The singer partnered with former entertainer-turned-producer Hyun Jin-young, who is often credited as being one of the first to introduce hip-hop to Korea.
Although Hyun was an iconic dancer in the early stages of his career, he has slowly moved his interests toward jazz and art house music.
After meeting Hyun through a TV program, Jo said the two became instant friends and decided to produce “Wind of Change” together.
“Because he and I are both singers, when we first met, all we talked a lot about music,” said Jo during a press conference at the Once in a Blue Moon jazz bar in Gangnam, Seoul, on the day of his album release.
|Ballad singer Jo Sung-mo speaks at a press conference held for the release of his latest EP, “Wind of Change,” at the jazz bar Once in a Blue Moon in Gangnam-gu, southern Seoul, Monday. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)|
“Even though he and I have very different music styles, I thought that working with him would create a kind of synergy with our music.”
Although Jo admitted he had some initial reservations after deciding to work with Hyun, fearing the tracks would be too heavily influenced by the producer’s hip-hop and dance background, the album still possesses Jo’s heartfelt ballad sound.
“Even though I am a man, I wanted to try my best to embody a women’s perspective, singing with a lot of emotion and heart,” he said. “My approach to this album was to create it as if it would be my last.”
The seven-track EP features the lead track “Yunaya,” which the singer said should not be linked to Olympic figure skater Kim Yu-na. Although he announced that he did in fact sing the song live in front of Kim during a TV commercial shoot that the two filmed together, Jo assured that meeting her was simply “fate” and had nothing to do with the track, which was written two years ago by composer Ahn Young-min.
“I know that once the commercial is aired sometime this week, people are going to assume that ‘Yunaya’ was written about Kim Yu-na,” Jo said with a smile.
“At first she even thought I was singing about her,” he laughed. “I think it was fate that I was able to meet and work with her and to be able to sing the song in front of her was just an honor.”
Jo debuted in 1998 with the album “To Heaven,” and the eponymous lead single instantly became an iconic hit for the singer.
The singer is one of the few Korean artists in the “million-sellers” club, with four studio albums selling more than a million copies nationwide.
By Julie Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org)