KOREAN pop star Jay Park will be heading to Australia for the first time this September. He took some time out to talk to Amanda Yap about music, travel, being bilingual and the incredible reach of K-Pop.
Fans of KPop sensation Jay Park are clearly excited for the singer’s Australian tour in September. VIP tickets for his Melbourne and Sydney shows sold out within minutes, and one fan even took to Facebook to post a photo of herself in tears when tickets for the gigs arrived in the mail.
But there’s someone else who’s looking forward to the Australian tour too – the man himself, Jay Park.
“I’ve been wanting to come to Australia for the longest time, so to finally have a chance – I’m very excited,” he enthuses.
This will be the first time the Korean-American pop sensation will be in Australia. And according to the event organisers, KPopAus in association with Soulmanna Live, Jay will be the first major K-Pop act to headline a tour in Australia in recent years.
While he may not have anything specific in mind yet, Jay says he wants to experience “everything” about Australia, including “the culture, the people, the places, the food [and] the weather”.
Jay thinks it’s a good thing Korean pop has been able to gain such massive popularity among both Asian and Western audiences in the past few years, including with fans down in Australia.
“I think what most people like are the idol groups,” he says, explaining K-Pop’s appeal.
“They like to see the pretty and the handsome faces, the outfits and the dances. It’s very easy-to-listen-to, easy-to-watch type stuff.”
Jay would know – having once been a member of popular boy band 2PM. But now, he flys solo – but he’s just as big as any of the idol groups, with more than 200,000 likes on his Facebook page.
“I like to sing, I like to dance, I like to rap. I like to give good performances, I like to make good music and good albums. And if people like that, I’m very thankful,” he says.
Jay also likes to travel – something his job allows him to do.
“Being in the K-pop scene has allowed me to travel around the world, to get my music out there to places other than Korea,” he says.
In fact, Jay was recently in Malaysia, where he headlined the annual MTV World Stage event.
“It was a wonderful experience,” he says. “There were 15,000 people there, Justin Bieber was there – it was a crazy show.”
Jay of all trades
Jay’s first full-length Korean album New Breed was mostly self-produced and self-penned. But not long ago this would have been a difficult task.
Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Jay has always been fluent in English – but he wasn’t able to speak Korean as well as he can today.
“I write my own songs, and I can do the interviews and TV shows here in Korea, which has helped me immensely as a K-Pop artist,” he declares.
Of course, English has also helped him connect with fans. As Jay points out, he wouldn’t have been able to do this interview with Meld if he couldn’t speak the language.
Being fluent in English has also allowed the world to see Jay in prominent YouTube side projects, when he’s not performing as a K-Pop sensation.
Apart from uploading videos onto his own channel, Jay has also collaborated with YouTube sensations KevJumba, NigaHiga and Wong Fu Productions.
Jay says making those videos were quick and easy to do, and he’d “definitely be down to do more”, especially because people enjoy watching the videos.
If that was not enough, he’s also part of the successful Seattle-based B-boy crew Art of Movement.
But for now, Jay is busy concentrating on his music and touring, and his “Jay Walkerz” fans down under are no doubt counting down the days till he hits Australian shores.
“They can expect a great show,” he promises.
Jay Park will be performing live in Melbourne Thursday September 27 at the Dallas Brooks Centre, and in Sydney at Enmore Theatre on Saturday September 29. Box office opens on July 30, and tickets can be purchased from www.kpopaus.com.au.