Volume 5 / Chapter 176
[Private plane with the Stern Man]
Jun Hyuk packed lightly and left his apartment to find a young man waiting for him with a limousine.
“I’m with Stern Corporation. I will accompany you until boarding.”
The young man put Jun Hyuk’s luggage in the trunk and they left for the airport.
There is a separate departure area at New York’s JFK airport for private or charter planes. ‘VIPs do not stop walking’ is an iron law there. They had arranged it so that he would not have to stop moving or wait from the time he got out of the car until he boarded the plane.
Private or charter plane passengers only have to have their passport and go through an outbound control gate that not many people can see. Once they board the cart, they glide up to the plane waiting for them. An employee takes care of all of the baggage.
People who enjoy these conveniences pay a tremendous amount of fees every time they fly.
Once Jun Hyuk passed through airport control with his passport, an airport employee was waiting to escort him to his plane. As this is his first time receiving such treatment, he is just confused.
The aircraft is a Boeing 737-700 model worth $80 million, and is a 7-seater. Upon boarding, Isaac Stern was waiting for him with a smile.
“So we finally meet again, Maestro Jun.”
“Huh? Have we met before? You seem familiar.”
“I guess you don’t remember. At the fundraiser for the New York conservatories…”
“Oh, that’s right. In the hotel garden!”
“Ha ha. That’s right. I’m still just a fan of your piano, but you’ve changed from a student to a maestro.”
Jun Hyuk could not close his mouth. The old man who had sat next to him during dinner was the president of Stern Corporation?
“I see you were an important person. You even have such a luxurious private plane.”
Isaac Stern tapped the plane wall.
“I barely use this once or twice a year. I don’t really have reason to go abroad. Maestros normally use it. When they tour.”
The people who use it the most are the greats who have more activity. It is evidence that they constantly receive invitations from all around the world.
Settled in a chair that may as well have been a sofa, the plane quickly took off. The only passengers were Jun Hyuk, Isaac Stern, and 2 men who seem to be employees. 2 stewardesses were on standby for the 4 passengers.
“But I’m sure there’s no reason for you to treat me like this. I’m a complete rookie with just 1 weird song.”
“That’s the song that’s known. Don’t you have piles of masterpieces that haven’t yet been released to the world?”
“They’re not masterpieces…..”
“I saw them for myself, and it’s alright to call them masterpieces.”
“Excuse me? You saw them?”
“Mr. Yoon showed them to me. He said it’s the surest way to know you.”
President Stern recalled the surprise from then and whistled.
“There are very few songs that I would reveal confidently. I’m embarrassed.”
His face became red with a feeling as though someone had read his journal.
“My thoughts are the complete opposite. There were only a few songs that you could forget about.”
Jun Hyuk felt like they were discussing his journal, and quickly changed the subject.
“What did Mr. Yoon say?”
“He said that you need to know your own thoughts that not even you know.”
“Do you know? The thoughts that not even I know?”
“How could I? How would I know unless I were psychic? Ha ha.”
Isaac Stern laughed freely.
“I’ll say it simply. We will just help you to do whatever it is you want to do, no matter what it is. Anything else is a bluff.”
Isaac Stern confessed honestly that nothing is guaranteed, took out a cigarette, and lit it.
“Instead, I’ll tell you a really great forte of our company. Our contracts don’t have contract periods.”
“Do you have a hold on people forever?”
“No, the opposite. We leave the application dates of the contract empty so people can end it whenever they decide that they don’t like our company.”
A contract that they can end at any time. For the management agency, it is an unfavorable term that they can end it at any time they are not satisfied with the management.
“I hear that as you saying you have a lot of confidence.”
“More than confidence, it’s having a heart.”
“Yeah. The heart of having a one-sided love of artists forever. A one-sided love means worshipping the subject of that love and not neglecting it. That’s why I only contract people who I can worship, not stars who will bring me a lot of money.”
It is an interesting philosophy, but there must be times when the one-sided love does not continue forever. President Stern continued to speak as if he had read Jun Hyuk’s mind.
“Most are maintaining their contracts without writing in contract dates. I guess that means everyone is satisfied?”
President Stern smiled at Jun Hyuk and showed a great confidence. Jun Hyuk started to like this pleasant old man more and more.
“Then what do you do if someone signed a contract, terminated it, and wants to be contracted again? Do you still worship him??”
“There were stars who said that they wanted to sign on to our company again, but I never do it.”
President Stern stopped laughing and spoke emphatically.
“I married 4 times and I’ve never re-married an ex-wife. He he.”
4 times? Jun Hyuk could not shut his mouth. He thought that this old man is able to maintain a contract for a long time, but might be a playboy who cannot keep a marriage for long.
In the beginning of the 1950s when rock n roll spread like fire, white society and the older generation did not look on it kindly. At the time, there were endless incidents for rock stars. Jerry Lee Lewis was criticized by the press for marrying his 13 year old cousin and his fame died down. Chuck Berry was criticized legally and morally and imprisoned for crossing state lines with a minor.
On top of that, there were accidental deaths one after the other.
In 1959, an airplane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and Big Bopper crashed. In 1960, Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran got on a taxi to go to the airport when the tire went out and they crashed. Eddie Cochran died and Gene Vincent became crippled and died of an addiction to pharmaceuticals.
With a continuation of such anxious times, Elvis Presley volunteered for military service even though he was not being drafted. It was to transform his image into that of a youth who loves and is loyal to his country. The song he came out with after his discharge was not rock n roll but ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight,’ a ballad. It was a signal that he is no longer the hoodlum who does rock n roll.
This is a scenario created by Elvis Presley’s eternal manager, Tom Parker.
When the Beatles landed in America and the door of their plane opened, they had short haircuts and wore polished suits. This was not an image to show the young female fans gathered at the airport, but to show their parents.
‘We are not hoodlums. We’re nice.’ It was to relay this kind of message even though the Beatles are youths who used to play roughly in Liverpool clubs.
This strategy was that of Brian Epstein, the manager called the 5th Beatles.
World-renowned stars are born when they move according to their managers’ strategies.
On the one hand, it is also the manager’s job to get the stars what they want.
Piano virtuoso Glenn Gould did not hold concerts. He had mental and physical issues, but he believed that concerts are pianists’ performing their emotional states and the passion of the theater is a distortion. He stopped concerts in his thirties and only revealed his music through albums.
Giving up concerts is not only giving up ticket sales. Concerts themselves are the best promotions and advertisements to push album sales.
However, Glenn Gould’s manager accepted all of this easily in order to help him create the best music.
When Isaac Stern said that he would help Jun Hyuk achieve whatever he wants, it means that he would follow whatever choice Jun Hyuk makes, whether it is to be a star or an artist.
Giving the condition that he can end the contract whenever he wants even if he does not become a star means that Isaac Stern has full confidence in his eye for choosing the people he signs on.
Jun Hyuk, who does not have particular plans yet, threw a playful question,
“Mr. Stern. Don’t think about what I want. If I were to do what you wanted, what would you have me do?”
“Hm… I’m sure the question isn’t about business, but rather my personal ambition?”
“I haven’t thought about it. What would I want…..”
Isaac Stern lit his cigar again and thought for a while.
“Ah! That’s right.”
He suddenly put the cigar down and looked a bit excited.
“There’s something I thought of the moment when Mr. Yoon showed me your scores.”
“What is that?”
“I want to see you take all of the genres at the Grammy Awards.”
He grew more and more excited as he spoke.
“Rock and jazz performances, composition, arranging, R&B. And best classical album and best performance. Of course you’d have to play the piano to receive the award for best performance. You sweep all of those awards in one year. What do you think? Isn’t it thrilling?”
Jun Hyuk was in disbelief. This elderly President who has gone through all sorts of experiences is lost in such childish thoughts?
“Even if I did win in all of those categories, would the Grammy’s give it all to me? They would distribute them.”
“Oh, you’re finally getting to know the power of management. If you are qualified to receive album quality, it’s the management agency’s job to make it so you can get all of them. Ha ha.”
Isaac Stern showed glee like a child and Jun Hyuk laughed as well.
“Mr. Stern, let’s sign the contract. Of course I’ll have to discuss it with Mr. Yoon and my lawyer, Catherine Lim, but I like you.”
“Oh, is that so? Did you like the Grammy’s? Or is it the private plane?”
Isaac Stern must have already expected that Jun Hyuk would sign because he did not show joy but rather relaxation enough to joke around.
“More than that, the fact that I can call the contract off if there’s anything I don’t like. That itself is my first condition in doing whatever I want to do.”
Isaac Stern nodded in understanding and showed confidence that he does not mind what Jun Hyuk is saying.
“If I make all types of demands like asking to borrow the private plane, saying that I won’t stay in anything but a hotel deluxe suite, or asking for a personal chef… If I keep making these ridiculous demands and say that I won’t reveal a song I wrote because I don’t like it, you’ll have a lot of losses.”
“Well. I guess I’ll have to leave a special condition in the contract in case.”
“What kind of condition?”
“Releasing is up to you, but I can see the score. I’m good with that much.”
Isaac Stern revealed his longing for Jun Hyuk’s music without any pretense. Jun Hyuk was satisfied with this kind of Isaac Stern.