Volume 2 / Chapter 70
Yoon Jung Su went towards Jun Hyuk who was listening to Jang Na Rae instead of the MP3 player.
“I heard you assessed Jang Na Rae as better than Jessica?”
“Who said that?”
“Hye Sung did. I heard you said Jang Na Rae would win?”
“If you look just at talent. But I heard the broadcast was already planned?”
“It’s not only like that. Broadcasts like upsets too. People love reversal dramas because they’re entertaining elements.”
A reversal drama with Jang Na Rae beating Jessica would not happen. A reversal drama was impossible unless the writers changed their script.
“That’s that, but why do you think that?”
“Jessica is a singing machine.”
Jun Hyuk settled it with two words.
“Isn’t a singing machine a compliment? Doesn’t it mean she sings that well without making any mistakes?”
Jun Hyuk shook his head,
“Jessica doesn’t become black just because she lived in America. R&B and soul is to black people what pansori is to Korean people. It’s impossible for people who aren’t black to express the essence of that music perfectly.”
“You’re saying there’s a lack of expression in the emotion?”
“No, I’m saying it’s impossible. Even if a black person lived in Korea for a long time and spoke Korean well, it would be weird if they tried to sing pansori.”
Jun Hyuk shook his head again as he repeated that Jessica was just imitating.
“Listen to a recording of Jessica singing R&B and soul. Honestly, the over exaggeration is severe.”
They could interpret over exaggeration as emotional excess, but Yoon Jung Su could fully understand Jun Hyuk’s evaluation of Jessica.
“Then what about Jang Na Rae?”
“Her level of understanding a song is no joke. And her tone is really good.”
“What does it mean that she understands songs?”
Normally, understanding a song meant expressing the emotions of lyrics well. He thought that Jun Hyuk’s words might have a different meaning.
“She changes every song to the emotion that she felt. Jang Na Rae has the ability to make a sad farewell song sound like she’s saying she’s relieved that the person is gone.”
“Does that mean the voice is overshadowing the lyrics? So you don’t even think about the lyrics?”
“Yes, that’s it. Oh, that’s a good way to say it. He he.”
Yoon Jung Su thought that Jun Hyuk’s evaluation of Jang Na Rae was a bit excessive. He was certain that she is good, but she was not as good as Jun Hyuk said. If Jun Hyuk’s assessment was right, a star was born.
Yoon Jung Su recalled Jo Hyung Joong’s words again to keep Jun Hyuk’s words in mind. If Jun Hyuk was right, Yoon Jung Su needed to scout Jang Na Rae right away.
After a moment of thought, Yoon Jung Su spoke,
“You want to try taking lead?”
“Excuse me? Lead?”
“Yeah. Tell Jang Na Rae what she’s falling short on. It’s okay if you fix it for her too.”
“Oy, no. How could I do that……”
Yoon Jung Su did not mind Jun Hyuk and went to Jang Na Rae in the recording booth,
“Na Rae, what do you think? Would it be okay if Jun Hyuk did some directing?”
“Excuse me? Ah, yes. That’s okay.”
Jun Hyuk is the one who had singled her out as the winner, but she herself did not know the reason for that.
“Look, she said it’s okay. Try it.”
Yoon Jung Su pushed Jun Hyuk into the recording booth. Inside the booth, Jun Hyuk scratched his head and carefully wrote something on the score as he spoke,
“More calmly here… and go up on falsetto here since you don’t need to show that you can hit the high notes. And when you start here, go in half a beat late…..”
“Excuse me? Lay…? Well, anyway half a beat late. And don’t try to sing well. Try to sing the entire song a little more calmly. With the feeling that you’re telling someone else’s story to a friend, not your own.”
Even a very sad farewell story has a different meaning to each listener. Someone will sympathize and feel sad while another will not be able to and think that it is laughable to be so upset. Yet another person can feel that the farewell is a relief.
If a third party sings a song, the lyrics can change in any way. This is what Jun Hyuk meant by understanding a song.
Jang Na Rae saw Jun Hyuk who was standing so close to her she could almost touch his face, and felt her heart beat faster and her cheeks blush. Jun Hyuk’s words did not come into her head. There was only one word she remembered,
“Yes. You can’t over exaggerate the emotion. This seems like a song about a jerk who loved one girl too much… Forget about trying to deliver the emotions of the lyrics. Just think that you’re singing a rhyme, since the meaning of the lyrics don’t matter.”
Yoon Jung Su who was listening from outside almost passed out. Lyrics were not important? Those were lyrics he had written during his youth in heartbreak over a girl he had broken up with, but Jun Hyuk was telling Jang Na Rae to treat it like a rhyme. On top of that, a jerk!
When Jun Hyuk came out of the booth, he signaled with his hand to Yoon Jung Su who was sitting blankly.
“Try listening to it. She should be able to get it after singing it five or six times.”
Jang Na Rae could not pay attention to the lyrics even without Jun Hyuk’s urging. She was already busy trying to focus on the directing that Jun Hyuk had filled her score with.
Though she made mistakes where she missed the beat, but Jun Hyuk looked satisfied. If she practiced a little more, she would get used to the song and it would become more natural.
Jang Na Rae was still lacking the calm that Jun Hyuk had demanded, but the changes were starting to take shape.
Yoon Jung Su did not know that his sad ballad could become so colorful with adjustments in just the technique.
Musician Dittersdorf who had worked at the same time as Mozart was recognized as one of the best musicians along with Salieri. He had gone around bragging that not even Mozart could catch up to him. The introduction of his symphony in D major was configured with two tones that did not vary in height but only in length.
The song is so boring it is difficult to listen to. It continues without straying once from the audience’s expectations.
Mozart took this boring song and slightly changed it to use it as the introduction of his song. That is none other than the famous Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. He had clearly shown Dittersdorf the gap between them.
The ability to create a completely different and colorful song with a slight change. It seemed his song had been reborn completely differently with Jun Hyuk’s modifications. How could his music that had topped the charts have been so dull?
Yoon Jung Su thought that he was like Salieri. The color of the song had changed entirely with a little directing.
He had the thought that Jun Hyuk might not have pointed Jang Na Rae out as the winner because of her talent. It was because Jang Na Rae was the person who could best take in Jun Hyuk’s directing.
To think about it from the other end, Jessica was not qualified to take Jun Hyuk’s directing.
Yoon Jung Su realized why Jun Hyuk was called an arranging genius. He could arrange any song to its best in moments. The more surprising aspect was that he was able to get a grasp of a performer or singer’s talent and arrange the song to display their best.
When Jang Na Rae had sung Jun Hyuk’s version of the song for the 3rd time, he looked very pleased. It seemed it was almost at the level he desired.
His ballad that was like a sad wailing had become a colorful song with a few changes in technique. It was as though a sad violin solo had become an elaborate orchestra symphony.
Yoon Jung Su looked curiously at Jun Hyuk as he heard Jang na Rae’s completed song. He had recognized Jun Hyuk’s genius before Jo Hyung Joong did, but he had thought Jo Hyung Joong’s praises were exaggerated. However now, he realized that Jo Hyung Joong’s high praises had fallen short.
The other people in Yoon Jung Su’s studio looked at Jun Hyuk as if he were a monster. How could he change the singer and song’s color with just 5 minutes of directing?
Jun Hyuk felt uncomfortable with everyone looking at him. Was Yoon Jung Su not looking at him in the way he had expressed Jun Hyuk’s frustration before?
Yoon Jung Su who saw Jun Hyuk’s expression realized what was happening and quickly changed the mood,
“There there. You guys record Na Rae’s song. We’ll work on it again after we hear the recording. Na Rae, let’s go one more time.”
After Yoon Jung Su sent Na Rae the signal, he took Jun Hyuk and left. The two went to the roof of the studio and did not speak as they breathed in the cold air.
After a while, Yoon Jung Su opened his mouth. He did not look at Jun Hyuk but at the view from the roof as he spoke,
“This will happen more going forward. People will look at you as if you’re unique. Those looks will be full of adoration and jealousy. I was really jealous of your talent just now, too.”
Jun Hyuk quietly looked up at Yoon Jung Su, but Yoon Jung Su kept looking forward.
“You changed a song that I spent over a month pouring my feelings over into nothing in a matter of 5 minutes. No one will even pretend they’ve seen this kind of talent before.”
“Teacher, I just…”
“I’m not reproaching you, I’m in awe. You have to accept the burdensome gazes you receive as definites. It’s the attention given to stars. If that attention is gathered… it’ll be to the point where you won’t have a personal life. That’s what a star is and you’re already a star. That’s not because of your good looks and your height, but your musical talent.
Jun Hyuk did not understand what Yoon Jung Su was saying. His name was just starting to get known, and it was in gossip not music.
“Do you know how many calls Hyung Joong and I received? Over dozens. They’re calls from agencies asking me to talk about them to you. That’s even after the news that you’ll be studying abroad next year came out. There are dozens are companies that are dying to sign you on.”
Jun Hyuk was thinking that this talk about agencies are encumbrances. Music was made when musicians came together. He had fully realized while filming for the broadcast that agencies only thought of money.
“Just accept it and enjoy it. Think of the looks you get as looks of admiration. As you continue to make great music, the looks of admiration and jealousy will turn into respect. I can bet my life savings that you’ll become a respectable musician. Ha ha.”
Yoon Jung Su who laughed at his lame joke changed the subject,
“Okay, now should we talk about your mission song?”
Jun Hyuk could only scratch his head at the mention of mission.
“What? It’s hard to make a choice? This… well this is kind of embarrassing.”
“Ah… That’s because the songs you gave me are so unfamiliar. They’re so different from your songs that are well known.”
“Honestly, there’s a reason why I chose those songs.”
Yoon Jung Su had a wide smile as though he had something fun planned,
“Try making a dance song.”
“Excuse me? A dance song?”
Dance? Dance is the music Yoon Kwang Hun likes least. Of course he had almost never heard it.
“Hyung Joong suggested doing something fun. Your interest in machines grew while you were working with Hyung Joong?”
“You don’t care about winning anyway, right? And it’s not a situation where you can last very long without singing. Since we prepare up to the 3rd round before the live broadcast, I’m sure it’ll end there. The broadcasting station is focusing on showing all of your genius.”
Yoon Jung Su continued on quickly when he saw Jun Hyuk’s uncomfortable face to avoid any unnecessary misunderstandings,
“I’m not telling you to do this for the broadcast. Since you had producing in your DNA, it wouldn’t be bad to use this opportunity to try a new genre.”
“Mixing is important in dance music, but I don’t know the machines that well yet.”
“I’ll put two pressing birds on you, so try it out as much as you want.”
“Pressing bird? What’s that?”
“Um… You can think of it as a 2nd or assistant composer and arranger. If you hum the melody line, they’ll make the chord progression and melody on the master keyboard. And you know how they use a lot of electronic sound effects? Since it’s hard to write that in a score, you would just put it in on the spot.”
It was a scene that could be seen on broadcast often. A singer who is known to be capable of writing his own songs always has a composer sitting next to him while he’s working on his music in the recording studio. Though it seems like they’re composing together, unless the singer’s level is extremely high, the composer was completing most of the music. The singer only made a few verses of melody and the person who completed the whole song was the pressing bird, the composer. They are called pressing birds because they need to press on the master keyboard in countless ways until the song is complete.
“Ah, so you’re saying if I say I want the exhaust of a motorcycle as a sound effect, they would be able to insert it right away?”
“Right, they play that kind of role. And if it’s a person that does well, a collaboration is also possible.”
Jun Hyuk’s expression brightened as soon as he found out that he could insert any song he wanted to.
“Are you telling me to do electronic dance music?”
“Oh, you think fast. What do you think? You want to try it?”
“Um… But teacher, I don’t really like electronic.”
“Why? Is it because it’s at a lower level than classical?”
“No. What levels are there in music? I just get bored because it’s a repeat of the same simple rhythm.”
It was possible for someone who enjoyed listening to classical and jazz to think that electronic with EDM as its representative music is simple.
“Um… Jun Hyuk. Could it be that you don’t know that there are many uses for music?”
“You only heard music in the cafe practice room?”
“Yes. Most of it… I watched TV occasionally.”
“There’s music like classical where you concentrate and enjoy it, and there’s music like jazz and the blues where the best way to listen is at a concert hall. But it’s hard to appreciate electronic that way.”
Yoon Jung Su could not help but smile at the thought that he was pushing Jun Hyuk into a new world.
Not all music needed to have the lifespan of 200 years like classical does. A song could show its worth just by staying alive for two or three months and giving people joy in that time.
Even the song that had shaken the world, Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style,’ was not played anywhere 3 years after.
“You’ll know better by experiencing it yourself than hearing it hundred times, right?”
After Yoon Jung Su brought Jun Hyuk back to the recording studio, he called Jang Na Rae and Kwak Hye Sung who had been practicing.
“I’m sure you guys have been stressed while locked up, practicing.”
The two had inflated expectations at Yoon Jung Su’s soft expression. Were they going to have dinner together?
“I’ll relieve that stress for you today.”
Yoon Jung Su said something unbelievable after hesitating,
“When we’re done practicing, let’s go to a club. Oh, I won’t get in because I’m old, so go with the recording studio people. There’s a good place where they don’t film and the people don’t care about celebrities.”
Jang Na Rae just stared blankly while Kwak Hye Sung, who looked least likely to fit in at a club, cheered.