Seo Taiji

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Seo.
Seo Taiji
Stj2008.jpg
Background information
Birth name Jeong Hyeon-cheol
Born (1972-02-21) February 21, 1972 (age 42)
Origin Seoul, South Korea
Genres Pop, metal, alternative rock, nu metal, hip hop, rap rock, rap metal, rapcore, intelligent dance, synthpop, New Jack Swing
Occupations Singer-songwriter, musician
Years active 1989–1996
1998–present
Labels Bando Entertainment
Seo Taiji Company
Yedang Entertainment
Associated acts Sinawe, Seo Taiji and Boys, Seo Taiji Band
Website http://www.seotaiji.com/
Birth name
Hangul 정현철
Hanja
Revised Romanization Jeong Hyeon-cheol
McCune–Reischauer Chŏng Hyŏnch'ŏl
Stage name
Hangul 서태지
Revised Romanization Seo Tae-ji
McCune–Reischauer Sŏ T'aeji

Jeong Hyeon-cheol (born on February 21, 1972), better known as Seo Taiji, is a South Korean singer, musician, and songwriter. After dropping out of high school to pursue a music career, he has risen to become one of the most prominent and influential cultural icons in South Korea; many refer to him as "the President of culture".[1][2] He introduced incorporating elements of popular musical genres in the United States and contributed considerably larger to Korean pop culture and Korean pop's development in the 1990s.

Biography[edit]

Early career with Sinawe[edit]

At an early age, Hyeon-cheol had a fascination with music. At 14, he participated in several amateur rock bands. At 17, he took the stage name of Seo Taiji when he was recruited into the metal band Sinawe, playing the bass. He chose to drop out of school because he felt that continuing to be enrolled in school would not be useful in pursuing a career in music.[3]

Seo Taiji & Boys: 1992-1996[edit]

Main article: Seo Taiji and Boys

Seo Taiji and Boys (Hangul: 서태지와 아이들) was a South Korean boy band. It was the first modern highly successful band in the South Korean music industry.

Solo career: 1998-Present[edit]

1998: Seo Tai Ji[edit]

Two year after Seo Tai-ji and Boys' retirement, Taiji resumed his career as a musician. His solo career has and continues to be successful. He then returned to his true roots and perform rock music. Without any appearances or activity in South Korea, he released an album with a couple of music videos in 1998. There was some controversy over his sudden reversal of retirement, but his first Solo album "Seo Tai Ji" sold more than a million copies, even without any promotion in Korea. His first solo work included heavy metal and Nu metal songs, but the main genre was still alternative rock. Although it was his first solo work, fans refer to it as his 5th album.

2000: Ultramania[edit]

In 2000, he returned to South Korea after a four year absence. On the day of his arrival at the Kimpo International Airport in Seoul, the entire airport had been crowded by thousands of fans and media trying to get the first look on Seotaiji.[4] There was great talk between fans and the media about Seotaiji's feminine style and his clothes worn on that day, which was a checkered black and white shirt. At a comeback interview in 2008, he jokingly referred to it as one of the most embarrassing moment of his music career.

He released the album Ultramania which consisted of Nu metal and Hardcore punk. His solo act had an effect on many South Korean boy bands such as H.O.T. and caused them to decline in popularity. His songs "Internet War" and "Ultramania" were the biggest hits of the year. After the ETPFEST, which he founded during his comeback, Taiji was presented with hide of X Japan's Fernandes MG-360S guitar, which is yellow with pink hearts, by hide's parents and his brother, Hiroshi, to celebrate the success of ETPFEST and the first hide showcase tribute ever at a Korean rock festival. During his comeback, there were arguments that his seldom appearance on TV was aimed to make a mysterious image which helps promote his popularity, but in reality his personality is very reclusive and little is known about his personal life by the public. He has mentioned in several interviews that he chooses to maintain private personal life separate from his musical career but this concept is never well-accepted by the Korean culture where celebrity personal profiles are often widely disclosed to the public. This is one of the few reasons he is criticized as being a mysterious figure.

2004: 7th Issue[edit]

Seo Taiji maintained his Nu metal sound in his third solo album, 7th Issue. However, unlike Ultramania, 7th Issue was recorded mostly on a dropped C tuning, which gave the effect of the album sounding like one long song. Nevertheless, it had no problem attracting attention to a wide range of audiences. 7th Issue's catchy rock tune made his fans call it "Punk rock". Also, he obviously added Drum and Bass sound into his several songs, so that it proved him to be a favorable electronica musician (skills he learned from producing the "Seo Taiji & Boys" albums). J from Luna Sea also participated in the making of this album as the bassist. His song "Live Wire" was a good hit succeeding the vivacity of "Ultramania". "Robot" deals with his youth and anguish, while the song "F.M.Business" acrimoniously criticize the issues of and the commercialized music business and the artist exploitation from greedy corporate record labels. He also touches on the issue of abortion along with sexism and sexual assault with the song, "Victim". His record sale was reduced to a half million due to on-line downloading services, but was still the highest selling record of 2004 in South Korea. Taiji proved himself to be a musician in top popularity for more than a decade. After being active up to 2005, he once again suddenly disappeared out of the spotlight.

2008~2009: 8th Atomos[edit]

He returned to Korea after a long awaited absence, and revealed his latest single "Moai". It was the first release of Seo Taiji's ambitious 3-part "mystery project", which was followed by another single, "Bermuda Triangle" which was put up as a digital single. The third part, Atomos Part Secret, was released on March 10. He had a promotion called "Missing Taiji", where there were false rumors that Taiji went missing, only to return on the "Wormhole" concert day. In his single "Moai", Taiji reinvents his sound, and introduces a new experimental style he calls "nature pound". "Moai" draws inspiration from the mysterious statues of Easter Island which had long fascinated him since his childhood. He performed at the 2008 ETPFEST which he spearheaded to promote his comeback alongside bands such as The Used, Dragon Ash, Death Cab for Cutie and Marilyn Manson.

He also put together "The Great Seotaiji Symphony" with Tolga Kashif and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to perform his old hits and new songs presented in an entirely new form, combining rock and classical music. The main concert was held at the Seoul Worldcup Stadium.[5] After the main concert, there were complaints about the sound quality not being delivered to the second and third floors at the further ends of the stadium and to make up for this mistake, another encore performance (same setlist) was held in December at an closed/indoor venue, Jamsil Gymnasium upgraded with better sound systems.

Taiji's second single, following Atomos Part Moai, called Atomos Part Secret was released on March 10, 2009. It is the same date as the arrival of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) to Mars in 2006. Taiji also held a concert promoting his second single on March 14 and 15. Tickets for the concert, cryptically titled Wormhole, sold out in just 20 minutes.[6]

Seotaiji's 15th anniversary album consisted of most of his works so far,[7] re-recorded and re-mastered but it was released in a limited edition with only 15,000 copies available, each with unique serial numbers. Serial numbers #1-15 were purchased by Seotaiji himself. He kept #1 for himself, gave #2 and #3 to his old time friends Lee Juno and Yang Hyun Seuk, and the rest to his close friends. Since the re-recorded and re-mastered songs were only available for the limited anniversary album and not all the fans were able to purchase it, he decided to re-release all the albums with the containing the new versions. On April 3, the first two Seo Taiji and Boys Albums were rereleased. Taiji will rerelease all 7 of his albums, from Nan Arayo! to 7th Issue. On May 25, the 3rd and 4th Seo Taiji and Boys albums were rereleased.[8]

As of June 13, he will hold a nationwide tour named "The Möbius".[9][10] The first of the concerts will be held in Seoul, Korea. The tour has ended, but a repeat performance was given 2 months after the finish. ETPFEST 2009 was also held with guest groups such as NIN, Limp Bizkit, Keane, Fade, Boom Boom Satellites, Pia and GUMX.

2013–present: New album[edit]

In 2013, Seo Taiji announced that he had been working on a new album. In December of that year, he claimed that it will be released in 2014.

Personal life[edit]

On April 21, 2011, Sports Seoul broke the story (later confirmed by numerous media outlets) that Seo Taiji had been secretly married to actress Lee Ji-ah (real name Kim Sang-eun) from October 12, 1997 until August 9, 2006.[11][12][13][14] Their union was kept secret because both Seo and Lee notoriously kept their personal lives hidden from the media.[15] Since the shocking news of Seo and Lee's 10-year union, some have speculated that Seo's power and wealth were two of the main reasons why Lee's past had been undetectable. The couple met in 1993 and began their relationship, and after Seo temporarily retired in 1996, they got married in 1997 and lived in Atlanta and Arizona, until Seo's return to Korea in June 2000. Lee filed for divorce in the U.S. in 2006, citing both lifestyle and personality differences. According to Seo, the divorce was finalized in 2006, which Lee disputed, stating it had been 2009.[16][17] In January 2011, Lee sued Seo for ₩5 billion of her share of matrimonial properties and ₩500 million in alimony, and court papers caused their relationship to go public in April.[18][19] After a six-month lawsuit, an out-of-court settlement was reached on alimony and division of assets in July 2011.[20][21][22]

Seo married actress Lee Eun-sung on June 26, 2013, at Seo's newly built home in affluent Pyeongchang-dong in northern Seoul, with only family members present.[23][24][25][26] They met in 2008 when Lee appeared in the music video for "Bermuda Triangle" (on Seo's eighth album), and had been dating since 2009.[27][28][29][30] Their first child is expected to be born in August 2014.[31]

Seo Taiji Band[edit]

Although Taiji now works as a "solo" artist, the following musicians consistently play with him during tours, studio recordings, and music videos. Some of them belong to other bands, but they participated in recording and performances for a short period of time.:

  • Top (Ahn Seong-Hoon) - lead guitar for SeoTaiJi's 6th~8th album
  • Rock - rhythm guitar for SeoTaiJi's 6th~7th album
  • Sang Uk (Monkey) - bass for SeoTaiJi's 6th~7th album
  • Heff "The Machine" Holter - drums for SeoTaiJi's 6th~7th album
  • Kim Seok-Jung (Hangul:김석중) - Keyboards/Programming/Samples/FX/arrange for SeoTaiJi's 8th album
  • Kang Joon-Hyung (Hangul: 강준형) - bass for SeoTaiJi's 8th album. He normally works with the band "A'ccel in a story".
  • Choi Hyun-Jin (Hangul:최현진) - drums for SeoTaiJi's 8th album. He normally works with the band "Vassline"

Discography[edit]

Seotaiji and Boys[edit]

Solo studio albums[edit]

Live releases[edit]

  • 2009 Seotaiji Band Live Tour [The Möbius] (2010)
  • The Great Seotaiji Symphony (including the track 'FM Business') (2009)
  • Seotaiji Live Tour Zero '04 (2005)
  • 6th Album Re-recording & ETPFEST Live (2003)
  • Seotaiji Band Live Album 2000/2001 태지의 話(Taiji Speaks) (2001)

Singles & Etcs[edit]

  • 8th Atomos Part Secret (2009)
  • 8th Atomos Part Moai (2008)
  • [&] Seotaiji 15th Anniversary Album (2007): remastered all songs from 'Seo Tai-ji & Boys' albums, live albums, solo albums, and remix songs are included.
  • Feel The Soul Maxi Single (Released in Japan) (2001)

DVD releases[edit]

  • Seotaiji Live Tour: The Möbius (2011)
  • The GREAT 2008 Seotaiji Symphony with Tolga Kashif & Royal Phillharmonic DVD (2010)
  • 2004 Seo Taiji Record of the 7th (2005)
  • The Shedding Bird: Seo Taiji Company DVD+Art book (2005)
  • Seo Taiji Live Tour ZERO 04 DVD+Art book (2004)
  • Seo Taiji Live Tour '2000-2001 The Taiji Speaks' DVD (2001)
  • DVD package called “ETP FESTIVAL 08 09 Seo Tai-ji,”(2013)

Blu-ray releases[edit]

  • Seotaiji Live Tour: The Möbius (2011)
  • The GREAT 2008 Seotaiji Symphony with Tolga Kashif & Royal Phillharmonic DVD+Blu-ray (2010)
  • Atomos The Film DVD+Blu-ray (2011)
  • Seo Taiji Record of The 8th 398 DVD+Blu-ray (released on 31 July 2012)

Awards[edit]

Mnet Asian Music Awards[edit]

Year Category Work Result
2000 Best Male Artist "Ultramania"[32][33] Nominated
Best Rock Performance Won
2008 Best Male Artist[34] "Moai" from 8th Atomos Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cho, Chung-un (23 March 2012). "K-pop still feels impact of Seo Taiji & Boys". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  2. ^ Cho, Chung-un (23 March 2012). "K-pop before and after Seo Taiji & Boys". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  3. ^ http://bestuff.com/stuff/seo-taiji
  4. ^ "Fans Swamp Airport for Return of Seo Tai-ji". The Chosun Ilbo. 29 August 2000. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  5. ^ Han, Sang-hee (28 September 2008). "Seo Experiments on Rock With Classic". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  6. ^ Ko, Young-ah (16 March 2009). "Seo Tai-ji dazzles fans". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  7. ^ Sa, Eun-young (4 November 2007). "Pop Idol Seo Tai-ji Marks 15 Years Since Debut". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  8. ^ Noh, Hyun-gi (20 March 2012). "20th anniversary of Seo Taiji and Boys". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  9. ^ "Seo Tai-ji to Have 1st Tour in 5 Years". The Korea Times. 30 April 2009. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  10. ^ "Seo Tai-ji in First Nationwide Tour in 5 Years". The Chosun Ilbo. 7 May 2009. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  11. ^ "Mystery Deepens Over Seo Tai-ji's Secret Marriage to Lee Ji-ah". The Chosun Ilbo. 22 April 2011. Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  12. ^ Kim, Yoon-mi (22 April 2011). "Former idol's secret marriage creates stir". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  13. ^ Kim, Rahn (22 April 2011). "Mass public deception vs. private life". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  14. ^ Lee, Hyo-won (24 April 2011). "Cyber mobs hunt for truth about Seo-E scandal". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  15. ^ "Singer Seo, actress Lee had little choice but to keep marriage, divorce secret: experts". Yonhap. 22 April 2011. Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  16. ^ Cho, Ji-hyun (30 April 2011). "Taiji speaks up about divorce for first time". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  17. ^ Park, Min-young (1 May 2011). "E Ji-ah drops suit, Seo Tai-ji speaks up". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  18. ^ "Seo Tai-ji Worth an Estimated W40-50 Billion". The Chosun Ilbo. 25 April 2011. Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  19. ^ "Seo Tai-ji to Fight Ex-Wife's Claims". The Chosun Ilbo. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  20. ^ Yun, Suh-young (29 July 2011). "Seo Tae-ji, E Ji-ah settle marriage dispute". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  21. ^ Jung, Eun-jung (29 July 2011). "Seo Tai-ji, E Ji-ah agree to end alimony suit". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  22. ^ "Seo Tai-ji, Ex-Wife Settle Dispute". The Chosun Ilbo. 1 August 2011. Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  23. ^ "Seo Tai-ji Belatedly Reveals Details of Low-Key Wedding". The Chosun Ilbo. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-22. 
  24. ^ Cha, Yo-rim (22 August 2013). "Seo Taiji, Lee Eun-sung secretly wed in June". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  25. ^ Lee, Eun-ah (21 August 2013). "90's K-Pop Icon Seo Tai-ji Got Married". 10Asia. Retrieved 2013-08-22. 
  26. ^ Lee, Sun-min (22 August 2013). "Seo Taiji surprises with 2nd marriage". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-08-22. 
  27. ^ Kim, Tong-hyung (15 May 2013). "Rocker Seo Tai-ji to marry actress". The Korea Times. Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  28. ^ "Seo Tai-ji to Marry Again". The Chosun Ilbo. 16 May 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  29. ^ Lee, Sun-min (16 May 2013). "Seo Tae-ji announces wedding plans". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 2013-05-16. 
  30. ^ Lee, In-kyung (16 May 2013). "How Seo Taiji and Lee Eun Sung First Met". enewsWorld. CJ E&M. Retrieved 2013-05-18. 
  31. ^ Lee, Jawon (18 March 2014). "Seo Taiji to Become Father in August". 10Asia. Retrieved 2014-03-18. 
  32. ^ "2000 MMF part 1". MAMA. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  33. ^ "2000 M.net Korean Music Festival Winners list". MAMA. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
  34. ^ "2008 M.net Korean Music Festival Winners list". MAMA. Retrieved 2014-06-12.

External links[edit]