Singer-songwriter Lucid Fall is making music after returning from his life of research in Switzerland. The 34-year-old's recent album ``Les Miserables'' has topped album charts and sales since its release on Dec. 10.
/ Courtesy of Antenna Music
By Han Sang-hee
There was a time when selling more than 10,000 albums was not a big deal. But nowadays, it is considered a great achievement ― one that singer-songwriter Lucid Fall managed to pull off in only three days with his recently-released fourth album, ``Les Miserables.''
The 34-year-old singer made headlines when his thesis on nanotechnology was published in internationally renowned science journals, and again when he decided to drop his life in Switzerland to move back to Korea to pursue his life as a singer.
``I was in the airport and was given a document on which I had to write my profession. I usually wrote 'student' or 'researcher,' but then it hit me. I was a singer,'' he told The Korea Times over coffee at a cafe in southern Seoul, Monday.
When asked if this was the end of his seven years of research, he nodded and said it was over.
The singer admitted that many had tried to persuade him to reconsider, but he was set on not returning to his academic work.
``Now music is my one and only means of living. But I have no regrets. My time as a researcher is over.
``It was intuition,'' he said when asked how he made such a drastic decision.
``The decision was quite clear. I'm not sure what it was (that made it clear), but it just felt right. It was a moment I can't explain logically, but (leaving) felt like the right thing to do,'' he said.
Lucid Fall, born Jo Yun-suk, discovered his interest in music during his middle school years. His friend was a talented musician who eventually introduced him to music. But as his friend's interest in music eventually dwindled, Lucid Fall had found his path.
The aspiring singer eventually entered Seoul National University with the goal of participating in famous music competitions held for university students. Meanwhile, he majored in chemical engineering.
In March 1997, he formed a band called Miseoni and performed around Hongdae, or the Hongik University area.
``I was so happy. It was one of the heydays of my life. The April, May and June of 1997 was probably one of the best times of my life,'' he said.
But a significant change was just around the corner. After several messy incidents with his former agency, and just as he was becoming weary with the music industry, he was offered an opportunity to study at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden. He left for Sweden in December, 2002, and his vigorous life as a researcher began to unfold.
He put his music aside and discovered a whole new world comprised of colleagues, friends and science.
A few years passed, and his hard work started to pay off. He was given an award by the Swiss Chemical Society and later received a phone call informing him that his article ``Micelles of Delivery of Nitric Oxide'' was being published in top publications, including the Journal of the American Chemical Society in September of this year and Nature Chemistry in October.
According to Lucid Fall, being published in respected journals was indeed an honor, but it took much time and effort to be recognized in chemistry, a field that has its fair share of politics.
``There came a time when I started to worry that my hard earned reputation over the past four-to-five years could just vanish. When I first got the call that I was in, I cried. I felt I could leave after making some kind of achievement. It was a mixed feeling ― my research had finally been published, but it meant the end,'' he said.
Lucid Fall's recent album is like a well written essay. From start to finish, the 13 tracks flow like a gentle stream, with no sudden waves or currents. The lyrics and melodies are poetic, something he is especially famous for.
``My first goal was to write lyrics that were as good as poems. But as I started working on the songs, I realized poetry and lyrics are very different genres. But lyrics have the power to move the listener, just like poems,'' he explained.
When asked if he was happy with his change of occupation, the singer nodded.
``Whenever I saw fellow singers working on music, I felt a bit sorry. I wasn't sure what I was doing. Was I researching for myself, for stability, or to inform people in an interesting way? I wanted to live my life thinking about music 24 hours a day, and just live as a musician,'' he said.
His hard work has certainly paid off, as he has topped music charts and album sales, and the singer is now preparing a special concert for his fans. He will perform his ``Silent Night Nylon Night 2009'' concert at Yonsei University from Dec. 24 to 26.
Tickets for the concert cost from 55,000 won to 66,000 won. For more information, visit www.interpark.com.