at the Araneta Coliseum.
Kim Hyun Joong has just completed his tour both in the U.S. and South Korea a few months ago. Back in his home country, he hit back the studio and recorded the mini-album before embarking on an Asian tour to promote the solo project. During the press conference held at the Edsa Shangrila Hotel on Aug. 25, Kim said that he plans to have an Asian concert tour that will include Manila as one of the pit stops.
Rising Asian star
The release of Kim Hyun Joong’s debut album marks his growth as a music artist. He said that his independent status as a performer has opened new windows of opportunity for him and consequently, he expects to see some more opportunities coming.
Two weeks after the album’s release in Korea, the record has sold more than 100,000 copies. During the same period, the mini-album topped Japan’s music chart in the International imported Album category. In Taiwan, where Kim has a rapidly growing fan base, Break Down has recently achieved platinum record status.
Kim sees his success as the product of displaying a different persona compared to his SS501 days. From the typical synthesizer instrumentals, heavy beats and bubblegum pop, his newfound artistic musical freedom focuses more on creating mature yet catchy sounds.
“This is a very personal project because I was hands-on in producing this record. I was involved in all the processes of the album, from the lyrics to the jacket design,” the singer-actor revealed.
Together with Japanese group, V6 and Kat-Tun’s producer Steven Lee, Kim Hyun Joong involved himself in the album-making just to reveal more of his talent as a solo artist. The solo album boasts six songs, with one instrumental version of the title track.
After the release of his two hit singles “Please” and “Break Down,” Kim’s album is currently getting more attention as his latest track “Kiss Kiss” now heats up the airwaves. The track is a pop/dance song accompanied with an acoustic guitar and the song’s music video is now on MYX top charts.
Marking his comeback on the music scene, previously released single “Please” also sees Kim Hyun Joong portraying a different and mature image in his music video. The title track “Break Down,” produced by Ken Lewis (the same producer behind the hits of Eminem, Kanye West, Usher and John Legend), is a powerful synthesized song with an urban style that features a stylish rapping of South Korea’s Double K.
Other album highlights include “Intro (Let Me Go)” where Kim Hyun Joong opens with a magnificent pipe organ melody and the upbeat dance track “Yes I Will.”
When Kim finishes the Asian concert tour, he’d be back on the small screen for a new series and a movie.