- Parent Category: The Drurys Site
- Category: Howards Music
- Created on Tuesday, 17 April 2012 23:03
- Last Updated on Sunday, 29 April 2012 22:14
- Written by Howard
- Hits: 623
Abandoned in an orphanage at three years old, Choi ran away from the abusive institution when he was five years old, because he was beaten up. Choi sold chewing gum and energy drinks from five years of age. He delivered milk and newspapers in addition to working as a laborer to survive, beginning at age eight. Choi later met a woman who ran the food cart outside of night clubs, who gave him the name Ji-Sung. Choi did not have a name prior to their encounter. She also encouraged Choi to take the Korean equivalent of a GED to complete his elementary and junior high curricula in order to enter high school. Choi tracked his official record with the name Sungbong Choi at the orphanage; however, this was not his given name by his parents. Instead, it was the name given to him at the orphanage; as a result, Choi preferred the name Ji-Sung over Sungbong.
He graduated from Daejeon Arts High School. Choi stated during the audition that he attended the high school. Choi also mentioned that there were not any teachers to give him vocal training at the school since he did not usually have the financial resources to pay for master classes.
He also had to work at a delivery service to earn tuition and lessons, but it resulted in a traumatic fall during his 8:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. shift. Choi subsequently received medical treatment at Kun Yang University Hospital. Prior to the fall, Choi also had two car accidents as a child without proper medical treatment for many years. When Choi got admitted at Kun Yang University Hospital due to other medical issues related to the earlier car accidents, he voluntarily performed a recital for four students who needed the financial aid for schools during his in-patient stay. Choi initially considered dropping out of high school, but he later found master classes and practiced on his own. Nonetheless, his high school music teacher noted that Choi was often absent from classes due to his difficult situation. Choi could not continue with post-secondary education then due to his limited financial resources.[ Instead, he worked as a construction worker with the type of work similar to that of a day laborer. Due to his immense exposure and the popularity, Choi's background has been intensely searched and verified by Netizens and South Korean media.
Choi was inspired to pursue a career in music when he was 14 years old, after listening to a classical vocalist at the nightclub where he sold chewing gum. Choi mentioned during the audition that he was particularly fascinated by the sincerity of the vocalist. He became a musical autodidact and later pursued classical vocal training at the musical department of Daejeon Arts High School.Choi stated that his favorite vocalist is Andrea Bocelli.
Korea's Got Talent
Appearance and Performance
On 6 June 2011, Choi's outstanding performance of "Nella Fantasia" moved judges and audience members to tears. Choi took to the stage appearing unfit for the part, sporting a bowl haircut and a flannel shirt. He introduced himself as a manual laborer, who had made a living selling gum and energy drinks for ten years. All the judges, including Kolleen Park, were impressed with his vocal talent. Choi advanced to the finals of the competition, finishing second by 280 votes.
During his first appearance in replying to a judge's question on whether he had vocal training, Choi said he studied on his own, but took master classes whenever he had opportunities. This was also pointed out in a story on the Internet version of Time Magazine.
Choi's performance clip made it to YouTube and triggered a worldwide Internet sensation. One version with English subtitles has triggered international press interest and a worldwide view that Choi was "the next Susan Boyle".The video itself has more than 40 million views. The general public consensus was that Choi rendered a heartbreaking first performance.