Singer drops sin­gle in mem­ory of late brother

The Korea Times - - PEOPLE - By Anna J. Park an­na­j­[email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

Mu­sic pro­ducer and singer Kim Sung-wook, 45, re­leased his lat­est sin­gle, “Rain­shower” ear­lier this month. It is his first new song in 17 years, since his sec­ond al­bum re­lease back in 2002. This acous­tic song with a plain­tive melody evokes a calm yet sor­row­ful am­bi­ence: the song is ded­i­cated to the mem­ory of his late brother, singer Kim Sung­jae, who died un­der mys­te­ri­ous cir­cum­stances at the young age of 23 back in 1995 at the apex of his pop­u­lar­ity.

Ini­tially, police sus­pected mur­der, and his girl­friend was later tried and found guilty of this, be­ing sen­tenced to life in prison. How­ever, an ap­peals court later ex­on­er­ated her, citing a lack of ev­i­dence pre­sented at the first trial.

In the 24 years that have passed since the tragedy, Kim Sung-wook and his mother suf­fered deep pain from the sud­den loss of their dear brother and son.

Dur­ing a re­cent in­ter­view with The Korea Times, Kim Sung-wook said af­ter some 20 years, he re­al­izes how bright and pre­cious life is.

“Af­ter more than 20 years of di­rectly gaz­ing at death, I re­al­ized how bright life is, and how beau­ti­fully and widely life is as it un­folds be­fore us. Peo­ple say the dif­fer­ence be­tween life and death is pa­per-thin. See­ing the light of life again, I have de­cided to fully live ev­ery sec­ond and ev­ery mo­ment, so that I can greet death at any mo­ment, with­out re­gret,” Kim said.

“I’ve de­cided to do what I want to, and speak as I want to, in or­der to fully live this life. I think we need to live ev­ery mo­ment hap­pily and joy­fully, be­cause only then we can love oth­ers. This learn­ing came from more than two decades of mor­ti­fi­ca­tion and de­spair.”

The sin­gle also con­veys his cur­rent state of mind; with a com­posed sound and bit­ter­sweet melody, the song ex­presses the feel­ings of lone­li­ness and hol­low­ness af­ter a loss, and yet af­ter some mourn­ing, life goes on and peo­ple must move for­ward with their lives.

“I think ev­ery­thing has its own tim­ing. The song was vi­su­al­ized three years ago, yet at that time, for some rea­son, I couldn’t re­lease it. I just kept the song in­side me, and this year, the song fi­nally gained mo­men­tum, and came out into the world very smoothly,” he said.

The sin­gle’s re­lease co­in­cides with the fam­ily gain­ing some me­dia at­ten­tion as in Au­gust, the SBS TV show “We Want to Know the Truth” planned to air a seg­ment about the cir­cum­stances of the death of Kim

Sung-jae, and sug­gest the use of the lat­est tech­nol­ogy to solve the case. How­ever the show didn’t air af­ter a court granted an in­junc­tion filed by the ex-girl­friend, whose lawyer ar­gued it would ir­repara­bly dam­age her per­sonal rights.

As this was the first time in 20 years that the long-run­ning TV show was pro­hib­ited from air­ing a seg­ment, peo­ple be­came in­ter­ested in the case and more than 210,000 signed a pe­ti­tion on the Cheong Wa Dae web­site, protest­ing the court’s de­ci­sion for “ob­struct­ing the peo­ple’s right to know.”

Kim Sung-wook said he was grate­ful for the pub­lic’s sup­port.

“I am grate­ful for the peo­ple who still re­mem­ber him, and also grate­ful that more and more peo­ple, in­clud­ing the younger gen­er­a­tion who never knew who Kim Sung-jae was, are now in­ter­ested in him,” Kim said.

For the last five years, Kim has been or­ga­niz­ing me­mo­rial events for his late brother twice a year, ev­ery April and November, to mark this brother’s birth­day and the date of his death.

“I thought about what I could do for my brother. All I could do was keep re­mem­ber­ing him. Keep him in my mem­ory. That’s why I restarted the com­mem­o­ra­tive events five years ago,” Kim said, adding that ev­ery­one was wel­come to them.

“I just want peo­ple, in­clud­ing those out­side Korea, to know that there was a very in­spi­ra­tional mu­si­cian and dancer Kim Sung-jae, who left a deep im­pact on the next gen­er­a­tion of pro­duc­ers, mu­si­cians, and cur­rent K-pop idol groups, with his ex­tra­or­di­nary ta­lent, fash­ion­able style, and huge smile,” he said. “I hope peo­ple can search for this hid­den gem of an artist, if they don’t yet know about him.”

“I some­times think that Sung-jae is on a 30-year mis­sion in the deep for­est in the wild, or on another con­ti­nent or a mis­sion to Mars. It is my plea­sure to let peo­ple know about this in­spi­ra­tional per­son, who’s my brother,” he added.

“I yearn for life as a cloud or the wind, which is form­less yet still ex­ists. I hope my brother eternally shines as a star and the Sun, and I hope to sur­round the star. I am just grate­ful that I am be able to be here for my chil­dren, and in that re­gard, I am truly blessed. Some­times I feel sorry for my brother, who didn’t have the op­por­tu­nity to have his own chil­dren. I am now twice as old as my late brother, but I still call him my hyung [Korean for big brother]. Be­cause of my brother, I could live this life with more fo­cus and con­cen­tra­tion,” he said.

Cour­tesy of Kim Sung-wook

Kim Sung-wook, right, re­leased his sin­gle “Rain­shower,” com­mem­o­rat­ing the mem­ory of his late brother, singer Kim Sung-jae. The photo, an of­fi­cial one for the sin­gle’s hard copy sleeve, was taken in 1995 with their mother, a few months be­fore the sud­den death of his brother that year.

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