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[Newsmaker] K-pop legend Seo Taiji to return

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Published : 2014-05-20 21:15
Updated : 2014-05-20 21:29

K-pop legend Seo Taiji will be making a comeback to the local music scene with a new album and a series of concerts after signing with concert organizer Show21, an affiliate of entertainment agency Wellmade Yedang.

Seo is slated to release his ninth studio album this fall and team up with Wellmade Yedang to organize a nationwide concert tour, beginning with a performance in Seoul, the entertainment agency said Monday.

Seo Taiji Company ― known for successfully launching large-scale music events including the rock festival ETPFEST and the “Seo Taiji Symphony” ― will take charge of the upcoming concerts’ planning and production.
Seo Taiji. (Korea Herald file)

Given that the comeback concert tour will mark Seo’s first solo stage appearance in five years, it is expected to bring in over 10 billion won in sales revenue, said Wellmade Yedang.

Seo Taiji, who was the leader of iconic K-pop group Seo Taiji and Boys, is considered a pioneer of modern K-pop. Formed in 1992, Seo Taiji and Boys is credited with ushering in a new sound and style that completely transformed the Korean music industry.

In a dramatic departure from mainstream Korean music at the time, Seo’s music featured an eclectic sound that fused elements of heavy metal, hard rock, rap and R&B. The group’s debut single “I Know” took the country by storm and Seo immediately became a national sensation in the 1990s, earning the nickname “President of Culture.”

Seo Taiji was a cultural product himself, with everything from his music, fashion and ideas leading the latest trends in the ’90s. Items such as hats with the price tag still attached and hip-hop pants as well as reggae hairstyles could be seen among hipster youths at the time.

Seo’s explosive popularity among younger listeners also prompted an influx of new-generation Korean idol groups including boy groups H.O.T., Sechs Kies, Shinhwa and girl groups Fin.K.L. and S.E.S., all geared to meet the new tastes of the younger demographic.

Since Seo Taiji and Boys disbanded in 1996, Seo has pursued a solo career, intermittently releasing albums and staging concerts in Korea. He launched the international rock festival ETPFEST as well as his own management label Goesoo Indigene, which has produced albums for local rock bands Nell and Pia.

As for the rest of the group, Yang Hyun-suk has become the head of YG Entertainment, and Lee Ju-no has produced pop groups and recently became a businessman.

Seo has always maintained an elusive image, completely hiding both his private life and musical activities from the public. In 2011, Seo stunned the nation with a divorce suit involving actress Lee Ji-ah. The couple had been married since 1997, a year after the group disbanded. He then married actress Lee Eun-sung in a private ceremony in 2013.

Though more than two decades have passed since his debut, Seo continues to remain a major K-pop sensation, with many fans remaining as loyal as before. The return of the original K-pop king is slated to excite many fans awaiting his official comeback since 2009.

Specific dates and locations of Seo Taiji’s comeback concert tour together with the release of his ninth album are still under discussion, said Wellmade Yedang.

By Sohn Ji-young (jiyoung.sohn@heraldcorp.com)

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