By JONATHAN M. HICAP
October 2, 2010, 2:37pm
MANILA, Philippines — K-pop rapper and b-boy Jay Park (aka Park Jaebum) has come full circle, rising from difficulties and controversies in the past year to successfully make a comeback to Korea and reclaim his throne as a compleat artist.
Jay met with Filipino and Korean press at the Dusit Thani Manila Hotel in Makati on Sept. 29 to promote his music and his upcoming Fan Meets Tour 2010 that will be held at the SMX Convention Center at the SM Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City on Oct. 3.
Brimming with confidence, the eloquent rap artist answered all questions with honesty, punctuating on the importance of being a positive person in pursuing his dreams.
Members of the press were allowed to ask questions even on controversial issues like Jay’s former group, 2PM. The presscon was not scripted unlike in a few press conferences for visiting Korean pop artists in the country wherein the questions were already prepared beforehand and just given to the media.
Jay is very happy about the fan meets. He not only gets to personally interact with fans but also, he is with his b-boy crew, Art of Movement (AOM), a Seattle-based group of which two members are of Filipinos descent.
He came back to South Korea in June to re-launch his music career and film his first ever movie, “Hype Nation.”
Asked by Bulletin Entertainment about the success of his new career as a solo artist, Jay said he is overwhelmed by the opportunities that are coming his way.
“It’s kind of really overwhelming because I never really planned on it. All these chances they just popped up. And I’m thinking that they’re really good opportunity and I’m just taking them. And I had to bring my friends along so it makes it even better,” he said, referring to AOM.
Jay’s comeback saw him releasing his cover version of “Nothin’ On You,” which is a duet with B.o.B. The song was awarded as the best international song for June in the Cyworld Digital Music Awards in Korea.
Then he released his EP “Count on Me” under Warner Music Group Asia Pacific, which contains the Korean and English versions of “Count on Me (Nothin’ on You).” The album will be released in the country on Oct. 1 under Warner Music Philippines.
Warner Music Asia Pacific said Jay “has crushed down the impossibility and proven his unlimited passion as a multi-talented artist” and has shown his potentials to become a global artist.
Jay said if there’s an opportunity, he’s interested in pursuing a singing career in the US, citing the success of Filipino Charice Pempengco, who recently appeared on the hit TV show “Glee.”
“Yeah. I really do have a lot of interest in that because I do listen to a lot of pop artists and rap artists from America. I do like that music a lot so one day hopefully I can break that barrier. I know Charice right now is doing big things over there,” Jay said.
Jay said his musical inspirations include the late Michael Jackson, Usher, Tupac, and Beyonce. When it comes to rapping, his influences include Eminem and Jay-Z. And in dancing, he cites AOM and Fil-Am choreographer Andrew Baterina as his inspirations.
If given the chance, Jay said he would like to collaborate with rap artist Drake, singer Usher and even Charice. He is also interested in doing a cover version of Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are.”
He added that he and AOM would like to do another movie if given the chance.
“If the opportunity comes, I’m sure everybody would love to do another movie. ‘Hype Nation’ was really a good opportunity. Even if it’s not a dance movie, I’d love to do it,” Jay said.
Jay is so thankful for the support being given to him by his family, fans and AOM that he got tattoos to show his appreciation.
“All of them have special meaning to me. The one behind my ears is for my crew. The one on my chest is for my family. The one on my back is for my fans. Because they supported me so much through everything so I just want to show my appreciation,” he said.
Jay’s career in the K-pop scene started in 2008 when he was launched as the leader of boy band 2PM, originally composed of seven members.
But a controversy involving Jay’s entries on his MySpace account posted before his debut as member of 2PM triggered a barrage of criticisms from Korean netizens.
The growing criticism forced Jay to temporarily leave 2PM and flew to Seattle, Washington, in September last year.
Then on February 25 this year, JYP Entertainment announced that Jay would not come back to 2PM and that it had terminated Jay’s contract.
Two days later, JYPE and the remaining six members of 2PM held a meeting with the representatives of 2PM fan clubs in Korea to discuss the issue about Jay. In the meeting, the members of 2PM admitted that they all agreed to let Jay out of the group.
The 2PM fandom became divided but Jay’s fans never left him. Even while Jay was in Seattle, his fans continued to send him gifts and do charity work on his behalf.
While in Seattle, Jay concentrated on his b-boying, joining contests and restarted his life as a private citizen.
Then in March, Jay became visible again on the internet when he set up his own YouTube channel and uploaded an a cappella version of “Nothin’ on You”. The video became viral, garnering 1.5 million views in just 24 hours.
The rest is history.
During the Manila press conference, Jay said being positive and good was the best lesson he learned after leaving 2PM.
“The most important thing is just to be good to people around you and to the fans.”
However, he was still mum on the exact reason he was taken out of 2PM.
“I can’t really clarify. I just want to leave it in the past. I just kinda look forward to try to be positive,” he said.
But Jay said he still loves the members of 2PM and he hopes that one day, they’ll be friends again.
“I haven’t met them (since coming back to Korea). I have nothing but love for the guys. I hope all the best for them. Hopefully one day, we can just be friends again…Just be brothers again like we are right now,” he said, referring to him and his AOM crew.