By Han Eun-jung
In the last three years since starting out as a back-up dancer for singer Park Ji-yoon
has show K-pop nothing but nonstop action.
His first song, "Bad Guy (Napun Namja)", was a sensation that took him to all the major local award ceremonies, many of which honored him with best new artist awards.
His following recording efforts didn't fail to deliver. "How to Run From the Sun (Taeyangul Pihanun Pangbop)", his first single from the sophomore recording, and "It's Raining" from his third album of the same title dominated the charts at No. 1 for weeks.
So it is pretty much safe to say Rain
's career has been heading in only one direction _ up.
Geographically, the situation is a bit more complicated as his career has taken the singer everywhere. With Korea pretty much covered, last year Rain
officially started to make his way into Japan to the east and China to the west.
Just last month Rain performed alongside American diva Mariah Carey and Japanese superstar Amuro Namie at the MTV Video Music Awards Japan 2005, held at NK Hall in Tokyo.
Not only was he invited as a performing artist but the 23-year-old singer was there to pick up the "Best Buzz Asia from Korea" award.
With the exception of J-pop outfits, Rain
was the only other singer from the Asian region. The line-up that night included Ashanti, Hoobastank and Jamiroquai.
performed "It's Raining", the title track from his most recent album.
Other international guest artists in the show include American singer Ashanti and rock band Hoobas Tank, and British band Jamiroquai.
Hong Kong-based daily Mingbao, reported in April that the results to an online poll showed that Chinese Internet users ranked Rain the fifth most popular South Korean celebrity. Actors Song Seung-heon
and Bae Yong-joon
were among those ranked ahead of him.
"What I've learned from my experiences performing is that I can't be performing lost in the thought that `Oh. I am hot"', he told the Yonhap News Agency in an interview backstage of the recent MTV Video Music Awards Japan. "What I do is try to get the party started by working with the audience".
Rain had already been honored with a guest spot at MTV Asia Aid earlier this spring.
Having pocketed two MTV honors already all he needs is to score at next month's MTV Music Video Awards China to be the first Asian performer to achieve a grand slam.
said that he plans to work hard but his hopes are high.
"Being the first Asian MTV grand slammer would guarantee my popularity here. My chances of making appearances on American MTV would then be greater", he said.
is currently recording his next album, set for release in November according to his agency, JYP Entertainment.
The album will be released simultaneously in South Korea and Japan. However, unlike his Japanese debut album, "It's Raining", his second album up for release, will include some different tracks from the one that will hit local record stores.
In the meantime, the singer is set to go to China, where he will hold a showcase and a news conference on July 1 in Beijing, timed with the Chinese release of "It's Raining". He will then head to Hong Kong for another showcase and news conference on July 3.
will go to Japan for concerts in Tokyo on July 30 and 31 and in Osaka on Aug. 3 and 4.
All 11,000 tickets to the Tokyo leg of his "Rainy Day" tour sold out in under 30 seconds when the box office opened on the morning of June 10.
His Osaka concerts look as if they will sell out soon said JYP Entertainment.
, who has given impressive performances in two TV dramas, "Sang Doo! Let's go to school
" in 2003 and "Full House
" in 2004, has chosen his next acting role.
will star opposite Ko So-young
in the miniseries "Motoen Sarang" ("A Love to Kill
"), which is slated to premiere in September on MBC.
Given the fact that his performance in "Full House
" won him with the Best Actor Award at the KBS Acting Awards, fans are already wondering how Rain
will portraying his character, the rich pompous Yong-ki, who falls in love with In-jong (Ko).