Our next First Gen Friday entry goes to Lee Jung Hyun, often dubbed as The Queen of Techno.
Lee Jung Hyun‘s footsteps into showbiz started at the age of 16 which was when she made her acting debut in A Petal. A film where she received praise domestically and overseas for her role as a girl experiencing the Gwangju uprising.
Three years after her acting debut, Lee Jung Hyun turned to singing in 1999 and immediately catapulted herself as one of the main artists to introduce techno music to the Kpop world. Each of her albums was based on different persona. Examples include mermaid, soldier, belly dancer and tribal queen. She also had various nicknames such as The Techno Queen Of Korea, The Queen of Transformation (due to her vast transformations for each song), Ava, Hyony and Ms Charisma. Before releasing her own music, she was a guest vocal on Cho PD‘s single Fever, as well as the music video for Goofy‘s The Rule Of The Game.
Jung Hyun‘s debut single Wa topped the Korean charts for three weeks and her second single Bakkwo won numerous awards. Both songs also appeared in dancing games Let’s Dance and the Korean version of Dance Dance Revolution. In fact a lot of Lee Jung Hyun’s songs have been included in many dance games. Online dance rhythm game Audition features the likes of I’ll Give and Going Crazy whilst Pump It Up NX Absolute includes a Chinese version and a short version of Come On!.
Her popularity reached to Asian countries outside of her homeland and she was offered to perform the Japanese versions of her hits Heaven, which was one of the songs featured in Kdrama Beautiful Days where she co-starred alongside Lee Byung Hun, and Wa at the 55th edition of Kōhaku Uta Gassen. Lee Jung Hyun’s career has travelled back and forth between singing and acting (especially with overseas projects in Asia) and she has often proven her talent in both these areas.
With an eighth studio album on the way Lee Jung Hyun’s music discography has spread itself to the Japanese and Chinese language and numerous EPs, defining her musical diversity through many different genres that do not just limit itself to techno music. For Kdrama Iris Lee Jung Hyun sang a track How Can I Hold Back Tears which showcased her first time singing a ballad during her singing career.
She was also asked to be the supporting act Lady Gaga‘s Seoul concert in September 2009. In addition to being recognised as a veteran musician and actress, Lee Jung Hyun became a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador in August 2007 and, on June 22 2012, an honorary ambassador for Korea-China Cultural Industry Conference CICON.
Popular songs to check out
A live performance of Wa / 와 and Bakkwo / 바꿔 .
Something interesting to point out regarding her live performances – she often has a tiny microphone on her little finger.
The title track to her fifth album. A change in music direction from strictly techno to Latin-inspired.
Nuh (너 / You)
From one of the early melodrama series Beautiful Days. Funnily enough Lee Jung Hyun’s character suited said superstar seeing as she played a young, aspiring singer who fought for stardom.
Michyeo / 미쳐
From her third album “Magic To Go To My Star”, this video has sharp choregraphy by American dancer and choreographer Brian Friedman who has worked with popular pop stars such as Beyonce and Mariah Carey.
Her recent single V was directed by Park Chan Wook and Park Chan Kyong. Creepy cuteness mixed with the typical Korean horror you see in films. Definitely check out the video for dark quirky goodness.
From the OST for Iris here is How Can I Hold Back Tears. One of a few Lee Jung Hyun ballads.
Covers by fellow Korean musicians
KARA covered Joollae / Give It To Me on a live music show.
SNSD‘s Taeyeon sang a cover of Wa and from this sound clip it looked like it came from a music show. If any SONEs know where this originally came from please let me know so I can add it in the article.
Kim Heechul sang a rock version of Michyeo at one of Super Junior ‘s early Super Shows…and he also briefly kissed Jung Mo/X-mas from The TRAX who was a guest guitarist for this performance.
Interesting to note that there have been Asian artists outside of Korea who have covered Lee Jung Hyun at their live shows or on their studio albums. Some examples include:-
* Veronica Ngo Thanh Van – Vietnamese singer also known as NTV has covered numerous Lee Jung Hyun classics such as Nuh.
* Sammi Cheng Sau Man – Hong Kong-born Canto and Mandopop singer/actress has covered a variety of Lee Jung Hyun songs in both Mandarin and Cantonese. Her most popular covers include Bakkwo, Nuh and Wa.
* Evonne Hsu Hui Hsin – Taiwanese American singer Evonne sang a Mandarin cover of Michyeo under the song name Lonely Ballet.
* Cyndi Wang Xin Ling – Chinese singer covered Lee Jung Hyun’s Summer Dance under the song name HONEY.