BoA is a global superstar. Having already moved a total of over 20 million units between Korea and Japan, the singer has released over 14 albums (not including compilations), 32 singles, dozens of prestigious musical and cultural awards, and gone on several nationwide tours since her debut in 2000.
Oh, and she’s only 22.
Debuting at the tender age of 14, BoA has continued to shatter records and defy expectations as an incredibly determined pop artist, showcasing both an incredible vocal range and superb command of intricate and innovative choreography. As a result, the entertainer has often been compared to Britney Spears because of their similarly successful pop careers, both built at an early age. But while Britney may have had her ups and downs in the music world, BoA has successfully maintained her popularity in Japan and Korea, continually releasing successful albums and singles to this day.
In 2008, BoA’s management announced plans to move into the Western world for an English debut album. Several press releases later, BoA’s first single, “Eat You Up,” premiered online in late 2008, along with a newly formed American website. Six months later on March 17, 2009, BoA’s self-titled debut officially marked BoA’s latest crossover into new territory.
Though the singer has been quite busy with promotional duties in both America and Japan, I had the wonderful privilege of speaking to her on the day of her English album’s debut–in English, no less! Though the language barrier did make itself apparent in parts of the interview, BoA’s excitable, chit-chatty nature was infectious, leading to a conversation mainly filled with giggles. In the few short minutes we spoke, we covered the new album, plans for her career post-America, her interests, and yes…even the Britney concert.
To say the least, it was utterly surreal. Aside from being an intense workaholic, BoA seems like an absolute sweetheart. Best of all, after I completely melted at the interview’s end and gushed about having all of her albums and posters, she called me “so sweet.”
So without further ado, here is the full audio and text of the conversation. Though I firmly believe that my giggling fan boy voice pays myself no real compliment, I know that many fans would want to hear BoA’s conversational English. You’ve been warned accordingly–nervous fandom and old school microphones do not equate to a high quality recording.
P.S. Like my “Circus” ringtone? Haha.
Hey BoA! How are you?
Fine, how are you?
I’m great! So, today’s March 17 – that means today is the official debut of the album. I’m so excited. Congratulations!
I have to say, I just got the album in the mail about an hour ago and I’ve been listening to it ever since–
How is it? Do you like it?
I really do. I love it. It sounds like you put a lot of work into it.
Oh, thank you!
How long did it take to record the album?
Well, I think it took around two years.
Yeah, yeah (laughs). Because I had to go to Japan [for promotional duties], so we couldn’t go on recording constantly.
I had no idea it took so long! That’s so cool! So I was listening to some of the lyrics on the album, and it’s definitely more mature than some of your past work. The songs aren’t like “Shine We Are,” all bubbly and sweet…it’s got more mature themes. Did you want to show that you were adult this time around?
Well, yeah! Because I’m an adult! (Laughs)
That makes sense (Laughs). What do you think your Japanese and Korean fans will think of this new sound?
Well, I hope they like this sound and keep supporting me…Hopefully, they’ll love this album. In Japan, I released my Best album along with my US album so they can listen to both CD’s and enjoy them together.
The other thing I noticed is that the album is dance – no ballads. Was that just something that happened, or did you want it to be an album of all dance music?
I really wanted to make a hot dance album, so we just tried to make all types of dance music. I started working with producers like Bloodshy & Avant and Sean Garrett, and I guess I did a good job. I think the record came out really hot.
Yeah, you did! I watched your first single “Eat You Up” as it went up to the Top Ten on the Dance Charts.
Yes, thank you!
Now, “I Did It For Love” is coming out soon and I really, really do love that song.
(Laughs) It’s so catchy!
I have a feeling it’s going to go really high on the charts.
Yeah! We shot the music video at the end of January with Joseph Kahn. Sean Garrett was actually in the video too. It should be out at the end of March.
I actually saw a preview of the video….You do this really cool move with a fan!
I love it!
The rehearsal [for the video] was crazy. I was using chairs, hats, fans – lots of things like that.
So do you have a favorite song off of the album?
I would say “I Did It For Love,” definitely – I love it. I also really like “Energetic.”
So I remember, ever since your debut, there were rumors that you were finally coming to America – and now you finally did it. Is there any reason you decided to do it now?
Well, I just felt like this was the right time. We were finally all set for the album after we had been recording for so long. Actually, “I Did It For Love” was recorded last year, like right before the Christmas day.
Yeah! (Laughs.) It definitely came out right before New Years. Everything was all set, and then we decided this time was the right time, and we were ready to go!
That’s cool! So, do you have any plans to do an American tour? I know a lot of fans would really love to see you.
Yeah! I guess there’s a lot of people supporting me right now. They’ve told me that they’re really happy I’m here.
Yeah, you have a lot of fans in America, you definitely do.
(Laughs) Thank you! I actually just did Kollaboration…It’s really big in Asian society. It was in L.A. at the Shrine Auditorium. There were like…6,000 people there.
Yeah, so I had a chance to say hello to my Asian fans!
So when you go back to Korea, or when you go back to do your Japanese work, do you think you’re going to do your English songs on tour?
Oh yeah, of course. Why not? I’m the same performer with my English songs as in Japan and Korea! (Laughs) I’ve actually got an event coming up in Japan called Springroove. It’s like a big festival…lots of artists from America are coming to perform their music, like T-Pain, John Legend, and Akon.
Wow! When’s that?
April 4! It’s in Tokyo. I’m going to perform English and Japanese songs.
Awesome! So, after this album, do you think you’re going to return to Korea? We haven’t heard a Korean album from you in a long time!
Aw, that’s true! Ahh…I don’t know yet. I definitely have to go to Japan. Of course, I’ll return to Korea again I’m sure! (Laughs)
So, are you enjoying America now while you’re here?
Yeah, of course – I like it here!
You liking the weather?
Yeah, the sunshine! (Laughs) I really like LA weather.
What artists are you listening to right now?
These days, I’m listening to T-Pain, T.I., Lady Gaga (laughs). Stuff on the radio…
Are you going to any concerts?
Manager: You know, with her schedule – we’re trying to find time to go to Britney’s concert–
You should go to Britney’s concert. I went last night.
How was it?!
Oh my God, it was amazing (laughs).
She’s back? Finally?!
She’s back, definitely. It was so wonderful. I was right in the front.
Manager: Wait, where did you see her?
Boston! I want to go there!
You should! No, she was really amazing. I just – (laughs). It was amazing.
Well, alright, I don’t want to take up too much of your time! I just wanted to say I’ve been a huge fan for years, I’ve loved you ever since I listened to Atlantis Princess, I’ve had all your albums and your posters…
Aww, thank you! You’re so sweet!
I just wanted to say thank you for making such good music.
Thank you, thank you!
Is there anything else you want to say to your fans before I go?
Well, my album just came out today, so I’m really happy that my American fans will get to hear it. I can’t wait for it!
I know all yours fans in America are so proud of your success, so thank you so much! Have a good day!
Thank you, you too…Bye!