Lena Park, also known as Park Jung-hyun, almost always shines more on the stage than on TV entertainment shows, as her strength in vocal and theatrical expressions is more obvious at concert venues.
Plus, born and raised in Los Angeles, her mother tongue was English, which has made it quite challenging for her to appeal to a broad spectrum of the Korean audience in her early music career in Korea.
This year, however, her popularity has soared since participating in the MBC singer survival program “I Am a Singer” in March, as the TV show revealed her singing charms and much-improved Korean language since her debut in 1998.
A recent survey by Ticketlink, an online ticket sales site, showed that Park was picked as the most wanted singer that the public wants to see perform in a live concert in Korea.
The 35-year-old is soon to stage a five-day solo concert series “A Little Closer,” starting May 17 at the LG Arts Center, aiming to show what a short segment of her performance in MBC’s “I Am a Singer” cannot really reveal, Park’s agency T Entertainment said.
Poster of Lena Park’s upcoming concert “A Little Closer.” (T Entertainment)
“As the title suggests, the upcoming concert aims to draw people a little closer to Lena Park. People’s curiosity and expectation about Park’s live performances have grown more than ever since the airing of ‘I Am a Singer,’” T Entertainment spokesperson Moon Su-mi said.
“To meet such expectation, she is meticulously planning the concept, the stage and the songs to show what she can’t reveal on the program.”
She chose LG Arts Center for the concert ― a smaller venue than the Olympic Gymnastics Stadium, as she prefers the quality of musical sounds in a small space to visual effects in a large one, the agency said.
It is the fourth time that she is performing at the LG Arts Center.
Born in 1976, Park began singing in the choir of his father’s church in Los Angeles in childhood, and won several singing contests in the U.S. before recording a Gospel album in 1993.
Park did not learn to speak Korean until she moved to Korea to pursue her music career in 1998. Since then, she has released seven Korean studio albums, three Japanese albums and seven Japanese singles.
Last year in May, she sang the U.S. national anthem at the Columbia University School of General Studies graduation ceremony, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the school as an English and comparative literature major.
Returning to Korea to continue her musical career, Park began starring in the MBC program. She is now competing against six other singers ― Yim Jae-beom, BMK, Kim Bum-soo, Lee So-ra, Kim Yeon-woo and Yoon Do-hyun.
The program became mired in controversy in late March after singer Kim Gun-mo ― who should have been eliminated in the first cut ― was given a special offer to compete in the next round.
The program was put on hold for a month and resumed in May with a new producer and three new contestants ― Yim, BMK and Kim Yeon-woo ― with a new rule that a singer will be eliminated every three weeks instead of one and that there will be a second chance for a singer who is voted off once.
Park’s concert, “A Little Closer,” will be held at the LG Arts Center at 8 p.m. on May 17, May 18 and May 20, at 6 p.m. on May 21 and 5 p.m. on May 22. Tickets range from 55,000 won to 99,000 won. Although the tickets are almost sold out, check if there are any canceled tickets. Call (02) 2107-5972.
By Kim Yoon-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org