[Herald Interview] Singer Yun Hee
In a studio that became the home ground for jazz singer Yun hee-jung for 30 years, concert posters, newspaper clippings, microphones, a keyboard and other musical instruments show the history of the 70-year-old vocalist.
Clad in leather pants and an eye-catching knitted hat, Yun brewed her coffee — the latest obsession for Yun, who lacks no energy. After expounding on her newfound passion for a while, she returns to her biggest passion: jazz.
Jazz came to her a bit later in life -- when she was 36 years old and the mother of two children. She was into gospels and someone told her to sing jazz, which led to the introduction of Lee Pan-Geun, a prominent figure in the jazz scene in South Korea. After meeting Lee, Yun became one of the pioneers who helped jazz become more familiar to the public.
For 15 years, from 1997 to 2011, she hosted a concert series titled "Yun Hee-jung & Friends." During this period, She would invite guest celebrities, ranging from movie stars to politicians, and train them how to sing a jazz song for three months. The period of 15 years has translated into 100 performances and 250 guests. Some of the participants include Lee Ha-nee, Song Il-kook, Park Kyung-lim, Park Sang-won and Ok Joo-hyun just to name a few.
“Trying to memorize the lyrics in English, I struggled. But I don't have regrets. The only regret I have is I didn't encounter jazz at an earlier time," Yun told The Korea Herald during an interview in her studio at Seocho-dong in Gangnam-gu on Nov. 21.