Korean Artist -Rain

2007 – The year with 2 James Bonds (two 007) has started. This is the year of the pig in accordance to the Chinese Zodiac. So which artist will make the most headlines for the next 11 months? Here are three promising stars, one each from Hong Kong, China and South Korea that have been singled out by the media:

Janice Vidal from Hong Kong

Janice Vidal

Janice Vidal is the first artiste signed by Leon Lai to his record label AMusic in 2004. Janice Vidal released her debut album Day & Night a year later. She took the Hong Kong music scene by storm last year with her beautiful voice, picking up newcomer awards from all the major stations. She was voted and awarded best female newcomer (gold) at the Commercial Radio Hong Kong awards in early 2006.

Janice M. Vidal is of mixed parentage with a Filipino father and a mixed Chinese and Korean mother. As a Hong Kong singer she had chosen the Chinese name Wei Lan (衛蘭), although most of her fans refer to her simply as Janice. In the past she went under the name Renee in her musical work prior to her debut album in 2005 and “Ming Lok Tai” (明樂蒂) in a EEG singing competition in 2000.

As one of the new singers in Hong Kong and Asia, Janice, the 24-year-old sings in English, Cantonese and Mandarin and will be performing songs also in Korean in the near future. Her musical style is a mixture of Cantopop, jazz and R&B.

Sweet and pretty Janice Vidal

Zhang JingChu from China

Zhang Jing Chu

One of the new faces to come out of China, Zhang Jing Chu, is fast establishing herself as a worthy successor to Zhang ZhiYi. Audiences were first introduced to her movie, Peacock, which won a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2005. She then appeared in Tsui Hark’s Seven Swards (2005).

She has also completed the Finnish film, Jade Warrior, said to be based on Finland’s national epic Kalevala, and showcasing kung fu adventure and Chinese mythology with Finnish director Aj Annila.

A graduate of China’s prestigious Central Academy of Drama, her next big screen role sees her staring alongside Jackie Chan. It is said that Chan, who always had an eye for pretty women, handpicked her for a part in Rush Hour 3.

Jing-Chu, 26, will have no problems tackling her English dialogues as she speaks the language fluently unlike compatriot ZhiYi whose role in Rush Hour 2 (2001) just called for her to look pretty and mean.

Rain from Korea


This is not a new face. According to the results of an online poll conducted by Korean daily Sports Chosun, in which participants were asked which male celebrity they felt would make 2007 his/her year, 32% of those polled said Rain. Song Seung-hun was second with 24.1% and Yoon Key-sang with 17.2%. Seven ranked fourth with 12.5%
Rain (Real name: Jeong Ji-Hoon, Hangul) found Asia-wide success three years ago with the release of his romantic comedy serial Full House, in which his performance even garnered him a best actor award at the KBS Acting Awards.

Around the same time, he released his third album, It’s Raining, which sold over one million copies in Asia, making it his most successful album to date, both domestically and internationally. That year, Rain also managed to achieve the MTV Asia Grand Slam when he won top honours in the Asian countries that broadcast MTV Asia.

He won the favorite Korean artiste award at the 2005 MTV Asia Aid in Bangkok, the most popular Asian artiste award from Channel (V) Thailand, the best buzz Asia award during the MTV Japan Video Music Awards 2005 and the best Korean singer award at the MTV-CCTV Mandarin Music Honours in Beijing.

The Rain mania reached feverish pitch when he embarked on this Rainy Day 2005 Tour. Concert tickets were reportedly sold out in South Korea and Japan just moments after the ticket counters opened. And amazing to think that this cutie pie, often dubbed the “Asian Usher” and at times “Asian Justin Timberlake”, was once rejected by record label execs because they felt he was too ugly as he does not have double eyelids.

Rain’s talents have also caught the attention of the Western music world. He became the first Asian performing artiste ever to be invited to the 2005 American MTV Video Music Awards in Miami, as well as the 2005 MTV Latin Video Music Awards in Mexico.

He has become well-known throughout East Asia — including Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mainland China, and Thailand — as a leading star of the Korean wave, otherwise known as Hallyu. In April 2006, Time named him the world’s second most influential entertainer. His popularity looks set to continue this year, what with his world aptly named Rain’s Coming, to coincide with the release of his fourth album Rain’s World, released last October.