Sang-Hyun Park Talks About Solo Career After MBLAQ
Sang-Hyun Park is better known by his stage name Thunder (Cheondung). Born in Busan, he is the younger brother of 2NE1’s vocalist Sandara Park. The siblings grew up in the Philippines and, in addition to Korean, Thunder is fluent in English and Tagalog as well as conversational in Mandarin and Japanese. After training under one of South Korea’s greatest singers and dancers, Rain (Ji-hoon Jung), Thunder became a member of the South Korean male quintet MBLAQ, as a vocalist, lead rapper and lead dancer. Besides becoming idols in South Korea, they made their Japanese debut in 2011 and have sold singles and albums exclusive to Japan. Thunder has also had a successful modeling career encompassing both photo-shoots and runways. In December 2014, he announced his departure from MBLAQ to focus on studying music. Thunder talked to Seoul Journal's Executive Editor Anthony Al-Jamie about his career and future plans.
SJ: Can you tell us how you got started with your career?
THUNDER : In 2004, I was watching a music program on TV, and I saw Rain, who is a Korean singer, performing “It's Raining,” and I was shocked. It was then I thought that I would like to be a great singer just like him.
SJ: In the wake of your departure from MBLAQ, can we expect significant changes to your image and style?
THUNDER: Maybe the music genre and style will change a lot, but I can’t tell how they will change, because I'm not sure yet and I'm still working on new things.
SJ: What kind of activities are you looking forward to engaging in?
THUNDER: TV dramas, movies and albums, as well as variety shows.
SJ: What do you enjoy most about being a solo artist?
THUNDER: I can freely choose what I have for lunch [laughs].
SJ: What kind of things did you do to prepare yourself for a solo career?
THUNDER: I learned a lot of things to make myself a better artist. I think about my new style. I learned DJing, track arranging, vocal rap, etc.
SJ: Do you miss being in a group?
THUNDER: I do.
SJ: Do you have plans of releasing music anytime soon?
THUNDER: I am planning to but a plan is always just a plan. I can't tell when yet.
SJ: Who are your favorite artists in and out of Korea?
THUNDER: In Korea: Rain, JYP and BIGBANG. Outside Korea: Michael Jackson.
SJ: Who are the actors and musicians, both Korean and non-Korean, that you most want to work with?
THUNDER: I want to work with Ryan Leslie and Rodney Jerkins (Darkchild).
SJ: What do you do to relax?
THUNDER: I listen to music, watch movies, read books and play with my cats.
SJ: Do you have any interest in performing in the West?
THUNDER: I’d love to. It will be one of the greatest days of my life.
SJ: How difficult was it to find your place in the industry? What do you think newcomers should be careful about?
THUNDER: Remaining focused on my dream was the most difficult for me. Not losing your dream and hope is the most important thing.
SJ: Who inspires you?
THUNDER: Michael Jackson and his music
SJ: What do you feel is your proudest achievement?
THUNDER: Being an artist and feeling happy all the time.
SJ: Can you tell us about your current projects?
THUNDER: Making music.
SJ: What are your goals for the future?
THUNDER: My goals in the future are to become a more talented artist and a nicer man. Thank you!