21 February 1972 (age 47)
Jongno District, Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Seo Taiji (born Jeong Hyeon-Cheol on February 21, 1972) is a South Korean singer and musician. As a cultural comparison, Taiji’s levels of popularity in Korea is analogous to the popularity of Michael Jackson in the mid-1980s.
At the age of 14, Jeong Hyeon-Cheol (Taiji) participated in several amateur rock bands. In 1990, at the age of 17, he was recruited into the underground metal group Sinawe (pronounced shee-nah-wee). Taiji chose to drop out of school, a system that he felt did nothing but corrupt the minds of youth, and became a professional musician.
After the break up of Sinawe in 1991, Taiji switched gears and formed the dance group Seo Tai-ji and Boys (Seo Taiji and Boys) with dancers Lee Ju-no and Yang Hyeon-seok.
The introduction of the first Seo Taiji and Boys album announced a complete shift in the focus of popular Korean music that is still felt today. Their first single, “Nan Arayo” (난 알아요, “I Know”) was a hugely successful hit, being one of the first songs in K-Pop to meld contemporary dance sounds with urban-influenced rap lyrics.
Seo Tai-ji and Boys broke up in 1996 after four wildly successful studio and two hugely popular live albums. Tai-ji disappeared from the music scene for the next two years, moving to New York City, living a low profile life, and working on his come-back.
In 1998, Taiji returned to the music scene with his first solo album, Seo Tai-ji. His self-produced album continued with his long established sound of mixing contemporary American rock and pop music with Korean vocals. His comeback album, while not a huge success, put him back onto the path of greatness.
In 2000, Taiji exploded with his hugely popular sixth album, Ultramania. With his new band, he blasts out an album with hardcore, crashing metal tracks. “Ultramania,” “Internet War,” and “Tank” were all huge successes. With the release of his new album, Tai-ji embarked on his first Korean tour since 1996 playing to sold out crowds.
Ultramania was re-released in 2002 with remastered tracks and featured live Taiji tracks from the 2002 ETPFEST.
In early 2004, after almost four years, Taiji’s first all new album, 7th Issue, was released.
Taiji is often noted by his fans for his influential contributions to Korean popular music. His style ranges from beautiful ballads to heavy metal. His band consists of Top (guitar 1), Rock (guitar 2), Sang Wook (bass), and Jeff Heff Holter (percussion).
As of 2008 his band consists of Top (Guitar), Choi Hyun-Jin (Drums), Kang Joon-Hyung (Bass), Kim Seok-Jung (Keyboards/Samples/FX)
He held ETPFEST 2008 and it was a successful concert, this marked his first major appearance in 4 years. Soon after that he did “The GREAT SeoTaiji symphony” which was such a success that he was called forward to do an encore of the concert, it will be released on a DVD+CD set similar to his ZERO tour.
As of 2008-2009. Seo Taiji has released two new releases. His first single for his 8th album “ATOMOS PART MOAI” was released on July 29th 2008 and BERMUDA which was released digitally on October 24 2008. And following the release of BERMUDA he put out his long awaited second single entitled “8TH ATOMOS PART SECRET” which featured BERMUDA as the first track aswell as a remix of it.
A music video is currently being produced for the track “JULIET” and he will be doing 2 concerts to inaugurate his new single. The concerts are being held March 14th and 15th at Seoul Olympic Hall. Tickets sold out in 20 minutes.
The new style he uses has been classified by Taiji as “Nature Pound”
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