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Bobby Kim is finally ready: After more than four years away, the singer wants to move forward

June 08,2019
[STARCREW ENT]
Four years after a scandal forced him to go on an indefinite hiatus, R&B singer Bobby Kim is finally back on stage and performing for crowds.

Kim, whose real name is Kim Do-kyun, rose to stardom in 2004 following the success of his hit song “A Whale’s Dream.” For the next 10 years, Kim enjoyed a lucrative career as one of Korea’s most recognized R&B artists, even earning the nickname “the godfather of soul.” Things came to a sudden halt in January 2015, however, when Kim was fined 4 million won ($3,390) for creating a drunken disturbance on a plane after being incorrectly assigned to an economy class seat when he had booked a seat in business class.

Last month, Kim returned to the public eye with his new EP “Scarlette.” With his family’s support, Kim showed he was ready to pick up his career where he left it off, making TV appearances and planning concerts. This year is also Kim’s 25th year in the music industry.

The singer promises that he will make positive changes in his life this time around.

“I want to just humbly focus on music,” he told Ilgan Sports, an affiliate of the Korean JoongAng Daily, last month as he talked about his new album and his future plans as an artist. The following are edited excerpts from the interview.



Kim’s new EP “Scarlette” [STARCREW ENT]
Q. How have you been spending your time off?

A
. For the first three years, I just stayed away from music. I needed time to organize my thoughts because I was very tired after working almost non-stop since “A Whale’s Dream.”

I spent my break on hobbies like exercising. I began hiking four years ago, hiking around five times a week. As I did it more frequently, people started recognizing me even though I didn’t have a moustache or dye my hair during that time. So I exercised at home. I only began working on music again last February.



Who persuaded you to go back to doing music?

My parents influenced me. They wanted me to pick it up again. I sang for my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary last January and they really liked it.



Why did it take you four years to come back?

I actually began receiving calls from here and there two years ago. TV shows would ask me “Don’t you think it’s time for you to return by now?” But my mind wasn’t ready. I wanted to return when I was.

I think I took a lot of time off because I was just so sorry. I am sorry for causing a fuss. And I am sorry for not acting maturely when the incident occurred.



Tell us more about your album “Scarlette.”

“Scarlette” is a name of a woman in my imagination, and I tried to express the progress of love with her through music. I included the steps of loving, separating, longing, hurting and resigning. The name “Scarlette” also seemed fitting with the album’s vintage and soulful color.

My past albums often dealt with life and other themes unrelated to love. I thought it would be refreshing for me and my listeners to sing only about love.



You worked with Tablo on the track “Till the End.” How did that come about?

I was looking for a musician who will be a good fit for “Till the End” and thought of Tablo. I actually reached out to him when Epik High was really busy with their Europe tour, but Tablo gave me his email address and told me to send him the song. He readily agreed to work on it together and I was thankful.



You recently appeared on MBC’s “King of Mask Singer.” How was the experience?

I actually thought that “King of Mask Singer” wasn’t a program that really suited me because people would immediately know who I was by just hearing my voice. I wondered whether I should alter my voice, but I decided to just sing as myself instead of pretending to be someone else.

As expected, a lot of people recognized me. One viewer even said it was possible to recognize me from the way I walked.

When I got on stage and the cameras started to roll, a lot of thoughts and memories passed by like pictures one by one. It was actually scary to be in the spotlight again after such a long time. But I got into the mood as I began singing.

I don’t have a voice that can win me first place in a competition. I don’t sing powerful high notes or have a wide vocal range. But, if I’m given the chance to appear on more shows, I want to enjoy the performance I put on.



Do you have plans for concerts?

I think there will be one around August. I prefer small, intimate concerts over big stages. I want to feel like I’m starting over again, and reduce the scale of performances compared to before. In the past, I did a lot of national tours, but now I just want to perform at smaller concerts where I can sing comfortably.

I really want to hold concerts. While I was away, I realized that I do like going on television and singing, but I’m really cut out for concerts. I want to go on stage and sing my songs live.



How about plans for marriage?

I don’t have any yet. My parents and relatives ask me that a lot. I’m not in a rush to get married, but I do think about how lovely it will be to have my own child. I really like children. If I do get married, I would want to have a child right away.



What do you want to tell your fans who have been waiting for your return?

Four and a half years must have been a long time for the fans. I always felt sorry I couldn’t make any promises regarding when I would return. I’m sorry for making them wait, and am thankful that they have.

BY KIM YEON-JI [kim.eunjin1@joongang.co.kr]




바비킴 ”물의를 일으켜 너무 죄송..공백 길어진 이유다”


가수 바비킴(46·본명 김도균)이 약 4년 만에 칠흑같이 어둡고 긴 터널을 통과했다.
기내 난동 사건으로 4년여 간 자숙의 시간을 가졌던 그가 새 앨범을 들고 컴백했다. 그는 2015년 1월 마일리지로 비즈니스석을 예약했으나 항공사의 발권 실수로 이코노미석이 배정되자 술에 취해 고성을 지르는 등의 혐의로 벌금 400만원을 선고 받았다. 이 사건으로 그는 공백기를 가졌다. 처음 3년 간은 음악을 멀리 했다. 곡 작업 뿐만 아니라 음악을 듣는 것 조차 하지 않았다. 등산·운동을 통해 머릿 속 잡념과 복잡한 마음을 비우는 데에만 전념했다. 그러다 다시 음악을 해야겠다고 다짐한 건 지난해 1월, 부모님 결혼 50주년 기념 잔치 때였다. 당시 부모님을 위해 노래를 불렀고, 이 날을 기점으로 다시 음악 작업을 시작했다. 그렇게 준비해서 낸 앨범이 바로 지난 17일 발표한 'Scarlette(스칼렛)'이다. 스칼렛이라는 가상의 주인공을 두고 사랑 이야기를 풀어낸 앨범이다. 이성을 처음 만났을 때 느낀 설레는 감정부터 이별 후 쓸쓸하고 그리운 감정까지 사랑의 진행 과정을 5곡의 수록곡에 담았다. 타이틀곡은 '왜 난'이다. 떠난 연인을 잊지 못 하고 그리워하는 마음을 담은 가사에 바비킴 특유의 소울 가득한 보이스가 더해진 곡이다.


-그동안 어떻게 지냈나.

"처음 3년 간은 아예 음악을 멀리 했었다. 보는 것, 듣는 것, 스스로 (음악) 작업하는 것을 모두 안 했고, 아예 생각 조차 안 했다. 운동이난 다른 취미를 하며 시간을 보냈다. 4년 전부터 등산을 시작했는데 일주일에 다섯번 정도 등산을 했다. 적을 때는 일주일에 3~4번 산에 갔는데 그럴 땐 뭔가 죄책감이 들었다. 활동을 안 할 때는 수염도 밀고 염색도 안 했는데 등산을 오래 다니다보니깐 사람들이 알아보기 시작하더라. 그러면서 집에서 하는 운동을 시작했다. 그렇게 운동만 하다가 작년 2월부터 본격적으로 음악 작업을 시작했다."


-음악을 듣는 것 조차 멀리한 이유는.

"2004년 '고래의 꿈' 덕분에 과분한 사랑을 받았고 쉬지 않고 활동했다. 부가킹즈 활동, OST 작업, 합동 콘서트, 음악 프로그램 등 다양한 음악 활동을 했는데 그러면서 많이 지쳤다. 잠시 마음 정리를 하면서 음악을 쉬는 시간이 필요했다."


-음악을 다시 해야겠다고 생각한 이유는.

"부모님의 영향이다. 부모님이 다시 음악을 하길 원했다. 부모님 결혼 50주년 기념 잔치를 직접 준비하고 그때 노래도 불렀는데 부모님이 좋아하셨다. 그 때가 작년 1월이었는데 그리고 나서 2월부터 본격적으로 음악 작업을 다시 시작했다."


-복귀하는데 약 4년이나 걸린 이유는.

"사실 2년 전부터 여기저기에서 섭외가 오기 시작했다. '이제 복귀를 할 때가 되지 않았냐'며 방송국에서도 연락이 많이 왔다. 하지만 그땐 내 마음 정리가 다 된 상태가 아니었다. 완벽하게 마음 준비가 다 됐을 때 복귀하고 싶었다."


-기내 난동 사건 당시 충분한 변명이나 해명을 하지 않았고 항소도 하지 않았다. 억울한 점은 없었나.

"글쎄. 억울한 건 없다. 운이 없어서, 안 좋게 그런 상황이 벌어진 건 어쩔 수 없지만 물의를 일으켰다는 점에서 너무 죄송한 마음이 컸다. 또 그런 일이 생겼을 때 성숙하게 행동하지 못 해 너무 죄송했다. 너무 죄송해서 공백도 더 길어졌던 것 같다."

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