[Translation]130711 GRAZIA Magazine Featuring Henry
In cartoons, there is a set of “laws”. The passionate main character finds his hidden talent, lives great, goes through hardship, then finally reaches his dreams. The main keywords are “talents” “hardship” and “growth”. The first solo presented by SM Entertainment in 13 years, Henry, first showed his face as Super Junior-M’s member after being selected at an audition in Canada. In the mini album with six songs, he did half of the composing and lyrics writing. He is a twenty five years old young man who can also speak English, Chinese, and Korean fluently. His life story is similar to a cartoon. Like the always-bright main characters, Henry had a bright personality that mixed within the staffs well, and his pale skin and blond hair also resembles a cartoon main character. His body without any fat is also another resemblance. But, like cartoons omit parts to make the story flow easier, Henry’s seemingly luxurious life also has unknown parts. Such as this. The violin performances he showed for intro parts of ‘Trap’ wasn’t practiced just for the performance, but he started playing when he was 5, and was the first instrument he thought seriously about pursuing as a major. He also started piano at age of 6. We converse naturally with him in Korean, but he’s actually Canadian. His mother is from Hong Kong, and his father is from Taiwan, making Henry’s appearance similar to Koreans. Henry actually stepped in China for first time when he went for Super Junior-M activities. He made SM’s representative Lee Soo Man surprised by calling him “Mister Lee” and putting hand out for a handshake. He chose to come Korea, a land he didn’t have any friends in, over living in Canada and studying in college there. He released a solo album, and survived in this fierce idol system in Korea.
What is inside the bag you brought earlier?
Cellphone, credit card, and toothpaste and toothbrush. Teeth is important. I can skip shower, but I always brush my teeth. And electric razor. Because I have a pale skin, it’s really easy to tell (when facial hair grows)
Your solo activities finally started. How do you feel?
I really am happy. It was something I wanted to do. Finally promoting in Korea. And the reactions aren’t bad, so I am relieved. It does feel different to cover the whole song unlike how it was with group songs.
Do you like your album?
I have strong affection for it. I tried my best to put my “color” into the album’s idea, concept, and even the songs. Preparation time took very long. I recorded the title song 22 times. It was because of my Korean pronunciation and also because I wanted to do well. I don’t know but by the time I reached (22nd time), everyone said they can understand the lyrics. Haha, but this album is just the start. I have much more to show instead of staying fixed onto one style.
How did you meet Noizebank members?
Including me, there are total of 4 people. They are friends I met in Berkeley College of Music. When I came to Korea, I really missed them. So I called them. “Yo, man. Let’s make music. Come to Korea.” haha
You are all foreigners. Are you satisfied in living in Seoul?
Yes. I really love Korea. You can get food delivered past midnight, there is cold noodles that I love, and restaurants don’t close. Haha. We (Noizebank) are living together right now and are making music. It hasn’t been long (since we started doing this). It’s only been an year, so we are just starting too.
It must not be easy to work together?
At first, it was hard. Composing with many people is hard. But we thought towards the same direction, so we got used to it. I would say, it comes out matching now? When we rearrange songs, we each have our own roles like person to play the drums and person to play the keyboard.
It’s not Noizebank’s song but title song “Trap” sounds really like “pop” genre.
Ah. Would it be because my Korean pronunciation makes it sound like English? Haha.
You are already doing great. When did you start learning Korean?
I started after I was picked at the audition in 2006. Still, Korean was the hardest part in producing the album.
You were raised in Canada by Chinese parents. You have been raised in diverse cultures and languages.
When I was young, at home, my grandmother would speak Cantonese (HongKong), my father would speak in Cantonese (GuangDong) and I’d reply in English. I spoke English with friends, learned French in school, and now I use Korean. Last year, I stayed in Thailand for a movie recording, so I learned a bit of Thai too. I can’t remember English these days. I am dying because I keep getting confused. Ah, I have to learn Japanese now too.
But Korea… Your decision (to come to Korea) seems random.
When I was in Canada, I had great interest in K-Pop. I especially liked Rain’s songs. And I had some luck too.
When you came to become a singer, how was it?
The culture was new to me, and it was hard at first, but I think it is happiness to have your hobby become your job. There are many people who hate their job. I really really love making music. Sometimes, I focus on making music for 10 hours without even eating. Because I work with friends instead of alone, I think it’s more fun.
Do you have any regrets for (not pursuing) classical music?
If I were to pursue classical, I could only play violin or piano. I chose to become a singer because I liked dancing and singing, but I didn’t think of it as giving up on violin and piano. I still use it on stage as a performance. I don’t think of them as different paths. I am still working hard, but I am happy.
Your appearance on Master Chef Korea Celebrity was a surprise. Idol cooking food?
I originally did not know how to cook, but my role in the movie “Final Recipe” was a chef. I stood for 3-4 hours everyday for 7-8 months to learn how to cook from chefs. And I got to like cooking. Actually, instead of learning how to cook, I learned more about helpful things for your life.
When you make several dishes, you have to do one job, while also preparing other ingredients, and you repeat these steps. Originally, I wasn’t organized and through cooking, I learned how to be organized. Then, I got to know about Master Chef Korea Celebrity and I thought it’d be perfect for me. It was my first variety show, and it wasn’t really like a variety show. They had time restrictions, and really required you to compete with food. I didn’t think about anything except things about for cooking.
Do you cook on holidays then?
Yes. When you eat out, there are many bad food, so… When I make food at home, I go to the supermarket myself to buy ingredients, and I make food that are good for your health. I cook diet food that has low calories, but also delicious.
There are such dishes?
Um, for example, I don’t add salt nor sugar. I replace them with ingredients like garlic and season with it, to make vegetable dish. As for meat, I make the chicken breasts soft. But, if you aren’t full, you end up eating other things, so I make a lot.
How was it, to film your first movie?
Before the recording started, I was in the period where I thought about many things about my life. I didn’t know much myself, and it was a period where I couldn’t get the direction to go to, nor a goal. So before starting to act, I thought about who I really am. What is good and bad about me, what kind of person I am to others. I wrote them down on a note at home.
So who was Henry?
Um, first, the bad part is that I cannot clean well, and I can’t keep time well (usually late). Ah, there were many things on the list, but I can’t remember them well anymore. Good part of me is that I am bright, I mix well with everyone, and I become friends very quickly. I think it is good that I work hard when I work, and also when I play.
You’ve been working nonstop. If you have a week to rest?
I will just sleep at home. I am lacking sleep these days. Thur-Fri-Sat-Sundays are filled with music shows, and because of my concept, I have to get painted for 2-3 hours.
Anything you need or want?
I think you can easily get one if you try?
No. I’m really lonely. I’m not lonely living in Korea, but this is different. I think many love me as a singer, not as a guy. I only had one girlfriend so far. Ah, I haven’t dated any girl since we broke up, so it’s been 6 years.