Return of long-forgotten singer Yang Joon-il brings middle-aged fans to music scene
SEOUL-- Following a short-lived music career in the early 1990s, Yang Joon-il disappeared into obscurity, leaving many fans without a clue about the star.
A JTBC TV show has recently brought the long-forgotten star back to the public consciousness, summoning his old fans, now in their 40's, back to the K-pop scene.
Fans' reaction was ecstatic and tickets for Yang's comeback fan meeting on Tuesday sold out, making him one of the most talked-about celebrities of today within the span of one month.
In hindsight, Yang, now 50 and nicknamed "G-Dragon" of old K-pop fans, was too cool for the era and didn't fully assimilate to the then-conservative K-pop scene, fans and media said.
Yang's return to show business also reflects a broadcasting trend here that brings old, forgotten stars out of obscurity.
In his 20's, becoming a K-pop star was his sole dream, but the dream was finally accomplished now at age 50, Yang said in a press conference, hours ahead of the fan meeting.
"It is so amazing that the dream came true only when I no longer pursue it," Yang said, recalling how hard it was for him to give up his music career.
"My singing voice was rather quiet compared to other famous singers at that time. (But) voice only accounted for 10 percent of (my musical expression)," Yang said, recounting his stage life from 1991-1993.
The remaining 90 percent came from his stage performance, a quality of today's globally-loved K-pop music, but in the 1990s, the music industry wasn't ready for the career that was too ahead of time.
"At that time, I didn't regard myself to be ahead of time, but I thought I was unfit for Korea," he said.
His nationality as an American also made it harder for him to gain acceptance in South Korea, and he left the country later to pursue a new life in the United States.
Unable to leave show business entirely, he returned with his third album, "Fantasy," in 2001 as a member of a music band briefly before finally putting an end to his music career.
"I had a big desire to change my everything (to fit into the South Korean music scene) to issue another album, but I was finally able to give that up after (the third album) didn't work out," Yang said.
Nearly 30 years following his musical venture, Yang hopes to bring his old music back to stage so as to "fully lay out" the songs to the public, especially the lyrics that he wrote himself. After that, he hopes to release new songs, he said.
As part of the first step back into the K-pop scene, Yang is planning to re-arrange and re-record his old songs to release a repackaged album.
He is also in the process of publishing a memoir recalling his music career and the following life which transformed the one-time singer into an English teacher and then to a restaurant server in the U.S.
"There were good things and bad things and I learned a lot going through them. There's not even a moment that I want to throw away," Yang said, adding that "the past no longer torments me."
Source: Yonhap News Agency