|Singer Hwang Chi-yeul poses during an interview at a cafe in Gangnam, Seoul, last Friday. Hwang released the new album "Be Ordinary" 10 years after his 2007 debut album. / Courtesy of HOW Entertainment|
Hwang Chi-yeul sweeps charts with new songs
By Kim Jae-heun
Singer Hwang Chi-yeul's first mini-album "Be Ordinary" topped iTunes Album Chart in Malaysia and Singapore, Wednesday, kicking off a successful start not only in Korea, but also on the global scene.
Hwang's new album is currently ranked second on the iTunes Album Chart in Hong Kong and Taiwan and third in Macao.
Hwang released his first mini-album in Korea 10 years since he came out with his debut album in 2007. However, the singer was forced on a long hiatus when his agency closed down due to financial difficulties.
In March 2015, Hwang appeared in a music show "I Can See Your Voice" on cable TV channel Mnet, which became a turning point in his life. The episode shed new light on his musical career and Hwang instantly rose to stardom to star in mainstream TV shows.
In the same year, Hunan TV in China invited Hwang to participate in season 4 of a music competition series "I Am a Singer." The Korean singer placed third on the final stage, gaining much popularity in mainland China.
"To be honest, I am not fluent in Chinese and I guess I got so much love there because people there acknowledge my effort to communicate with them in their language," said Hwang during an interview with The Korea Times in a cafe in Seoul, last Friday.
"I had to prepare songs in Chinese every week and I sang in Chinese. I just memorized them all," said Hwang.
This year Hwang is back in Korea, hoping to meet local fans with the music he has long prepared.
The album "Be Ordinary" consists of seven tracks singing stories that anybody can empathize with.
The track "A Daily Song" runs on a piano accompaniment along with string sound arraignment that keeps bringing back audiences to listen to the song.
Q. You released a new album after 10 years. What has changed?
A. First of all, I have been participating in a competition series where I have to come up with everything I've got. I sang powerful songs that can leave a great impact on the audience. However, I record songs for my new album with ease. I want my fans to enjoy listening to them.
Q. Have your activities in China influenced your music?
A. I guess they have certainly influenced my music somewhere deep inside me. I became a more sensitive singer. I am most grateful for my career in China.
Q. K-pop music is not quite welcome in China due to political issues. Do you feel anxious that your popularity can fall?
A. Well, I don't usually worry about what has not happened. For now, I have to concentrate on my new album. This is my first new album in 10 years and I want my fans to understand that I have worked so hard. I want my fans to feel happy that they bought my album and they like it very much.
Q. What is your strength as a singer?
A. Well, as a singer, you have to have a good attitude as a person before you talk about your singing talent. And you have to enjoy singing.
Q. What is your goal with the new album?
A. I am not interested in winning an award or topping the chart. As long as my fans know I put my best effort in this album, I am happy.