Opening the gates of the “Voice of Heaven” – Lim Hyung-joo

When people of South Korea think of their country’s national anthem, the world renowned operatic pop (popera) tenor singer Lim Hyung-joo may also come to mind. Labeled as the “Voice of Heaven” or “Miracle’s Voice” by the media, Lim has sung S. Korea’s national anthem for various occasions all over the world and has performed a total of eight times in the presence of S. Korea’s presidents, including the current president Park Geun-hye at the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Armistice Day.

Lim is well acknowledged worldwide for his unquestionable talent as a popera singer as he was revered as the first ever Korean for several accomplishments such as winning a UN peace medal, performed in all three honorable stages at New York’s Carnegie Hall, and have a record deal with the top 4 worldwide record labels (Universal Music, Sony Music, EMI, Warner Music). He sung original soundtracks for popular Korean dramas such as “Delightful Girl Choon Hyang”, “The King and I”, “Dongyi”, and “Gyebaek”. Lim also re-released his version of a Japanese song, “Sen no Kaze ni Natte”, into “A Thousand Words” in Korean as a requiem of the recent tragedy of the Ferry Disaster in S. Korea.

Being the forefront as S. Korea’s popera singer, Lim had performed in numerous places worldwide and recently held a successful solo concert in Los Angeles on Sept. 27 at the historic LA Orpheum Theatre. With a standing ovation and an encore, Lim happily ended with 4 encore songs and claimed it was a fantastic way to not only celebrate his solo concert in LA, but to honor his 16th anniversary of his debut. See the interview we did with Lim Hyung-joo before his concert with K-pop bloggers, Nutty Nomads, conducting the interview:


Nutty Nomads: How would you describe the “popera” genre?
Lim Hyung Joo: Some people call it operatic pop where pop and opera is a mixed, new genre. In 1985, South Korean soprano singer, Kimera, made headlines in the UK newspaper Daily Express as she was the forefront singer of popera. Many opera and musicians were introduced and discovered popera after that such as Sarah Brightman, Andrea Bocelli, Il Divo, and Josh Groban. I discovered popera at a young age and first debuted at 12 years old.

NN: What top three songs do you like to sing?
LHJ: My third favorite is the song “Memory”, composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber from the musical, “Cats”. My second favorite song is “The Rose” by Bette Midler. My number one favorite is the song I sang for the Korean drama “Delightful Girl Choon Hyang” and it’s called “I Hope You Will Be Happy”.

NN: We heard that you studied at Julliard School in New York City. What was that experience like for you?
LHJ: I attended the school of Julliard for prep school and Julliard is really a world renowned, wonderful school with great musicians and artists who attended there. It was a very good experience for me and gave me great inspiration.

NN: When studying in NYC, did you get to see any Broadway shows? If so, what was your favorite?
LHJ: Yes! Many, many times. I’d have to say “The Phantom of the Opera” is my favorite.

NN: Do you have any specific habits or rituals before performing on stage like saying a prayer or eat something?
LHJ: I only eat a banana before I perform. When I sing, I have to be careful and control my abdominal breathing so I can’t eat or drink too much before I go on stage. After the performance, I can eat anything I want! (laughs)

NN: Do you have a favorite K-pop artist?
LHJ: I like the Wonder Girls, EXO, and SISTAR.

NN: If you could collaborate with any K-pop artist, who would it be?
LHJ: I want to collaborate with IU. I love her voice and she has a very natural voice. I wish I can do more collaborations with K-pop idols.

Yuna Hwang