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Top 10 singers from ‘Tomorrow’s National Singer’ say their music sets them apart

Clockwise from top left: Singers Bak Chang-geun, Kim Dong-hyun, Lee Solomon, Lee Byeong-chan, Park Jang-hyun, Kim Young-heum, Kim Hee-seok, Jo Yeon-ho, Son Jin-wook and Ko Eun-sung are the top 10 contestants of “Tomorrow’s National Singer.” (n.CH Entertainment, TV Chosun)
Clockwise from top left: Singers Bak Chang-geun, Kim Dong-hyun, Lee Solomon, Lee Byeong-chan, Park Jang-hyun, Kim Young-heum, Kim Hee-seok, Jo Yeon-ho, Son Jin-wook and Ko Eun-sung are the top 10 contestants of “Tomorrow’s National Singer.” (n.CH Entertainment, TV Chosun)

For the top 10 contestants of TV Chosun’s K-pop audition program, “Tomorrow’s National Singer,” their range of music is what differentiates them from other outstanding singers from other audition programs.

“From a folk singer to vocalist in a rock band and from a K-pop boy band to actor in a musical stage, all the members have unique charms to make an appeal to the public,” Park Jang-hyun said in an interview in Gangnam, southern Seoul, on Wednesday. “With different tones and voices, we would like to impress the fans and audience.”

Another contestant, Ko Eun-sung, who ranked sixth on the show, echoed Park’s views.

“I am not sure if the expression is appropriate, but I think we are like a buffet, where the viewers and listeners can select the music of their taste,” Ko said.

After the success of cable channel TV Chosun’s two audition programs, “Miss Trot” (2019) and “Mr. Trot” (2020), the broadcaster hoped “Tomorrow’s National Singer” would be an avenue to discover new talents that appeal to both local and global viewers.

The program, featuring contenders from different age groups and backgrounds, caught viewers’ attention with their individual stories.

The fierce competition came to an end as the final episode aired on Dec. 23, recording an 18.8 percent viewership nationwide, according to market tracker Nielsen Korea.

For many of the contestants, the show was a meaningful opportunity.

Park, who took fifth place on the show, said he thought he benefitted the most from the program among the top 10 finalists.

“I was able to overcome my own fear to sing on a stage. Though I made a mistake in my performance during the semifinal stage, I recognized that people wanted to hear my voice regardless of my errors. This experience totally changed my views and made me confident to become a real singer,” said Park.

Bak Chang-geun, a 49-year-old folk singer and the winner of the program, said the show was a learning lesson for him.

“No musicians will be 100 percent-satisfied with their songs and music until their death,” said Bak, who had debuted in 1999. “As an old musician, I was in a period of reflecting myself and questioning whether my path was a right choice. But I was fortunate enough to have a time and opportunity to grow as the artist by receiving comments and feedbacks from the professionals,” Bak said.

For a poet and singer Lee Solomon, who ranked third on the program, “Tomorrow’s National Singer” was a precious chapter in his life.

“I recognized that there are many times, when you get ignored for chasing your dream. But the program made my doubts disappear and gave me courage to do what I really love,” Lee told The Korea Herald. “The message of ‘never give up’ was a great asset that I received from the program along with the nine brothers sitting next to me.”

Though their performances and songs mesmerized fans online, the top 10 contestants said they did not feel much difference after the competition.

“Though a week has passed after the show’s finale, all members, including myself, spent a lot of time on preparing the gala show and concert in February 2022. We hope to meet the fans and wish to give them a memorable experience with our music,” 27-year-old rock vocalist Son Jin-wook said.

According to the artists’ agency n.CH Entertainment, tickets for the first three sessions of their nationwide tour have already sold out.

The concert is scheduled to kick off at Jamsil Sports Complex in southern Seoul on Feb. 26, 2022.

By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)
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