Seo Taiji

서태지

also known as:   Seo Taeji  
major - active (1998 - )
Seo Taiji is a hard rock vocalist who has been compared to the likes of Jonathon Davis from American band Korn. He is arguably one of the most popular and influential Korean artists to emerge in the last 20 years. His career has spanned over two decades and has covered many genres including metal during his stint in Sinawe and hip hop and dance during his time with Seo Taiji & Boys.

Despite his success with other projects he is most well known for his solo work which has brought him fame not only in Korea but also in Japan and Russia.
author: sianface (2008-08-09)
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biography
Seo Taiji, born Jeong Hyeon-cheol, is one of the most popular artists in Korea at the moment. His fame has been compared to that of Michael Jackson during the eighties.

He decided to drop out of school and become a professional musician. The reasons for this were documented in the Seo Taiji & Boys song Gyosil Idea, the lyrics were based around his thought on the Korean education system corrupting the youth. His climb to fame started during his teenage years when he played in several hard rock bands, but it wasn't until he was 17 that he got his first major break when he was asked to join the metal band Sinawe taking the role of bassist.

Sinawe disbanded in 1991, just a year after Seo Taiji had joined the band. He was not disheartened and decided to bounce back with a new group that showed a complete change of direction for the musician. The group was Seo Taiji & Boys, who ended up catapulting Seo Taiji to fame. The group had a huge influence on popular Korean music by introducing urban and hip hop influences into the mainstream. As time went on, Seo Taiji & Boys varied their styles to include traditional Korean sounds as well as a hard rock and metal element which would become more prominent during Seo Taiji's solo career.

After releasing just four full length albums, Seo Taiji & Boys decided to disband at the peak of their fame in 1996. Amidst rumours of drug abuse, Seo Taiji disappeared from the scene for a further two years, retreating to New York to work on his come back project.

In 1998, Seo Taiji made a triumphant return to the Korean music scene with his self produced and self-financed debut album. The album continued to develop his trademark musical style of western rock combined with Korean vocals. Although the album was not hugely successful in his home country it did put him on the path to fame.

His big break came in 2000 with the release of a new album, Ultramania, which saw a new band and a completely new sound. The album seemed to take Seo Taiji full-circle and saw him returning to the metal roots which had started his career. The album was met with a great public and media reaction and sealed his place in Korean popular music. The album also saw his first tour since 1996, playing to sold out crowds. This surge of fame allowed him to make a full comeback to Korea and he was asked to play the World Peace Music Festival in October of the same year and, in December of that year, NHK in Japan showed a documentary based on his life and career.

In the years that followed his success continued to grow both in Korea and other parts of Asia. In August 2001 he was asked to play at the Summer Sonic Festival in Tokyo and was met with positive reactions from the crowd. This continued success lead to the opening of his own official homepage in October. He has since continued playing festivals in Korea, Japan and Russia and, in 2004, he performed at a Live Wire concert with Fear Factory, Korn and fellow Koreans Nell.

In 2007, Seo Taiji celebrated 15 years in the music industry with the album SEOTAIJI 15TH ANNIVERSARY (a release containing 4 Seo Taiji & Boys albums as well as 3 solo albums) and an entitled SEO TAI JI 15th Anniversary Zone. The event was so successful that it had to be extended by 6 days to meet the demand. Fans were ecstatic about his return and on November 3rd 2007, shortly after the album became available for presale, it had sold out both online and off. It sold 15,000 copies in the first minute. The response was phenomenal, especially considering that album sales had been dropping for several years beforehand.

An album of original material has been scheduled for release early in 2008.
author: sianface (2008-08-09)
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