A man with an incredible voice who sings with unabashed emotion, has a provocative stage presence AND a beautifully pure and boyish smile? Sounds strikingly familiar, doesn’t it, Rain? Hmmm, maybe I have a K-type after all. My trip to Seoul exposed me to so many things and resulted in repeated visits to Korean music stores which subsequently got me a little more acquainted with K-pop. It was during this time I discovered Kim Junsu after a fangirl swoonfest over TVXQ. I admit to being duly smitten and immediately knew Junsu would be my next K-Shot of Hot.
Ok so I admit that I do not know much about Junsu and will be learning as I go along here. But, isn’t that exactly why I decided to start this blog in the first place?? I wanted to get to know the hot men of K-drama and K-pop. So yeah, perfect.
What I discovered about Kim Junsu is that he is a Sagittarius born on December 15, 1986 and is a twin. Oy! There is a second version of him walking the earth??? Kim Junho is Junsu’s older fraternal twin brother, and a singer in his own right who is very popular throughout Japan and China.
Hmmmmm, doubly good, right?? Also, Kim Junsu and Junho’s mother is former Miss Korea, Yoon Young Mi. She definitely lent those beauty genes of hers to her boys.
I also learned that Junsu was signed by SM Entertainment when he was only 11 years old. Just like JYP saw the talent that became Rain, SM knew they were most were probably on to something with Junsu. He subsequently debuted in 2003 as one of the original members of the K-pop group TVXQ. He chose the stage name “XIA/XIAH” saying it was short for “Asia” (if you remove the first A) and that having this name would fuel his desire to become a star not only in Korea, but throughout Asia. Mission accomplished. Currently, he is a member of JYJ, has released two solo albums, lent his voice to many OST tracks, AND has done some stage work. Pretty prolific, mighty talented and only 26! So let’s break it all down.
Mirotic is my TVXQ crack. Plain and simple. I am not going to mince words here. This video can keep me awake at night repeatedly watching it – I like it THAT much. Wrong Number is pretty good, too.
TVXQ is also known as DBSK or Tohoshinki depending on whether you are from China, South Korea or Japan, respectively. I love these guys as the original 5-man group. I think they compliment each other so well. The hot factor is pretty potent here, don’t you think? Just look at them!!! I know my loving the 5 of them together and secretly wishing they were still together or at least thinking about reuniting, is probably going to ruffle some feathers because they have now factioned off into two separate groups with two very separate and wildly zealous fan bases. But I think SM Entertainment got it right when it put these 5 together. From their inception in 2003 to the split in 2009, TVXQ reigned supreme in the boy band K-pop world. All 5 could sing. All 5 could dance. Junsu, however, really stood out.
Seriously stood out.
In 2009, three of the five members filed an application to the Seoul Central District Court questioning the validity of the group’s contract with SM Entertainment. Kim Junsu was one of the three (along with Kim Jaejoong and Park Yoochun) who filed the application which stated in part that TVXQ’s contract with SM “was excessively long, schedules were held out without the confirmation or permission of the members, contract terms have been extended and changed without their knowledge or consent and that the group’s earnings were not fairly distributed to the members.” [Source: Wikipedia]
TVXQ was now split in two with Junsu, Jaejoong and Yoochun forming JYJ and Yunho and Changmin carrying on as TVXQ. The lawsuit resolved in 2012 and SM Entertainment relinquished all contractual ties to the members of JYJ. I think if I would have known about them then, I would have been very sad to see the demise of the group as a whole but would have still gone on loving them each as their separate entities (as I currently do)…with a slight bias towards JYJ simply because of Junsu. Hey…..a fangirl’s heart wants what it wants!!!
By April 2010, with legal battles with SM still lingering, JYJ was officially created and the boys were able to concentrate on their music and move forward with their careers. Their first release was an extended play Japanese EP. The song “W” charted highest. Such a sweet vocal feast. TVXQ always had a huge Japanese fan base so it is not surprising that JYJ’s first offering fared pretty well. Love the emotional delivery here – something I believe has been inherent in Junsu from the get go. When you love what you do, it really pours out of you. It is almost as if it cannot be contained, it just needs to be shared.
Can these guys sing or what???!
The Beginning was JYJ’s debut studio album. In reading the history of this first LP, the album was a global offering as it was recorded in English despite the fact that Junsu and Jaejoong were not fluent in the language. The album yielded two singles, Ayyy Girl, which featured Kanye West and Malik Yusef and Empty. But since this post is all about Junsu, I am going to share his I Can Soar because he composed the music for the song and of course it is all his vocally.
Yeah, I think this man was born to sing.
JYJ’s second offering In Heaven saw them taking more control over writing and composing. Each of the ten tracks on the album were either written, composed and/or arranged by the boys. The first single, In Heaven debuted at #10 on Billboard’s Korea K-Pop Hot 100.
OmO!!! Junsu in a suit and tie. I’m swooning……….
I will forever appreciate K-pop MV’s because often they are mini-movies and the production value is always so spot on.
The second single Get Out delivers a sweet punch of Junsu vocals. And, again…the suits!!! Nice.
Nothing could have prepared me for the talented fury that is Junsu on his own. Nothing. I am completely in awe and utterly mesmerized by his explosive talent.
In April 2010, Junsu released a teaser for Intoxication which was going to be the first single from his solo album, Tarantellegra. Prior to the release of that studio album, he self-produced an EP simply entitled Xiah which was recorded in Japanese and debuted at #2 in the Japanese charts. It included the song Beautiful Love which was the theme song for the Japanese drama of the same name which starred co-JYJ member, Yoochun.
He makes it look and sound so effortless, doesn’t he?
In May of 2012, Tarantellegra was released. If Mirotic and Wrong Number sent me into a fan girl frenzy, the first single, Intoxication nearly put me in the hospital!!! The first time I watched the MV for the song, I felt confident Junsu studied Rain, and took many good and comprehensive notes. Intoxication was written and composed by Junsu, himself, and what a formidable first single from his first solo album. Take a seat, turn up the A/C because this one is hot.
*Fans self* *Fans self* *Fans self*
Then there is Tarantellegra which is nothing short of spectacular, a complete feast for the ears and eyes. Mirotic remains my old school, before-the-break-up TVXQ crack. Tarantellegra is definitely my solo Junsu obsession.
Seriously wicked talent. Completely mesmerizing.
Or how about Fever??? Really Junsu, do you have to be THIS hot???
A few months after Tarantellegra was released, Junsu released a CD single that included his song Uncommitted which saw him winning the Best Korean Male Artist Award at the 1st Yin Yue Tai V-Chart Awards in April of 2013. Yin Yue Tai is China’s largest online video streaming website and votes are cast from all over the world. What is even more impressive is that the single was written, produced and recorded in English. Nice work…Junsu-ssi, nice.
In July 2013, Junsu released his second solo album, Incredible and that is exactly what it is!! The album is a nice mix of just about everything: dance, ballad, pop, and R&B. And his voice, well his voice is all that and more. Prior to the release of the album, he pre-released the track 11AM. This is one of my favorite tracks on the album. It is simply gorgeous. Here is a special clip with Junsu regaling us by opening the song a capella. Wow.
So beautiful and touching, right? Really love his voice.
Ok then, let’s flip the coin here and just dance….
And then, there is the real stand out cut (in my opinion) of the album, Rainy Eyes which I think is absolutely spectacular.
I happen to think Junsu has the quintessential OST voice for ballad-like, love-laced OST tracks. Here are some of his offerings. Not all are actually on the respective OSTs, but are lovely fan made videos to accompany the song.
From the drama Sungkyunkwan Scandal:
From the drama Scent of a Woman:
From the drama Rooftop Prince:
From the drama The Innocent Man:
From the drama The Fugitive of Joseon/Mandate of Heaven:
When I learned that Junsu had some theatrical stage work under his belt, I became even more impressed with him. I am thinking…..what CAN’T this man do???
Mozart! Das Musical
Junsu playing Mozart? Oh yes! Now here is a musical I would have LOVED to have seen up close and personal. It must have been pretty spectacular. In 2010, he brought home the Best New Actor AND Most Popular Actor awards at both the 4th Musical Awards and 16th Korean Musical Awards. He also won the 2010 Golden Ticket Ticket Power Award for Musical Actor.
I think it is safe to say he has quite the stage presence.
Tears of Heaven
In 2011, not resting on his theatrical laurels, he next showed up playing Jun-Hyung in Tears of Heaven. According to my research, the musical is about a Korean soldier (Junsu) who falls in love with a Vietnamese singer during the Vietnam War. I would have been all over this one, to be sure. I am a complete sap when it comes to romance. Add Junsu to the mix and ~~~~~~~THUNK~~~~~~~~!
Woah…that was impressive. And…he won more awards for his role as Jun-Hyung!! Once again Most Popular Actor at both the 5th Musical Awards and 17th Korean Musical Awards. He was also honored at the 3rd Asia Jewelry Awards as winner of the World K-Pop Superstar Award. Wait a second…no offense Junsu, but how did Rain not win THAT one??? True, he went into the military in October of 2011 and this award was handed out in December 2011 – but wouldn’t he have qualified based purely on his work up until that point???! See, even when I am supposed to be focusing on the K-Shot of the moment, my thoughts (and allegiance apparently) always drift back to Rain. <hehehheheh> Truth be told, Rain is less of a K-pop star and more of a R&B singer who just happens to be Korean. Ok Junsu, you got that one, well-deserved!
Oh man….does this one sound epic and awesome!! I need for him to reprise each and every one of these roles in a private performance for me, especially this one!!!! Elisabeth tells “the story of Elisabeth (“Sissi”), the Empress of Austria, from her engagement and marriage in 1854 to her murder in 1898 at the hands of the Italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni, through the lens of her growing obsession with Death as her marriage and her empire crumble around her at the turn of the century.” [Source: Wikipedia]
Junsu plays the character named Tod who happens also to be death personified. He won praises left and right for his performance in this musical. Musical director Kim Moon Jung said of Junsu, ” I think he has finally grown up as a genuine musical actor who knows how to interact with other actors and audiences. He’s genius that he could have such a great performance at the premiere performance.” Composer Sylvester Levay said, “Junsu performed with various different charismatic looks. Sometimes he was scary, sometimes he was dark, and sometimes he was like a beast, following around Elisabeth. Junsu’s performance was so perfect and satisfying.” [Source: Starnews/Credit: en.korea.com]
He took home awards for the third consecutive year: Most Popular Actor at the 6th Musical Awards, Most Popular Actor AND Best Actor at the 18th Korean Musical Awards and won the Musical Actor Ticket Power Award at the 2012 Golden Ticket Awards.
Here he is performing The Last Dance live at the June 4, 2012 Musical Awards – I’m speechless.
Genius. Perfect. Satisfying.
Junsu – The Model
He has such a unique look and is not afraid to mix it up style-wise. I like that he takes risks. He also happens to have large, lovely hands. Yes, I do notice these things!!!!
These lovely pictures are Twitter uploads from the man himself. He has such an ethereal quality about him. He is just lovely. [Source: 1215xiahtic]
Oh, did I mention how gregarious and delightful he is. Indeed, he most surely is. I like this little question/answer gig he did recently. He is so natural, engaging, not scripted, and just adorable. Like Rain (yeah, I had to bring him up again), he has an easy, beautiful smile that is just infectious and electric.
I started this post all googly-eyed and swoony for Junsu in kind of a superficial way. Yes, well at least I can admit it!! I sum up here with an entirely different feel. Don’t get me wrong, he still makes me all swoony when he sings, dances and even speaks (he has a rather sexy, husky voice, doesn’t he? And his hands…..I’m a hands girl. I love a fine pair of hands and adore them more then they are attached to an equally fine pair of arms/biceps!). What I mean is, I am walking away with an extreme appreciation for his incredible talent. For the past 16 years he has been working on his craft and it shows! I have read in various places on the internet wherein people comment that he should just dump K-pop and go full boat as a theatrical music actor. I happen to think he can balance both perfectly. His incredible work on the theatrical stage is proof he has the tools to be a well-rounded actor who can sing and dance. That short clip I shared of his number in Elisabeth is four plus minutes of an extremely nuanced performance. Watch it again and note his facial expressions, his body movement, and his complete absorption in the role of death stalking a victim. I am sure in the context of the actual production, it was probably a sight to behold!
When I listen to his work as a recording artist and watch him in his MVs, I am equally mesmerized and wouldn’t want him to walk away from that part of himself simply to pursue musical theater exclusively. They are equal parts of him with each feeding off of the other resulting in an astounding talent that is both entertaining and awe-inspiring. So long as he is able to bring his provocative style to both, then I think fans from both camps will be pleased.
And, ok, I know that I have interjected Rain here and there throughout this post but it is with good reason. Both of these guys were coming up the ranks pretty much simultaneously. When Junsu was signed at 11 by SM in 1997, Rain was 15 and getting ready to debut the following year with Fan Club. It is no doubt Junsu was probably aware of Rain, absolutely. In 2003, Junsu was 17 making his debut with TVXQ. Rain was on album #2 and was really exploding in the K-entertainment world. The boys of TVXQ could have possibly looked upon Rain as perhaps both competition…and indeed, inspiration. Well, at least Junsu might have.
I LOVE this…..
I am going to continue in my endeavor to lobby for Rain and Junsu to collaborate or, at the very least, share the stage together at least once!! Please Junsu? Please Rain? Yes, the stage will probably ignite and explode due to the combined levels of talent and hotness, but I think we fangirls can handle it!!! Just a thought…..
Can you imagine……??![All pictures and videos used in this post are property of their respective owners and are used for entertainment purposes only.]