One my random musical posts. Just ignore it if of no interest. 🙂
One day, last week I was surfing through some k-ent blogs and came across one with a SoundCloud sidebar featuring Ha Dong Kyun’s latest album, Word. “What the what?!” – “He’s got a new album out… when?” Turns out it had dropped just a few days before my chance encounter with that particular blog.
If there is one solo singer I love even more than all my favourite solo singers put together, it’s this guy. And he was a random find too, ha. Last year, another chance encounter on another blog. A video snippet from Immortal Song 2 featuring a singer I’d never even heard of before. Might as well watch, I thought, as it came highly recommended. The moment he started singing I was transfixed. Boy, can this guy sing! And right there and then I fell in love… with his voice. It’s so soulful, raw and powerful and it struck me right there, in the heart. I was in tears when the song ended. More than a year and several listens later and it still moves me, Every.Single.Time.
I’ve watched some of his intervews and he always comes off as a very earnest and humble guy with a sense of humour. What you see, is what you get – no pretending or putting on airs. His words are his own and not conocted by some image consious PR person. I’ve been a fan of CN Blue a lot longer and wanted to see them live for ages, but if I had a chance to go either to their concert or HDK’s concert, I’d choose the latter. No contest. This post is dedicated to the one and only Ha Dong Kyun, with ‘the voice you can’t forget once you hear him sing’.^^
Since that fist encounter I’ve learned considerably more about this amazing singer. He debuted in 2002 as a member of R&B group 7Dayz, which released one album but disbanded soon after. One of the guys, Lee Jung, eventually became a solo songer (he was also quite the regular in IS2 last year) and Ha Dong Kyun with Seo Jae Ho, Jeon Sang Hwan and a new member Kim Jae Seok formed Wanted, another R&B vocal group and made their re-debut in 2004 with their first album called ‘Like The First‘. Wanted singing 발작 (Stroke) @ YD Loveletter.
These guys were great and some say they could easily have become more succesfull than SG Wannabe, who debuted around the same time. Then, as the group was coming back from a sold out concert, there was a car accident which killed Jae Ho and put Jae Seok in coma with serious injuries. The other two thankfully got away with nothing major. Needless to say the promoting came to an aprubt halt and the group was put on hold for quite some while. In fact, it took them 3 years to regroup and release another album [7Dayz & Wanted] with Lee Jung filling in. Meanwhile Ha Dong Kyun launched his own solo carreer with debut album [Stand Alone] in 2006 and the single 그녀를 사랑해줘요 ( Please Love Her) became a hit. His 2nd album [Another Corner] came out in 2008 and after that he quietly enlisted for his mandatory 2 year militarly service and pretty much disappeared from the public eye for years. 2012 saw the release of both Wanted’s 3rd album [Vintage] and HDK’s 1st minialbum [From Mark], neither of which was promoted much, as far as I can tell.
Ha Dong Kyun had not stood on a TV stage since 2008 (due to camera phobia?). He was a complete unknow to most foreign fans of Korean music and probably to quite a few younger Koreans as well. So his fans must have been surprised and overjoyed when he was anounced to be one of the performers of IS2’s 100th program. (Btw. Immortal Song is a GREAT program to discover wonderful but lesser know singers, I recommend it warmly. Subbed episodes can be found @ KBSWorld’s YT channel.) That stage, where he sang Jeon In Gwon’s 사랑한 후에 (After Love), seems to have become a new start. He was SO nervous beforehand and in the pre perf intervew said he was nervous (shaking) enough to die, performing in front of cameras was frightening. But once he started singing, it was like all that just melted away and it became sort of a perf of a lifetime. I don’t think there was a news portal that did not feature him in some way and I bet he gained a gaggle of new fans. I know I’m one. 🙂 He came back to another round 10 weeks later and won that segment with Yoo Jaeha’s 그대 내 품에 (You In My Arms). Since then he’s done intimate club gigs, been a guest in Tablo’s radio program and in ETN’s Music Talk (August this year, he was so cute), released few OST songs, digital singles, collaborations and finally 14. Oct the 2nd mini. Which I’m going to order asap. There’s even a full concert away in November (why is Korea so far off? Wae?!).
‘Word’ is a self penned album and definitely even edgier than ‘From Mark’. When asked about the ‘colour’ of the album he said “sad/sombre”. Yup that it is.^^ His voice was quite a bit softer in the early days but even then powerful (there is a live perf where he clearly is holding back). Now it’s what I’d call a perfect, husky ‘rock’ voice. *g* There’s an edge to it even when he is singing power ballads. I’d love him to do a collab with Boohwal, that could be epic. XD
Some Wanted and Ha Dong Kyun songs (YT vids) worth a listen (click the name of the song):
2007 – Wanted & Lee Jung – 가지마 가지마 가지마 (Don’t Go Don’t Go Don’t Go) MV
2007 – Wanted & Lee Jung – I Promise You
2008 – Ha Dong Kyun – 나비야 (Butterfly) MV (in the ETN Music Talk he told that he hated the MV because it was embarrassing, ha)
2008 – Ha Dong Kyun & KCM – 클래식 (Classic) Special stage
2013 – Lee Jung (J-Lee) & Ha Dong Kyun – 같이 사랑했는데 (Where is the Love) MV
2014 – Ha Dong Kyun – Run MV
2014 – Ha Dong Kyun – 매듭 (Knots) MV
2014 – Ha Dong Kyun – What (my personal fave) 🙂
2014.09.13 – 마음을 잃다 + 멘트 live @ Nell Secret Stage
2014.09.13 – 좋아보여 live @ Nell Secret Stage
2014.09.13 – From Mark live @ Nell Secret Stage
2014.09. 27 – introduction +그녀를 사랑해줘요 live @ 전인권 밴드 2막1장 대구공연
2014.10.08 – Run live @ 음감회 / Showcase for ‘Word’