Garnering fans across the globe at such a tender age may have been the forte of Hollywood types – the likes of Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez – but this South Korean boy created a fanbase from scratch, all from the comfort of his own home. His cover of 'Pirates of the Caribbean', done when he was 13, propelled him into global internet stardom.
Taking note of this rising star is the Ukulele Movement, based in Singapore, who invited the guitar and ukulele prodigy over for a sold-out concert at the DBS Auditorium. While feeling a little like an overly extended American Idol audition – the boy's a neophyte after all – the rawness of the performance was also its charm. The best part? It wasn't a screaming-fangirl affair like Jung's K-pop counterparts have embodied, but a feast for the ears.
It's your first time in Singapore, how'd you find it?
Great so far. Love the food and the people are very nice.
What's your favourite food when midnight hunger pangs call?
I eat Korean ramen when I get hungry at night.
Has your online popularity been translated into real world benefits?
Well, they definitely helped me with getting more performance opportunities all over the world and I did get a lot of media attention in Korea as well.
How does your dad [who taught Sungha] feel about you playing the guitar better than him?
He sort of stopped playing and instead started to choose songs for me to play when my guitar skill sped up. He will always be my first guitar teacher.
Who are your musical inspirations and why?
Ulli Bögershausen from Germany who is my mentor and the producer of my albums. Kotaro Oshio, whose song 'Twilight' inspired me to start finger-style guitar. Also, Tommy Emmanuel, Trace Bundy, Tomi Paldanius and Adam Rafferty are among my musical inspirations.
We heard you have been writing your own songs and playing the drums, as well as piano. The question is, when are you going to start singing?
I don’t know. But I don’t hate singing so I might try in time.
Do you hope to play music as your career?
Yes of course. I haven’t thought about any other career than what I am doing now. I think I am very lucky because I enjoy playing my guitar and making music.
Singaporeans are really into K-pop right now. Will you be going into that?
I am also a big K-pop fan and I have been making guitar arrangements of some of my favourite K-pop songs, for example, 'Haru Haru' and 'Lies' from Big Bang, 'Good Day' by IU and 'Hoot' by Girls' Generation.
Can you please do a cover of 'Comforting Sounds' by Mew and dedicate it to me?
I'll try later.
I’m amazed. How do you manage schoolwork and keep fans happy at the same time?
Thanks! It does take a bit of effort. I just have to keep a balance, focusing on what has to be done.
You are 15 years old, cute and popular…have the girls been swarming all over you?
What’s the craziest thing a fangirl ever did for you?
Once I had this girl after the concert who asked me to hold her, and lift her from the floor. I was very embarrassed but politely said I couldn’t. It was very funny!
Is there any girl catching your attention right now?
For more information on Sungha Jung, go to www.sunghajung.com