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PSY Speech: Be Funny, Be You

Watch this famous PSY Speech. PSY is a South Korean singer, songwriter, rapper, dancer, and record producer. He has experienced such soaring success with his internationally recognized hit Gangnam Style. In this Speech to the members of The Oxford Union, he talks about his inspirations while growing up, his career’s shaky beginnings, and events that have shaped his life up until now. Enjoy our Speeches with big English subtitles and keep your English learning journey.


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Psy Quote:

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“The world’s most famous and popular language is music.” Psy


“Wow, it’s Oxford. Beautiful! All right, so when I was 15 I saw a video footage of Queen at the Wembley Stadium and they sang Bohemian Rhapsody, it was literally shocked, first of all, the song itself it was shocked because it was too long and it has too many changes. So I was Korean, I didn’t know what the lyrics were about and I was not familiar with the opera thing. So like slow things going on and then suddenly it changes to the opera and it says something “Galileo” and then rock goes on and then slow goes on – and then the song is done. I was like, “What is that?”

After I saw that, for one year I didn’t listen to the music because it was so shock and a little bit of scary. After graduating high school, I went to the United States for college and I spent four years there, and at that time it was the years of 1996-1999. That was the first time I did my best in something. Make tracks. When I was young, I was really good at dancing but not like good looking dancing, but you know, the dancing.

My only interest when I was young, my only interest in regarding was to be attractive to the girls. That was the only interest, but you know, I know I’m not that good looking so I’ve got to try to invent things hard. Like you know, talking funny, dancing funny, singing funny, do some funny things. You know, I think laughing and smiling can be handsome, guys. That’s what I thought. So I tried that kind of thing, so for a long time.

And in the college, I dreamed about to be a composer and I wrote like 100 songs in a year. It was just for me, because I want some beats so that me and my friend can dance – by myself. That was the first interest. So I was 23 and I have got to make a decision at that time. So what should I do next? So go on to be a composer or should I change? At that year, the age of 23, I made my mind up to sell my songs to myself.

That was the only way. That was the only way to be a composer. So I decided to sell the songs to myself and, you know, like British, United States, Europe, like all over the world, Korea also… Singers, entertainers -they are skinny, and they look good, handsome, and even they are guys but they are pretty. Most of them. So when I made my debut in Korea – in Korea – it was like a disaster.

People were like — People didn’t say “Who is that?” People said “What is that?”

So it was the year of 2000. So I made my debut and you can consider it as like a twelve years younger version of Gangnam Style because it had — It used to have like, such a dance move, such a video and such a shake whatever – and people saw it and what they thought was “I think we can do it. We can do PSY’s dance” just like you are doing horse dance these days. So that kind of thing.

So what I thought was I can provide them participation instead of exhibition. So that kind of thing happened twelve years ago and I did kind of well in Korea. So Korea is really conservative and strict and they have really high expectations, moral expectations, to the artist. I don’t know why, but it’s really highly required moral — But I am not moral.

So I think that’s not an artist. So last year what I thought was I’ve got to make this sixth album. I’ve got to go back to the first place, when I debuted with funny moves, funny songs, funny dance… so that people can laugh; because all over the world it’s economics really horrible right now and Korea as well was really horrible these days. So what I thought was as a twelve year old artist that was part of my job, to just make fun. By music, by dance, by video.

So I tried to make a song. Honestly, I tried my best to be as ridiculous as possible — And finally, I got the song and it’s a song called Gangnam Style. So me and my choreographers in Korea, we spent like more than thirty nights to make the horse dance.

It’s kind of funny, but still! We were so serious to make that dance! So I released the song and video on 2012, July 15th, and I uploaded this music video on the YouTube just for Korean users. Some Koreans used YouTube too, so I uploaded it for them and after 10-15 days later of uploading — I am really a huge fan of Robbie Williams. I don’t know why, but Robbie Williams uploaded my video at his blog and he said something — I cannot remember the details, but he said like — He said to his fans like “When you get tired or something, watch this”.

So that kind of thing happened again and again and again. So a lot of pop stars, a lot of celebrities all over the world… they started to tweet my video on their Twitters. Each and every celebrity has huge followers and the followers came to the video and they started to make a discussion about “What is this guy?” So I was like — Honestly, what I said was at that time — “WTF”. What is going on here? What is going on here?

So you know, the funny thing is if I perform this song every time, when I saw the people, I feel happy and sorry. I feel happy because they look so happy and I feel sorry because they don’t have any idea about the lyrics — So isn’t this great? They don’t need to know what the lyrics are about.

I’m standing at the Oxford Union and you guys are listening to me, so let me say “Shit happens, right?”[/read]

PSY Speech

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