Asia’s Homme Fatale, Singer Choikang Changmin
Choikang Changmin’s “The aesthetics of the vocals I trained with.”
DBSK’s Choikang Changmin, like his image, is actually virtuous, introspective, and polite. Looking at his personality and attitude, it’s a mystery how he entered the entertainment world, and especially the pop music scene.
In this business, one must constantly wear a mask in front of others and take on different personas habitually. When thinking about this quality, his enthusiasm which has endured till now is the first research target. “When I was young, I would worry about standing in front of people, and I was a shy child. Even now I’m shy, but after 7 years of activities as a singer, it seems I am a bit more sensible.”
Even when ordering food with the staff, he was so reserved that he thought it inconvenient to show will like saying, “What will you eat?” The origin of this nature came from when he was a child. “Because my father was a teacher, he was strict. I was caught up in the idea that I must always take the decided path. Ever since I was a child, I tried to take on that teaching, but I became awkward at being decisive and it was unusually stressful. But after I debuted, my father said, “I’m sorry. It seems I took you along in the picture I envisioned. You haven’t decided with your own will, and for that, I’m very sorry.”
His image as an exemplary student has been harassed by an ‘honors student complex.’ When he thought he was bad at something compared to others, he would work 2 – 3 times harder until he became average. Choikang Changmin’s efforts like this are famous within the company. Even in the 2 weeks of time off they receive in a year, he stayed by himself in Seoul and thought about taking separate music classes, and in order to be able to using Japanese freely during Japanese activities, he stayed by himself and secretly studied while others went to games. But more than wanting to win against other people, it’s about finishing his responsibilities to become someone he is not embarrassed of. His competition is in itself exceptional.
“It wasn’t about not wanting to lose to other people. I just didn’t want people to hear a bad voice. The idea that I don’t want to be embarrassed of myself is the reality behind my hard work.” He added to that, “I’ve definitely changed from before; it’s clearer what I like and dislike, and I’ve lost a bit of my hesitation in expressing it."
Choikang Changmin, who is in charge of high voice in his group, admires many different vocal interpretations and expressions. Singing that is touching even without hard vocal techniques that expand rhythmically, or singing that collaborates well at the chorus even without being the main part, he pays attention to all types of vocals. This week the theme of “Musician’s Choice” is ‘The aesthetics of vocals I trained with.’ They make who he is now, and he believes they are an important part of his vocal training that will guide him. “These are singers who I personally like. These are songs that have helped me a lot with my singing training. These songs are not just for practice; they are necessities I always carry around in normal life.
While facing him for one hour, what I felt was that Choikang Changmin is not strong, but in reality he is not weak either. Furthermore, as the interview grew long, his answers showed his ability to focus, and he made a point of nodding his head [in reply]. Although he has eyes of a deer that would cry right away, there were also moments that confirmed he also has points that are stronger than a lion’s roar.
Rather than a ‘rose style’ which attracts people for a moment with a strong smell and fascinating color, he is like a chrysanthemum which embraces a faint scent and makes one want to stay near it for a long time. It is the type of existence where as time passes, its charms burst forth.
Choikang Changmin’s first album choice
Adam Lambert “For Your Entertainment (Tour Edition)”
Yoo Young Jin, who is a composer from my company, made me practice this song (If I Had You) when he was making my solo song (Big Time) in preparation for last year’s SM Town family concert. He said the theme of my solo song is like Adam Lambert. When I listened to it, he was a singer who was strong at high notes. For me, in addition to being a high voice part, I was able to find a concept for the new song “Big Time” through this musician’s style, and I practiced it. This singer’s song combines a eurobeat and a shouting singing style that I like, and I became very interested in the style at once. Last year, these vocals became my role model. It is not my target, but there were many points and skills that were necessary to practice and prepare with. When I am looking for a way to maximize my skill for a ‘shouting song,’ this song helps me greatly.
Song Name: If I Had You
The second album Choikang Changmin chose
Boyz II Men “Nathan Michael Shawn Wanya”
A person who likes music will like them; they seem to excel at this quality, but I think they are a group that had an ability that can’t be explained in words. I think the team itself has excellent choral and a cappella abilities. I think they are a team that has a lot of ‘something’ which goes beyond the musicality and marketability that we know, but it feels like that kind of ability was often buried. In this album with the song “I do,” Wanya Morris’ solo vocals are good, and the chorus line is very beautiful. Personally, this is a song I’ve always wanted to try.
Song Name: I Do
The third album Choikang Changmin chose
Raul Midon “State of Mind”
Listening to this album, I formed a desire to learn the guitar. For a person who likes guitar, this musician’s guitar accompaniment is fresh and rare. He is visually impaired, but it is a marvel that he can digest the rhythm so perfectly with his rare accompaniment. The song “State of Mind” is unlike other songs, and I was especially interested in the part where he sings the rap part. It’s probably because I have done a lot of dance music that I like the melody and the rhythmical tempo. Because it calls to mind a large topic, I liked it more. Not many other people know him, but I guess I’m sort of proud that only I know? I’d like this musician to be my target for awhile.
Song Name: State of Mind
The fourth album Choikang Changmin chose
Craig David “The Story Goes…”
Personally, I like the song “Don’t Love You No More.” The first time I listened to it without knowing the lyrics, I had thought it was a persistent love confession. I liked and when I searched for the lyrics, the parts where he plainly expressed “I won’t love you anymore” reached my heart. The song and quality of the guitar accompaniment fits; it doesn’t use the sound of many instruments. A mysterious feel comes from the simmering melody and the plain lyrics. And then it becomes one with Craig David’s rap-like rhythmic singing, and the best tune comes out.
Song Name: Don’t Love You No More
The fifth album Choikang Changmin chose
M.Y.M.P “Acoustic Proposal”
When you look at the simple style of singing with the guitar accompaniment, it seems fitting for a small, quiet club, but the melody attaches so much sensitivity that it can’t be put into words. Shouting songs, which I have experience with, and rhythmical rap are relatively showy in skill, but although this musician’s vocals are small, it holds a beautiful voice that has the ability to tickle the listener’s heart. Even if there is no flashy characteristic, shall I say that it simply steals away people’s ears? Through just the simplicity of the vocals, I think it has the ability to make the audience sway. I chose it because I don’t possess such vocals which are simple but move people’s hearts, and I am envious.
Song Name: Say You Love Me
Because there are limits to my singing, there are also many possibilities to expand
As seen through his song choices, Choikang Changmin literally dislikes being restrained by his singing ability. “What I want to express is always different. Just as a performer always plays a different character, every time an album comes out (or every time I stand on stage), I want to try a new and different transformation. Although there are also many people who hold a narrow view of my singing ability, it won’t change my thoughts of being a singer who is different from others but is always growing alongside them.
In his 7 years of activities, he wrote lyrics to four songs. When we asked, “You don’t compose?” he stated, “I can clearly see my limits, but I would dislike pretending to be an ‘artist’ by making half-hearted compositions for fun.” He said, “I must be faithful to the general rule that singers must be good at singing,” and explained, “The lyrics started from that.”
Regarding his discussion about his own limits, he asked in reply, “Paradoxically, couldn’t it mean that there are many possibilities for growth? Right now I think I am a singer with many limits. However, I console myself by saying there are also many possibilities for improvement. The limits of my singing and the limits of my power of expression are all homework that I must solve. And then, I can target them. Every day, little by little I am reaching my dream to become a singer who can expand the range of sound inside of me. “
It's a nice interview! A bit long, but you can just skim if you don't feel like reading. It's always interesting to see what kind of tastes in music idols have since they're pretty much always singing the same kind of music over and over again.