Actress Han Hyo-joo [MBC]
Actress Han Hyo-joo -- we all love to refer to her as “Candy,” that bright, spunky girl from the Japanese animation series of the same name who always hangs on. That was her character in “Brilliant Legacy” (SBS), a girl who kept her spirits high and strong despite being kicked out of her house by her stepmother and left to tend to her autistic younger brother. The same can be said for the character she played in MBC period drama “Dong Yi - Jewel in the Crown” in which Han started out as a lowly palace maid who rises as the king’s favorite concubine.
Some might say she was lucky to get those roles and indeed, she was. But still, to successfully become that character and build a different image of herself with just two roles was entirely her own doing. Note that up until 2005 most of the roles Han played were usually quite reserved or calm in character. She was a timid college girl in MBC sitcom “Nonstop 5” who secretly carried around a list containing revenges she must take and another list for debts, a tender-hearted girl who worried about her perverse boyfriend in “Like the Heavens, Like the Land” (KBS), and a frightened high school student who was afraid to speak up for herself despite being sexually harassed by her teacher in film “My Boss, My Teacher” (2006). This alone can attest to how hard Han worked to re-create the image of herself. And it may also mean that she may have somewhat achieved her hope to "become an actor who has a positive influence on people."
So that may be why but at this year’s Grand Mint Festival, a modern rock festival that celebrates its fourth year, Han again displayed that cheery image of herself on stage. “I really didn’t want to miss this event but my tight schedule wouldn’t allow anything. So I ended up coming up a schedule for it,” Han said with smile. At the time of her interview with 10Asia, Han had said, “Right now, I’m busy practicing this merry little song I’ll be singing as a duet with indie band “No Reply.” Likewise below are some of Han’s favorite songs that help her get through the day whether in front of the camera or stage.
The first song Han recommended was “Cannonball” from Damien Rice’s first album "O". When it comes to Rice’s pieces, most people would have recommended “The Blower’s Daughter” that was included in the soundtrack to film “Closer.” Han chose otherwise. She explained this was the piece that stood by her throughout the hard times she went through in the 20s. “The music seems to comfort me. Because it was there with me during the toughest moments of my life. I still listen to it whenever I feel lonely at night.” “Cannonball” is a gentle guitar piece accompanied by a soft vocal.
“The life and music of Edith Piaff itself is like an art,” Han said. True to her words, this famous French singer went through so much in life that a full-length movie "La Vie en rose” was made in her memory. Making it past her unhappy youth, she managed to become a famous singer in France at the age of 20 only to be haunted by many other trials in life. “Her music that inspired many artists also stirs so many feelings inside me. Sometimes I feel comforted, sometimes I get teary, but all in all they stir some kind of passion within me,” said Han.
This singer died in 1987, when Han was only ten. Yet the fact that Han loves his work attests to the timelessness of his music. “To be honest I really didn’t know much about him at first. All I had was a faint memory of the many people mourning over his untimely death. Then one day as I was listening to the radio at dawn I heard one of his songs 'Trying to get over you' which made me break down and cry all alone in my room. I felt like his voice and lyrics were touching on something inside me. After that I became his fan.” The song will reach out to the hearts of not only those who went through a tough break up but anyone who is just willing to try out good, sentimental music.
“You don’t need words to describe what it’s like. You will recognized it immediately upon listening to the album,” Han said. It was not much of a surprise that Han, who heals her heart through music, recommended Jack Johnson’s “Never Know.” Han said his voice gives off an easy-going analogue-like atmosphere and is free of formalities and that is what Jack Johnson does with his music, tossing the lyrics to the listener as if telling a story in a space full of a warm vibe. “'Never Know' in particular helps me relax. I love his third album but I’m also looking forward to his fifth album 'To the Sea'," said Han.
When Han was named lady of this year’s Grand Mint Festival, it was not just because she was looking for something new. She has too much love for indie bands to make it sound it is just for business. For Han who seeks music that heals her heart, 10cm is an indie band that is "like a diamond in the rough," Han said. Their songs, composed of the guitar, djembe (African drum) and a easy vocals are perfect for a good night of sleep. “My favorites are 'Healing,' 'Good Night,' and 'Americano.' The more you listen, the more you’ll fall for their unique charm. I’ll be spending my night with them tonight again,” remarked the delightful actress.
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