Rain Talkasia Transcript
LH: Lorraine Hahn
LH: Hello and welcome to Talk Asia, I'm Lorraine Hahn.
My guest today is Korean pop sensation, Rain- a multi-talented artist known for his rich deep voice, stunning dance moves and acting skills.
Rain shot to stardom in his native country as the lead male actor in the Korean drama, "Full House".
He made his musical debut three years ago with the hit song and album, "Bad guy" and broke into the mainstream Asian market.
Since then, he's won numerous awards throughout the region, topping off the MTV Asia Grand Slam this year.
LH: Rain, welcome to Talk Asia. It's so nice to see you. Tell me, why did you use the name Rain.
R: Before I made my debut, I was talking to my producer about which stage name to use. He said that I give an impression of sadness when I'm dancing. So I decided on the character "Bi" which means sadness, as sad as rain falling. That's why I chose this name.
LH: You're won a whole list of awards, including the Grand Slam. That must be exciting?
R: I am extremely thankful to the fans in China, Hong Kong and Asia for the support. It feels like a dream.
LH: Rain, you have 3 albums officially so fair, and 1 coming up. Yet you have achieved in a short span of time such an iconic status. Do you ever think you could be successful so early?
R: Yes the drama series was very influential. And the fact that I'm also a singer made a difference. Because in Korea, when I started, there wasn't a trend where people chose to be both actors and singers. I was the first to do both. It was a great deal hard work, but I got a lot of support and love from my audience. And for me to receive the same treatment overseas, I felt that I was also very lucky.
LH: You're here for some concerts in Hong Kong and you know the tickets I mean went just like that. That must be exciting.
R: I was extremely excited to hear the news and it really seems like a dream. I'm not an artist from Hong Kong, and yet the fans gave me tremendous support, all of which makes me very thankful! I do hope that the success of this tour would be the start of many more activities for me here in Hong Kong and throughout the rest of Asia.
LH: Did you have to tone down any of your dancing or anything to perform in China?
R: Not at all. I always try to perform my concerts my own way. You had asked earlier why the Chinese fans like my music and I believe it is because I show them the type of concerts that they haven't seen before. There aren't many performers there who would rip their clothes off on stage and I was the first to try this.
LH: You have toured a number of big cities here in Asia, any favorites?
R: Hong Kong and China. It's the home of Andy Lau, Jackie Chan and other great Chinese actors whom I am a big fan of. I would actually really like to meet them if I get a chance! Asian culture is really great. So there's no specific country, I like Asia and Asian culture as a whole.
LH: Now that you've made it in the Asian market, what is next?
R: Oh it's much too early to say that I've made it in the Asian market. The reason I am active in Japan, Hong Kong, China and around Asia is that I want to succeed here and then go even more international. Because currently, the United States has the dominant music market. And what I would really like to see, is a top Asian artist emerge strongly from the Asian market, and then go on to succeed in the U.S. market.
I am not speaking only for myself, but for any artist. I would be really happy for any Asian, if he or she manages to do it!
Although I still have a long way to go, I would like to become the pride of Asia. When another Asian artist enters the US market, I would like him to think "there was an artist called Rain who succeeded in the US market" This is my dream. I hope there will come the time when I step out onto a global stage. But until that time, I need to put in a lot more work, and I need to study hard, especially different languages so that I can become more international.
LH: Rain, what was it like to meet Will Smith, Mariah Carey at the MTV Video Awards in Japan?
R: I wasn't able to meet them in person but there is always something to learn from people who are passionate about what they do and who have succeeded. They are different from ordinary people so I've learned a lot just from watching them. I also learned at the awards that there are a lot of good things about Asian culture.
LH: What did they teach you?
R: I learned that instead of relying on and imitating American music, there is a better chance for an Asian artist to succeed if he or she follows his or her own culture. For example, I incorporate Korean and Asian marshal arts into my dancing. There is a hip hop artist called Lil Kim. She is a female rapper who loves Asian culture. Her boots would have a picture of a carp, or she would wear a jacket with a picture of a dragon. So an important thing that I've learned is that instead of following the US market, we need to follow our own cultural style.
LH: Rain, your fan base ranges from 4 to 50 not only in Korea but the entire Asia Region. Why do you think they come to see you? To listen to your music or to watch you move?
R: If you are truthful, most people will like you. It is important to be able to say honestly if there is something that you cannot do. Just like it is important to acknowledge the things that you do do well so that you can ask people to enjoy it with you. That's my approach and I think this is why my fans like me.
LH: You are very humble.
R: Thank you.
LH: So, it's not your good looks?
R: No, and I know it's not the case because I remember going to auditions before my debut and I was rejected twelve times! I was told back then that the reason I was rejected was because my face was too ugly. I was even told to come back after cosmetic surgery!
In fact, I was told after one audition that my singing and dancing was great but I didn't make it because I didn't have double eyelids. How do you think I felt at that time?
LH: Rain, we're going to take a very, very short break. When we come back, we'll talk to Rain about getting his first big break. There's a lot more on Talk Asia, don't go away.
LH: Welcome back to Talk Asia. My guest is Korean star and action Rain.
LH: Rain, what were you like as a child? Were you very musical?
R: I was very innocent and shielded as a child so I didn't know a lot about music or dancing. When I was in Primary Six, no one would participate in a talent show so I decided to go on. When the audience applauded me I felt euphoric and I started dancing right after that!
LH: Were your parents very encouraging?
R: My parents were initially against it but they became supportive after a while. So there's been no special obstacles in choosing this career.
LH: I read that you lost your mother at a very young age. That must have been very, very difficult for you. How did you deal with that?
R: My mother was big part of my life. The mother-son relationship between us was very strong. In Korea, you have to take a national exam to gain entry into university. At that time that I was getting ready to take the exam, her health was deteriorating very badly and she began scolding me a lot. I was also going through puberty and all that just put a strain on our relationship. We didn't talk much and became very distant.
Before taking this national exam, it's usual to receive a traditional Korean sweet. And my mother bought me this sweet and gave it to me together with a letter. In the letter she said that she was sorry, and when I read it I was heartbroken.
After a few months, during which we still didn't speak much to each other, she passed away.
To this day, I regret that I wasn't once able to pick her a bouquet of flowers or buy her a meal.
At that time I vowed in front of her picture, that when I receive a major award it would be in her honor. I am very happy that I've achieved this.
LH: I'm sure she will be I'm sure she will be very, very proud of you. Have you dedicated any songs in her memory?
R: In this concert there is a song dedicated to her. I used to cry a lot when singing this song, but I am now more in control of my emotions.
I think it is because of her memory that I try harder, have become more humble.
And because of her, I try to be a good person and not to do "bad" things.
LH: Rain, you music career started with you being a backup dancer and then you went solo. Was there a turning point where you decide to go solo?
R: Working as a dancer has its limits because you are dancing to set dances. But as a singer you have more variety and can reinvent yourself continuously. That's why I made the decision to be a singer. And meeting J.Y. Park, my manager, was really the turning point.
LH: But it was a big risk, right? You could have failed.
R: I had faith! I believed that everything would turn out well in the end. But it was a struggle at first. At one point, I didn't eat for four days because I had no money. There was also a time when I was ill but I couldn't go to the hospital.
It was hard but these events only made me more determined. And they gave me the strength to overcome obstacles.
I didn't know then if it would take me three, four or ten years to succeed but I really believed it would happen someday. There were a lot of people who helped me along the way as well. I think I was very lucky.
LH: Rain, you've choreographed some dances, but what about song writing, do you plan to do some of that?
R: I plan to continue what I am doing. I am an actor and a singer, and although I am interested in song-writing, I think that can come later. For the moment, I just want to focus on being the best singer and the best actor that I can be.
LH: Now there are so many young and up and coming new talent here in Asia. How do you plan to stay ahead of them?
R: When I am working, I don't sleep more than two hours a night. My motto in life is to be humble and endlessly persist and strive. I really believe that there is nothing that can be gained without effort.
I know there are many people out there who are better dancers, people who may have a great body, and who can act well.
However, I feel that by practicing that extra hour every day when everybody else is already sleeping, I can better improve and excel.
LH: How do you wind down after a show? How do you relax?
R: There are two ways I relieve my stress. After a performance, I usually read a drama script or I go out for a meal with my staff.
LH: That's not fun.
R: For me it's enjoyable!
LH: J pop, K pop. It's just taken off here in Asia. But so many people don't understand what they're listening to. Why do you think this is?
R: Well, as I said earlier, I think that anything that is sincere will get through to people. Showing everything without hiding anything, that's what I believe. When I see that people like my music, even though they can't understand the language, I'm convinced that it's the sincerity that touches them and that they can relate to.
It would be great if I could just study English and sing English songs but there are so many other languages I need to learn. I need study to Japanese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Tagalog, I am a little worried about how I am going to learn it all.
But I will study hard and I'll show my fans an improved me in the future.
LH: I was just going to ask you. You're actually studying English. Is it difficult?
R: I am studying a few words a day without fail. But pronunciation is still very difficult. English is something I need to do consistently and I will work towards the day when we can hold this interview in English.
LH: Rain, we're going to be taking another very, very short break. When we come back, we'll ask Rain which he prefers: singing and acting. Stay with us.
LH: Welcome back to Talk Asia. With me is Korean Pop sensation Rain. Rain, I know you're sort of well known because you acted in a TV series "Full House", how much did that change your life?
R: I wouldn't say it was life-changing, but it did help me make in-roads into the Asian market, and it helped to make the name "Rain" better known around the region. Most people who watch "Full House" like it. It's a good show, and light-hearted so I think a lot of people also enjoy it for many other reasons.
LH: And you have a new drama too. Tell me about that.
R: The name of the new drama is called "Love to Kill". It is about a man who takes revenge on a woman who betrayed his brother and ran away. But then he ends up falling in love with this girl himself. You will see a whole new side of me in this drama.
LH: So it's pretty challenging.
R: He is a challenging character to portray. There is a dual side to his personality; a tender side when he is with his brother but in the scenes with the girl he is completely cold-hearted. It's been challenging getting these two sides across. It is unclear whether the end will turn out to be a warm happy love story, or whether it will be bleak and sad.
LH: Do you have any movie projects in the pipeline?
R: I don't really want to do a very commercial movie. It's not important for me to have huge audience ratings.
Even if I'm offered a small budget movie, if it gives me the opportunity to show my acting skills, and if it gives me recognition as a serious actor, I would be happy with that. I have no wish to become any more popular or famous. There are actually plans for a movie next year, so we'll see what happens.
LH: So if Steven Spielberg called you up tomorrow, you'd do a movie?
R: I would need to give up everything and focus solely on learning English!
LH: If I gave you a choice between acting and singing, which would you prefer?
R: I get asked that question a lot and I feel that it is similar to the question, "Who do you like better, your mother or father?" It's hard to answer.
LH: So how do you strike a balance in your life? You don't sleep. You hardly have time for any hobbies. What do you do?
R: I believe that if you want to gain something, you need to sacrifice something else. So if I want to enjoy hanging out with friends or have a girlfriend, it would be better for me to give up the work I am doing now because it would be really difficult to do everything well.
But because I am still young I think it is better to lay those things aside for now and concentrate on my work.
Someone once told me, "There will be plenty of time to sleep when you are dead."
LH: What is the hardest part of this business?
R: Relationships! It is hard to take care of the people around me when I am working. But I do feel the need to cherish the people around me, and I think my fans would like for me to do that as well.
LH: And where do you see your career going I mean in the next couple of years. I know you have a new album out.
R: I think the path I am on now is exactly right for me. I am not just another actor or singer from Korea. I want to be a representative of Asia and Asian people regardless of whether you are Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese, Singaporean, Filipino.
I think that Asian culture is great!
Currently there are a lot of talented Asian people working in the U.S. market and I think it is time for more Asian entertainers to emerge in that market. I would like to be able to do this in the near future and to become a person that all of Asia can be proud of.
LH: Rain, good luck to you. Thank you very much.
R: Thank you. Thank you so much.
LH: Rain, thank you so very much for your time. Good luck to you. I've been speaking with Korean pop sensation Rain. I'm Lorraine Hahn. Let's talk again next week.
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