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Lee Soo-young Is in Seventh Heaven

Posted January. 31, 2006 03:01,   


“And the MBC Singer Music Award goes to… Lee Soo-young!”

The camera zoomed in on a female singer buried amidst a flock of fans in a Seoul stadium on December 31, 2003. “Me? Me! I can’t believe it!” Lee cried out. She didn’t have time to give thanks or say that she never expected it, for the next moment she was crying so hard her tears smeared her mascara right off her eyes.

Lee (27) was reduced to tears at the height of her glory. Like the song “Lalala” from her fourth album, “Empty” from her fifth, and “Whee” from her sixth album, her tears were filled with sorrow. She cried enough for a lifetime, but the year and four months she took to make her seventh album was damp with tears as well.

“Last October my grandfather passed away. With my parents gone, he was such a huge figure in my life… I was dumbstruck. My album was postponed and the stress to make that seventh record kept piling high. I wondered what would happen if I opened my window and jumped 23 floors, if I never opened my eyes to tomorrow. I felt this was the end.”

Reaching rock bottom, she asked God for help in the form of endless prayers.

“If my seventh album was released in October as planned, I might have had a breakdown. All the depression I have fought off during the seven years since my debut in 1999 would have done me in. But by this January, I felt all of the misery melt away. It was the prayers. I decided on “Grace” for my album title because of His blessings, and accomplished some of my best work in the process.”

Lee says that she wants to share her blessings with her music. But for a blessing, her seventh album that will be released on February 23 is still too sad. The title song, “Grace,” is a majestic piece with singer Lee Ki-chan’s choir, and is a confession of a woman named Grace who is dealing with farewells. She cries in grief, but pretends to be strong and happy.

“Lies, all lies” she sings in “Shirin,” as she denies the parting of a loved one. In “Make Up,” she speaks of the ennui in a woman’s life, singing, “Love needs rest too,” and, “Frankly I’m afraid to let go.”

In the past, Lee was a symbol of patience and moderation, but now her songs are more passionate than the white-feathered ballads of old.

“I wrote all of the 13 songs in here. I wanted to show the real me…the me who says it’s hard if it’s hard, who cries if she wants to, and then goes back to being sweet again.”

The secret to her fame that has kept steady since 1999 from her debut song “I Believe” to her current seventh album “Grace” is in her honesty. She laughs often, cries just as easily, and has lived up to her nickname “Nice Girl” for seven years. What’s next?

“My goal is to have a placard with the words ‘Lee Soo-young Dinner Show” on the 63 Building. To sing with my fans until I’m old, that’s grace in life for me. Even today, I’ll cry because I miss my parents, but they’re probably up there, saying ‘I’m proud of my daughter’ and looking down at me,” she says, laughing.