South Korean singer-actor Rain is preparing for a greater role behind the scenes of show business – he wants to be a star-maker.
A K-pop force driving Hallyu (the Korean wave) in the region in the 2000s, he is now a newly minted talent agency boss.
“I want to groom young talent, contribute to K-pop culture and raise the quality of the system,” he says in an e-mail interview recently. He founded his entertainment label, Rain Company, last year.
“I don’t necessarily look out for star quality, but I look out for an individual’s potential to become a star.”
This approach is probably due to his experience in the industry. He was reportedly turned down multiple times at talent agency auditions for being too ugly before JYP Entertainment finally launched his solo singing career in 2002.
Rain, 34 , whose real name is Jung Ji-hoon, says he finds it physically more exhausting to manage a team, but adds that his work is “more rewarding” now.
Fans need not mourn his disappearance from the limelight yet – the seasoned star with his famous sculpted physique is still going to be around. He’s currently on the final leg of his Squall Tour.
Since completing two years of mandatory military service in 2013, Rain has also starred in American action thriller The Prince (2014), alongside actors Bruce Willis and John Cusack, as well as in the K-dramas My Lovely Girl (2014) and Please Come Back, Mister (2016).
Setting his sights on the vast China market, he was also in Chinese dramas Diamond Lover (2015) and the yet-to-be aired Endless August.
On top of all this, the star, who is dating actress Kim Tae-hee, 36, has been working on a new album.
With the confidence of an aspiring show-business kingmaker, he says: “Since much effort has been put into it, I believe the album will be the talk of the town. I will work harder to release it as soon as I can.” – The Straits Times/Asia News Network/Gwendolyn Ng