From left, Korean group singers ULALA SESSION member Park Seung-il, Kim Myung-hoon, Koon Zo and Park Kwang-sun [ULALA Company]

ULALA SESSION set aside their cheerful and powerful tunes for their first studio release following their leader Lim Yoon-taek’s death.

The winning group of Mnet’s auditioning program “Super Star K 3” in 2011, made a comeback through a showcase in Seoul on Thursday with their first mini-album “MEMORY” containing only ballad tunes.

The group opened the curtains of the showcase with dance music “Wandering” (translated title), originally singer Lee Seung-chul’s song, which they had performed on KBS’s singing program “Immortal Songs 2” in May.

However, after the first performance, the group playfully told the audience that it would be the only bright tune they would sing this day.

The concert hall then quieted down with a clip showing them winning “Super Star K 3,” followed by Lim appearing on the screen sending a pre-recorded message to his members.

“You guys think I don’t rely on you, but I have been relying on you all for a long time and that’s why you can’t feel it. You are my family. I thank God that I met you all. I think meeting you has been the biggest blessing,” said Lim who passed away from cancer this February.

The remaining four members of the group then started to sing “Memory,” which talked about how much the rest of the members miss their leader. Their harmony stood out against the soft melody.

Then after expressing their emotions of Lim, the group sang the album’s title track “I’ll be there,” which member Park Kwang-sun explained holds message of hope for the future.

Though the most of the album’s songs told sad stories, they tried to deliver bright and hopeful messages to keep to the group’s style and image, member Kim Myung-hoon explained.

During the concert, group also announced that their next album will be brighter and cheerful with dance tunes. Park Kwang Sun said, “We released ballad music. Though ballads don’t really fit our group’s image, we released it regardless of whether it will succeed or fail. We are working on the dance tunes right now but we don’t know whether it will be single album or mini-album.”

Next came the much-anticipated performance of “Remember” whose lyrics were written by the late Lim and composed by Park Seung-il. Park Kwang-sun explained that the song reminded him of the old days when people listened to cassette tape players. He added that he use to record his favorite song on a cassette tape and listened to it over and over again till the tape got warped.

For their last performance, the group sang “Georum,” the tune they had pre-released from the album. Each track to the album was reminiscent of their late leader but also sang of their hope for the future.




From left, Korean group singers ULALA SESSION member Park Seung-il, Kim Myung-hoon, Koon Zo and Park Kwang-sun [Ulala Company]

Below are excerpts from a press conference ULALA SESSION held before the showcase.


Q. What is the concept of the album “MEMORY”?

Park Seung-il: We can’t not talk about our leader Lim Yoon-taek. We have so many memories with him. Lots of people asked us if this is a mourning album. And it’s not but we still think of him lot. We wanted to send hope to everybody and thought back on our past. Though we have the image of being cheerful, we figured it would be hard to seem sincere delivering such messages with cheerful melodies. So we chose to go with soft melodies to emphasize the lyrics.


Q. Is there a particular reason you chose “I’ll be There” as the title track?

Park Seung-il: This album includes songs singing about our past, how we feel in the present, and our hope for the future. We didn’t want to give off the impression of just being sad and mournful. The lyrics to “I’ll be There” talks about how everybody is special and everyone can be hopeful. We chose this song to deliver a message of hopes and dreams for the future.


Q. When did you miss Lim the most?

Park Seung-il: I thought a lot about him after we finished recording the album. Especially when I tried to make decisions, I thought, ‘What would Lim do at this moment?’ and ‘How would he see this?’ I also cried a lot listening to “I’ll be There” after we got done recording it.

Kim Myung-hoon: I personally missed him a lot after we finished recording our album as well. I wanted to hear him say, “It was hard, right? Good work.” He often sent us messages saying “I love you all” or “We are one” to cheer us up.


Q. Do you have plans to scout another member?

Park Kwang-sun: After Lim passed away, we all agreed to decide on everything together and not have leader. We don’t have plans to scout anyone but we’d like to collaborate with various artists. Lim will always be remembered as our leader.


Q. Any last words?

Koon Zo: We will do our best!

Park Seung-il: We released ballads because we agreed that we wouldn’t be able to fully express our feelings if we don’t do this now. I hope the audience will feel it.

Reporter. Kang Jung Yeon atoz@tenasia.co.kr
Editor. Jessica Kim

Courtesy of ULALA Company