Find out Jonghyun’s childhood dreams, what inspired him to write his own novel, why he wanted his new album to be sexy, and the deep thoughts in the mind of this talented singer, songwriter, composer, and published author.
Harper’s Bazaar Korea recently published an exclusive interview with Jonghyun of SHINee and was able to ask him some questions about love, life, and music. The magazine pointed out that his real life persona is very different than his onstage image. He responded, “That’s right. The image shown on TV and how I am in real life is very different. I feel anxious in front of a camera… Stage cameras are okay, but I get very tensed up when I’m on reality or on variety shows.” The singer also went on to talk about his sensitive personality and what motivated him to drop out of high school. “It was a choice that allowed me to escape from puberty,” he said. “I only realized this now, but I actually just notified my mum (about dropping out) rather than asking her consent. Of course, I asked her permission saying that I have set up this plan, but from my mum’s perspective, I think it must have sounded like “I’m going to drop out no matter what.’” He said the support of his mother was something that enabled him to grow and move past those scars and wounds.
Jonghyun also went on to talk about his accomplishments as a songwriter, not only writing his own music but that of other artists such as IU who work at different labels. He said his original dream was to become a songwriter and that he just chose singing as a way to achieve his songwriting dream. He also mentioned the idea that people have of the true talent of idol singers. “I think idols are artists who are at a very advantageous position. Musicians need to be conceptual and idols are great in terms of exciting one’s imagination. Also, people call idols that make music as ‘above expectation’ due to stereotypes, even though making music isn’t really particularly something that special. It’s an inherent flaw and a strength that idols have.” He also spoke about what it means personally to write music for himself, as opposed to just being an extension of SHINee. “My music can be divided largely into two: work that I do for personal interest and work with a purpose of wanting to create a certain image to the general public. Both are meaningful but for solo, I think it’s only correct to show more focusing on the former. I didn’t want to create another version of SHINee.”
Jonghyun also talked about the concept for his album, which was an influence on everything from the lyrics to the beat. Overall, he wanted to keep things sexy! “I wanted to create a sexual album. An album that had an overall sexy nuance, not only with the title song, and something that would inspire imagination rather than something blindly provocative… In general, it’s a story of ‘having a romantic something between two’ or ‘falling in love’ so there are no break-up songs, not even one ballad.”
The artist also shared the fact that his childhood dream was to become a novelist or a Korean language teacher. Due to frustration with his grades though, he joined the school band and changed his career path so that he could write through lyrics. His ability to convey emotion and express those deep thoughts are evident in all his songs, but it is also evident in his novel as well! That’s right, his dream to become a novelist came true in 2015 when he published his first novel, “Skeleton Flower: Things That Have Been Released and Set Free.”
The novel centers of four different characters, which Jonghyun says all represent different aspects of his personality. He says that he doesn’t read romance novels and couldn’t imagine writing a lovey-dovey story. So, he decided to write about breaking up and the issues that follow. He spoke about himself, “To speak honestly… It’s (one of the characters) when I’m in a one-sided love. When I fall in love, I tend to continue that emotion blindly so much that I haven’t loved that many people since I was born until now. It’s difficult and takes a long time until the moment I’m in love. Maybe it’s because of that, I had an abstract plan of making a family before, but now I don’t even want to date or get married. I am satisfied with the way I am in life, and I’m having fun in making other plans rather than a romantic relationship. So, I’m really into that…. I’m also a dreamer too. Dreamers are people who dream hopeless dreams. I believe there should be lots of dreamers. Even though it’s a hopeless dream, a change can be induced by having more people who try to reach that dream. It is correct that I am a person who’s objective and realistic at the same time too. What that means is that I know very well that people don’t understand me. But I carry out what I want to do saying ‘I know people will find me strange when I talk like this but I’m still going to do how I want.’”
After tackling all these topics and showing fans the true, deeper side of himself and what motivates him on a daily basis, the famous singer went on to share more thoughts on the meaning of existence, the thoughts that all artists have and much more. Make sure to check out the full interview in the June issue of Harper’s Bazaar!
Which of the photos is your favorite? Have you read Jonghyun’s novel yet? What do you think about his philosophy behind his music and writings? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!
Media: Harper’s Bazaar
Translated Quotes: Fondue of Light