‘Is debuting as a rookie now a right (decision)?’
I think many people can likely recall Juniel’s (19. Choi Junhee) first showcase. Name, appearance, voice, speech, laughter, here and there is lovely. That day, the girl who was playing guitar by herself, captivated the audiences. In 2010, she won Japan audition program ‘Niji Iro Supernova’. In Japan, she also released 4 albums consisting of her own compositions. She gained a lot of experiences by doing live street performance and stage performance at live houses. Those are her big strengths.
Coming from FNC Entertainment who has a lot of successful senior singers, Juniel is not just another newcomer. She gained a lot of attention and received positive support from family member CNBLUE –music video cast, duet song – even prior to her Korea debut. After watching BoA’s documentary when she was at elementary school, she pursued a dream to become a singer. She paved her way to become a singer neatly by signing a contract with her current agency. Enews met with Juniel to talk about her feeling regarding her debut and her Japan activities. Below is the Q&A.
―What is the meaning of stage name ‘Juniel’?
▶It comes from my real name Junhee and love which is shortened to L. I’m thinking that in all kind of emotion, love underlies in it. Because of that reason, I want to express various emotion and feeling in my heart. So, I chose the name ‘Juniel’.
―Your debut gained a lot of attention. How is the reaction?
▶ I was poured by ‘Congratulations’ letters and phone calls. My friend also sent me a capture when I was being #1 search on portal sites. Mom and dad also give me a lot of love until I become a singer.
―The album tracks have various genre. Is there any special reason?
▶This time, I wanted to show my color in different ways. That’s why I brought various song genres. My voice is different depend on the song’s feeling. I thought that’s my biggest strength. I want to do it a lot in the future.
―What kind of genre that you feel most comfortable with?
▶(Hesitated for a moment) I think I can’t pick an exact genre. All of music genres are good. I write all my songs in order to express my feeling. Humans’ feeling are a lot, how come they were fitted to only one genre? That’s why it can be expressed through different ways.
―Why you debuted in Japan first?
▶I went to Japan to study. Unlike in Korea, indie system in Japan is large and doing well. I also can listen to various music genres. Learning, doing live performances, gaining experiences, I went to Japan for such things. However, there was an opportunity, so I was able to debut.
―How did you went through Japan indie system?
▶Sound facility is good. There is no difference with major scene. However, I feel that major scene is more difficult than in Korea. In Korea, if we do major debut, we will be given opportunities to appear in broadcasts, radio, etc. While in Japan, there are a lot of opportunities to play in live houses or doing street performances. I also had a lot of street performances on the side of Shinjuku or Shibuya.
―How is your level of Japanese (fluency)?
▶Right now, I’m DJ-ing on Japan radio Tsukiichi MUSIK’. The radio is broadcasted across the country. There are 4 DJs who takes turn in every week. It’s one of the ways to improve my Japanese. Because the recording was done in Japan, this time I decided to do it from Korea. I can check the script. (Laugh)
―Thinking about your facial appearance, there is an exquisite charm.
▶ (Laugh) I don’t think so. I’m not exceptionally beautiful. I think it’s unique. My younger brother (17 years old) really looks like me. I also think that he’s unique. When people see him, they know that he is my brother.
― There is a drama called ‘Youre Beautiful’ (refer to Hongki and Yonghwa). How do you feel of being surrounded by flower boys, FT Island-CNBLUE?
▶Because seniors take care of me well, it’s good. However, when we go to practice, everyone go to a private room to practice. Our activities are also different (like in a drama) ‘Let’s match each other’ – there is nothing like that.
―How was ’Yoo Heeyeol Skectchbook’? It’s a program that everyone wants to go to.
▶Before debuting, when there was a hard time, listening to songs at Toi (Yoo Heeyeol) senior’s ‘Skectbook’ gave me strength, I cried a lot. Since then, I really wanted to meet Yoo Heeyeol senior. However, when I had the opportunity to sing in front of Yoo Heeyeol senior in ‘Sketchbook’, I was really nervous. Because of that, I made a lot of mistakes.
―So, is Yoo Heeyeol your ideal type? What type of man do you like.
▶Yoo Heeyeol senior is not my ideal type. He is a senior that I respect whom I really wanted to meet. My ideal type is someone who has good voice. I thought that my favourite artists (Lee Seonkyu, Cha Seungwon, Song Jungki) don’t have anything in common, but all of them have good voice.
―When you listened to Toi’s song, you were moved. What if Juniel’s song is able to move someone’s feeling?
▶That’s my dream. Now, it’s still early. I have to work harder.
―Although you are a singer-songwriter, title song ‘illa illa’ is not your composition. Your pride is not hurt.
▶In Japan, I composed all the songs for all of my 4 albums. So, I was curious how it felt like to sing another persons song. When I first listened to ‘illa illa’, there was a very good pop feeling. But still, next time, I’m sure I’ll sing my own song! (Laugh)
―In the future, you think of playing guitar and singing. In Korea, that case is really rare.
▶Previously, after watching documentary of BoA senior, I was thinking that ‘I also want to become that kind of singer. It’s cool.’. I started to sing and dance, but I really can’t dance. It didn’t fit me, so I lost my interest. I concentrated on singing, started to play guitar, and also wanted to compose songs. After I understood the chord, I challenged myself to compose a song. Until now, I’ve composed about 22~23 songs.
―Where is Juniel’s final destination?
▶In the future, it will be good if people can remember me ‘Korea best female singer-songwriter’. In order to stay that long, my desire to write many songs becomes bigger.