I have only been a Choice (A.C.E fan) for a little over two years. I am not quite a baby Choice, but I am still relatively new seeing how the group debuted in 2017. Sigh . . . I am always late to the party. Anyway, I learned very quickly that it was easy to be visually captured by this talented quintet, and I don’t mean this in a shallow way. From the get go, I found A.C.E to have an incredibly powerful stage presence. They are very dynamic dancers and early on, I took in many of their power title tracks to get to know them. When I really began to peel back the layers of all of their fantastic and artistic attributes, specifically by listening to their mellower B-sides and covers, that is when I discovered how truly adept they were as singers. They all sing well. But there is something a little extra special (to my ear anyway) in Donghun’s voice. I describe it as an added depth of emotion which can be heard in many of his solo cover pieces like SWJA’s beautiful ballad, 도망가자 (Run With Me).
SWJA’s ballad 도망가자 (Run With Me) is as haunting as it is beautiful. A love song that gently coaxes one to put away all worries and troubles, to drop everything, pack light, and run away with a beloved. It is exactly the kind of ballad I love hearing Donghun sing. SWJA, or Sunwoojunga, is a musician, singer-songwriter and record producer who penned this song and released it on her fourth studio album, Serenade, in December 2019. The song is a perennial favorite that has been covered often. Donghun’s rendition is particularly gentle and moving.
So pretty, right? And . . . these lyrics in particular bring solace, especially now that he has gone on military hiatus and we begin to miss him:
너랑 있을게 이렇게
(I’ll be with you like this)
손 내밀면 내가 잡을게
(If you reach your hand out, I will take it)
있을까 두려울 게
(There’s nothing to be afraid of)
어디를 간다 해도
(Wherever we go)
우린 서로를 꼭 붙잡고 있으니
(We always hold onto each other)
🥺🥺🥺 ~ Donghun covered this song back in January of this year when we were all trying to emerge from a global pandemic. Even though it may feel plaintive and sad, there is also something about it that feels healing.
I really think Donghun has incredible versatility in his voice which provides wonderful contrast to the other vocalists in A.C.E. He has the kind of range that can handle many different music genres. Restrained, poised and emotional with ballads where his vocal lines are soft. Powerful and explosive with rock or indie oriented songs, where his vocal lines have more edge and gravel. I hope to continue to explore all of that versatility in this series, and give Donghun the spotlight he deserves. We have a long way to go, but I think he and I are both up to it!
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