Her rise was sudden as even jury Yang Hyun Suk said she was a strong contestant to win SBS audition program “K-Pop Star season 1″ in 2011. The audience was immediately fascinated by her powerful voice that outshone Beyoncé and her singing ability. She is Lee Michelle. Her fluency in Korean which was as good as her singing was another surprise as she stood in front of the audience and showed an image they weren’t used to. As she’s coming back with a slimmer figure, what kind of changes did she go through meanwhile?
After being known as “the singer from K-Pop Star”, Lee Michelle attached the new title “musical actress” to her name and she’s now starting spreading her wings to fly high. It’s the real start. Let’s hear the story of Lee Michelle who is standing in front of the audience as a musical actress and knocked over the expectations of those who thought she’d stand in front of the fans through album activities.
Lee Michelle caught the attention of the public through “K-Pop Star”. She said that what changed after this program was her network in the music industry.
“I have a lively personality, so I like making new friends. It was nice to meet new friends from different regions and who make music. I was able to expand my music network. There are so much more music genres than I thought. I met people who have various styles, so I think I broadened my musical horizons during that time.”
While being in a group of friends united through music, being in “K-Pop Star” was also an inspiration on a music level. The other things that changed about Lee Michelle are the style and the direction she’s looking for her music.
“Before, I thought I should just do the music I like. However, after filming this program, as the number of people who love my music increased, I always worry about doing the music that these people like and I practice with that in mind.”
Lee Michelle added that she became aware of her popularity especially with the change of her status on her college campus. She used to have a comfortable sunbae-hoobae relationship with others, but now there would be the exclamation “wow, it’s Lee Michelle!” first. She said that these positive gazes on her still feel like a dream.
Lee Michelle broke everyone’s expectations and didn’t have regular activities as a singer but as a musical actress in the musical “I Love Tonj”. A lot of people were waiting for her album, but she decided to debut as a musical actress. We were curious about the reason behind this unexpected choice.
“To be honest, musicals are difficult because it’s the association of music, acting, dancing and interpretation. I thought it would help me a lot to express myself through music for my album activities if I acted in a musical before working on my album.”
When she was in high school, she had a brief experience in a musical, but this was the first time she officially took the stage. She learned many things that were different from what she had vaguely experienced back then, so it was a new learning process.
“I knew some things in theory, but there was so much more that I was able to learn only by going on the field. Before, musicals were something I only enjoyed watching. Now that I have had a direct experience, I think it’s a genre that has a lot of charms.”
It’s not only that. Lee Michelle also went on a severe diet and lost 14kg in two months for this project. She came back with a slim image we wouldn’t have suspected, so we asked her if there was a secret behind her diet.
“More than a secret method, I just didn’t eat following regular standards and I exercised out a lot. (laugh) I tried many things from the one-food diet to the powder of roast grain, but I think the best way is to exercise properly. I also stopped eating oily food like chicken or pizza. Of course, I drink no alcohol either.”
Being on stage as a musical actress and not as a singer to face the public wasn’t an easy challenge for Lee Michelle. That’s why she even felt even more burdened and nervous about this musical.
“To be honest, when I sing, I usually don’t get nervous because I immerse myself in the music and I enjoy it. But a musical is different. Instead of singing on my own, I think the biggest pressure is to be in harmony with the other actors. I didn’t play a light character, so the pressure felt even bigger. I wondered if it’d get better as time goes by, but I’m even more nervous with each performance.”
In the midst of the pressure and the stress, she couldn’t give up because, no matter how hard it was, it was an even bigger positive influence on her. Lee Michelle talks about the energy and the emotion she felt when she managed to master perfectly the dancing, the singing, the acting and the interpretation. While musicals can be similar to regular music, they contain a complete different charm.
“When I sing regular songs, I’m on stage and I’m in harmony with the public through the song, but I think musicals have a different charm because it’s about giving the audience the impression of watching a screen and the actors must show what was written in the script. Being able to be on stage and convey the right emotion and be in harmony with the public is something that makes me happy.”
The musical “I Love Tonj” is based on the true story of late priest Lee Tae Suk. In terms of creativity, the show is built on a strong story and a fancy stage with various dances and gave fans a serene emotion.
Lee Michelle was cast for the role of “Ahbook” a young woman from Tonj, South Sudan and shared the stage with sunbaes like Yoon Bok Hee, Hong Kyung Min, Go Yoo Jin. Since it was her first musical, there must have been many complications while she was preparing for the role. We asked her who was the sunbae who influenced her the most.
“The actors team is made of people from different group ages, but I think all of them were a big influence on me. To be honest, I didn’t think about who I’d be for this project. However, instead of thinking “I must do well”, I went with a “even if it’s just one thing, I must learn more” mindset. So I learned a lot from everybody, but Yoon Bok Hee-sunbaenim is the person who deeply moved me. We didn’t have scenes together, but I found myself immersed in Yoon Book Hee’s acting as if I was under a spell for a moment. This is something that I respect and I want to follow this example.”
Born in 1991, Lee Michelle turned 24 this year. The artists she chose as role models would surprise her peers. She seeks for a music that people listen for comfort and they don’t get tired of even if they listen to it for a long time. Most of her models are legends of the Korean music scene.
“I want to succeed as a singer like Cho Yong Pil-sunbaenim, Shim Soo Bong-sunbaenim, Lee Moon Se-sunbaenim. My dream is to become this kind of singer that you never get tired of and that you want to keep listening to and seeing often.”
Despite her young age, her eyes were limpid when she talked about music. We could feel her hot passion about music. Her determination showed as she said her dream was to leave masterpieces that would go down in history.
“The songs of the artists I called role models are songs that artists keep singing or doing remakes with another arrangement. I don’t think it’s really the same. What I want is to become a singer whose songs are good enough for people to want to listen to them again, even as time goes by.”
Original article: wstarnews