Debuting in 2005, CSJH did not come as a 'girl group' but as an 'acapella group.' Their agency, SM Entertainment, did not intend them to be a nation only group, rather to become an Asian star. While promoting in Korea, China, and Japan, in 2009, member Stephanie injured her back and caused the group to halt all promotions. In June, the remaining 3 members returned to Korea from Japan.
During this time, Lina opened a shopping mall transforming as a CEO, Sunday has featured in singer H-Eugene's 'Love Alarm', and Stephanie has been accepted into a Korean art and dance school. In the past month, Dana has stared in the musical 'DaeJangGeum' as JangGeum. She has stood on stage once again for the first time in a year in front of fans.
"Thank you for the opportunity and trials."
We met Dana on the 16th just before the musical began.
First Rest after debuting in 9 years "I'm getting ready to run again", "Will a rainbow appear at the end of my striped rainbow..."
While roaming around, out came a sound of singing. While turning here and there, Dana just got done with her make up and approached the place where the interviews were given.
"My throat has not relaxed yet." Even practicing just before meeting with a reporter, Dana greeted us first.
"After schedules in Japan were done, we returned to Korea and rested. I stayed at home, eating, sleeping, watching movies for what seemed like at least 2 months. But my friends said 'You are being cruel' I took a step back into the world when going to celebarte my friend's birthday in July. (Laugh) Everyday I met my friends and even went on a trip."
Dana has found time to rest after 9 years since her debut in 2001. In good words it's a resting time, but in other words it's a blank. These days, artists release mini albums, full albums, repackaged albums, and comeback on stage. Compared to this, it has been a long time. Dana had a comfortable expression though she could be feeling impatient.
"To say that I don't miss the stage would be a lie. But I don't really wish to quickly return. For a while I never really had any time to rest. I knew that I would have to return someday so I did not hasten anything."
"I have now aged and I don't have the same strength as before to have such hasty schedules. Since debutting, I did not have any time to rest and ran around. When I had to get ready to run again, I thought that unlike other people, I would have to have more patience and give more effort."
"If others who have been active longer heard me, they might curse at me, but they should really understand." You could really tell she wanted time to rest.
Harder Musical Rehearsals than as a singer trainee
After resting for a year, Dana returned as a 'new' musical actress rather than a singer who debuted '9 years ago'.
When Stephanie injured her back, 'CSJH' promotions came to a rest. Our agency told us that a lot of singers have done individual things like musicals. I have responded that I wanted to do something singing related. That is how I have come to audition for 'DaeJangGeum'."
It's been months but it seems she already knows how it feels (?) "Sunday also auditioned with me..." She said but changed the atmosphere. She seemed to remember well how practices went.
"Musical actors are different from singers. I had a problem with being able to show off my voice that was a mix of husky and air that was able to bring up the atmosphere of a song. In musicals, you can't stand out and have a pretty voice. But since I've always sang charismatically, I felt that it was boring and had a hard time adjusting."
There weren't any singers in the agency that debuted 9 years ago as a 'middle' singer who has had problems pointed out. But while rehearsing several times in front of people, have been told that "You really can't sing" and was scolded. "I've lived for 12 years only singing...Re~ally felt sad and everyday I cried to manager oppa asking why he made me do this and that I wanted to give up right now." To emphasize how hard it was, she stretched the word 'really' to 're~ally'.
She remembers writing on her minihompi 'Never again will I go back to that time. I won't let myself go.' She seemed really grim, letting out a sigh.
"It was a situation where I couldn't quit the musical. But in that intense reality, I really wasn't confident about it. If given more effort, it will work, but I did not have the strength to give more effort. I just let myself go. Even if I did well, no one will compliment me...that's how I felt."
I didn't know what to do so I just ran around, I have even said I was sick as an excuse for the first time. Even though training in SM was harsh, he empathetically said 'I've had worse' shaking his head. (Or their heads)
Receiving praise through tears on the first performance
Saying that the harsh rehearsals were hard on her, we asked what she liked. "I liked being scolded" is what Dana answered and laughed.
"Since debuting a long time ago, there was no one to give me any guidance in the agency. Everyone leaves everything to me and I needed to know things. While it was my first time doing a musical, I was scolded while being taught. It felt good that someone could rely on me to do this." (?)
While having intense rehearsals, Dana was approached in tears and was praised for doing well. (Not sure if that's right)
"That was the first time I was praised by my teacher. Before when others would praise me, I didn't believe it. But when my teacher said I did well, I believed I did well and gained confidence. Afterwards, I put on wings and it got easier. Then it became fun performing and I think I could understand how my teacher felt."
She said she should have "Just left her teacher to scold her." Dana has also been a singing teacher for 'SNSD' Yoona and 'f(x)'. When I brought up this "Being here and talking about how I was scolded while learning, I feel embarassed for myself talking about me being a teacher. I'm not in any position to teach anyone.. As a singing teacher, I have shared ways to be able to sing well with my juniors, but I have helped with shaping their images as singers and also taught them not to be tacky, but be classy in the way they move." She shares. She also joked that she was a strict teacher. "No I really wasn't. If they do something wrong, I would severly teach them, but the juniors are cute and were like little brothers and sisters."
'I desire a tearful applause from the audience' (I think)
Sitcom debut, solo singer, group activities, oversears activites, and now musical. 24 years old young Dana has experienced many things and was asked what future she was going for.
"Since I have done a musical, I thought that singing activities might be hard. Of course I love music and want to continue being a singer, but I have felt different things while performing in a musical. Learning how to do this and that and being taught, scolded, praised by several people. I like it that I can act now. If there are other interesting works, I would like to be challenged and try them. I have become a bit greedy with acting now. Of course I still want to keep singing."
Dana is receiving a lot of love calls from the musical side. Dana said, "Since I have done a heavy piece, next time I would like to work on a lighter ones like 'Distressed Beauty' 'Grease'-like pieces."
She wants to grow as a musical actress but I was curious. Does she really not have an attachment to singing anymore?
"What amazed me was the fans chanting and I've wanted to produce an album quickly, but I don't think that will go with me. As a singer, when I performed, fans would yell 'gya-ah' and other sounds and in a musical, the audience doesn't applaud until the end. These two are very different. I think it's because I have received 'gya-ah' 'Unnie whatever you do is good' comments and were applauded. 'JangGeumie you did well. I was moved' I think its because of these meanings. Of course I am still thankful for the love I receive. But I really want to be able to create reactions where fans do roar into an applause."
But it doesn't mean she has forgotten her fans. "Fans and singers are loyal" is what she stated, "During this time we are resting, fans have waited and gladly accepting it gave me a lot of energy. Since they have been keeping up with me, in return, I will make an effort to get back on stage."
After the interview ended, Dana put her two hands together and returned back to the stage. After 2 hours, curtain call was made. Debuting at the age of 16, she did not smile as she wanted to pull away from her cute image 'Hongdodo (Dana's real name is Hong Sung Mi)' is a nickname that has stuck to her. She laughed as the audience applauded her, she slouched her back and stepped up.
1st day of musical started 'DaeJangGeum' is on until the 23rd at the GyunHuiGoong at 8 pm.
cheonsang nacwon via tenjo-soul @ soompi
I completely did not know she helped to train f(x) in singing as well! Her musical run ended yesterday, and there were lots of good reviews about her :)
Dana keep to your word and comeback soon!