September 22, 2012 08:12
Jang Yun-jeong, who became a sensation when she embraced Korea's oldest pop genre, trot, a decade ago, will hold a concert next month at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. Jang shot to prominence following her debut in 2003 because, at the time, it was rare for a young singer to adopt the genre associated with older people.
Observers say it is quite unprecedented for a young singer to perform at such a prestigious venue, which is known to be picky about choosing artists and performers. Until now, the venue has only granted the privilege to veteran singers and classical performers.
Jang said she felt "lonely" over the past decade due to the lack of competition in the declining genre. "If someone had been competing with me, I think the genre would have grown stronger," she said. "It's sad when someone disappears gradually from people's memories without facing any challenge."
Jang experienced a major shock two months ago when her father suffered a stroke. "I heard the bad news just before I was due to perform a concert and I was barely able to hold back my tears while singing," she recalled.
"I was tormented by thoughts about what I was doing, but I knew that I had to keep my promise to my fans," she said. "But I cried after I got off the stage. I don't think I ever cried so much as that."
Jang is still in peak form, but the music industry has undergone radical changes since she debuted. "I am thankful that there is still a place for me at annual musical awards and other entertainment events," she said. "But the truth is that it has become increasingly difficult for singers to build long careers nowadays."
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