FANS of Sungha Jung surely beat a path to Penang to see the fingerstyle sensation perform his acoustic guitar brilliance.
“I made my first trip to Penang in 2012, and the last one was in 2016. It’s just amazing when you think about it, and I am very grateful for everyone involved. I can’t wait to meet my friends and fans there, this time with my album Andante too. I can’t wait!” says the 21-year-old South Korean.
Sungha Jung’s unique style enables him to play the bass, melody and rhythm on one guitar, creating a sound that would normally be played by several musicians. He has performed and collaborated with artistes such as Jason Mraz, Big Bang, Tommy Emmanuel, Sam Tsui and also appeared in a Korean movie “The Suicide Forecast” in 2011.
His Malaysian debut was in 2011 at the UCSI campus in Kuala Lumpur. The popular artiste most recently performed at the PJ Live Arts Centre in 2017.
The music prodigy’s journey has been well-documented, not just on his own YouTube channel with more than 4 million subscribers.
Sungha first picked up the guitar in early 2006 after watching his father play. He then taught himself by watching video clips on the Internet.
In a few months, he could play so well that his father posted his first video on YouTube, of which his cover of “Pirates Of The Carribbean” theme song became a world-wide hit. The teenager picked up ukulele, also in 2006, after watching Jake Shimabukuro’s cover of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’. It is said that without any music scores, he figured out the notes and fingering after a few hours. He released his first acoustic guitar album in 2010, aged 14, entitled ‘Perfect Blue’.
“I used to live in this small city called Ochang within Cheongju, which was a very quiet town. All my friends were in different cities then, so I came to Seoul to visit them on the weekends sometimes. I moved to Seoul by myself around a couple years ago. It’s much easier now for me to work and meet people now that I live in Seoul.”
That said, he is listed as one of the famous people from Cheongju, who include K-pop Secret band members, Lona nd Gfriend members and footballer Hwang Seok-ho.
Sungha is on his summer tour to perform work from his latest ambum, Andante. After Penang in late July, he will perform in Singapore in August before hitting Kuala Lumpur and then Vietnam, all in September.
Sungha performed his newest renditions in the Pearl of the Orient on July 28.
“Some of my new originals and arrangements from my latest recordings, Mixtape and Andante will be presented. I will also play a few K-pop covers for those K-pop lovers among my fans. I’ve also prepared a few songs with ukulele too. It will be fun nights.”
It wasn’t too difficult to choose the music for the show, he says.
“As I have been releasing a new album every year since 2010, tracks from the most recent release are always included in the programmes. Well, I do try to pick encore songs carefully, I guess.”
On any pre-show jitters, he says: “Fear? No. It will be lots of fun, I am sure. I usually do not get nervous before the stage, because I started performing live from a very early age.
“Well, if I have to think of one, strings do break sometimes during performances, which could definitely be a nightmare, hahahah.
“I think I am very lucky and blessed to be able to keep doing what I love over 10 years now.
“It looks easy, but it is not easy to have a sustained musical career in the industry. So I guess I would probably say to my younger self: Don’t every second-guess yourself, just keep going forward with what you love and what you do.”