Thanks to Psy’s global hit, “Gangnam Style,” K-Pop is receiving attention from all around the world. Stepping one step ahead, the Korean-Thai “New Natthew Project” has successfully transformed Thailand’s popular ballad singer into a K-Pop-style singer.
The main character of this project is Natthew, a Thai singer who has won “Academy Fantasia” Season 5 (2008), a popular reality audition show in Thailand, and has since gained popularity through singing, acting, modeling, and endorsements.
On June 2011, Natthew was introduced to the Korean audience as “Thailand’s Lee Seung Ki” through KBS2 “Let’s Go! Dream Team - Asian Star Special.” He also made a surprise appearance on Music Bank Special Live for KBS World’s 8th anniversay as a Thai representative. Additionally, Natthew has performed the Thai version of “As Ever/Still,” the title song for the Thai broadcast of Korean drama “You Are Beautiful,” originally sung by Lee Hong Ki of FTISLAND. As such, Natthew has had continuous special ties with Korea.
On November 15, Natthew took his first step into the Korean music scene through Mnet M!Countdown with his performance of “She’s Bad,” his Korean debut single. Using the K-Pop boom prominent in Thailand, Natthew has shown a strong first impression to the Korean fans and a big growth as a solo artist to the Thai fans. His impressions were surprisingly simple.
“I am very thrilled and happy. M!Countdown is a popular show enjoyed by K-Pop fans in Thailand, and just the fact that I performed on the show makes my heart beat and the feeling of ‘I did it!’ I learned of Korean through K-Pop. K-Pop and Korea seems and feels very professional.”
As Natthew was still learning Korean, his interview with eNEWS was conducted with Thai and English translators. For Natthew to have sung in Korean while powerfully dancing must have been very difficult, as he is still learning the language. One could feel the great effort he had poured.
“Pronunciation is the most difficult. When I pay attention to the pronunciation, then I have a hard time with breathing and voice projection. First, I try to understand the lyrics and its meanings and then put my efforts towards emotional expression. After acquiring all the meaning and emotions, then I lastly pour my attention on pronunciation. The process is much more difficult than when I sing in Thai.”
That’s not all. Natthew broke away from the ballad style and chose “She’s Bad,” a powerful electronic dance music that features the rap of Beast’s Yong Jun-Hyung, as his Korean debut single. Of course, a powerful dance performance was included. “I don’t want to be just a foreign artist visiting Korea. My goal is to become an artist that is acknowledged by Korean fans.”
Natthew, who mainly sang ballad songs in Thailand, gave a strong impression as a gentleman with manners who is kind to his fans. However, the concept for “She’s Bad” that he presented to the Korean fans was a typical “bad boy” style.
Both styles have a huge gap. When asked which style was closest to his actual personality, Natthew laughed, “Both! A good boy in Thailand, a bad boy in Korea (laughs). When there’s a chance, I want to show various sides of myself.”
Regarding Yong Jun-Hyung, with whom Natthew collaborated with on his first Korean stage, Natthew gave compliments. He praised Yong Jun-Hyung’s concentration, professional mindset, rap-making talents, and performance on the music video. “I think he completed and made my song very attractive. I want to express my thanks to (Yong Jun-Hyung) for supporting my Korean debut single in every way.”
When asked which K-Pop star he liked, Natthew immediately answered Nichkhun from 2PM. He stated that Nichkhun is his idol as well as his role model.
“I respect him because of two things. First is the fact that he is popular and successful not only in Asia but globally. Second is that Nichkhun gave a good impression to people as a representative of Thailand. Previously, when I was on the show “Let’s Go! Dream Team,” a staff approached me first and said, ‘NichKhun left such a good impression that I really like Thailand.’ It was a strangely good feeling.”
Natthew, who has Nichkhun as his role model and expressed his desire to “pursue both Thai and Korean activities,” will be attending “2012 Mnet Asian Music Awards” that will be held on November 30 at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center. Afterwards, he will be back in Thailand to promote the Thai version of “She’s Bad.”
When asked if there was anything he wanted to say to his Korean fans, he clearly stated in Korean, “잘 부탁드립니다*.”
*잘 부탁드립니다 = No equivalent expression in English, but similar to “Please look at me favorably” or “I kindly ask for your support.”
Journalist: Park Hyun Min
Photography: Kim Byung Kwan
Source: Natthew Official Facebook