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With new album, So Chan-whee returns in neo-rockabilly fashion

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Published : 2014-03-04 20:07
Updated : 2014-03-04 21:49

Longtime veteran singer So Chan-whee, best known for her hit single “Tears,” has returned to the music scene, only this time around she has shed her dance-ballad image and is paying tribute to the legendary Elvis Presley and the tremendous influence he had on the rockabilly movement.

“Although I did make my debut performing dance music, the truth is I have always had the desire to pursue rock music,” said So during a press conference held at Rolling Hall in Seogyo-dong, Seoul, on Monday. “I thought to myself, if I wait any longer, I won’t be able to do this kind of music ... performing my style of songs takes a lot of strength and energy.”

“As I have grown older, my tastes have changed,” the 42-year-old vocalist continued. “My music has always been in a very high key and at a fast tempo, so it’s getting more and more difficult as the years go by.” 
Musican Roy from the band Rocktigers (left), and rock singer So Chan-whee perform during a showcase of So’s new album “Neo Rockabilly Season” in Seogyo-dong, Seoul, Monday. (Yonhap)

After releasing her first album, “Cherish,” in 1996, So has released more than 12 albums including eight full-length studio albums. On Tuesday, the artist released “Neo Rockabilly Season,” fulfilling her longtime dream of pursuing rock ’n’ roll music. The eight-track album features her music partner Roy, a contrabass musician from local band the Rocktigers who has been performing in the indie music scene for more than a decade.

The two decided to combine forces to give rockabilly music a modern twist. Rockabilly is one of the earliest genres of rock ’n’ roll and is a blend of folk, western and bluegrass.

“Roy is one of the few local musicians out there who can play the bass in the traditional rockabilly style,” So explained. “The reason I selected the concept of neo-rockabilly was because I wanted to combine the ideas of taking hip and modern sounds and mashing them together with old-time rock and roll and bluegrass music.”

During the press conference, So and Roy took to the stage to perform their newest lead single “Because I Loved You.” With Roy’s black contrabass that was even taller than him, coupled with So’s Unidyne Vocal Microphone (often dubbed the “Elvis microphone”), the two lit up the stage with a dynamic modern tribute to 1950s western country rock. So’s high soaring vocals and the song’s energetic beat left the singer slow to catch her breath at the end of the short performance.

“Personally, I love very upbeat rock music so this new album features a lot of fast tempo, swing-time rock tracks,” she said with a smile. “A lot of time and energy went into this album ... the music is all about kicking loose and having fun.”

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)

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