The actor Lee Hyun-woo has a kind of unflappable cool, in evidence from his debut in "Attic Cat" in 2003 to the recently completed "Dalja’s Spring."
But the singer Lee Hyun-woo, who has just returned with his 10th album in two-and-a-half years is a different story: he’s passionate. "Acting is just a tool for me to keep on with the music,” he says, smiling. He says he made the album to satisfy his own tastes rather than pander to popular demand. "The work was done in great detail as if designing each sound. I put great care in finding electronic instruments that can produce the ‘antique’ sound. The theme is love. The feeling of love just blossomed into lyrics."
Still, the acting is an important part of who he is. "I always miss the music while acting. Acting makes me feel as if I’ve become a part of a huge machine, and it’s tough. But a singer is on his own in whatever he does. It’s good to have that freedom." But he says he will continue to appear on the big and small screen, if only as a way to draw attention to his music. "Will I ever get a prize for my acting however long I’ve been acting? I appear in dramas because I feel the need to appear in the media all the time so I get attention when I return with an album,” Lee says.
Criticism of his acting, he says, can’t hurt him because he has a clear goal. He smiles while admitting that he can be brazen. "All I’ve done through my life was singing, so considering that my acting isn’t that bad.” But evaluations of his music pierce him to the core. "I can’t sleep if there’s even one word of criticism of my music."
His TV fame aside, every concert attracts female fans in their 20s and 30s. Some are committed to the point of stalking, watching from the same seats in every concert. "I think my fans come to see me because they feel comfortable since I am not astonishingly good-looking or muscular. A friendly image lasts longer." Has he thought of marriage? Surprised by the question, he answers, "I do not want to grow old on my own."
What about his ideal type? "A wise woman." Asked if he doesn’t care about appearances, he demurs. "I would be more grateful if she was pretty." It’s been over a year since he moved to an apartment with a view of the Han river towards Yeouido. “I often feel lonely looking down on the river from my window. I heard that you can get depressed if you live near the river for a long time. I need to meet my wife soon."