Singer Shin Hye-sung, a member of the group Shinhwa, recently released his second album “Keep Leaves” in his third album collection. In the first album, he attempted various genres including alternative rock, British rock and swing, but the sale results proved unsatisfactory.
But Shin, smiling, said, “My company doesn’t think of it as a failed album. My initial strategy was to have two albums from very different genres comprise my third regular album collection. I wanted to do something new, maybe unfamiliar to the public. But fans loved the album (laugh). So thankfully, now I hear demo tapes not only of ballads but other music genres. My choice has expanded.” His second album features ballad songs, as he planned.
The title number “Why did you call,” composed by Ha Jeong-ho, tells the story of a man who can’t forget his love even after parting. Shin is particularly proud of his recording of “Even if it’s a Lie” written by a member of his concert band. The magnificent string sound of “I’m dying” composed by “Wanted” member Kim Jae-seok is comparable to a film O.S.T.
The ten-track mini-album will also function as a regular album. It topped weekly album sales on a domestic portal, and “Why did you call” climbed to number three on various music sites. Shin says he is upbeat and confident because he has returned to his forte of ballads in addition to the good response.
He says his hope, as a solo singer, is to have a song not only appreciated by fans but becomes a national hit like the Wonder Girls’ “Tell Me.” He said it’s tough for ballads to be enjoyed by all people, but he was inspired by the example of Baek Ji-young’s “I won’t love.”
He also noted that his group Shinhwa has yet to produce a national hit in the ranks of GOD’s “To Mother” and H.O.T’s “Candy.” He said Shinhwa has been a performance-heavy dance group and has thus been less recognized for their actual songs.
He has been a part of Shinhwa for ten years but as a soloist, he’s released just three albums.
He said, “Looking back on my band days, up until our fourth album ‘Hey, Come on!’ I don’t think I knew much about music, why I was singing, what songs worked for us, what the lyrics were about, what the album’s concept was and so on. I just mechanically sang.” Releasing his first solo album, he realized that the many years as a Shinhwa member was actual a “precious asset.” He realized he was even too shy to look straight into the camera, ducking his face in embarrassment.
“I was a complete novice but I couldn’t let it show. I wished I had studied more music from the Shinhwa years. Back then, our schedule was packed; we had no time to think about anything else. Fortunately, band groups these days seem to study music a lot.”
After an 11 year singing career, Shin stated his humble but number one goal: “My real goal now is to pursue singing steadily.”