For winners of 'Phantom Singer 3,' La Poem, this is just the beginning

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For winners of 'Phantom Singer 3,' La Poem, this is just the beginning

The four members of La Poem, the winner of JTBC's entertainment show "Phantom Singer 3." [JANG JIN-YOUNG]

The four members of La Poem, the winner of JTBC's entertainment show "Phantom Singer 3." [JANG JIN-YOUNG]

Introducing music that flows like poetry in a bohemian style was the goal of the winner of JTBC’s “Phantom Singer 3” throughout the program, which ended its run earlier this month.  
The winner, La Poem, whose name is coined from both the French and English words for poem and the word bohemian, has garnered a lot of attention from music fans.  
The four members, tenors Yu Chae-hun and Park Gi-hun, counter tenor Choi Seong-hun, and baritone Jeong Min-seong, all majored in classical vocal studies, giving them a strong foundation that can easily be adapted to many different genres.  
“We didn’t expect to win in this program, but we did have a strategy that couldn’t fail us,” said the members during an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo earlier this month.  
“Since we have to sing four songs in total in the final round, we decided to prepare four different styles to provide a [proper start to a perfect end],” said Park.  
For the first song, they chose “Nelle Tue Mani” (2015) by Andrea Bocelli, to show how powerful a voice a classical singer can have. 
Next, they chose “Shining” (2006) by Jaurim to add a more emotional touch to their performance. 
For the third song, when they wanted to really show off, the members chose “Mademoiselle Hyde” (2010) by Lara Fabian for a truly dramatic performance. 
To finish of the four-song-run, the members chose “The Rose” (1980) by Bette Midler. They chose this song to express their gratitude for the fans who cheered them on during their run on the survival program.  
Apart from the song by Italian classical vocalist Bocelli, it was noteworthy that the all-male group chose to sing songs by female singers who mostly worked in countries like Korea, Canada and the United States. 
“We probably are the only ensemble with a countertenor as a member,” Yu speculated. A countertenor is the highest male adult singing voice whose vocal range is equivalent to that of the female contralto or mezzo-soprano voice types.
Countertenor Choi was worried about whether his voice would mix well with the voices of the other members. Yet he said he was able to forget all the burden on his shoulders especially after the fourth round when the members sung Requiem. Choi remembers how much the cheers boosted his confidence.   
Jeong, who graduated from Yonsei University, even gave up going to Germany to study further in order to join the group and do the program. He said he never regretted his decision. 
Park, who was considering going abroad to study as well, also said he was thrilled with his decision and didn't realize how much pleasure he could get from singing together as part of a group. 
The four members of La Poem, the winner of JTBC's entertainment show "Phantom Singer 3," perform on stage. [JANG JIN-YOUNG]

The four members of La Poem, the winner of JTBC's entertainment show "Phantom Singer 3," perform on stage. [JANG JIN-YOUNG]

“Since we were to sing together, it was obviously important to show the harmony of the team, instead of showing off how well each individual can sing,” said Yu. He learned this after working as part of many different singing groups. He had also taken part in cable channel Mnet’s “Trot X” in 2014.  
“Even with the worries from others that the group with all members who majored in classical singing will lack diversity, we didn’t care much,” he recalled. “As everyone was open to different ways of singing, we picked up different styles quite fast.”
Choi, who worked as an opera singer and actor in France and Switzerland after studying there, was in charge of helping other members with acting. When they did “Mademoiselle Hyde” they calculated every step of the choreography, and when they did “Shining” they even tried to synchronize when they closed and opened their eyes. They felt like they achieved their goal when they heard the reviews from the judges saying they felt like they were watching a full movie.  
“The best thing that came from the program is that we have built partners in music that can last forever,” said Choi.  
The members all have dreams to continue showing more sides of themselves. Park said there are still many things he has not shown to fans including his rock 'n' roll side. Yu said he wants to sing on a very pared back stage where he could sing without a microphone as well as a large hall with over 10 thousand seats.
“보헤미안처럼 자유롭게 한 편의 시 같은 음악을 선보이겠다.”
크로스오버 4중창단을 만드는 JTBC ‘팬텀싱어3’에서 우승을 차지한 3대 팬텀싱어 ‘라포엠’이 밝힌 포부다. 프랑스어 ‘자유로움(La bohême)’과 영어 ‘시(Poem)’를 합쳐 팀 명을 붙인 이들은 남다른 호소력으로 시청자들을 사로잡았다. 테너 유채훈(32)과 박기훈(26), 카운터테너 최성훈(31), 바리톤 정민성(29) 등 모두 성악을 전공해 탄탄한 기본기를 바탕으로 다채로운 장르가 가능한 것도 장점이다.
6일 서울 서소문에서 만난 이들은 “우승은 예상하진 못했지만, 필승의 전략이 있었다”고 밝혔다. 박기훈은 “결승전이 1~2 라운드 총 4곡이니, 기승전결에 맞춰 준비했다”고 했다. “기(起)에 해당하는 첫 곡은 성악인의 파워를 보여주려 안드레아 보첼리 원곡 ‘넬레 뚜에 마니(Nelle tue mani)’를 택했어요. 다음은 감성적인 자우림의 ‘샤이닝’을 승(承)에, 가장 중요한 전(轉)에는 극적인 요소가 강한 라라 파비앙의 ‘마드모아젤 하이드(Mademoiselle Hyde)’로 휘몰아쳤죠. 결(結)에선 베트 미들러의 ‘더 로즈(The Rose)’로 팬들에게 감사하는 마음을 담았어요.”
이탈리아 성악가 보첼리의 곡을 제외하면, 각각 한국·캐나다·미국 여가수의 곡을 선택한 것도 눈에 띈다. 유채훈은 “카운터테너가 있는 중창단은 우리가 전 세계에서 유일할 것”이라며 “혼성 중창의 느낌을 내는 동시에 한장의 미니앨범을 듣는 것처럼 구성하고 싶었다”고 말했다. 카운터테너 특성상 다른 소리와 잘 섞이지 못하면 어쩌나 고민이 많았던 최성훈은 “본선 4라운드에서 ‘레퀴엠’을 할 때 채훈이형이 용기를 불어 넣어준 덕분에 마음껏 소리 낼 수 있었고, 부담감도 사라졌다”고 밝혔다.
테너 3명의 고음을 혼자 받아내야 하는 고충은 없었냐는 말에 정민성은 “카운터테너가 있어서 보통 바리톤 음역보다 조금 더 올라가 있긴 한데 베이스가 있었다면 오히려 그 중간을 잡기가 더 어려웠을 것”이라며 손사래 쳤다. 연세대 성악과 출신으로 독일 유학도 포기하고 참여한 그는 “너무 많은 것을 배워 후회한 적은 없다”고 밝혔다. 서울대 성악과 졸업 후 예술 요원으로 군 복무를 마치고 유학을 고려했던 박기훈 역시 “함께 노래하는 기쁨이 이렇게 클 줄 몰랐다”며 만족감을 표했다.
배려의 리더십으로 화제를 모은 유채훈은 “중창이어서 개인의 역량보다는 팀의 하모니를 보여주는 게 당연하다”고 말했다. 한양대 성악과 졸업 후 팝페라 그룹 에클레시아와 어썸 등으로 활동하며 얻은 교훈이다. Mnet ‘트로트 X’(2014)에도 출연한 그는 “성악 전공자만 모여 다양함이 부족할 것이라는 우려에도 신경 쓰지 않았다”며 “다들 다른 창법에 열려 있어 금방 익혔다”고 덧붙였다.
한예종 졸업 후 프랑스·스위스에서 유학을 마친 뒤 현지 오페라 배우로 활동한 최성훈은 연기 지도를 담당했다. 유채훈은 “‘마드모아젤 하이드’는 동선과 안무 중심으로 계산해서 움직였다면, ‘샤이닝’은 눈을 감았다 뜨는 타이밍까지 맞추려 노력했다”며 “영화 한 편을 보는 것 같다는 심사평을 듣고 성공했구나 싶었다”고 말했다. 최성훈은 “평생 갈 수 있는 음악적 동료를 만난 것이 가장 큰 수확인 것 같다”고 덧붙였다.
유채훈은 “프로그램 내내 많은 자극을 받았다”고 말했다. “어쩌다 보니 제가 지목권이 없이 항상 뽑혀 나가는 입장이었어요. 그래서 한 번도 같은 팀은 못했지만 고영열을 볼 때마다 참 영리하다 생각 했죠. 국악은 물론 쿠바·그리스·이스라엘 음악까지 나왔으니 시즌 4를 한다면 다들 공부를 많이 하고 나와야 할 것 같아요. 선곡에 어려움을 많이 겪다 보니 저희끼리는 ‘선곡싱어’라고 불렀거든요.”
향후 음악방향에 대해 박기훈은 “‘로커 채훈’ 등 아직도 보여주지 못한 모습이 더 많은 것 같다”고 말했다. 유채훈은 “성악의 뿌리를 잃지 않되 대중적인 팀으로 성장하고 싶다”며 “마이크 없이 노래하는 클래식 홀부터 1만~2만석 되는 대형 공연장까지 다양한 무대에 서보는 게 꿈”이라고 했다.
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