“Prince is a subject of vigilance”… Lee Seung Gi, 8 years of ups and downs since debut

With the flood of media interviews SeungGi did earlier this month, I have no doubt that he talked until his lips were dry. But fortunately for us, the flood of interview articles that came out afterwards have given us a lot of new insights into the heart and mind of SeungGi. I sincerely apologize for not being able to translate any of them. But thankfully, Ay has stepped up to help translate from Chinese, and she seems to be a pro at this. 😀 She picked this article because she thought it was very insightful and important. Enjoy!

This year is the 8th anniversary. So far, it has been a smooth ride and there has never  been a time when he needs to envy others. He won the newcomer award in his debut year; his appearances on variety shows are always the talk of the town; he became the lead actor in his second drama role. He is an exemplary of the most outstanding in the entertainment business. Now Lee Seung Gi has grown from nation’s younger brother into a prince with an influence that cannot be underestimated, even by himself. As the saying goes, ‘you win some, you lose some’. As ‘star’ Lee Seung Gi rapidly rises in the limelight, ‘ordinary person’ Lee Seung Gi is kept under wraps. He is like a mannequin in a show window, whose sole purpose of existence is for the world to see.

“Looking back, it seems that I do not have anything outside of my life as an artist. Private life? It has long been gone, of course. Unknowingly, I have given it up. And that’s how I get to where I am today. ‘How should I show myself to everyone?’ seems to be the only thing I think of.

Lee Seung Gi resents the idea that luck or talents has a part to play in his success.  To him, he got there by taking things in strides, giving his best efforts at every step. He experienced disappointments and depressions. But he had to keep them deep within himself without letting anyone know. Although people had all along believed that his road ahead would be easy, that was actually the time when his illusions were shattered.

PRINCE LEE SEUNG GI  In 2004, not long after he was called ‘nation’s younger brother’, he was also called ‘the model student’, ‘a real man’. Lee Seung Gi was synonymous with a likeable star. These had nothing to do with luck. They came from hard work. In fact, in fulfilling everyone’s expectations of him, he has given up a lot, including his private personal time.

UP | Nation’s Darling: “Actually people did not call me this when I first started. In order to build the image that I now have, I tried hard being a singer, an actor and a variety show host at the same time. Many people did not think I could do it. So I had to work extra hard, to the extent that I had to tell myself that I must have the strong desire to give my very best. I think that was the time when I first laid the foundation.”

“Now I see the benefits. More and more people are asking for me, especially after I left ‘1N2D’ and ‘Strong Heart’. I was not in any variety shows. During that time, I received many invitations to variety shows. What’s amazing was that I even had offers from movies. I was both in awe and grateful for having received so much love.”

DOWN | Self-complacency:  Honestly, sometimes, I am burdened by the thought that I have to manage my image well and this thought can be restraining. In fact, up until one or two years ago, I really did not have a personal life. Going out with friends could be nerve-wrecking and uncomfortable. I kept saying that if I went out with friends, I might become distracted and that would set me back in my work. “

“After that period, I somehow slacked a bit. It was particularly serious when I was hosting ‘Strong Heart’ on my own. Everyone told me that I was good and I really began to feel like I was a prince. But when I saw myself cheekily holding my head up high at the year-end award shows in complacency, I realised that I could not go on like that anymore. At that moment, I began to re-discover myself and it was then that I was handed the script of ‘the King2hearts’.”

ACTOR LEE SEUNG GI | ‘The King’ is a return to the beginning. It is also a gift.

Through this drama, Lee Seung Gi formally joins the ranks of widely recognised actors, working alongside well-known actors like Ha Jiwon and Yoon Je Moon in memorable scenes. Unfortunately, this time, he was not able to achieve the impressive ratings he had attained with ‘Brilliant Legacy’ and ‘My Girlfriend is a Gumiho’. The ratings went from 19.9% on opening night to a 11.8% in the final episode.

UP | Lead Actor:  “I felt the charm of drama in TK2H. This was also the first drama in which I felt confident about my acting. So far, acting has not been really difficult for me but my acting has not been exceptionally spectacular either. However, this time, not only did I get good reviews from people around me, but I myself was also very happy with my performance.”

“In this project, I really felt the joy of acting out inner emotions. People are human because they experience a variety of emotions-happiness, anger, sadness, joy. Lee Jaeha is such a person, someone who is filled with emotions. Although the lines were   long, I felt great saying them out loud. My confidence grew spontaneously. I even  thought, ‘Now I can lead a drama on my own.'”

DOWN | Ratings : Compared to my previous dramas, the ratings of this drama is a bit below expectations. When the ratings was sliding, we tried to find the reasons for it. Probably, it was because this is not a drama that people can easily relate to. The subject matter and the theme are not what you would normally find in dramas and it might be too heavy and depressing for those watching it.”

“I know that product placements in the drama caused a lot of controversy. At that time, wasn’t it called ‘Donuts’ Dilemma’? I did not think it was a bad thing, probably because the donuts were a surprise in a depressing drama (that’s why it was so controversial) But wasn’t that a good comic relief? And from the production standpoint, there is a practical need to have product placements too.

STAR LEE SEUNG GI | With TK2H, Lee Seung Gi took a firm step forward on the road of an actor, laying a strong foundation and moving closer towards being a multitalented artist. But frankly, there is still 2% of regret. Compared to being an actor and a variety show host, being a singer seems to have drawn less attention for him. Although he has continued making music and releasing CDs, the fact remains that the reception has not been overwhelming and a breakthrough is needed.

UP | Multitalented artist : “I have always wanted to be an all rounded artist. To be one, I have to be exceptionally successful in every field, right? Right now, I am still lacking in many ways. I have a lot of catching up to do. Presently, I have gained some experience in being a singer, an actor and a host and if I keep going, I will get to be an all-rounded artist someday.”

“I don’t want to speculate if I could do it. In this drama, Teacher Lee Soon Jae taught me a lot of things. He is very involved in TV dramas and stage plays and also gives lectures at schools. But he is still very energetic. I was amazed that he almost did not have any NGs. I kept thinking if I could do the same when I am at that age. I decided to try. I will not confine myself to a goal. I will try different things in areas that are within my ability.”

DOWN | Being a Singer  “I know very well that compared with being an actor and a host, being a singer has not generated as much attention for me. If you ask me for the reason, I guess it has to do with the change in people’s choices for music these days. The recent trend is that music is for ‘seeing’, not for ‘listening’. Music that is  visually stimulating with a strong rhythm is more preferred. The massive popularity of idol groups is another reason.”

“I am still thinking what I should do. Teacher Lee Sun Hee once said that music will keep reviving itself and told me not to give up and to continue with my own music style.  Once, I discovered that a singer by the name of Epitome Project was the No. 1 searched item.  He is someone who can make music that can be listened to. Then it dawned on me that I have to make music that people like to listen to, just like before.”

source: dispatch via nate
Korean-Chinese translation by achoi @ China Cafe
Chinese-English translation by Ay (special contributor to Everything Lee Seung Gi :P)

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21 Responses to “Prince is a subject of vigilance”… Lee Seung Gi, 8 years of ups and downs since debut

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you tryp and Ay for this very insightful article about The NEW LEE SEUNG GI..He really does changed alot from being a cute boy to a matured handsome man. before Seung Gi would answer every question given to him in a very safe way like an idol answer, but when you read his answers and comments to his recent interviews you can sight a man who is not afraid to be criticized by others. A true artist who have grown and love his work. I agree with him when it comes to music,not only in Korea but in every parts of the world. Music change by trends but like him whose a balladeer though he may think his songs won’t be as popular as other idols songs? but his song will remain in every generations and keep on reviving. Idol singer and their songs will come and go but balladeers never fades,so Seung Gi listen to teacher Seun Hee so that one day when you grow older your kids and the next generations kids will learn to love your songs. 🙂

  2. Osi says:

    Aww, thank you Tryp and Ay. You guys and Seung Gi are DAEBAK!
    *off to vote again

  3. leelee says:

    “Everyone told me that I was good and I really began to feel like I was a prince. But when I saw myself cheekily holding my head up high at the year-end award shows in complacency, I realised that I could not go on like that anymore.”

    And this is the reason why I fell in love with this boy. You can just see and feel his desire to stay grounded and with humility. He even mentioned how he sees these qualities in KHD and YJS, which is probably the reason why he wants to go back to a variety show. I only became a fan in 2010 but after knowing Seung Gi,I know I’ll never be a fan of any other artist anymore. He has so much depth, and he just makes one want to work harder, persevere in life and do good deeds.

    • May says:

      Like you too, since 2009 I begin to know him but after, I recognized I’ll never be a fan of any other artist anymore. Sometimes I thought I want to be crazy because I always think about him.Lee Seung Gi forever in my heart and mind. Love Seung Gi 😡

  4. K2H says:

    I am totally amazed by the sincerity of his words in this interview!! THANK YOU fro giving us this article! I find it truly interesting to get to know about him really and not through “false” ways.. How he tells us confidently what he thinks etc. I love him even more now. haaa! Back to vote to see him awarded on Mnet! FIGHTING!

  5. AnnMichelle says:

    The most important reason that I became a die-hard fan of Seung Gi’s is the way he thinks. It’s not just maturity beyond his natural age, but a deep understanding of his profession and himself and an honest and clear-headed evaluation / criticism of them. To think I found such thinking in a young Korean pop star in this crazy world full of fakes and the super-hyped is plainly amazing. Thank you so much AY and Tryp for keeping informed of Seung Gi.

    • leelee says:

      Couldn’t agree with you more, and I couldn’t put it any better than you did dear!@

    • Suria says:

      After reading so many articles and interviews about LSG, I began to wonder ‘Is he real?’ I have a daughter same age as SG and she’s good and hard working too. I don’t mean to compare note, however, I wonder how many young people these days can be like LSG. It’s even harder to be like SG as he’s under constant scrutiny and no wonder he’s depressed sometimes. I just hope that we all continue to encourage him and show him our love and he’ll keep having personal growth.

    • ara says:

      Have to say this, you took the words right out of my mouth. Seung Gi is great. To be recognized as an artist with credibility is much better than being popular. It lasts longer too.

  6. sharon says:

    This book come with eng version

  7. Singar77 says:

    Quote “He has so much depth, and he just makes one want to work harder, persevere in life and do good deeds.” Totally agree with you, leelee…

  8. manassuper says:


  9. milkteanlsg says:

    Seung Gi oppa,
    I LOVE your voice and your music. I have been listening to your songs almost everyday for more than a year! 🙂
    For me, your voice and music is goreous~
    I love your slighty raspy voice, filled with emotions and sincerity plus gentleness seeping out. 🙂
    So keep singing! And continue your music!

  10. He really impress me…

    Actually, i’m a fan since the beginning of this year, with at first king 2 heart and then 1n2d. But the fact that i can actually say “im a fan” is really something. I mean it’s a first for me. I’ve never been truly fan of someone.
    Why him? I don’t know, The way he tries to reflect on his life and challenge himself is something admirable that i, myself want to do. He is an example. Yes, that’s how i see him. Not perfect, but sincere.
    I totally respect his choices of leaving variety in order to be able to live his life, without the pressure of people caling him “prince”, “emperor” “perfect”, things that he isn’t. I really want him to live his life the way he wants to, to have fun, dating, live as a human being lol Even tough i miss his golden days with 1n2d cast, we should not be selfish. He already gave us so much. And i’m sure he’ll be back with others amazing projects.

    And i totally enjoy his music, don’t get where he gets his insecurity from..? “Tonight” was daebak.^^

    LSG fighting. ❤ (My Love from Paris hihi)

  11. jude says:

    thank you so much tryp for sharing & Ay for taking time translating this very interesting article. I couldn’t find words to describe how impressed I am every time Seunggi give answers in an interview.. But this one is truly amazing & full of his thoughts..No pretensions I love how he speak his mind.. Wishing all the best for Him.. You never walk alone Seunggi.. Keep voting Airens!!!

  12. crazyajummafan says:

    This is truly one amazing young man! He’s sincere, honest, insightful, hardworking, persevering and humble. I’m sure the rest of his fans can add in other adjectives. He handles his interviews with such maturity and dignity and after reading them, I’m even more impressed, if that’s even possible.
    When I first became a fan of SG, I thought that i should widened my base and find other celebs to fan over, but I can’t find another that I can even remotely consider. In fact, in all my life, I’ve never really been a fan of ANY celebrity but LSG, cos he’s absolutely the best.

  13. dalsg says:

    Always love the way he talks about his life n his vision..I’m in the same age with him, but somestimes I felt he’s like Oppa for me 🙂 I really love this man ♥

  14. Jade Butterfly says:

    “when I saw myself cheekily holding my head up high at the year-end award shows in complacency, I realised that I could not go on like that anymore.”
    Incredible for anyone , whatever age , to be able to look , introspectively at oneself to give an objective critique . Extremely admirable not to be blind to one’s own less-than- desirable changes & decide to change for the better! LSG is his own ‘check & balance’ critic ! I applaud you , Seunggi !
    You’re pretty perfect to us !

  15. Anonymous says:

    Thank you AY for the translation : )

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