Singer Kim Bo-kyung is still an unfamiliar name to most Koreans. But once associated with the word “Superstar K,” her name almost instantly translates into the name of the song, “Because of You” by Kelly Clarkson, which she sang during the Korean version of American Idol aired on cable channel Mnet.
Despite her mature and appealing voice, Kim failed to get into the show’s top 11 partly because of bitter competition with another contestant Kim Geu-rim who viewers said selfishly acted in selecting her part of “Because of You” when she had to sing with Kim Bo-kyung.
However, the 20-year-old’s passion for music and husky voice remained strong.
Kim released a digital rendition of “Because of You” in November on online music portals, including Melon and CyWorld, signaling she was ready to become a professional K-pop singer.
Then, she signed a contract with Sony Music Entertainment Korea and released her first official album, “the FIRST DAY,” with a title song “Day by Day,” in late January.
Singer-songwriter Kim Bo-kyung.(Chung Hee-cho/The Korea Herald)
“Although I graduated from college a few days ago, I feel like I’m going to a new school called ‘the world,’” said Kim, who majored in vocal music at Yeoju Institute of Technology.
“My short-term goal is to promote my name without the label of ‘Superstar K’ but my long-term goal is to become a singer who goes on stage a lot rather than on a TV show,”Kim added in her interview with The Korea Herald
On Feb. 11 and Feb. 13, Kim was on KBS and SBS music programs singing “Day by Day,” becoming the first Superstar K contestant to appear on a terrestrial TV program.
“I was really nervous because I had heard that terrestrial TV broadcasters do not really want to open up their stages to cable channel stars,” she said.
Despite her worries, Kim received an enthusiastic response from viewers for singing a high note chorus with composure and confidence.
She advised aspiring singers who do not have financial support for their musical education to stay positive no matter what.
“Try hard to see only the good things, and listen to only the good things and think about only positive things. If you look at the world negatively, your music becomes that way,” Kim said.
She shared her own experience when she was a senior in high school that changed her perspective on life.
Her father having left home when she was young, Kim had to support her mother and two younger sisters by getting welfare subsidies and working part time at a live caf at weekends.
“I remember climbing up the mountain behind my house in the early morning because I didn’t want my family to see me cry. I cried really loud but when I stopped crying, I asked myself why I had thought about only bad things,” Kim said.
“That day, I blew away my extreme and lonely life, while watching the sun rise.”
Unlike other K-pop stars who go against their will to sing dance songs and never have a chance to write their own songs due to tight schedules, Kim wants to become a good singer-songwriter, she said.
In her album, Kim wrote one song on her own ― “Thinking about you,” ― a song which would be good to listen to while driving, she said.
In her high school days, Kim set a goal of entering the U.S. market by 2015.
Although not sure about whether she will meet the deadline, she said it is still her goal.
“My final goal is a world tour. Seriously, I’m studying English as well,” she said.
By Kim Yoon-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)