Many thanks to AnnMichelle for digging up this really old interview and translating it from Korean! 😀 This interview was done about a year after SeungGi’s debut, and he was only 18 at that time. It really shows how smart and mature he’s always been!
“Are You Really a Model Student?”
Vogue Girl (VG) : The purpose of this interview is to try to break Lee Seung Gi’s model student image.
LSG: Me? What makes you think I’m a model student?
VG: I heard you were your high school’s student body president and you get good grades. You also give off that vibe. ‘Student Body President’ is written on your face.
LSG: I am an very ordinary kid. I was elected student body president twice, in junior high and high school. But that was purely due to interpersonal relationships. In my study, I have been No. 1 a few times, quite accidentally, and that’s all. However, since a young child I’ve held on to some notions, like if you litter you will be punished, or if you nitpick others’ fault, bad things will happen.
VG: Is that ordinary? Can anyone be No. 1 or student body president? And if you can’t point out others’ faults, what fun is there?
LSG: The instant I voice something about others’ shortcomings, I feel myself worsen by it. Even if I say it to my close friends in private, it still weighs on my conscience.
VG: Do you have faith? Isn’t that a kind of Christian fastidiousness?
LSG: I don’t go to church, but I have blind faith in God. This might be a bit low, but whenever I encounter difficulty I would seek out God.
VG: Since you have good grades, there must be a lot of other expectations both at home and at school. Were there reasons for your early debut?
LSG: I didn’t set out to be an entertainer. I just wanted to sing. I was in a band in high school. During my 3rd [it should be 1st] year of high school, I was to do my last performance at a live theater on University Street. But Lee Sun Hee sunbaenim who owned that theater saw me on stage. That’s how I connected with sunbaenim and ended up where I am now. Of course, now not just singing, I am greedy about acting too.
VG: Currently you are attending the School of Social Science at Dongguk University. If you are going to sing and act, isn’t that an unnecessary degree?
LSG: Whether I act or sing, I feel it’s unavoidable that the real Lee Seung Gi would end up being concealed. That’s why I think even those mundane activities are important, such as going to the dong(district) office or buying drinks from the neighborhood supermarket. It’s the same with choosing a major that has little to do with singing or acting. I just wanted to enjoy a normal college life. Not long ago I went to the dong office to get a copy of resident registration. I also rode the subway to go to school. Because I walked around so openly, people were talking in whispers about “someone who looked like Lee Seung Gi.”
VG: Your debut song ‘Because You’re My Woman’ successfully appealed to the noonas, but to me, the lyrics gave off a young macho image that’s, frankly, a little over the top.
LSG: Because it’s my song, I only thought about how I have to sing it well. After the album’s release, I’ve heard many such comments, like “the lyrics are too embarrassing” or “isn’t it too direct?”. Psy sunbaenim has a very forthright style, so it can sound like that [direct/embarrassing]. Even now, when I hear that song I feel sad. I also think about the hard work involved in the recording.
VG: Your voice is husky and strong. You were in a rock band. You were probably aiming for this genre. Wasn’t your debut effort too pop-oriented?
LSG: When I was in the band we did a lot of songs by Kim Kyung Ho and Bryan Adams. I also worked hard to deliberately roughen my voice. But I debuted with a rock ballad. That’s because I thought it’s the genre I can perform the best with my current ability. Moreover, garnering mass popularity is just as hard as producing distinct music colors. It’s well worth it to produce music loved by all.
VG: There’s a lot of criticism over the trend of all the singers branching out into acting. In fact, people suspect they’re just using acting to prolong their short shelf life as a singer.
LSG: When I said I would appear in 《Non-stop 5》, even my fans said similar things to me. Dig only one well. (Just stick to one thing.) At first, it’s hard, but if you gradually show potential, it would be acknowledged. Overcoming the misunderstanding of “singers swarm into acting” is ultimately up to the individuals. And it might actually be an opportunity. Because if I stick with acting for a long time, I could one day be acknowledged for my ability.
VG: Who are your role models in perfectly carrying out both singing and acting?
LSG: Rain and Eric are already beyond praises like “he acts well considering he’s a singer.” I would do anything to grow to be a singer like Bryan Adams and an actor like Brad Pitt.
VG: The show business is full of constant, invisible controls and checks. Rising to the top of music charts as soon as you debut, that seems sufficient for people to regard you with jealousy…
LSG: Jealousy, checks… I’ve avoided them everywhere. I’m the type who seldom meets up with people. I am busy listening to songs and going to the movies [as part of training/learning], so I haven’t really made any celebrity friends.
VG: Is there any special reason you don’t make friends with celebrities?
LSG: It’s not that I don’t want to be friends with them. It’s just that, to those people, I am someone who’s still trying to make it. I want to stand beside them after I’ve grown as a singer and as an actor. I hope any occasion can be made better and more lustrous by having Lee Seung Gi. But it’s not that time yet.
VG: Aren’t you overly humble?
LSG: Overly humble? Being overly humble is not treating people with sincerity. That’s immoral. I am not like that.
VG: Calling Lee Seung Gi an actor or a musician seems still premature. What do you think you need in order to break through?
LSG: Isn’t it difficult for rookies to hear praises like “he’s such an excellent musician”? Even Genius Sting didn’t get that from the get-go. I firmly believe through diligent efforts and hard work I will earn the titles of ‘actor’ and ‘musician’.
magazine scan credit: jejuslov
English translation by AnnMichelle, special contributor to Everything LSG
Editing by tryp96.wordpress.com