Interview: Kim Jang Hoon + Concert Info

Before the Kim Jang Hoon press conference started
Before the Kim Jang Hoon press conference started

I was lucky enough to be invited by the friendly people at TR Canada to the press conference last Friday for the upcoming Kim Jang Hoon concert. Thanks Yong! And after the press conference I had the opportunity to ask Kim Jang Hoon a few questions. Want to hear what he had to say? Of course you do!

Trying not to forget my questions ^^
Trying not to forget my questions or be too nervous ^^

Mini Interview

I started the interview by asking Kim Jang Hoon if he could tell me a little about the 2013 Miracle Tour. The following paragraphs are a paraphrase of his answer which fabulously long and interesting and was given to me in a combination of English and Korean (thanks again Yong for translating). It actually reads more of a personal story this way, than a traditional interview.

Kim Jang Hoon performed in concerts in Los Angeles and New York where about 10-20% of the audience was American. He was surprised and curious about how they found out about him so he surveyed them. It turns out that many of them found him via YouTube. [Editor’s note: YouTube is a great place to discover new music or musicians – I use it all the time to do so, or to research musicians I already know and am planning on writing about.]

Super friendly & thoughtful answers
Super friendly & thoughtful answers

But knowing there were both Koreans and Americans in the audience presented a challenge because he wanted to satisfy both sides, to make sure everyone enjoyed his concerts which lead him to produce different shows for different audiences. One of the things he did was mix the American national anthem with the Korean one (Arirang) to grab everyone’s hearts. Music is a universal language, “We are all friends in music.” [Editor’s note: at this point Kim Jang Hoon sang a few lines from Arirang which is a lovely song.]

When he went to New York he wondered what song they played at Times Square at New Year’s. He asked a few people but no one knew or could remember. And when he found out and it brought goose bumps… the song was “Imagine” by John Lennon. He said he loves John Lennon and he played the song at his New York concert.

I'm always crazy nervous but his manner put me at ease
I’m always crazy nervous but his manner put me at ease

One of the things he stressed throughout our conversation was that he loves to make his audience happy so he tailors each concert to that audience. For example, in Taipai, he did the concert entirely in Chinese even though he doesn’t speak Chinese. Instead he wrote out everything he wanted to say phonetically in Korean and memorized it.

He’s still planning on how to make the Toronto concert special, especially as he has a challenge with the venue (it limits the amount of technology he can use). Kim Jang Hoon is famous for the use of technology and equipment in his concerts [Editor’s note: search YouTube if you’ve never seen him live for examples of his concerts.] Unfortunately, the Toronto Centre for the Arts is too small to allow some of the normal elements of his concerts – like the crane – so the concert will be more “analog” than his shows normally are. To make it up to everyone, he has a surprise planned for the Toronto audience! [Editor’s note: it’s a wonderful surprise but I don’t want to give away this details, you’ll all enjoy it more as a surprise. ^^]But he also wants to reassure everyone that it will still be fabulous… of course, better with technology (his words) but he will still give a great performance, don’t worry.

You can tell he's been a performer for a while, so comfortable talking
You can tell he’s been a performer for a while, so comfortable talking

I also asked him why he chose to come to Toronto and he answered that a lot of Koreans and Korean organizations invited him to come. [Editor’s note: This answer was short because we spent so much time on the first one. He gives fantastically long and interesting answers!]

My final question to him was about his charity. Kim Jang Hoon is very well known for his charity so I asked him why giving money to charity is so important to him. He said there were literally thousands of reasons and mentioned that perhaps he has the “Charity DNA”. He went on to say that happiness – theirs and his – was a prime motivation. That he feels most happy seeing someone else happy – whether they are friends, family or simply someone in need. It’s one of the reasons he loves the song “Imagine” by John Lennon. [Editor’s note: He sung a couple of lines of Imagine at this point – what a beautiful voice!]

He wanted to be closer to us all so he moved the chair off the stage
He wanted to be closer to us all so he moved the chair off the stage

Press Conference

Okay, I can’t tell you exactly what was said at the press conference because it was in Korean and my Korean isn’t good enough to report on it. I did understand some of it of course, but not well enough to report on what was said reliably. This is just another reason I need to study Korean more!

Funny & engaging, I just wish I understood more of it.
Funny & engaging, I just wish I understood more of it.

But I can talk about my impressions of the press conference. Kim Jang Hoon looked extremely comfortable in front of the press and spoke well, and with humour. He seemed very personable, friendly and answered all questions during the question period at the end without ever rushing anyone. I was quite impressed and just wished I could understand more.

He was sweet and apologized for only speaking in Korean
He was sweet and apologized for only speaking in Korean

He did look a little surprised to see a non-Korean person (that would be me) at the press conference and asked where I was from and apologized for the fact that he would be speaking in Korean during it. It was super sweet and I really appreciated that he was so thoughtful.

All in all, it was a lovely press conference and interview. Kim Jang Hoon was lovely and gracious! Thanks so much for the interview!

Poster courtesy of TR Canada
Poster courtesy of TR Canada

Just the facts – Concert version

  • Who: Kim Jang Hoon
  • What: 2013 Miracle Tour concert
  • When: October 12th at 7:30 pm
  • Where: Toronto Centre for the Arts (5040 Yonge Street, Toronto) 
  • Why: Kim Jang Hoon has a reputation for amazing shows so this is one concert you don’t want to miss.
  • How much: $46.50 – $113.50 on Ticketmaster, $40-105 on TR Canada (website or by calling)
  • How to buy tickets: on Ticketmaster, TR Canada’s website (discounted tickets) or by calling Yong @ 647.244.8279 (discounted tickets). If you don’t read Korean and want discounted tickets, I recommend calling Yong! ^^
  • For more info: check out TR Canada’s article (and YouTube video) about the concert. The article is mainly in Korean
After the interview, he's so tall!
After the interview, he’s so tall!

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

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