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K-pop without the frills


Lee Jung Shin (above), bassist of popular South Korean rock band CNBlue, on how his band differ from others. — PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

By Yip Wai Yee

K-pop stars are famous for their immaculate grooming and slick dance moves. But Lee Jung Shin, the bassist of popular South Korean rock band CNBlue, has some simple advice for those auditioning for tomorrow’s TV talent quest Scoot: K-pop Star Hunt.

“Just be yourself. As long as you’re true to yourself and sincere about your music, the audience will feel it. You don’t have to do anything really fancy,” says the 21-year-old in Korean via a translator.

He was in town on Thursday to promote the third edition of the regional talent competition, which aims to uncover the next K-pop star from Asia. The Singapore leg of the auditions will be held at Bugis+ shopping mall tomorrow. Auditions will also be held in other parts of Asia – Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and the Philippines.

Lee practises what he preaches as a member of a band that is “all about the music”. CNBlue’s brand of rock music stands out from most slick dance- pop hits that dominate the K-pop industry and have propelled groups such as Super Junior to fame.

His groupmates – lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Jung Yong Hwa, lead guitarist Lee Jong Hyun and drummer Kang Min Hyuk – focus on playing their own instruments at performances instead of dancing, and write a lot of their own music too.

“We are different because we don’t dance and we don’t focus on frills to make up a whole package. For us, it’s really all about the music,” says Lee.

He was in town alone to promote the show, as his bandmates had prior engagements.

Two contestants will be shortlisted from each Asian location for the talent search, and the 14 finalists will gather in Seoul next month for three weeks of training. They will vie for the title of Scoot: K-pop Star on Jan 5 next year, and the winner will be offered a contract with Korean entertainment company CJ E&M and record label FNC Entertainment and be groomed as a K-pop star.

The whole process will be shown on Channel M (StarHub TV Channel 824/874 and SingTel mio TV Channel 518) from Nov 30.

Lee admits that it gets “lonely” whenever he has to make the publicity rounds alone. “But it helps that we’ll always call to talk and check in on one another no matter where we are,” says the bachelor.

He is quite the fashionista. Dressed in a two-toned shirt, he says with a chuckle: “Whenever there is an event, I would make myself the band’s stylist. In fact, Min Hyuk will come up to me to ask for suggestions on what to wear. Yong Hwa has his own sense of fashion, so he doesn’t really listen to me. And Jong Hyun is the guy who will never change what he’s wearing, no matter what I tell him.”

CNBlue members were talent scounted separately by FNC Entertainment while playing music at various venues around Seoul. They were originally formed and marketed as an indie rock band for Japanese audiences, as their musical tastes tend to be broader than those of Koreans.

While he has no experience with talent quests, Lee says he understands the dedication needed to achieve one’s music dreams.

Before their official debut in mid-2009, CNBlue spent more than six months travelling around Japan, where they underwent musical training. Part of that meant having to hold impromptu performances on the streets as well as in train stations.

“I played until I had blisters all over my hands,” he says.

But there were fond memories too. “Our days as trainees were tough but filled with many interesting experiences. One of them was how we had only 30 minutes for lunch,” he recounts. “There was a hotdog place that was 10 minutes away from where we were stationed at one time. So we used to sprint all the way there, eat for five minutes then run all the way back.”

Today, CNBlue have six Japanese-language albums to their name, including Thank U (2010) and Code Name Blue (2012). They also have seven Korean albums, including First Step (2011) and extended play album Ear Fun (2012).

Citing rock bands such as Metallica as their musical influences, he says: “I’m happiest when all four of us are together on stage, just jamming away.”

This story was originally published in The Straits Times Life! on Saturday, Sept 14.


Posted by Linda @ cnboice




The latest season of regional K-Pop talent search, Scoot: K-Pop Star Hunt 3 will be delighting fans and music enthusiasts as channel M, CJ E&M and FNC Entertainment invite Lee Jung Shin of CN Blue to Singapore to promote the talent reality series. His arrival on the 12 September will mark the countdown to the Singapore’s leg of the audition which will be hosted at Bugis+ on the 15 September.

Affectionately known as the “Nation’s Friend” in South Korea, Lee Jung Shin is the bass player of the popular pop rock quartet CN Blue which consists of three other members; Jung Yong Hwa, Lee Jong Hyun and Kang Min Hyuk. Formed in 2009, CN Blue has amassed a list of achievements for their albums and was listed in Forbes Korea “Top 40 Power Celebrities”.


Lee Jung Shin will meet the Singapore fans next Thursday at JCube as well as root for the contestants participating at the Singapore’s leg of the audition for Scoot: K-Pop Star Hunt 3. Singapore is his first stop before visiting Taiwan to promote for the show. The previous seasons of K-Pop Star Hunt reached out to 156 million households across Asia and Season 3 is slated to air in Singapore in November 2013 on channel M.

Fans and supporters are also welcome to attend the public audition which will be held on Sunday, 15th September at Bugis+. The Singapore audition will be judged by local singer and superstar idol, Derrick Hoh along with representatives from FOX International Channels and CJ E&M.

To get started on your idol dream, simply upload your best K-pop song-and-dance routines to the official website at as video submissions open on August 1st.

K-pop fans between 15 and 29 years of age in the aforementioned countries will have more than 6 weeks (submission deadline varies in different countries) to upload their video submissions.

The entire audition and training process will be filmed and broadcasted across Asia as a weekly survival reality television programme and is set to premiere in November 2013 on channel M, and simulcast on FOX International Channels’ leading entertainment channels; STAR Chinese Channel, STAR World, and music channel, Channel [V].



Posted by Linda @ cnboice

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Jungshin’s Twitter Update


여러분 잘지내시나요? 정신입니다. 저번주 팬여러분들 덕분에 싱가포르 공연을 잘마치고~ 일본활동이 있어서 지금은 일본입니다..ㅋㅋ 짧은기간이지만 열심히 잘하고 돌아가도록 하겠습니다! 응원 많이 해주실거죠^^? 그럼 좋은밤되세요~ ps 아! 보고싶었던 영화가 있었는데 일본에 온사이 개봉했어요ㅠ song for you!! 한국가면 꼭 봐야겠어요ㅋㅋ

English Trans:

“Everybody, how do you do? I’m JungShin. Last week, thanks to the fans, we’ve finished Singapore concert well~ Because we have activities in Japan, we’re now in Japan.. keke It’s for a short period of time but I’ll do my best and then come back! You’ll cheer for me, right^^? Then, good night~ ps Oh! There was a movie I wanted to see but it had released while we were going to Japanㅠ song for you!! I’ve got to watch it when we go to Korea keke “

Source @CNBLUE_4

English trans by @depps1004

Posted by Tara Lee @cnboice/bpb decoded