By Han Sang-hee
is back. He's "Back to the Basic".
"Hello, everyone. Rain
is back with a ballad", the 27-year-old told a roomful of reporters and photographers in Yeouido, Seoul, Monday.
He has returned as a singer, after spending months traveling around the world promoting his Hollywood action flick, "Ninja Assassin
", and it was evident he was ready to further wow fans with yet another hot track.
"I needed to go back to where I started from. People have asked me why I wanted to release an album in Korea when I could continue acting in the United States. The reason is I could not forget my roots: my Korean fans. It was my duty and so that's why I chose the title `Back to the Basic"', he said.
has released several ballads, this is the first time he is promoting his new album with one, which is called, "Love Song".
"I've been working as Rain
for about eight years now, and I felt I needed to give my fans something completely different. A singer has to evolve with transition; that's what we should strive to do and that's why people love us", he said.
"But I promise it's just not me standing on the stage just singing; there will be some dance moves along the way", Rain
"Back to the Basic" is comprised of five tracks, including the English version of "Love Song". The four tracks are definitely groovier than his other up-beat and electronic numbers, which were always accompanied by clever choreography that brought out the power and sexiness of the singer. "Love Song" was made two years ago by Rain
himself, alongside his last hit number "Rainism". It was released earlier this month and immediately topped online music charts.
"I wanted to make tasteful music, not so fancy and decorated. The songs are all based on my experience", he said, smiling shyly.
Working for the movie was a difficult time for Rain
as he had to stick to a strict diet and workout routine, and he had to go through that again for his album photos.
The singer shows off his chiseled torso in the photos, some with a longer and wavier hairdo, and others with it a shorter style. While previous albums focused on the more masculine and tougher Rain
, this one showed a more feminine side.
"I'll be wearing some accessories like bracelets, vests, hats and fake eyelashes. I was serious when I said I wanted a change!" he said, laughing.
Growing as a Man
Music making and becoming a star cannot be done without the help of others. In this case, Rain
was lucky as he had teamed up with one of Korea's best known producers and singers Park Jin-young
, or JYP, from the start. When he left JYP and announced that he was starting his own company, some waited patiently, others worried. But in the end, Rain
proved that he was serious and brushed off doubts by branching out as a singer, actor, fashion designer and producer.
"When I worked with Park, he was in charge of the music and I was in charge of the stage settings, deciding on scripts for dramas and films and it worked. When I branched out on my own, I had to think about where I was going with `Rain
'. As I worked on `Rainism', I realized that I had talents that I didn't even know I had", he recalled.
"Now, I definitely listen to more music and always wonder about myself and prepare for the next step. I think now I finally know what I'm doing".
But like any other young entertainer who goes through a bit of a slump, Rain
also went through a hard time as one of the most popular singers and actors in Asia.
"Living as a celebrity in Korea means you have to hide some parts of your life and must restrain yourself to some extent. At one point, I wanted to give up everything and let go. But now I have learned a lot and I think I'm on my way to becoming a better man", he said.
may have become a household name in Korea and a couple of Asian countries, but he still has a long way to go to be seriously recognized as an actor or singer in the U.S. and European market. Thanks to "Ninja Assassin
", he has demonstrated that he has on screen potential, but what about his music?
"The promotion tour for (the film) made me realize that the world is big and there are so many things to do. I've done interviews and commercials after filming `Ninja Assassin
', and I think it was a great stepping stone in my career", said Rain
The singer apparently had a firm strategy: start out as an actor, be recognized and then release an album.
"Just like with the drama `Full House
' in Asia", he said.
It seems that Rain
may have a head start over his fellow Korean singers, who have strived to tap into the U.S. market for the past few years, but America is a tough sell, and the singer knew that rushing would not be effective.
"You can't just release an album and make a big fuss over it. I would love to start immediately, considering my age, but I must follow the American way", he said calmly.
" There will be failures but there will also be success. I'm dreaming big".
The cover of Rain
's new album "Back to the Basic" / Courtesy of JTune Entertainment