VG: You cut your hair again? Your fans told you not to!
JP: That’s why I left a little in the middle and shaved the sides. Honestly, I want to shave my head, but I can’t because I don’t think the fans will like it.
VG: It’s rumored that you always cut your hair before a performance.
JP: It’s not like that at all. I cut it because I don’t like my hair sticking out when I wear a hat. Everyone must think that because I wear one to a lot of performances.
VG: You performed at Soul Fest yesterday with Musiq Soulchild, how did that go?
JP: It was fun. When would I ever get the chance to sing with Musiq Soulchild again? Although, I was a bit unhappy with singing “Love”. I found out the day before the performance that I would be singing with him, so there wasn’t any time to rehearse. I was only able to meet and greet him the day before for about a minute.
VG: Before the performance, you tweeted that you were nervous?
JP: Yes, I was nervous. There was honestly nothing decided for the performance. Before I went on stage, I didn’t know if there was going to be a live band or MR, there was no sound check, it was an absolute live broadcast without rehearsal. In fact, I didn’t know why Musiq’s manager was unaware of our duet until the last minute. We received permission just 10 minutes before the actual performance. I apologize to my fans, I feel that I didn’t show them a perfect performance.
After the show, I tweeted to him (Musiq) that I was disappointed / unsatisfied and he replied straight away. He said I did well today and that it was fun. And even though I was not satisfied, it was fine since the fans liked it.. and if the chance comes, I would like to work together again in the future.
VG: It was also the debut of your new song “Speechless”.
JP: I was shocked to find that the fans already knew the lyrics to the song. Perhaps they downloaded it beforehand? The interesting thing was, even though the lyrics are in English, they sang along very well. The reaction to “Bestie” was good as well.
VG: You wrote “Bestie” by yourself. Wasn’t it hard writing Korean lyrics?
JP: It was challenging, but fun. I thought the lyrics were clever, so I felt proud afterward. Although someone said it was a bit foolish / idiotic.
VG: Which part of the song do you like the most?
JP: The part people talk about most is “…put you in water, honey water…” I enjoy that part. These type of lyrics don’t appear in Korean songs.
VG: Hypothetically, would you say these type of words to your girlfriend?
JP: Not at all. Even in the past, regardless of how much I love her, how many people would actually say “You’re my honey water”? In the future…I’m not so sure. I guess I’ll find out when the time comes. Regardless of my real style, it’s just a song.
VG: I think you’ll be a bit cold/quiet towards your girlfriend.
JP: At first I won’t express it, but once I know the other person likes me I’ll start to show it. If she becomes my girlfriend, then even more so. However, even then would I think I won’t be able to say childish things like “honey water.”
VG: Recently you’ve been more active with your bboy crew, AOM. I think your feelings towards them have become deeper after experiencing hardships.
JP: Hmm, it was ‘deep’ even then. Once I become friends and create a friendship, my thoughts and feelings of them are special. When I see my friends I think, “My person, my side.”
VG: It’s not easy to meet someone like that.
JP: That’s why I don’t have many friends. I like having a deep relationship with only a few people.
VG: How’s life in Seattle?
JP: In the morning, I wake up, eat breakfast, and exercise as usual. Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays I practice dance at various locations. Thursdays I practice acrobatics. Saturdays I bboy battle. When I’m not practicing, I’m eating burgers or sushi, or playing games at a (AOM) members house. I don’t go clubbing.
VG: It’s nice to know that you still play like a highschooler.
JP: Is it? I thought everyone plays like that?
VG: How would you describe your taste in hobbies? It’s already known that you enjoy The Simpsons.
JP: Yes, I really like The Simpsons. I don’t really watch the new episodes, I prefer the old ones more. I even prefer the old DC comics or Marvel comics over the new ones. I also enjoy the superhero movies like Spiderman and Batman.
VG: This reminds me of your Spiderman socks.
JP: Haha, that’s because I didn’t have any other socks to wear at the time…
VG: You also enjoy eating cereal, you ate it out of a pot!
JP: There were only two bowls, but the other kids used them. As i was eating out of the pot, I thought it would be funny if I recorded it. Later on I used the recoding well in a video, so I was very happy.
VG: It seems like you sleep late at night. What do you do while you’re up so late?
JP: When I sleep early, it’s usually around midnight or 1 A.M. When it’s late, 3-4 A.M. I’m usually on the computer at that hour. I watch sitcoms, Youtube videos. Lots of Youtube videos. I found out about Dumbfoundead, in a famous rap battle video called “Grind Time”. I like Youtube more than regular television because you can watch on demand.
VG: Even now you communicate with your fans through Youtube.
JP: There aren’t any celebrities in Korea that do this type of thing. Since there hasn’t been a video where they sing at home and film themselves playing in everyday life and upload it, I was worried the fans would ask “What is this?” But I’m relieved that they like it. If there’s ever something I want to say to the fans or if there’s news, I like that I can do so through Youtube.
VG: There is nothing quite like the “Nothing on You” video filmed in your Seattle home. Why was it the bathroom?
JP: The lighting was good, and sound echoes really well. It makes it appear like you’re good at singing.
VG: How did you feel while filming it? Your face looked a bit nervous.
JP: It wasn’t like that at all. Since it was my home, I just sang comfortably like I normally do. I thought, “The fans will like this if I upload it.” However, I didn’t think so many people would watch it.
VG: Five million peopled viewed it.
JP: It was very interesting and fascinating. I figured that 10-20,000 people would watch it at the most. It’s incredible that so many people know me.
VG: What did you think when you saw the numbers? Feeling both happy and sad… I think you would’ve had mixed feelings.
JP: I did feel like that, but I felt I had to keep doing it because the fans liked it. It gave me motivation.
VG: Your fan demographic varies from the teens to the 50’s. They are also called “halmaemi”(grandmother) to “josangshin”(ancestor) based on their age.
JP: Haha, yes, I saw those words too. They uploaded a four-year old Caucasion girl asking, “Jaebum oppah please come to my birthday party” on Youtube. At every fanmeeting there are a lot of motherly fans. There seemed to be a lot who have a son that’s around the same age as me.
VG: When was the time you were most grateful for your fans’ support?
JP: It’s not one time, it’s always. When I was in America, I received letters, online messages, and gifts everyday. Some even sent ricecakes for Moonharvest and Christmas. I was so grateful because not only did they look after me, but also my parents, AOM, even my pet Peatry as well.
VG: At the time, you couldn’t repay/thank them.
JP: That’s why I Youtubed. That was the best I could do at the time. I’m so glad that I can now do something for the fans such as fanmeetings. Two weeks ago, as a sign of thanks, I tattooed Jaywalkers on my neck and back. The fanclub is called JayEffect, the fans are called Jaywalkers.
VG: Aren’t you sometimes frightened by ‘hardcore’ fans?
JP: Hmm, not scared, but like everyone else, I’m human.
VG: Like taking photos right in front of your nose?
JP: I’m used to that so it’s alright. Even if I’m a bit uncomfortable, if the fans want it, I let them. But sometimes when they come to the dorm, hide, watch… or take photos… that’s when it gets a bit scary… *Jay leans closer to the mic* please refrain from doing that, haha.
VG: After moving to a new company, has your range of activity has become more broad and free?
JP: Yes, I especially like that I can choose everything. From songs, dances, fashion, and hairstyles to schedules. I have become in control of everything. I freely meet with people that I want to make music or dance with, even if they’re not famous at all. If I like the person’s talent, I want to work with them. Working with someone on stage is always a good thing. Like Dok2 or The Quiett.
VG: You worked with Brave Brothers as well.
JP: Brave Brothers was…. yes… that was…
VG: …was it a slightly different meaning?
JP: Yes, it was a bit different.
VG: Is there anyone that you want to work with next?
JP: Supreme Team. They’re really good at rapping and their songs are exciting. When I listen to their songs I automatically go, “Put your hands up.” It’s not trying to look cool, but I think they’re a team that lets their bodies feel the rhythm and sing as if they’re crazy. I like the energy.
VG: How is acting going? Hype Nation was even better because you filmed it with your friends, right?
JP: I haven’t done a lot of acting, but it’s fun and, if given the chance, I would like to try it again. For Hype Nation, I came to Korea for the first time in nine months. I was happy because I haven’t been here in a long time, but on top of that, I came with my friends and filmed a movie, so I was very happy.
VG: I guess AOM should be grateful of you, they get to be active in Korea because of a friend.
JP: They are thankful, but nowadays, since I’ve been so good to them, I think they’re starting to believe that it’s only natural of me.
VG: Is it starting to become a bad habit?
JP: Yes, I think so. I’m thinking one day I should pretend to fire them. *laughs*
VG: Even if they (AOM) didn’t know in America, did they think, “Wow, my friend is really famous” when they came to Korea?
JP: In Seattle, they didn’t know because there were only about two or three people a week that would recognize me. But when I first put up a Youtube video and they saw the views, they realized and felt it.
I was shocked at the results, so imagine how surprised they were. When I returned to Korea they saw the 2,000 fans at the airport and were surprised. After that everything became a bit “standard”.
Now, when we go overseas to Singapore or Philippines, they think, “This many people will be there”. Isn’t that ridiculous and unbelievable? Haha, even I don’t actually think or realize that I’m famous, but they think they’re more of a star than me.
VG: Seems like something is boiling or getting angry within you?
JP: A bit of discontent? Haha, it’s just a joke.
VG: How did you feel seeing the fans at the airport?
JP: I expected some fans to be there, because I saw news about it on fansites, but I didn’t know there would be that many people, I was so thankful. The fans never seize to amaze me. But at that time I was dressed like a hobo/jobless/etc… I was thinking, “If I’d have known, I would have dressed nicer.”
VG: Your fans talk about your airport fashion a lot. Have you ever thought of improving, reforming, expanding your wardrobe? The fans even count the amount times you’ve worn certain pairs of pants or hat!
JP: I don’t really concern myself with those things much. Even in the future, I’ll dress nicely on days I want to dress nice, or dress casually if I want to be comfortable.
VG: Like today? (Jay is wearing white socks and black slippers)
JP: Yes, freely.
VG: Nowadays, the places we hear your songs seem to be at concerts and festivals…do you feel you want to be on free-to-air television?
JP: Not especially. If there’s an opportunity, I will. If not, that’s fine too. If there’s a chance for me to communicate with my fans, then that’s more than enough. Because my fans will go wherever I go. I’m satisfied.
VG: There have been a lot of hardships being alone after having been in a group, right?
JP: It isn’t easy to dance and sing everything, but I enjoy it because there’s a lot of time for me to work with my own style.
VG: Your actions these days must seem like a “rediscovery of Jay” to your fans. Even when i first heard “NOY” I thought, “Did Jay always fit ballads so well?” I guess you didn’t get to sing long enough to feel like that before.
JP: At the time I heard a lot of positive feedback. Fans would ask me, “Were you always this good at singing?” Although I believed I didn’t sing that well, I was happy seeing the reactions. Even in future, I’m not going to stick with just hip-hop. Rap, dance, R&B, ballad… I want to do it all.
VG: If we told you that you had an hour to do a stage as you wished, what would you do?
JP: I would do all of the performances I can. I would sing, dance, and BBoy. If I wanted to do such a thing, I would definitely have to produce a lot of good songs.
VG: I guess in a way, when you first started music, you wanted to do music freely like this?
JP: It’s possible. Maybe this situation came a bit faster than I expected. Regardless, I’m very happy with the current situation.
Honestly, I didn’t dream about being a singer when I was young, I never thought about my future in detail. Originally, I wanted to be someone who studies animals in places like Africa.
VG: Is that why you played so well with the cat during the shoot?
JP: Yes, I really like animals.
VG: Has your personality changed at all after suffering your recent hardships?
JP: I’ve become a lot more optimistic. Even if bad things happen, I try to think that it will turn out for the best.
VG: I thought it would have been the opposite. Maybe you wouldn’t trust people as easily, or you wouldn’t be able to make decisions as quickly.. that sort of thing.
JP: I was always a bit shy. Nothing about me has really changed as a result of those events.
VG: Nobody can predict the things you will do, or the things you will make.
JP: I agree, I don’t know anything. Whether it be America or Korea, if an opportunity presents itself, I will grab it. If things don’t work out the way I want them to, then it can’t be helped. Other people might think my attitude as foolish. There are people who say I should quickly release an album while I’m popular now. I believe things don’t actually work out when you force them. Anything I do, I want to do it slowly; When I want, with the people I want.
VG: Has your standard/idea of happiness changed from before?
JP: I’ve always been the same. I’ve been someone who can look after their family and friends. That has always been my motto. And now that it has been achieved, I have nothing more to wish for. I just hope everything goes well without any accidents and problems.
VG: Your family must have had many worries, but they must be relieved now.
JP: Yes, but they were better than I thought. I stayed energetic/happy/ok so my parents wouldn’t worry. Now they worry about my health. They always tell me to rest when I can and eat well.
VG: Do you get uncomfortable when people bring up the past?
JP: I’m alright, it doesn’t matter. If I stay distressed because something bad occurred, nothing will work out. I just take it as a lesson, learn from it, and move on. However I try not to (talk about it) because my company doesn’t like it and will begin to worry.
VG: What is your biggest worry currently?
JP: I’m worried I will get sick/injured. It will become difficult if I injure myself while dancing, hurt my throat while singing, or get sick from a cold. I was sick for a week because I caught a cold right after I did the two fanmeetings in Korea. I ask myself, “What will I do if my fitness/health doesn’t keep up… I have so much to do in future.”
VG: You talked the most about your gratefulness towards your fans during the interview.
JP: I am always thankful. I’m so grateful that they are concerned about every little thing about me, down to a pimple on my face. I will try my best in future to make my fans proud of me. I want to tell them not to worry too much about me, and that I’m ok. I’m an adult, you know. *laughs*
VG: I heard you are leaving (Korea) the day after tomorrow. What are your plans after that?
JP: I’m going to work with American producers in Los Angeles. I can’t say exactly right now.
VG: On the international customs form, there is an “occupation” question. What is your answer?
JP: Writing words like “singer” there is too funny, so even then I didn’t write that. In fact, there are times where I reply with “student.” Nowadays, I just write “entertainer.”
VG: But you’re a singer…
JP: I believe you have to be Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, or Usher to be allowed to write that.
VG: Then I guess that could change in the future, if you fit the profile.
JP: It’s possible…in about ten years?
VG: What defines a good entertainer?
JP: A person that makes viewers feel happy and joyful from the stage. Not just singing, but someone who can accomplish a wide variety of things through music. A person who can have a good influence on people. I want to become that type of person. Even if its not fancy or glamorous, if I’m happy and enjoying it, it’s fine.