Jay Park talks about life after 2PM
Park is featured in a photoshoot and interview in Korean -- something that he faced flak for in the past -- in InStyle Korea's June issue.
"There are two main ways Jay Park has changed. First, he no longer needs to explain himself at length to express himself in Korean," wrote the fashion magazine. "Second, his self-command and goals have become clearer."
Park left the now six-member band 2PM six years ago, following a heated public furor over his early difficulties adapting to Korean culture and learning the language.
Just one year after the group's successful debut, Park left 2PM following media revelations of his English posts written on a personal blog four years earlier.
In the posts, he expressed frustration over Korean culture and his uncertain future while training to become a K-pop star.
Park has become a rare success case who recovered from a harsh media backlash, buoyed by a loyal fan base. His first studio album "New Breed" in 2011 was favorably received in Korea and also marked the singer's departure from 2PM's energetic style of music.
"My life has become busier and more passionate than before, now that I know who I am and what kind of music I want to offer," said Park. "As a (2PM) group member, I had a strong image as an idol singer and the public didn't really know me very well."
Park served as a judge on the hip-hop survival program "Show Me the Money" last year, as did rapper Loco, who is signed onto Park’s successful record label AOMG.
"I was contacted for 'Show Me the Money' seasons one and two as well, but I wasn't that interested in the show at the time," said Park. "Cutting your opponents down on television, acting tough for no reason and swearing (meant little) to me.
"When I saw it was a proper platform for hip-hop artists, I changed my mind. While it has to be entertaining, I want (the program) to focus on the concept of 'crew' and personal difficulties endured by (aspiring) hip-hop singers," said Park.
It is not known whether Park will return to the program when the fourth season kicks off later this month.
His latest song is the English-language R&B track "Sex Trip," which has not been released in Korea.
The 28-year-old singer said he thinks the title is "isn't that provocative or awkward at all."
"I grew up listening to R. Kelly, Boyz II Men and Usher, and they have a lot of songs that are (openly) sexy," he said, terming it "refined." Park shot the music video for "Sex Trip" in LA.
Park also works with artists signed onto his record label, which include some of his longtime friends that he used to breakdance with in Seattle.
"There are times when I feel stressed, but I think my life has been really blessed," he said. "There were some difficult moments in between, but the time was meaningful. The people I came into contact with for business (reasons) were good people. That helped me to keep working even when I felt a huge weight on my shoulders."
The singer, who turns Korean age 30 next year, said, "I've become mature, but I still feel that I am quite innocent. I still keep toys that I had in my childhood (and will continue to keep them). I don't want to live a life not caring about people around me and just earning money.
"Since my music and Korean language skills have come this far, and hip-hop has become increasingly popular (in Korea), I want to keep working hard and live every day meaningfully," he said.