“Singing is a gift to my fans for supporting me.” – Kim Bum

Kim Bum recently debuted his first album Home Town in Japan, and also held a fan meet to commemorate the release of his album. In a recent interview with Oricon Kim Bum talks about singing, acting and how much his fans mean to him.

— (Together) ♪Happy Birthday to you~

(Kim Bum) Wah~ Thank You Very Much!

— Happy Birthday, once again. Firstly, the other day, a release event was held for your album at Odaiba’s Venus Fort. How do you feel now, after the event?

I was very nervous at first, but because there were more fans gathered than expected and everyone was excited, we were able to end the event with smiles and good feelings. 

— The previous day, it was said that you were too nervous and could not sleep. Were you able to sleep well on that day?

After the event, I was with the staff having meals and drinking my favourite Japanese wine. Because I filled my stomach and heart, I was able to sleep well.

— What Japanese food does Kim Bum like?

Although I seldom eat ramen in Korea, when I come to Japan, I will definitely eat it (by the way, today’s lunch was tonkotsu ramen). Also, in the previous tour to Sapporo, Nagoya and Kobe, there were many delicious local restaurants and food. In terms of eating, “What delicious Japanese food will I encounter the next time” has become one of the joys of coming to Japan.

— On June 20, the long awaited first album “Home Town” debuted in Japan. What is your true feeling now?

I always said this, right from the beginning, I sang because I have this thought of “I want to give a present!” to the fans who support me.  Then, since many had a good impression of my singing, it became an opportunity for me to begin my career in Japan as a singer. Hence, right now, I just want to thank my fans and, from now on I want to increase the opportunity for fans to listen to my songs.

— The 1st album “Home Town” contains a variety of music such as sorrowful ballad, warm middle tune, and intense rock numbers.

To me, because this is the first original album, it contains music and stories that I myself want everyone to listen. When the album was ready, I was also surprised by the wider than expected range of genres (laugh). Instead of having contents that burden you while listening, I think it only contains songs that allow you to relax from the beginning to the end. I think it’s an album that when you have finished listening to, your heart will become lighter.

— The arrangement of the heart-stirring intense rock numbers at the start followed by a gradual calming atmosphere gives an exquisite flow. More than anything, Kim Bum’s expression and encompassing vocals in ballads is impressive.

Thank you. As the recording was done in Japanese this time, I was most conscious of pronunciation. When you are distracted by pronunciation, you are not be able to express the emotion well right?  That is the most fearsome problem. The pronunciation of “tsu” is especially hard. Phrases with “tsu” were recorded repeatedly and this took up a lot of time.

— By the way, what is the Japanese word that you remembered recently?

“Hatsuon ga mutsukashii~” (Smiles) (T/N: Pronunciation is hard)

— Indeed (laugh). Kim Bum is both an actor and singer. Is there any difference between the two?

The expression of feelings is common in both, but the addition of lyrics and melody in singing gives rise to the major difference.

— In that case, singing is more difficult?

 No. Acting is more difficult.

— It was said that Kim Bum was close to music since young. Have you been aiming to be an artist right from the start?

Although I like and listen to music, I did not aim to be an artist. I have acted as a  musician in a drama and sung for the OST, but I have never thought that I would become a full-fledged singer.  This feels unbelievable.

— Which Japanese artist do you like?

Sakamoto Ryuichi. When I have use extreme emotional skills to act out and when I’m  feeling depressed, I will listen to Sakamoto Ryuichi’s music. Also, listening to the music when it’s raining calms me.

— Are you nervous when you sing?

Yes, very nervous.

— What about when acting?

I will be nervous. However, there are many types of nervousness. Before singing, there is a trembling nervousness that comes together with tremulous excitement, but in acting, the nervousness is a complicated feeling that is hard to describe in words. Singing has many similarities with my original self but in acting, although there are parts that are close to my usual self, in the end I’m still acting out another personality.

— In daily life, are there times when you have mixed up yourself and your acting roles?

Because my personality is such that when I face my work, I quietly become absorbed into my role and completely become that character, my personality and daily habits, lifestyle patterns will change completely according to the role. 

— So people around you must grasp the role Kim Bum is in at that time. Because with the various roles, the sudden change in personalities will make people around you panic and wonder “Eh? What happened?”.

However, because I do not become a character that will hurt or bully others, you may relax (laugh)

— That’s good. What is the personality of the original Kim Bum?

Aah~ that is the most difficult question (laugh).

— So far it’s turning out well (laugh)

Too well such that it has become difficult instead (laugh).

— It is wonderful to frankly assert your opinion. Is it the same in love? For example, if you have someone you like, are you the type who confesses directly?

(Immediately answered) Yes. I do.

— What is Kim Bum’s ideal type of girl and views on romance?

Instead of having a girl who protects me, I prefer a girl who I can protect. Also I think it is good if we can empathize and understand each other on different levels. Most importantly someone who can understand my job.

— If not, (it will be difficult) when your personality changes because of your role right? (laugh). In the song “Day Break”, there is a line “Your worn-out heart, I want to protect it”.

It describes me exactly (laugh)

— Kim Bum has a considerably manly personality. There is a combination of gentleness and dependability.

I will work hard to become more like that (laugh)

— For example, when a girl has a hard time and grumbles to Kim Bum in a weak voice, what will you do?

Before she says it’s hard, I will hug her gently.

— Instead of words, you’d use your heart to embrace her.

Yes (shy smile)

— Besides, you have a keen awareness for the usual emotion and sensitivity or you won’t understand right?  Fans with difficult thoughts must have been healed by Kim Bum’s acting and singing, while watching and listen to dramas and songs

The same applies to me as well. I am healed by the energy from fans. With this meaning, I think we are building a wonderful relationship.

— An MV for the title song “Home Town” was filmed.

The story itself is about following a friend’s trail using photos as clues and visiting nostalgic places recommended by the friend.

— The MV allows you to enjoy the usual streets of Korea. Is there any Korean spots or scenes that Kim Bum specifically recommends?

It may be a coincidence but the places that appeared in the MV are places that I myself am very familiar with. We started from Apgujeong’s Rodeo Street which is close to my house. After that Samcheong-dong appeared, where my high school is located. It’s been a while since I visited there and I was shocked at the increase of many pretty, nice shops. Also, the night scene at the Hangang (Han) River is a scene that I like. Although it suddenly rained along the way, I think that because of the rain, it gave an even prettier impression of Seoul’s night view to everyone.

— In the café scene, we were able to catch a glimpse of Kim Bum in his daily life. Do you go to café often?

When I met up with friends, it’s usually at the café. I love coffee very much.


— I see. By the way, (you prefer) black coffee? Or?

(Immediately answered) I only drink black coffee.

— That’s very ‘grown-up’. Isn’t it bitter?

I have never once felt that it’s bitter. It’s because this is the original coffee taste (laugh). Since my first time I’ve always had black coffee, I instead find it hard to imagine the taste of coffee with sugar and milk.

— That is also very manly. By the way, are you into (T/N: addicted to) anything recently?

Something that I’m addicted to?  Because I have liked sports from the beginning, on my off days, I will go to gym for training or play soccer. Also, I will go ride a bicycle or watch a movie.

— What sports did you participate in when young?

Swimming, Taekwando, Judo, Kendo… After I debuted, I also did kick boxing.

— That’s a variety of sports (laugh). And they are all tough sports!

In sports, once I start it, I am absorbed into it. If I don’t do it thoroughly, I am not able to be satisfied (T/N: or not able to calm down)

— Everything is connected to give you the present Kim Bum. Is there any Japanese actor that you like?

I like Watanabe Ken. When I watched the movie “Inception”, it has nothing to do with the fact that he’s the only Asian, but I think it’s very cool of him to be able to clearly show his presence and acting. I wish to become an actor who can show his presence.

— As an artist, is there any goal or thing you want to do in Japan in the future?

I wish to hold a solo concert. If possible, I definitely would like to hold a nationwide tour to meet up with fans from various provinces. Most importantly, in order not to disappoint everyone, I will work hard in each and every singing and acting job. Hence, everyone, please continue to give me your warm support.

Source: Oricon

Thanks to Lesley for her help & to Marilyn for translating the interview 🙂