Pop diva poised to storm into Seoul

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Pop diva poised to storm into Seoul


Provided by Sony Music

Maybe city officials should dub October “pop diva” month.

Mariah Carey sauntered into Seoul last Tuesday to promote her latest album. And this week the spotlight shifts to Beyonce, who is scheduled to perform shows tomorrow and Wednesday night as part of her world tour.

These days, one of the hottest - and most controversial - slang words in Korea is ggulbeokji, which literally means “honey thigh.” Consider it the Korean equivalent of the term “bootylicious.”

Koreans will get to see Beyonce’s ggulbeokji, fierce on-stage charisma and explosive voice in her upcoming concerts, the singer’s first in Seoul since 2007.

Ahead of the performances, the 28-year-old superstar talked about her career, her dreams and more.

Q. The average person can’t maintain your pace. How do you it?

A. I’m an all-or-nothing type of woman. Either I’m doing absolutely nothing and relaxing - reading a book, sitting by the ocean and not answering any questions - or else I’m hands-on and giving 100 percent, working really hard. I was just on vacation for three weeks after touring for a couple of months. I have to schedule time to rest, rejuvenate and get inspired to work again. After three weeks without giving any answers or approvals and no performing, I came back like, “Yes! I’m ready to work!” [Laughs]

How do you flip the switch from Beyonce to Sasha Fierce on tour?

It’s a lot easier than it used to be since I’ve put so many hours into performing. I can make the transition from Beyonce to Sasha Fierce really fast. I don’t have any crazy rituals beforehand. I get in maybe two-and-a-half to three hours before each show. I do my makeup on tour myself and get my hair done. Then we all come together, say a prayer and do a little stretch.

What do you do to maintain your tour stamina? There are rumors that you run on a treadmill in heels.

[Laughs] No, I don’t run on a treadmill in heels. That’s a bit extreme. But I do practice my choreography in heels. And I have a rule that when I have my heels on, everyone has to have their heels on, too. And in the end, I’ll have blisters and my toes will have bruises. It’s really hard sometimes. I still do all the boring things that everyone else does in regular workouts like squats and the treadmill.

What sparks your creative vision?

I’ve always tried to pick songs that were a part of pop culture, a part of things that people are passionate about and want to talk about and debate. “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” is an up-tempo song that’s fun. But it’s also something women go through every day. “Irreplaceable” is also about something people experience every day.

More than anything, I always try to challenge myself and do a variety of different things. On [the double-disc release] “Sasha Fierce,” the slow album showcased my vocal ability a lot more.

And I had the up-tempo album to showcase the dance. I’ve tried to be an artist who pays attention to detail and who is also a strong vocalist, performer and songwriter.

What will Beyonce/Sasha Fierce be doing in five to 10 years?

Probably the same things. But maybe I’ll be spacing it out a little more. [Laughs] Not every year. Maybe every three years.

Maybe also a mom? In five years ... yes, probably.

Beyonce performs at Gymnastics Stadium in Olympic Park in southern Seoul at 8:30 p.m. tomorrow and Wednesday.

Tickets are sold out on the Internet, but a limited number will be available on site the day of each show. They cost between 88,000 won ($76.20) and 176,000 won.

By Kim Hyung-eun [[hkim@joongang.co.kr]
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