Immortal Song 2: Moon Myung Jin’s Not Just Sadness

This show continues to surprise me. Not all of the singers are great and powerful as they claim to be, or I’d thought and expected them to be, but music has always been more about heart and emotion to me. You don’t have to be the greatest and best vocalist out there, you don’t have to overwhelm me with visuals or showmanship, you don’t have to be known at all. All I need is a song performed with the deepest and most genuine sincerity, conveyed with his or her most earnest longing. As long as the singer enjoys and indulges in what he or she does best, I am moved in no time.

I’ve been missing out on IS2 for quite some weeks now, especially ever since Jung Dong Ha left. Checked out some eps in between then and now, and while some singers continued to improve and impress, none have left a etching deep impression on me. No particular performance has managed to reach out to me and leave me lingering with tears, moved by the sincerity and heart within.

Not until I came across this performance by a singer called Moon Myung Jin. A singer who has been buried away and has stayed away from the stage for 10 years. A singer that not many (not even some of the performers in the show) know of. A singer whom I’m surprised has not reached the level of recognition in the likes of Kim Bum Soo (I think they’re styles are eerily similar).

Check out his performance of Not Just Sadness, which is just downright moving and hair-raising. Not in the the WOW fantastic showy way, but in the most earnest and simplistic sense, of heart and genuine passion. He didn’t win the battle, but he most definitely won my heart and soul.

I don’t know where he will go from here, but I’m glad the show’s allowed him to perform on stage once again. If there’s anything that tops how much I love about the show, it’s the unearthing of (some) singers who really want and love to sing but have never had the luck or opportunity to do so in front of an audience.

Again, forever thankful for such a lovely gem of a show.

credits: KBS world youtube


41 thoughts on “Immortal Song 2: Moon Myung Jin’s Not Just Sadness”

    1. Noticed how unassuming and simple his performance was? No flashy visuals, no flowery backdrop, no backup singers or dancers, just the piano him and his pure voice. You could almost sense his awkwardness and nervousness the moment he stepped on stage, but the minute his voice took over, it was hair-raising, I was moved immensely. I believe everyone was too, and was shocked that he didn’t make the cut.

  1. I hardly ever reply to posts like this but I just finished watching his performance on IS2 and was really upset he didn’t win, his performance was everything you said and more. I started researching him and found this post, it’s nice to see others appreciate real talent when they see/hear it. I also like that now IS2 is putting the english version of the lyrics on screen (at least in my area/cable network), so reading the words along with the emotions was extra special. I hope to see more of him.

    1. It’s def more than just WOWing by emotions and skill, even my father who watched thought he should have won. I did some google research but unfortunately couldn’t find much relevant info about him or his singing career, hopefully we’ll get to see more of him in IS2.

  2. I was searching information on him – Moon Myung Jin and found your site. I have to say that he totally surprised me. I got goosebumps as soon as he started singing. And luckily for me they produced English subtitles for the lyrics so it was easier for me to understand what he was singing. All I can say is that he poured his heart out on that stage and won me over. It is quite sad though that he has not been on stage for 10 years because I for one would love to hear him singing because he sings from the heart. I’d say such a waste of talent but I am thankful to the production team on IS2 for giving him a chance to appear on the show and making him known.

    1. He has such an adorable personality, so shy but cute! I really really hope IS2 will get him to stay, at least allow us to hear him perform songs in his own style. I think he said in the after interview that he didn’t get to perform wholly in his own version?

  3. My hubby and i were instantly hooked and are now his fans. We started to research him but couldnt find anything much but we found this site and hope we all could cheer / support him together. Hope IS2 will take him on as permanent singer. MMJ figthing!!

    1. Love the support MMJ’s getting! I didn’t think ppl would pay attention because he’s not a popular or known singer. After listening to few of his songs on YT, I feel he’s got more of a Western styled R&B voice… he doesn’t sing monotonously but instead adds a lil bit more jazzy flavour to his performances. Like this:

      Sadly there aren’t many vids of him on YT too ;/

  4. Thank you for the article! I was immediately smitten by his beautiful voice when I heard he sang the first time. Couldn’t get enough of it, he is so talented! My wish is the same as sweetmelody; for IS2 producers to cast him as one of the permanent singers on the show. he deserves it. Totally agree with you on his voice. He has this western styled R&B voice which is so nice to listen to. Looking forward to see this talented singer on stage soon!

    1. You are most welcome. I’m frankly surprised my post on MMJ managed to get hits and reads, this shows how good and lovely music spreads. IS2 or not, hopefully he’ll have his chance to perform on stage again for good. He reminds me of Im Jae Bum a legendary singer whose career also suffered for quite some time before he came back a BAM in I am A Singer a few years back.

      Btw, it looks like MMJ ain’t going back to hiding anytime soon… he sang an OST for a current ongoing Fugitive of Joseon/ Heaven’s Mandate! 😀 Knew it!


      Lyrics translations here

  5. I’m from indonesia,

    I know he will be shine from the 1st time hearing his story and his performance is really touching, I seriously cannot stop crying whenever I watch this video.

    He have such a talent to flowing his emotion to audience, sad he didn’t win againt sonya, but I’m sure he will win if he tell the audience his story about his long hiatus and how badly he want to sing. That’s why in the 2nd part the beginning of immortal song is dedicated to him, because he became hot topic in korea.

  6. Hi there!
    Watched Immortal Songs 2 a couple of hours ago and was blown away by JK Kim Donguk’s performance of A Million Roses. He now stands proudly with Dong Ha by having the same highest number of votes. From a music lover to another, I hope you are able to feature him on your page… it’s too good to keep to ourselves! Ta! 🙂

    1. Heee, was just watching his performance on YT. Missed it on TV just now (only caught Wax’s performance at the very end). Simple but mind-blowing performance, you could tell right off the bat he’s a pro.

      Did some research and discovered that he was part of I Am A Singer but dropped off due to overwhelming pressure. That show was brutal from what I’ve heard, every single participant were top vocalists on their own accord and had to compete against each other. You had people in the likes of Im Jae Bum and Insooni, imagine that!

      I’m glad he got a deserved victory here, probably made him feel a lot better after his controversial drop out from IAS2.

  7. I absolutely love his voice. It was like you said, totally hair raising! Amazing talent thrown away just because he stood by his beliefs. I found out by some articles on the net that he refused to go to the army for his own beliefs.. Might have gone to jail because of that.. I’m not too sure. But glad he’s back up on television showcasing his talent to the world. This episode did mention Kim bum Soo a few times. Could catch his name but not really understand what they were saying. But I think one of the host was saying that MMJ is the best R&B singer in Korea. That if ever someone mentions R&B, you think of MMJ straight away. Without a doubt, he deserves that title.

  8. MMJ will appear again on Immortal Song 2 on Saturday May 25 – KBS World. It would already have been shown in Korea but I didn’t do a YT search so don’t know how he fared. Will wait for Saturday to watch his performance in part 2 of the Lee Moon Sae Special. (The audience was quite stingy with their votes in part 1, weren’t they?)

  9. Yeah, just watched part 2 and really enjoyed Kim Tae Woo’s rendition and rapport with the audience but alas, he lost out to JK even with a high of 415.. MMJ was good but not THAT good. I looove this show!

  10. MMJ might not win in his second appearance on IS2 but he was as good as his first performance. he depends solely on his voice. I can’t help but notice just how simple it was. Just a peach tree as his backdrop (his song was Standing under the Tree). He is truly a hidden Gem. Im happy that he said he is gaining back his confidence. MMJ fighting!

    1. Completely agree with you, he doesn’t rely on any special or complimentary effects. Just him, the simple backdrop and his voice. That’s what’s so special about him. He gives his very best, of his voice, and no more.

      Part of the reason I think the singers actually have to fund the accessory effects themselves? I remember Kim Tae Woo and Son Ho Young once said they’d to spend quite some money on effects etc because their agencies refused to do so. If one didn’t have a financially strong agency, I guess he’d have to fork out money on his own.

      1. You’re right. I think i’ve heard some of the singers saying that they doled out their own money for their performance. My hubby noticed MMJ “lack of resouces” (can i say that?? without offending anyone?/) and that really made him special to us. Taewoo also mentioned that MMJ taught and sing to survive all these years. 😦

  11. IS2’s most recent Episode 101 was superduper, with Dong Ha winning several times but with MMJ finally getting the recognition he deserved. Viewed their awesome performance on KBSKpop in YouTube… sooo happy for him!

    1. Ahhh I couldn’t wait, went to watch it on YT and absolutely loved his performance! Explosive and soul combined, added with a newfound confidence 😉 and can I say he’s sooooo adorable too? hehehe~~

  12. I was searching for his information and found your post… oh God I cried when watching him for the first time…it was because of his sincerity in singing plus the translation made me understand the lyrics. Keep repeating that song over and over again…..

  13. totally agreed. u should check his performance on 100th part 2 – Until the Morning Brightens, By Moon Myung Jin feat. Honey Family . That is awesome!!!

  14. I love his humble attitude,out comes his deepest emotions as he sings.Moon is a beautiful soul.lets send him our love,also love Ailee ,Ulala Session,K Will on this program.

  15. Found your site cause I was wondering if Bada debuted before he did. When I first watched his first performance, I thought in the beginning “kind of a knock off of Brian McKnight with forced runs that weren’t clean and didn’t completely finish….” until his nerves went away, and he got deeper into the song…. When he hit that high note and held it with the music stopping in the background, EVERY HAIR ON MY BODY WAS STANDING UP! By the end of it I was all teared up and felt horrible for thinking he was a knock off. I’ve watched that performance over and over, and watched it again when I found your site today. Right after the performance I was completely BAFFLED that there was NO information on this guy, and was irritated because I could not find the “why” behind why he hadn’t been on stage for nearly 10 years. I’m so glad he’s a regular on IMS2, cause after his “debut” performance I wanted to get all his songs, every cd, every digital download hehe. I was so tempted to do something similar to this thread on your site because his performance literally moved me to tears, and I wanted every single person I knew (whether they knew Korean or not) to see this PHENOMENAL singer. Good job on the blog btw, RIGHT ON POINT with how I felt, and feel now. 🙂
    From Hawaii.

    1. Yaayyy, I love that more ppl are starting to take notice of him. ;D Glad that my post can be of good use to ppl who are new to him. Though I don’t have much info on the man, it’s always good to share the love 😉 you can always rave about his performances here no probs.

      Bada debuted in 1997 via a famous idol girl group SES, I think MMJ came out a bit later?

  16. Wow, its great to see MMJ recognized by people. I first listen to his song when he sang Stained Glass ost “살고싶어”. I cried first time listening to his song. ^_^ p/s: Im also a big fan of Kim Bum Soo

  17. its good that now many people recognize him. i know him from immortal song too.
    since then i really fascinated with his voice. he could make me cry just listened to his song.
    seriously any one of you could tell me where i can get all of his songs? please~~

  18. I’m so glad so many people appreciate him. He’s not only adorable but a wonderful singer with emotional depth, sophisticated song styling and arrangements that are always interesting and sometimes unconventional. Also he has Great Musical Taste — look at the American composers he chooses to do covers: Brian McKnight, Stevie Wonder, R.Kelly and Sam Cooke, icons of classic American pop/R&B. I’ve really checked out Youtube to scrounge out cuts from his 2nd album (Soul For Life — which is no longer available) and random videos besides IMS2. His first album, Wound, is available on Yes Asia. I bought that. I’d share my playlist with anyone who is interested. He also held his first solo concert with Honey Family in Seoul on 8/16. I’ve seen a few videos of that concert on Youtube but the sound quality is pretty bad, like shot from the audience, amateurish. I’m waiting for his popularity to rise enough to get him a record deal. That would be so great!

    1. Omo do you mind sharing his first album here? It’s been so hard for me to locate his older stuff, in fact I dun even haf his biography. Korean sites dun haf much info too. I can only rely on IS2.

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