Park-ing it right

Jay Park is back and bet­ter than ever with a new TV spe­cial that fo­cuses on ... him.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TV - By LEE MEI LI en­ter­tain­ment@thes­

UN­LIKE most Korean celebri­ties who re­quire trans­la­tors to more or less “speak” for them, Jay Park can hold his own.

The US-born singer and rap­per was in Kuala Lumpur re­cently, an­swer­ing ques­tions from the press in flu­ent English, and seemed un­fazed by the plethora of weird and zany en­quiries into his not-so-per­sonal life.

The “Fresh Prince of Seoul”, as he is of­ten called, now has his own Jay Park E! News Asia Spe­cial TV pro­gramme, pre­mier­ing tonight. For the first time ever, fans will get a low­down on just how much more there is to the con­tro­ver­sial K-Pop star.

Filmed over a pe­riod of four days, the TV spe­cial in­cludes talk­ing heads rang­ing from Park’s B-boy pals to his fam­ily mem­bers, with ex­clu­sive footage pro­vided by his buddy Hep of dance crew AOM.

Ar­riv­ing in KL from Seoul just af­ter the se­cond leg of his con­cert tour around South Korea, Park was ex­haus­tion ex­em­pli­fied, and har­boured less zeal than one would ex­pect from a 26-year-old su­per­star.

“I went to Hong Kong, I went to Thai­land ... then I went to Europe, then I went to Thai­land, then Europe, then China. I’ve just been on a plane so much. I’ve been do­ing so much work that I think I’m just start­ing to get burned out right about now,” he re­vealed dur­ing a one-on-one in­ter­view.

With a pierced nose and tat­toos run­ning up the length of his left arm, Park gave a hip-hop artiste swag­ger, ac­cen­tu­ated fur­ther by his beanie-and-over­sized-T-shirt look.

Judg­ing from a me­dia pre­view of the E! Spe­cial spot, it seems likely that the 30minute show will touch on Park’s dark past, which has much to do with be­ing ousted from top South Korean boy band 2PM.

“In the show, you’ll get to see what I’m like on a day-to-day ba­sis – times when I’m not on TV, when I’m in the wait­ing room, or in my house, or at the of­fice. It’ll also get into what I think about cer­tain sit­u­a­tions, cer­tain things that hap­pened in the past. So yeah, you’ll prob­a­bly find out a few new things about me,” he of­fered.

Ini­tially the leader of the pack, the charis­matic entertainer had a hard time paci­fy­ing anti-fans when un­favourable com­ments he wrote about Korea in 2005 were leaked by a ne­ti­zen and later taken out of con­text and mis­in­ter­preted by the Korean me­dia.

Famed for his B-boy dance moves, Park re­turned to the US in late 2009, just as the rest of the 2PM group mem­bers rev­elled in the launch of their first of­fi­cial al­bum – while Park’s vo­cals could still be heard on some of the tracks, vi­su­als of him were com­pletely re­moved from the fi­nal im­age com­pi­la­tion.

Con­quer­ing all odds, the fallen star rose to fame once again when his bath­room ren­di­tion of B.o.B.’s Nothin’ On You, en­hanced with his own rap and lyrics, went viral on YouTube and reached over two mil­lion views in un­der 24 hours.

By July 2010, Park was back and big­ger than ever, de­but­ing as a solo singer and ac­tor. Af­ter win­ning mul­ti­ple awards, and top­ping charts with his first ful­l­length al­bum, the multi-tal­ented per­former be­came a per­ma­nent cast mem­ber of Satur­day Night Live! Korea ear­lier this year, adding the role of “co­me­dian” to his al­ready crowded port­fo­lio.

Hav­ing pre­vi­ously been un­der record la­bel JYP En­ter­tain­ment for four years as a tightly-reigned trainee prior to the de­but of 2PM, Park is cur­rently en­joy­ing the cre­ative free­dom of man­ag­ing his own R&B in­de­pen­dent la­bel, AOMG, which stands for Above Or­di­nary Mu­sic Group.

“Right now I’m mak­ing my own mu­sic, my own decisions. I get to create my own ca­reer path. Back then, as a mem­ber of a group, it was the com­pany who had ev­ery­thing planned. I think I’m much more of a free spirit now,” he shared.

Of course, aside from wor­ry­ing about his own fu­ture, Park also has to over­see the mu­si­cal jour­ney of artistes Jun Goon, Gray, Cha Cha Malone and LO, who are all a part of AOMG.

Aside from work­ing on ev­ery­one’s in­di­vid­ual al­bum, the com­pany is open­ing up to take just a few more artistes on board.

No longer the boy who con­fessed to cry­ing ev­ery day for two weeks (due to the cul­ture shock he ex­pe­ri­enced when he first came to South Korea as a JYP trainee), Park seems to have taken things in his stride – he may have his hands full right now, but he’s not stop­ping any­time soon.

With the sup­port of his fam­ily, who has since re­turned to South Korea to ac­com­pany his bur­geon­ing star­dom, Park ex­pressed in­ter­est in pro­duc­ing more English ti­tles and to have his songs be known “not just in the world of K-Pop, but in­ter­na­tion­ally.”

“Things can get over­whelm­ing but I take it day by day. I ac­tu­ally didn’t think I’d come back this big. I didn’t think any­body would be in­ter­ested in me or what I did. I am very for­tu­nate, I guess.”

As for at­tribut­ing so­cial me­dia with the mak­ing and break­ing of ca­reers, Park has a smat­ter­ing of ad­vice for hope­ful in­génues: “If you want to be an entertainer, just do it for the right rea­sons. So­cial me­dia won’t ex­actly help you achieve your goals. You’ve got to put in the hard work first, then can you use so­cial me­dia as an out­let to mar­ket your­self.”

Jay Park’s E! News Asia Spe­cial pre­mieres on E! (Astro Ch 712) today at 9.30pm.

From hero to zero: ... and now back to be­ing a hero, Jay Park has his own E!NewsAsi­aSpe­cial spot pre­mier­ing today.

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