Jung Ji-Hoon (born June 25, 1982), better known by his stage name Rain, is a South Korean singer, actor, songwriter, dancer, model, producer and designer.
Rain's musical career includes seven albums (six Korean, one Japanese), 28 singles and numerous concert tours around the world. His acting career began in 2003, when he won the KBS Best New Actor award for his role in the drama Sang Doo! Let's Go To School. In 2004, Rain won the KBS Excellence in Acting(Best Actor) award for his role in the drama Full House. After starring in A Love To Kill, he acted in his first Korean film, I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK (2006), which won the Alfred Bauer Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. Rain has acted in the American films Speed Racer (2008) and Ninja Assassin (2009), the latter of which made him the first Korean to win an MTV award. Rain acted in another Korean film, R2B: Return to Base, that was released in August 2012.
In 2007, Rain left the management of JYP Entertainment and started his own company, J. Tune Entertainment but still retains collaborative relationship with Park Jin-young. In 2013, it was announced he will be discharged from the army on July 10, 2013 and Rain had signed a contract with Cube DC, a sub-label of Cube Entertainment whose CEO is the former President of JYP Entertainment. He was ranked at #46 on 100 Most Handsome Faces of 2013.
Rain spent most of his childhood living with his parents and younger sister, Jung Hanna, near Yonsei University. Despite being an introverted and shy child, he discovered he had a passion for dance when he performed in a talent show for high school. Rain initially had a difficult time balancing dance and academics and received low grades during the beginning of junior high because of his frequent dance practices. He decided to follow his passion and attended High School of Arts in where he received his first formal instruction in acting and was able to continue dancing as well. Rain again found he could not focus on both dance and his studies in acting; he was truant on several occasions.
Rain lost his mother as she struggled with diabetes and died in December 2000. Within that same year, Rain was recruited as a trainee for JYP Entertainment, led by recording artist and producer Park Jin-Young. In a CNN interview and also in a Discovery Channel documentary called Discovering Hip Korea, however, he recalled being repeatedly rejected because of his looks: "In fact, I was told after one audition that my singing and dancing was great but I did not make it because I did not have double eyelids." However, he finally got in as producer Park Jin-Young saw his drive and persistence during an audition in which Rain danced for hours non-stop, unlike the usual ten minutes for an audition. During the early years of training, Rain was a backup dancer.
1998-2000: Debut in boy band Fanclub:
Jung Ji-hoon was 16 years old when he debuted as a member of a boy band called Fanclub (팬클럽). The band did not garner much attention, though they released two albums.
2002-03: Debut as solo singer:
In 2002, Ji-Hoon debuted with the album Bad Guy where he was introduced to the media through his stage name, Rain. The title song "Bad Guy" was followed by "Handshake". After his first album, in 2003, he made his television debut in the KBS drama, Sang Doo! Let's Go To School. Following the success of his debut as a singer and actor, Rain released his second album, Rain 2, and released the title song "Ways to Avoid the Sun."
2004-05: Rise in popularity:
In 2004, he starred in the popular drama called Full House with one of Korea's most popular actresses, Song Hye Kyo. The drama had viewer ratings of over 42,7% for every episode. It was broadcast in various other countries including the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Ghana, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Israel, Cambodia and the United States. His performance in the drama won him the Best Actor Award at the KBS Drama Awards.
His third album, It's Raining (2004), sold over 1 million copies in Asia. According to a report by Rain's previous agency JYP Entertainment to the Korea Culture & Content Agency, It's Raining topped the charts in all of the following countries as of December 29, 2005: Japan (100,000 copies), China (500,000 copies), Taiwan (70,000 copies), Thailand (150,000 copies), Indonesia (50,000 copies), and South Korea (154,000 copies), for a combined total of 1,074,000 units sold.
Rain then went on his Rainy Day 2005 Tour, starting in Seoul and followed by Tokyo and Hong Kong. The tickets sold out quickly. the Rainy Day global tour in 2005 sold out over 306,000 seats in 8 cities 14 Concert in Asia. His first solo concert in Japan, entitled Rainy Day Japan held at the Tokyo International Forum sold out all the tickets 30 seconds after going on sale.
2006-07: Expansion outside Korea:
Rain's fourth album, Rain's World, was released in Korea on October 14, 2006 as well as his first Japanese album Eternal Rain.
He acted in his first film, I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK, directed by Park Chan-wook. The film won the Alfred Bauer Award at the 57th Berlin International Film Festival, and was selected as the opening film for the Hong Kong International Film Festival. Also, Rain was nominated for and won Best New Actor at the 43rd Baeksang Awards.
The "Rain's Coming" tour began on December 15, 2006 at Seoul Olympic Stadium in Seoul and was scheduled to continue through 2007 to the following countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand,Vietnam, China, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, United States, and Canada. His tour incorporated the talents of producers and stage designers (such as Jamie King and Roy Bennett) who have been involved with the concert tours of other artists such as U2, Michael Jackson, Ricky Martin, Madonna, Britney Spears, and The Rolling Stones. Ticket sales were expected to be over US$100 million.
Rain released his first Japanese album, Eternal Rain on September 13, 2006. His concert at the Tokyo Dome on May 25, 2007 attracted nearly 55,000 people. Rain was the first Korean artist to perform at the Tokyo Dome, the largest auditorium in Japan.
In April 2006, Rain was mentioned in the Time magazine website article that named the "100 Most Influential People Who Shape Our World." In 2007, Rain topped Time Magazine's online user poll although he was not in the magazine's actual list. He also made it into People's 2007 list of the "Most Beautiful People" in the world.
His two-day concert in the United States, Rainy Day New York was marketed and promoted by the Asian concert production company Rainstone Live. Tickets were sold out within a matter of days and the concerts were held at Madison Square Garden. Rain performed two concert dates in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 23-24, 2006; the tickets to these concerts sold out within the first week of sales. These concerts were held at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
2007-09: Rainism and American films:
In 2007, Rain was included on People's Most Beautiful People in its "First-Time Beauties 2007" section. In a press release, Rain stated that he was honored to be on the list, and also noted that it will be a great boost to his efforts to raise his public awareness in the United States. Rain was the 2nd highest earning celebrity in Korea for 2007. Also in 2007, Rain topped Time's open online poll: he defeated Stephen Colbert by 100,000 votes; Colbert jokingly retaliated by producing a parody of Rain's music video for "Ways to Avoid the Sun" called "He's Singin' In Korean". Stephen Colbert then challenged Rain to a dance-off "or a cuddle-off, or a spoon-off". On May 5, 2008, Rain appeared in a surprise guest segment at the end of The Colbert Report, and proceeded to engage Colbert in a dance-off on a Dance Dance Revolution machine. In 2007, Rain left the management of JYP Entertainment to started his own company, J. Tune Entertainment, but still retains collaborative relationship with Park Jin-young.
On October 16, 2008, Rain released his fifth Korean album, Rainism. Rain released "Love Story", as the first single from the album with the MV starring Korean Actress Ha Ji-Won, shortly followed by the single, "Rainism". On November 24, 2008, The Commission of Youth Protection judged Rain's album, Rainism, inappropriate for people under 19 years old because of the song "Rainism". In "Rainism", the lyrics (translated from Korean) "Trembling inside your shaking body is my magic stick/Feeling the impassable limit of the body shake" were considered problematic due to their phallic and sexual references. Rain has re-released a "clean version" of "Rainism" shortly after, but instead of changing the original album's contents, he has labeled a sticker that deemed "Rainism" inappropriate for those under 19 years old.
In 2008, he acted in his first American film, the Wachowski Brothers-directed Speed Racer, where he played Racer Taejo Togokahn. He made his starring role debut in Ninja Assassin (2009), as the main character Raizo. Ninja Assassin was directed by James McTeigue, and produced by Joel Silver and the Wachowski brothers. The project was inspired by the ninja scenes featured from Speed Racer, in which Rain had impressed the Wachowskis with his portrayal as a fighter. With Ninja Assassin, Rain became the first Korean-born actor to play a main character in a Hollywood movie. He won the Biggest Badass Award at the 2010 MTV Movie Awards because of his performance in Ninja Assassin.
In October 2009, in support of his 5th album Rainism, Rain kicked off his Asian tour The Legend of Rainism Tour with two shows at Olympic Gymnastics Arena, Seoul on October 9 and 10. It continued with concerts in Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia and concluded at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 24-25, 2009.
2010: Return to Korea:
On April 6, 2010, Rain released a special mini-album titled Back to the Basic including the singles "Love Song", with the MV starring Korean actress Han Ye-seul and "Hip Song".
From late September to early December 2010, Rain starred in TV drama The Fugitive: Plan B (Korean: 도망자). It was aired on KBS2 and costarred Lee Na-young, and the supporting cast included Lee Jung-jin, Daniel Henney, Yoon Jin-seo and Japanese actors Takako Uehara and Takanaka Naoto.
He is listed on TIME 100 for the second time. In October, Rain represented Korea and performed at the 7th Asia Song Festival, organised by Korea Foundation for International Culture Exchange, at the Seoul Olympic Stadium.
2011-2013: Military service:
At a press conference for The Fugitive: Plan B on September 27, 2010, Rain stated that he decided to hold off on his military service until 2011 to study for his masters degree.
On September 23, Rain announced that he would enlist in the military on October 11. He reported for 21 months of compulsory military service at the 306th Army draft camp in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi-do province. 13th In March 2012, he was transferred to the Defense Media Agency of the Ministry of National Defense in Yongsan-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. In April he was appointed Honorary Ambassador of Military.
While in the service, the last film he did before going into the service, R2B: Return to Base, was released in August 2012 to much fanfare. Rain even made a surprise appearances at special event for the film.
In January 2013, it was revealed that Rain was dating actress Kim Tae-hee while on military service. This revelation led to a military investigation and punishment. In May 2013, it was announced he will be discharged from the army on July 10, 2013, and had signed a contract with Cube Entertainment due to his relationship with the company's CEO.
2013-present: Post-Military Activities:
On September 17, it was officially announced that Rain signed with Cube DC, a sub-label of Cube Entertainment. After signing with Cube DC, it was announced Rain would be going on his first tour since being discharged. The 2013 Zepp Tour: Story of Rain saw Rain perform 10 dates in four cities in Japan over a few dates in November.
His first official public appearance since leaving the military occurred during MCM's store opening in Singapore at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands followed by the BAZAAR Men Style People of The Year Award Ceremony in Beijing, China. In October, Rain held his first fan meeting since his discharge in Seoul. While on tour, Rain delivered a special performance at the 2013 MAMA, where a trailer teasing an upcoming reality show and new album was revealed.
On November 26, it was announced that Rain will be starring alongside Bruce Willis and John Cusack in the film The Prince.
As a precursor to his new album, Rain will be starring in a reality show Rain Effect which Cube Entertainment stated "You can meet Jung Ji Hoon as a human being." The show premieres on December 19. The new album, also titled Rain Effect, debuted on January 2, 2014 with music videos for double title tracks, "30 Sexy" and "La Song," released beforehand.
After two weeks of promotions for the album, Rain will be heading back to the United States to finish up filming The Prince in New Orleans as well as meeting producers in Hollywood to discuss two film projects.
Artistry and Image:
Styles, lyrics and themes:
Since his debut, Rain has primarily been influenced by R&B and pop with "Bad Guy" and "How to Avoid the Sun" being categorized as the former while "Cassiopeia" and "Lack of Space" are closer to the later. By the release of It's Raining, Rain, along with Park Jin-young, began incorporating hip hop into his sound beginning with the title track.
Early in his career, most of Rain's material was handled by JYP for many years along with other songwriters and sometimes, Rain. After departing JYP Entertainment, Rain began writing more of his material with other songwriters on J. Tune Entertainment. Thematically, many of Rain's songs deal with the subjects of love and heartbreak in the case of "I Do" and "Love Story." On some occasions, it can be personal ("Can't Used to It", "My Way"), hedonistic ("Rainism", "Touch Ya"), or celebratory ("Hip Song", "Free Way").
Rain's vocal range can be classified in the tenor range. His voice can be described as smooth yet husky in songs such as "Love Story", "Love Song", "Nan" and "I Do." Having been influenced by American R&B, he uses both vibrato and falsetto in many of his songs as well as incorporating rapping into songs like "What's Love." Rain maintains strong stance against lipsyncing during his live performances.
In terms of singing and dancing, Rain has been influenced by Michael Jackson,Janet Jackson,Usher and Justin Timberlake.
Rain is considered a 'world star' due to his popularity, not only in South Korea and Japan, but throughout Asia, Europe and North America with fans in countries like China, Singapore, Thailand, Canada and United States. Much of his popularity is attributed to his various acting roles (varying from television like Full House to indie films like I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK to blockbusters like Ninja Assassin). Before landing his role in Speed Racer, he had expressed the desire to expand beyond the Asian market when he stated in an interview, "The reason I am active in Japan, Hong Kong, China and around Asia is that I want to succeed here and then go even more international...I would really like to see, is a top Asian artist emerge strongly from the Asian market, and then go on to succeed in the U.S. market."
Rain's appeal to all demographics has made him one of Korea's highest paid celebrities by endorsers with an asking price of $1 - 1.5 million USD per endorsement. Over the years, he endorsed brands such as Hyundai, Lotte, KB Card, Pizza Hut, Thailand dairy company Dutch Mill, Chinese pastry Fu Mu Cakes, Pantech, LG Electronics, SK Telecom and Pepsi. Rain has even done songs to tie-in with endorsement deals. "Still Believe" was used as both an ad and a music video for BMW Korea's "Meet the Truth" campaign with appearances by Rain as well as JYP. "Memory in My Hand" and "Any Dream" were used in campaigns for Pantech and Samsung, respectively, in China.
With his booming popularity throughout the world, he has been deemed a "cultural ambassador" as he has represented South Korea in inter-Asian musical events and has appeared in a Thai published textbook.
In February 2007, Rain and his former management agency JYP Entertainment as well as a concert organizer, Wellmade STAR M Corporation, were sued over copyright infringement of the stage name "Rain," by the U.S. recording firm Rain Corporation. The company, which works with an American band also called "Rain," demanded that Rain drop the English name in the United States. In June 2007, the lawsuit ended because the Nevada District Court determined there was no evidence indicating that Rain Corporation would suffer any actual harm.
On his World 2007 tour, his scheduled concerts in Shanghai, Toronto, San Francisco, and Hawaii were canceled, followed by the last concert in Los Angeles. The last event at the Staples Center was canceled only two hours prior to opening: Rain's producer blamed the situation on financial problems of the local promoter, while the local promoter blamed Wellmade STAR M calling them too "incompetent to handle the situation."
On March 19, 2009, a federal jury in Honolulu found that Rain, his former management agency JYP Entertainment, and two other promotion companies were guilty of breaching a contract and defrauding Honolulu promoter Click Entertainment for $2 million (originally just over $1 million) after the Hawaii concert was canceled and the promoters were not refunded the $500,000 licensing fee. Rain and JYP were ordered to pay $2.4 million each in punitive damages, $1 million for damages related to the fraud, and $2.3 million for breach of contract.
A separate lawsuit filed by promoters Wellmade STAR M was dismissed by a South Korean court on January 28, 2010. Judge Bae Kwang-Kuk ruled in favor of Rain and blamed the plaintiff for poor preparations surrounding the cancelled U.S. tour.
In April 2010, Rain and other J. Tune Creative shareholders were accused of embezzling money from the company by a fabric manufacturing company. The company claimed they suffered financial losses. Rain and the shareholders were acquitted of the charges in December of that year. He was re investigated in April 2011 after a discrepancy was found, but was later acquitted again in June 2013.
Six to Five:
Six to Five was Rain's first clothing line, since it also was his dream to become a fashion designer. It was launched on December 23, 2008 and was followed by a "fashion show-launch party-mini-concert" to introduce "Six to Five". Many stars came to support him, such as Lee Hyori, Kim Suna, Chae-Rim and Girls' Generation's Seohyun. He designs and models the clothing. The label "Six To Five" is described by Rain as the idea of having an extra sense (i.e. from five senses to six). This label name also is said to represent his birth date, 6/25. The line was discontinued and the on-line mall closed by the end of 2010.
J. Tune Entertainment:
In November 2007, Rain told the Korean media that he had left JYP Entertainment and started his own entertainment company, J. Tune Entertainment (formerly known as Rainy Entertainment). He was scheduled to be CEO of the company, but told the media that he still kept in touch with his mentor and long-time trainer Park Jin Young. J. Tune Entertainment's subsidiary J. Tune Camp, debuted MBLAQ, an all-boy group, in October 2009. Rain actively participates in MBLAQ's music, either composing, writing, producing or choreographing dance routines.
In December 2010, Park Jin-Young announced that J. Tune Entertainment would be merged with JYP Entertainment. It has become the largest shareholder in J. Tune Entertainment, and it is viewed as a strategic alliance between the two companies.
From 2005 to 2007, Rain donated money to have 50 drinking water wells and playgrounds built in Cambodia. He began taking up causes related to children by participating in the Love Photography Exhibition to help find adoptive parents for children in government care, donating a percent of his 2006 and 2007 World Tour concert proceeds to children orphaned by AIDS and participating in the Green Ribbon Hope Walking Campaign to raise funds for prevention and to help find missing children. Due to his work, he was appointed World Vision HIV/AIDS Ambassador. In recent years, Rain has been an advocate for environmental protection going as far as to volunteer in the Taean oil spill cleanup and donate 300 million won for clean water and clothing for the residents in 2008. In 2009, Rain was involved with MTV EXIT, a campaign against human trafficking in Asia, He presented Traffic: An MTV EXIT Special, a documentary which gives insight into the realities of trafficking, addresses the part everyone can play in the issue, and gives information on how people can protect themselves as well as what people can do to help end exploitation and trafficking. Over the years, he has performed at as well as put together many events and concerts for various charitable causes.