K-Pop has experienced double digit growth rates over the past decade and in 2012, Time Magazine declared it South Korea’s greatest export when it injected roughly $3.4 billion dollars into the country’s economy. With those type of numbers, there’s no denying the fact that a seismic shift is happening in K-Pop, and it’s beginning to stretch far beyond it’s origins of Korea. It’s becoming global, and YG Entertainment has earned it’s spot at the forefront of the wave thanks largely in part to Psy, 2NE1, G-Dragon, Big Bang and the man of the hour himself, Taeyang. In addition, they all work collectively within the YG Entertainment imprint ran by Yang Hyun-Suk. So at last, we had the opportunity to chat with Korea’s #1 R&B singer and discuss his new album which not only made Billboard’s top 200 chart worldwide, but it also made Rise the highest ranking album ever by a male Korean soloist. Check out what Taeyang had to say about that and his musical journey during our discussion below.
Tell us about how you first got into music?
I got into music at a very young age. My introduction to music was through playing the Piano. Way back then I loved Beethoven and Schubert.
In Korea, there’s a “trainee process” when entering the music industry. Can you tell us about how that began for you and your first involvements with YG?
My first opportunity in the music industry was when I was chosen as an extra in Jinusean’s “A-Yo” (YG artist at the time) music video. Hip-hop inspired me, and it was after that I decided my future was to be a musician with YG Entertainment.
What are the difficulties when deciding to “play it safe and cater for your following or trying something new?
My first priority is to always show something new, but even in doing so, the important thing is finding the right balance. There’s a constant fight between the two.
How would you compare the U.S. and Asia music scenes?
There really is no difference, I find that music is music.
You’re winding down from a long day, you go home, turn on music, what’s on your playlist?
It changes every day depending on my mood and I’m always discovering new music. I always love Michael Jackson, the new Xscape album is good. Presently, a few artists I like right now are SZA and Sam Smith.
How did it feel to release an album after four years?
It feels great but I’m already anxious for the next album and for the next chapter in my life. This album is a compilation of different moments in my life from the past four years – that’s how long it took to make this album.
If you were to create music, with no filter, that’s true to yourself, with no agency involved, what would it be?
I don’t know but maybe there would not be any album delays.
If you had a chance to collaborate with anyone past or present, who would it be, and why?
Drake, I like his song-writing and the way he sings.
The lady fans want to know…thoughts on relationships?
A person’s greatest achievement is falling in love.
Define the term “fashion?”
I don’t like brands, I like style.
On the note of style, you were recently the face of CK One’s global campaign, how did it come about, do you have any collaborative projects coming with them?
We made it happen and I was very happy to be a part of it. No projects at the moment, but I would love to work with CK again whenever that might be.
If we were to hang out in Seoul, where would you take us, any recommendations?
I would definitely invite you over to my house because I love to cook. Then maybe after we can check out YG studios.
Final words for the fans?
There’s nothing more to say. I love you.
- Davis Huynh