[INTERVIEW] Songstress Juniel “Loving every minute of my hectic schedule”

Unlike her girly and shy image, FNC Entertainment’s first solo songstress Juniel looked highly confident when she stepped into the studio for an exclusive interview with the magazine. It has been only a month since her debut showcase but without showing any signs of being nervous, she spoke candidly about her hobby of climbing mountains and loving every minute of her singing career despite the hectic schedule. Juniel’s eyes glistened as she laughed while sharing her thoughts about the lessons she has learned as a rookie singer and getting an hour-long sleep every day. Below are excerpts from the interview held in Seoul on July 6, where she talked about her musical influences, her hobbies and what she expects in her future

How does it feel to have made your debut in Japan before making your official debut in Korea? And what do you think are the differences between the two music scenes? 
Juniel: Music is music anywhere you go and I just content with everything that I have done so far. But if I have to pick the differences, how the live performances are held in Korea and Japan in different. In Korea, there is a limit to the kind of instruments that you can play on the stage while in Japan there really isn’t. But, I have to stay that I love fulfilling my singing activities both in Korea and Japan.

Have you always wanted to be a musician and at what age did you realize that you wanted to become one? 
Juniel: Honestly, it was my father’s dream to become a singer and I grew up watching him play the guitar. I also grew up listening to the songs of The Beatles and Eric Clapton, and I just love everything about their music. I’ve actually determined to become a singer was when I saw a documentary about BoA when I was in third grade. That was when I knew that I wanted to challenge myself (to become a singer).

It has been almost a month since you held the showcase and made your official debut in Korea, What have you felt in the past month and what have you learned from it?
It feels like a month has passed in the blink of an eye. I was so busy that I couldn’t get any sleep but it was a new experience. It’s just fun going on various radio programs and TV shows even though it can be physically tiring sometimes. I remember that when I was really busy that I only got an hour of sleep and now I’m used to it. It was a new experience standing in front of the camera though I already have the experience in Japan. Oh, but being on the radio was new for me.

Congratulations on becoming a regular guest on Super Junior’s Ryeowook and Sungmin’s ‘KISS THE RADIO.’
Thank you so much. I was really nervous at first but Ryeowook and Sungmin is taking a great care of me. So far I have only recorded one episode and I wasn’t sure about talking for about 30 minutes but I got up the courage and just went for it. They said that I did a good job.

How did you feel about your first live performance in Korea and how do you get rid of stage fright?
I had my first debut performance on Mnet’s “M! CountDown” and I usually don’t have stage fright but that was the first time I’ve ever used the in-ear monitor. I put both monitors in my ear but CNBLUE’s Jung Yong-hwa taught me that I should use just one side. I don’t like using only one, so my facial expression looked a bit stiff during our duet performance to “Babo” (in Romanized Korean). I think the viewers thought my expression was like that because I was a nervous rookie singer. I used both in-ear monitors when I sang “illa illa,” which felt much more comfortable.

What other instruments can you play besides the guitar and what is your reason in choosing the guitar as your main instrument?
 I can play the piano a bit but I just loved playing the guitar from the beginning. I loved hearing my dad play it when I was younger. There weren’t any other artists that used instruments when I first joined the agency and they suggested that I should play the guitar as well.

In one of the past interviews you did, you said that you are not that interested in dancing, acting, and other activities except for singing. This is a bit unusual for contemporary idol stars. Could you tell us why you think that way?
 I’ve decided to become a singer because I love music. I also compose and write songs, and it’s hard working on my music because of my busy schedule. I feel satisfied and happy with where I am now. And if I get a chance to pursue other activities in the entertainment business, I don’t want to get the opportunity just by luck because I am a celebrity. I want to start out from the way bottom with a minor role, ones that doesn’t require much lines. (laugh)

If you were to choose an idol group to join which group would it be and why?
 I would like to be in a band. I really love the music by the Peppertones [Korean indie band] and it would be great if they could sing while I play the guitar. I don’t know about joining any idol group because I can’t dance. (laugh) I have never gotten any dance or acting lessons and I learned how to play the guitar on my own before going to Japan.

So, did you get calluses on your fingers because you’ve been playing the guitar for such a long time?
I used to have calluses on my fingers and they turned black at one point but now you can hardly see them. (laugh)

Besides Jung Yong-hwa, who would you like to sing a duet song with?
 These days, I feel that Younha is an awesome singer. She’s so cool. But honestly, I want to do a duet song with everyone.

Do you have any regrets about starting out in the music business at a young age?
 I was a trainee ever since I was in middle school. I went to class during the day and went through training sessions in the afternoon. I don’t think I have gone to any of the field trips since eighth grade and I hardly had any time to play or hang out because I was always practicing (singing and playing the guitar). I think I forgot how to hang out. (laugh) I have a different way of enjoying my free time like going to coffee shops and just talking with my friends. I don’t have any regrets but I am kind of sad that I don’t have many memories of my school years and I didn’t get to spend much time with my family. I think the reason why I don’t have any regrets is because I see many people around me who haven’t found their dream. Most of them just go to college and they tell themselves that they will figure it out what job to get or how they will make money. I’m glad that I’ve chosen this career because I’m doing what I like.

You wrote most of the songs in the album and it seems like your hobbies include writing songs, do you have any other hobbies besides that?
 I love hiking and my mom has a huge influence on that. She really enjoys leisure sports and she even made a social hiking club at her work and they went on overnight hiking trips. I like to climb the mountain behind our house and I just started climbing more difficult and rough routes on mountains covered with rocks.

Have you asked your fellow labelmates at FNC Entertainment — FTIsland and CNBLUE — to climb the mountain with you?
 I did! And the funny thing is that they all just avoided my suggestion.
Juniel’s manager: Mountains are for viewing sceneries.
Juniel: I remember going to a mountain where rocks were just rolling on the side and people were swearing while climbing up the mountain which I thought was quite funny. (laugh) I would like to try rock climbing someday.

You were a DJ in Japan, how did you become a DJ there and do you have any funny episodes while working there?
 I was chosen by some of the famous Japanese artists hosting a new TV show that features up-and-coming singer-songwriters. I go back and forth between Korea and Japan to DJ and it was a great honor in being chosen for the show. There aren’t any special episodes but I had to stay up several nights to read and study the script because I had no experience like that before.

Besides your music career, what are five things that you can’t live without?
 Oh wow. That’s a hard question. Uhm…I have to say my family, my fans and… other artists who have had a huge influence on me. Wow, I can’t think of anything else right now. Can we just make it three things instead of five? (laugh)

When you are on the road to go to your scheduled activities, what do you do in your car and what are some things that you do to kill time?
 I sleep all the way in the car. (laugh) Since I don’t have my own cell phone, I borrow my stylist’s iPad to play games. I love playing games. (laugh)

What do you do when you are stressed?
 I’m the kind of person that doesn’t get stressed out much. People tell me that I’m a very positive and optimistic person. But when I do get stressed, I usually talk to my family or go on a hike. Usually, I write songs and express my feelings that way.

If you had three words to describe your music career so far, what would it be?
 (thinks hard) Interesting, happy and hard-working.

Many K-pop artists have expanded their careers into Japan and other countries, which country would you like to visit and why?
 If I get the offer, I would be willing to go anywhere. I want to travel all over the world but if I had to pick one country, it has to be London. I have heard many stories that it is a great place to visit and where band music began. It’s just one of the countries I want to visit the most.

What do you think is next for Juniel?
I’m not quite sure about that but I will be promoting “illa illa” a bit more. I guess in the future, I just want to be known as one of the greatest singer-songwriters in Korea. When someone asks, ‘who is the greatest singer-songwriter in Korea?,’ I want them to say that it’s Juniel. I don’t care how much time it takes. I want to be referred as one of the greatest singer-songwriters and be a part of the history of Korean music.

Source: Kstar10
via: junielsg 

Indo trans by chunghyuns@Junielindo
Tekan link untuk melihat terjemahan bahasa Indonesia

Bagaimana rasanya debut di Jepang lebih dulu sebelum resmi debut di Korea? Dan menurutmu, apa yang membedakan kedua latar belakang musik tersebut?
Musik selalu sama dimanapun dan aku puas dengan apapun yang telah kulakukan sejauh ini. Tapi jika aku harus menentukan perbedaannya, itu adalah bagaimana pertunjukan live yang diadakan di korea dan Jepang berbeda. Di Korea, ada batasan alat musik yang bisa dimainkan di panggung sedangakn di Jepang tidak ada. Tapi aku suka melakukan aktifitas menyanyi di kedua negara.

Apakah kamu selalu ingin menjadi musisi dan di umur berapa kamu menyadari keinginan itu?
Sejujurnya, ini adalah impian ayahku dan aku tumbuh dewasa dengan melihatnya bermain gitar. Aku juga tumbuh dengan mendengarkan lagu-lagu dari The Beatles dan Eric Clapton, dan aku hanya mencintai segalanya tentang musik mereka. Sebenarnya aku mulai ingin menjadi penyanyi sat melihat film dokumenter tentang BoA saat kelas 3 SD.  itulah saat aku ingin menanang diriku menjadi penyanyi.

Sudah hampir sebulan sejak showcase dan debut korea, Apa yang kau rasakan dan apa yang kamu ingin pelajari?
Rasanya sebulan berlalu begitu cepat. Aku sangat sibuk hingga tidak sempat tidur tapi ini adalah sebuah pengalaman baru. Menyenangkan datang ke berbagai macam program radio dan TV show meskipun kadang sangat melelahkan. Aku ingat saat aku sangat sebut dan hanya mendapat satu jam waktu tidur dan sekarang aku sudah terbiasa. Pengalaman yang baru berdiri di depan kamera meskipun aku sudah melakukannya di Jepang. Oh, tapi berada di radio itu baru buatku.

Selamat telah menjadi bintang tamu rutin Super Junior Ryeowook dan Sungmin ‘KISS THE RADIO.’
Terima kasih banyak .  Awalnya aku sangat gugup tapi Ryewook dan Sungmin memperlakukanku dengan baik. Sejauh ini baru rekaman satu ep dan aku todak yakin untuk berbicara selama 30 menit tapi aku mendapatkan keberanian dan hanya melakukannya. Mereka bilang aku bekerja dengan baik.

Bagaimana perasaanmu saat melakukan live pertama kali di korea dan bagaimana caramu melepaskan ketakutanmu?
Debut pertamaku di Mnet M!Countdown dan aku biasanya tidak memiliki demam panggung tapi itu saat pertama kali aku memakai in-ear monitor. Aku memasangkan keduanya tapi Jung Yonghwa mengajariku untuk memasang satu saja. AKu tidak suka, jadi ekspresi wajhku sedikit kaku selama menyanyi “Babo”. Kurasa penonton mengira aku gugup. Aku memasangkan keduar in-ear monitor saat menyanyi illa illa, dan aku merasa lebih nyaman.

Alat musik apa yang bisa kau mainkan selain gitar dan apa alasanmu memilih gitar sebagai alat musik utamamu?
Aku bisa bermain piano sedikit tapi aku lenih menyukai gitar sejak awal. Aku suka mendengarkan ayahku memainkannya saat aku kecil. Tidak akda artis lain yang menggunakan alat musik saat aku pertama masuk agensi dan mereka menyarankan aku untuk bermain gitar juga.

Di interview lain, kamu mengatakan bahwa kamu tidak tertarik menari dan aktik dan aktifitas selain menyanyi. Hal ini sedikit berbeda dengan idol lain. Apa alasanmu?
Aku memutuskan untuk menyanyi karena aku cinta musik. Aku juga menciptakan lagu, dan sangat sulit mengerjakan musikku jika aku sibuk. Aku puas dan senang dengan aku yang sekarang. Dan jika aku mendapat kesempatan untuk melakukan aktifitas lain di dunia hiburan, aku tidak ingin mendapatkannya hanya dengan keberuntungan karena aku selebrity. Aku ingin memulai dari bawah, dari peran pembantu yang tidak banyak berperan.

Jika kamu bisa masuk di salah satu idol group, group mana yang akan kamu pilih dan mengapa?
Aku ingin berada di band. Aku sangat suka musik dari Peppertones (band indie korea) dan akan menyenangkan jika aku bisa bernyanyi sambil bermain gitar. Aku tidak tahu jika harus mengikuti idol group karena tidak bisa menari. Aku belum pernah belajar akting atau menari dan aku belajar gitar atas keinginan sendiri sebelum datang ke Jepang.

Apakah kamu mendapat kapalan di jari karena bermain gitar dalam waktu yang lama?
Aku terbiasa dengan kapalan di tangan dan mereka menjadi hitam di satu titil tapi sekarang kalian tidak bisa melihatnya.

Selain Jung Yonghwa, kamu ingin berduet dengan siapa?
Belakangan ini, aku merasa Younha adalah penyanyi yang hebat. Dia keren. Tapi sejujurnya, aku ingin berduet dengan siapa saja.

Pernahkan kamu menyesal memulai bisnis musik di umur yang muda?
Aku trainee sejak SMP. Aku sekolah saat siang dan latihan di sore hari. Kurasa aku belum pernah berlibur sejak kelas 8 dan jarang bermain karena selalu berlatih. Kurasa aku lupa cara bermain(haha) Aku memiliki cara yang berbeda untuk menikmati waktu liang seperti ke kedai kopi dan hanya mengobrol dengan teman. Aku tidak penah menyesal tapi sedikit sedih karena tidak memiliki kenangan masa sekolah dan tidak bisa mengisi waktu dengan keluargaku. Kurasa alasan mengapa aku tidak pernah menyesal adalah karena aku melihat banyak orang disekitarku yang belum menemukan cita-cita mereka. Kebanyakan dari mereka hanya kuliah dan mengatakan pada diri mereka sendiri bahwa mereka akan menemukan pekerjaan atau bagaimana mereka akan menghasilkan uang. Aku senang bahwa aku  telah memilih karirku karena aku melakukan hal yang kusuka.

Kamu menulis beberapa lagu di album dan sepertinya itu adalah hobimu, apakah ada hobi lain?
Aku suka mendaki gunung dan ibuku sangat berpengaruh dalam hal itu. Dia sangat menikmati olah raga bahkan dia membuat klub mmendaki di tempat dia bekerja dan mereka melakukan pendakian semalaman. Aku suka mendaki gunung dibelakang rumah kami dan aku baru memulai pendakian yang lebih sulit dan rute yang kasar di pegunungan yang berbatuan.

Pernahkan kamu mengajak teman se agensi di FNC Ent -FTIsland dan CNBlue- untuk mendaki gunung bersama?
Junie: Pernah! Dan yang lucu adalah mereka semua menghindari saranku.
Manager: Gunung hanyalah untuk melihat pemandangan.
Juniel: Aku ingat mendaki gunung dimana bebatuan menggelinding di samping dan semua orang mengumpat sambil mendaki yang kurasa cukup lucu (haha) aku ingin mencoba mendaki batu suatu hari.

Kamu adalah DJ di Jepang, bagaimana bisa kau menjadi DJ disama dan adakah saat-saat lucu saat bekerja disana?
Aku dipilih oleh beberapa artis Jepang terkenal yang membawakan acara baru up-and-coming singer-songwriters. Aku pulang pergi antara Jepang dan Korea untuk men-DJ dan aku merasa terhormat telah dipilih untuk acara tersebut. Tidak ada saat-saat yang spesial tapi aku harus begadang beberapa malam untuk membaca skrip karena aku belum pernah melakukannya

Selain karir bermusikmu, sebutkan 5 hal yang tanpa itu kamu tidak dapat hidup?
Oh wow. Pertanyaan yang sulit. Uhm…keluargaku, penggemarku..artis lain yang cukup mempengaruhiku. Wow, Aku tidak dapat menyebutkan hal lain lagi sekarang. Bisakah kita menjadikannya 3 daripada 5? (haha)

Saat kamu dalam perjalanan ke salah satu kegiatanmu, apa yang kau lakukan di mobil dan hal apakah yang kau lakukan untuk menhabiskan waktu?
Aku tidur selama perjalanan di mobil (haha) Karena aku tidak punya ponselm aku meminjam ipad stylist-ku dan bermain games. Aku suka bermain games. (haha)

Apa yang kau lakukan saat stress?
Aku tipe orang yang tidak mudah stress. Orang-orang mengatakan aku sangat positif dan optimis. Tapi saat aku stress, biasanya aku berbicara dengan keluargaku oatau mendaki. Biasanya aku menulis lagu dan mengekspresikan perasaanku.

Jika ada  3 kata yang menjelaskan karir musikmu sejauh ini, apa itu?
(berpikir keras) Menarik, senang dan bekerja keras

Banyak kpop artis melebarkan sayap ke Jepang dan negara lain, negara mana yang ingin kamu tuju dan mengapa?
Jika aku mendapatkan tawarannya, aku ingin kemanapun. Aku ingin bepergian ke seluruh dunia tapi jika harus memilih satu negara, itu adalah London. Aku mendengar banyak cerita bahwa tempat itu adalah tempat yang bagus untuk dikunjungi dan tempat dimana musik band dimulai. Itu hanyalah satu dari negara-negara yang ingin ku kunjungi.

Menurtmu, apakah yang akan datang bagi Juniel?
Aku tidak begitu yakin tapi aku akan mempromosikan “illa illa” lebih lagi. Kurasa di masa depan, aku hanya ingin dikenal sebagai salah satu penyanyi-penulis lagu terbaik di Korea. Ketika seseorang bertanya, “siapakah penyanyi-penulis lagu terhebat di Korea?”, Aku ingin mereka mengatakan Juniel. Aku tidak peduli meskipun butuh waktu yang lama. Aku ingin dirujuk sebagai salah satu penyanyi-penulis lagu terbaik dan ambil bagian dalam sejarah musik Korea.


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