Sojung, Korea’s Queen of Ballads

I don’t remember when I first heard Lee Sojung’s voice. Unique, Husky, Sincere, Honest, Gentle. It would have been most likely this video of her singing “I Don’t Love you” by Urban Zakapa from YouTube and I was mesmerised. There is a strange painful and melancholic quality to her voice. She looked like she meant every word she uttered and her facial expressions just reinforced that.

Slowly I went to check out other songs she did.

She did a collab for “I don’t want” by Jung Key and it’s the same heart wrenching quality that makes you want to be honest to yourself and cry your heart out. Maybe I’m weird, but I don’t know how better to explain the feeling when I hear her sing.

One of her latest song “Better than Me” again slows you down and just like in the music video, makes you look into nothing and focus on nothing and just soak in the melancholy.

After getting all the lyrics translated, the powerful phrases made the songs immediate classics in my mind.

How does her voice have this quality? Who is she? What are her life experiences?

I set out to investigate.

Lee So-jung, one of the finalists on The Voice Korea 2012, main vocals of Ladies Code. Then I read up more about Ladies’ Code and I cried…

The band Ladies’ Code was formed by Polaris Entertainment and the band originally had 5 members. Ashley, EunB, RiSe, Sojung, Zuny. On 3 Sep 2014 the group returning to Seoul after a performance at Daegu ran into a fatal accident. The back tire of the van they were in fell out and the van ran into the wall. EunB was dead at the scene of the accident and she was 21. RiSe had 4 surgeries but doctors had to stop when her blood pressure fell and she went into a coma. 4 days later RiSe passed away, she was 23.

Sojung had major injuries as well and underwent surgery for her arm and fractured skull. Sojung reportedly apologised for her inability to continue with their current performances with Ladies’ Code when she regained consciousness not knowing that her bandmates have passed. She then suspected something when all her visitors came in black.

The other two members Ashley and Zuny did not have any major injuries, but were said to be treated for their severe shock.

How did this accident turn out so terribly horrific? The ambulance worker stated, “While saving the lives of those who were collapsed after going out to the site, I do not recall undoing any seat belts.”

*sob*

How would you feel if you were 3 of your 5 band mates that had an accident and needed surgery, but you were the only one that survived?

The accident was on 3 September 2014. Sojung’s turned 21 that fateful day.

*tissues*

A week after the tragedy, a music video for Ladies’ Code’s song “I’m Fine Thank You” was released showing Ladies’ Code having fun, working hard, and talking directly to the camera. The song had become a rallying cry by fans after the tragedy. It also became the memorial song for Ladies’ Code after the accident killed two members.

Then one year later, Ladies’ Code released “I’ll Smile Even If It Hurts”. It’s painful just to see the lyrics knowing what happened.

*breath*

Anyway, Sojung have amazing talent and I’ll continue to watch out for her music.

UPDATE

Sojung released two new songs around the 5th Anniversary of Ladies’ Code. ‘Crystal Clear’ and ‘Stay Here’.

I’m liking how her music direction is going.

Heyday Vintage Jazz Lounge Shanghai

Shanghai, China
Shanghai, China

Was in Shanghai for a week for work and really wanted to get some Jazz. Firstly went to The Jazz bar at Peace Hotel as it was at The Bund and my colleagues and I wanted to go there anyway to check it out.

The Jazz Bar at Peace Hotel, Shanghai
The Jazz Bar at Peace Hotel, Shanghai

Oh man… The Jazz Bar’s Old Jazz Band was really old. Kudos for playing live music for so long, but it was not something I had in mind. Thank goodness for a soulful female vocalist that saved the night with classics from Old Shanghai Jazz. I could see quite a few senior ladies really enjoying themselves and dancing to the music up front and that brought a smile as I could sense the joy they had.

In short… its kinda old for me… I’ll skip it.

A friend of mine then recommended a place called Heyday. I looked it up Baidu (because no Google in China) and the web design / look and feel was right. It had that 20s Art Deco feel. Yes we had to check it out.

Colleagues and Friends
Colleagues and Friends

We went on a Saturday night not expecting much but we were just blown away. The Pianist from Israel, double bassist from Korea and drummer from Brazil were out of this world.

Heyday Jazz Lounge
Heyday Jazz Lounge

The vocalists were also superb. Song after song, solo after solo, my feet can’t stop tapping along and you can see from the crowd, cheers and applause, it was a great night. The musicians gave their all, cracked jokes and really engaged an interactive audience.

I put together a short footage to capture the feel of Heyday. Too wonderful.


THIS PLACE IS MAGIC! If I wanted to open the bar, this is it!

Anne Evenou with Oleg Roschin
Anne Evenou with Oleg Roschin
Anne Evenou with Oleg Roschin
Anne Evenou with Oleg Roschin

We stayed till the bar close down. TWICE. It was that good. I was there 20th May 2017 and again on 23rd May.

Heyday Bartenders
Heyday Bartenders
Good Night
Good Night

It was a really good night and I think I’ll have to come to Heyday again whenever I come to Shanghai. Everyone needs to go to Heyday.

Heyday Jazz Lounge
50 Tai’An Road (near Xinguo Road)
泰安路50号,近兴国路
P: 6236-6075
W: http://www.heydayjazz.cn
F: https://www.facebook.com/heydayjazzshanghai/

Jung Key – I don’t want (Feat. So Jung of LADIES’ CODE)

정키 – 바라지 않아 (Feat. 소정 Of 레이디스 코드)

창 밖에 비가 내릴 때면
옛 생각에 잠기곤 해 나
헤어졌다는 게 실감이 안나서
홀로 남았단 게 서투른 오늘 같은 밤

벌써 니가 그리워진 건지
아님 괜히 외로웠는지
어질어진 맘은 식을 줄 모르고
하루하루가 왜 힘들기만 하는지

처음 만나 설렜던 그 날처럼
뜨겁게 안았던 그 날처럼
이젠 두 번 다시 돌릴 수 없는 걸
우린 잘 알잖아더는 바라지 않아

기억하니
쉬웠던 시작이 늘난 두려웠었다고
사랑하니까 좋았으니까
You 널 울리진 않을까
아무것도 할 수 없어 힘들기만 했는데

처음 만나 설렜던 그 날처럼
뜨겁게 안았던 그 날처럼
이젠 두 번 다시 돌릴 수 없는 걸
우린 잘 알잖아 더는 바라지 않아

다 지난 일인 걸 알면서도 왜
왜 막연한 바램에 끝내 널 부르는지

처음 만나 설렜던 그 날처럼
뜨겁게 안았던 그 날처럼
(예전처럼 곁에만 있어줘 Oh ma Baby)
사랑할 수 있어 다시 한 번 내게
기회를 준다면 더는 바라지 않아

처음 만나 설렜던 그 날처럼
뜨겁게 안았던 그 날처럼
(Baby 뜨거웠던 날처럼)
사랑할 수 있어 다시 한 번 내게
기회를 준다면 더는 바라지 않아

이젠 알 것 같아 내겐 너 뿐 이란 걸


Jung Key – I don’t want English Translation
When it rains outside my window
I think about the past
I can’t believe we said goodbye
It feels so strange to be left alone tonight

I must be missing you already
Or I might be feeling lonely
My heart’s been disturbed, it won’t quiet down
Everyday has been hard on me

The first day we met and fell in love
The day we hugged each other so tight in each other’s arms
We can’t turn back time, we can’t go back to those days
We know that now, we don’t ask for it

Remember
I’ve always feared that we had an easy beginning
But we were in love, we liked it so much
You, what if I make you cry
It was difficult not being able to do anything for you

The first day we met and fell in love
The day we hugged each other so tight in each other’s arms
We can’t turn back time, we can’t go back to those days
We know that now, we don’t ask for it

I know it’s all gone now, so why
Why do I end up calling you in high hopes

The first day we met and fell in love
The day we hugged each other so tight in each other’s arms
(Just come back to me, oh my baby)
We can do this again, give me one more chance
and I won’t ask for anything anymore

The first day we met and fell in love
The day we hugged each other
(Baby, like the days we were in love)
We can do this again, give me one more chance
and I won’t ask for anything anymore

I get it now, you’re the only one for me