One of the very few Korean pop (Kpop) artists I remember from living in Korea until 1998 is JYP. (Jin-Young Park). He is also a Kpop producer and the owner of the company JYP Entertainment.
He is well known for his highly critical, blunt and technically-oriented comments as a judging panel member on TV audition shows. I never thought his wisdom in producing internationally successful Kpop stars would be also relevant in my line of work as a personal branding coach and mentor.
As it turned out there are universal truths in what he often talks about.
- Use your own voice – singers mimicking the styles of others singers (current or those from earlier decades) almost instantly get eliminated in the competition even though they sound like professional singers. JYP’s advice: you need to speak and sing with your own voice and style if you want to engage an audience (these days more than ever).
- Tension kills – the ability to hit high notes is praised in Kpop. While there are plenty of people who can belt out super high notes, they often squeeze the sound out by tensing their bodies. JYP’s advice: The most truly amazing and resonant sounds come out when you’re completely relaxed.
- Don’t sing, talk instead – in trying so hard to sing well, such great effort often blocks the emotional resonance that is crucial for real audience engagement. JYP’s advice: Practice a lot and develop techniques but when you’re on stage, deliver the song’s emotional story and talk to us instead of trying so hard to sing well.
If I were to spell out how and why JYP’s advice works in personal brand building, it would be this:
- Authenticity starts with knowing and expressing our own style and speaking our truths without having to pretend to be someone else.
- Relaxing into what we do, instead of stressing (feeling tense), always creates better results. One thing I repeat often when photographing clients: “Relax your shoulders by dropping them an inch”.
- Prepare as much as possible but when faced with people (clients/customers/audience), our job is to create a meaningful connection. It’s not about our ‘performance’.
On a lighter note, have a peek at this clip which is our household favourite right now or enjoy the song alone with better sound quality via this link.