By: Hannah Waitt
moonROK Founder and Editor-in-chief
“Wait so he’s like the Stevie Wonder of Korea?” “No, no, no, he’s like a member of New Kids on the Block, but if they were Korean, right?” Half exasperated and half amused, I tried once again to explain to the band’s bass player and drummer who Kim Tae Woo is. It was 12:30am on the eve of the concert and everyone was still in the studio perfecting the show for the g.o.d member’s first ever solo performance in New York City. Hosted and produced by two of New York’s up-and-coming music companies, 7000Miles and PRS Live, Kim Tae Woo’s first show in New York was also set to be his most intimate ever. As an artist who usually sells out 10,000 seat arenas, the opportunity to see one of Korean music’s biggest (and I mean that quite literally — he’s 6 feet tall) legends this close up seemed too good to be true, and for many, it was, as the show sold out at lightening speed.
As I sat in the studio with the band and Kim Tae Woo and they ran through the setlist for the performance, it wasn’t hard to see why the show sold out, especially considering the immense amount of talent in the room. Not only was the show directed by compositional genius Big Yuki, but famous Korean music director and concert producer Lee Hyosuk (better known by his singer/songwriter alias “JOKER“) made an appearance in the studio as well alongside friend and famed Korean saxophonist, Yang Hyunwook. Then of course, towering over the session musicians surrounding him, stood Kim Tae Woo himself, making notes on his lyrics sheets as he prepared to do yet another run-through. As unafraid to suggest changes in the musical arrangement as he was to wail on the high notes, Kim Tae Woo exerted the sense of control, confidence, and sure-footedness in the studio that one would expect from an industry veteran of his status, despite the language barrier between him and the English-speaking band.
As I watched his studio rehearsal it became clear to me that despite having been in the industry for 15 years, Kim Tae Woo has managed to retain the same devotion, curiosity, and passion for music that led him to pursue a singing career in his younger years. Since he began that pursuit nearly two decades ago, Kim Tae Woo has become one of Korea’s most renowned and highly praised vocalists, both with his group g.o.d and as a solo artist. As a part of g.o.d, Kim Tae Woo and his fellow members started a legacy, paving the way for K-pop to become the globally phenomenon that it is today. As a solo artist, he has made a name for himself as one of the greatest vocalists in Korean pop music history. Not only does Kim Tae Woo continue to pursue his career as a vocalist and a musician, but he has founded his own company, Soulshop Entertainment, where he recruits, trains, and debuts talented and passionate young artists to follow in his footsteps in the Korean music industry.
I sat down with Kim Tae Woo before his studio rehearsal to chat about g.o.d’s reunion tour, his intimate NYC solo concert, and more — check out our exclusive moonROK interview below.
You can also check out more of our exclusive pictures from Kim Tae Woo’s studio session and New York City solo concert on moonROK’s official Facebook page.
Tags: Exclusive g.o.d Interview Kim Tae Woo moonROK