[2009 GQ Interview]


Xia Junsu's aura seems to exist outside the orbit of Dongbangshinki. Is that so? You seem free. There are no affectations. Would you call that the sensibility of Xia Junsu?

I do a lot of ad libs when I sing live. 'Nono nohowoahohoh' like this. But we're a team

and we take care not to break that framework. It's the hardest part but also the most

important thing. When you sing, do you sing for yourself? I think about the audience when I sing. What's the balance between singing for yourself and singing what the audience wants.

It is a sort of battle. That's true. But I'm not calculating when I sing. I don't theorize.

It depends on how I'm feeling that day, physically and emotionally. I let things flow naturally.

When I first sang 'Mirotic' live, I was thinking of all the breathing points. Now I just

breathe when I breathe. It's best to make the live version sound as close to the recording

as possible but then that can also take away from the fun of live singing. Is your voice your identity as a singer? If I'm forced to define it, it's 50% singing and 50% dancing.

I can't say I like singing more. I was dancing since I was a trainee. It just happens that my image is.. ‘Born to sing'. That's just something fans say. Please forget it. I have equal passion for dance. How far do you want to go with singing? I want to continue singing. Because when it comes to singing, there's no perfect score.

If you had to make a deal with the devil and give up one of your talents, which would it be? Your voice?

Vocal skills? Ability to emote? Technique? Technique. It's not absolutely necessary. There are priorities in singing. What's the no. 1 priority? Emotions. The difference between good and bad singing can come down to style. The important thing is how much heart you put into a song with the voice you're born with. I still have a long way to go but that's my mindset. Who stimulates Xia Junsu? I get mad when I listen to Brian McKnight. Because he's too good.

Some fans compare you to Stevie Wonder and Kim Beomsoo. They said "Who's the best? I like Xia Junsu the best. He's the only one that made me cry." Haha, good God. I'm sure that wasn't about who's the better singer but who resonated more with them. I'm embarrassed just to mention those names. It's overwhelming to even be compared to Stevie Wonder and Kim Beomsoo.

I heard you've accomplished everything you wanted to in 2008. Everything I hoped for came true. Above and beyond what the goal was. To be honest, a lot of comparisons came with this album.

With other groups? I even heard 'Dongbangshinki is old news‘. Even in the comments. The 1 year and 7 months hiatus was longer than I thought. That's how it felt. Before, a comeback was just a comeback. This time, there were doubts, 'Will we be able to pull it off?' The fandom, music and culture had all changed. Moreover, there was a lot of talk about whether DBSK would do well in Korea. We had hit no. 1 in Japan.

There were quite a few who didn't think you'd make it. That's right. But I didn't focus on whether we'd make it or not. I didn't have confidence in that. We can't appeal to the public just because we try.

It depends on the times and trends. Whether a song becomes a hit is up to the public. I didn't even have the time nor the need to think about these things during the past 6 years since debut. But I knew

the public had lost a sense of who we were during the year and 7 months' absence. I vowed to at least show that "We're still Dongbangshinki." It's the one thing I was confident about.

That sounds like an easy order. I had to put myself in that mindset. The pressure was no joke. I can talk about it like this because it's in the past. Things were intense last year.

I paid your fan site a visit yesterday. It was a sort of paradise. They find happiness and peace in Xia Junsu. In earnest. How does it feel to make others so happy? The only way I can repay them is with good singing and performances. It's hard to say, if I do this then that will happen. I'm a singer so it's singing and performing.

In the beginning, was it just belief in your voice that motivated you? It started with Kangta hyung. I still don't get nervous around celebrities. I was like that since I was little. Even seeing a really famous actress doesn't affect me.

Even Kim Taehee? Jeon Jihyun? Monica Belluci? I know pretty people are pretty. And I like certain people for certain qualities. But with Kangta hyung, I get nervous.

Did you have Kangta's picture on your pencil case? Pencil case? Come on, I didn't go that far. It was on my desk. Same difference. I still get nervous when I see Kangta hyung. I'm astonished at myself for holding a normal conversation with him. It's true I became a singer because of Kangta hyung. I know what you had for lunch yesterday. You had pizza, right? Right. How'd you know?

A 'sasaeng fan' told me. You were on a break from Jan 1st to the 10th. Was it a break free from management as well? Management let us be. 'Sasaeng fans' didn't. It's upsetting. I think it's really selfish. They say fans can be like that because they're fans but to even intrude on personal time.. I don't want to lose my vacation.

Do you just get 10 days a year? In terms of a proper vacation, yes. But they wait in front of the house and follow me and it's hard to lose them. It's tiresome every time I go anywhere. I know it's part of being an entertainer/celebrity. Maybe I'm asking too much. But I'd like to meet fans through performances.

Living as an idol, do you think you'll get used to that kind of fandom? It's possible to get used to it. Getting used to it means becoming numb. But I'd feel sorry for myself if I became numb. So I try not to get used to it. I try to maintain a taut tension. It'll get tough for us once we get used to it.

You seem to have a solid and peaceful sense of self. Is that why you like the sea? I like palm trees. They just relax me. And they give me the feeling that I'm somewhere exotic. I choose vacation spots over the city when I'm on holiday. I like warmth and the ocean. I like the idea that I'm resting. Palm trees, sunshine are things I fantasize about.

Idols are often looked down on, just for being idols. I've always listened to your music but when I ask myself 'Where would the best place be to listen to DBSK's music?' I couldn't find an answer.

I understand. Our music has been heavy on dance performances. It might be a lot to listen to while walking around.

Are you conscious of yourself as an idol? I am. But it's up to the public to decide. And I've come too far to change things. Idols aren't what's wrong. What's wrong is the way Korea thinks about them.

Why do you think that is? I don't know. Justin Timberlake and Beyonce are idols, too, but people don't think they're less talented; they think Korean idols are, though. Because of the unfavorable way the public looks upon idols, a lot of groups try to appear as "artists" not idols.

What about DBSK? If there's one thing I want, it's to change the image of idols, not the fact that DBSK are idols. I want to break down the prejudice that idols are not talented. DBSK are idols.

Is that your goal? No. Whether we're called idols or not, that's up to the public.

Would DBSK be able to do it? What do you think? There's no standard that you can meet to prove you're good enough. All you can do is never settle.

That's the path of an artist. It's hard to satisfy all areas 100% as an idol. Popularity comes with haters, too. Also, I started out as an idol. (At this moment, the chicken Junsu had ordered arrived.)

Your chicken's here. Chicken, I love it the most. I love all food made with chicken. I usually like fried chicken with sauce but this is good even though it's just plain fried chicken. It's crispy.

You don't seem to care how you look on TV. I don't.

Are things hard for you? I can't say they're not. But you gain some and lose some. Trying too hard to get things you can't have will make it hard for you. It's greed. If you're strong, you'll break. I've gained things, so I also let things go. I'm very happy and content to be loved as a singer, as DBSK's Xia Junsu. But if I'm born again, I don't think I'll be an entertainer. It's a thought I've had since 2 years ago. Because I've experienced this, I want to try living an ordinary life. I'm also not confident I can do it again. Even with singing, I'd like to do it comfortably while living a normal life.

What does an interview with <GQ> mean to you? Honestly, I don't read magazines. I'm not interested in fashion. Yuchun hyung's into fashion.