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Seo In Guk's Great Year

BY Joan MacDonald | Dec 06, 2013 07:06 AM EST

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Seo in Guk has faced enough setbacks in his career to inspire a true-life drama but this year his hard work really paid off.

Making his debut was not easy. Although he began singing at an early age, he kept getting rejected because he was not thin enough. This led to extreme dieting and his developing an eating disorder, which he says damaged his vocal chords. Finally, while he was studying music at Daebul University, he aced the audition of the first round of the Mnet singing competition "Superstar K."

He became the first Superstar K winner and began recording songs. But even then his Superstar K contract limited his ability to perform and his career suffered from underexposure.

Then he added acting to his resume, appearing as a guitarist in "Love Rain. He made his breakout performance in the drama "Reply 1997," for which he won a 49th Baeksang Arts Award for Best New TV Actor.  He followed that role with a part in a 50-episode weekend drama "Rascal Sons." When asked why he took a part in such a long drama, he said, "I want to learn from my seniors."

He enjoys both acting and singing.

"It's like my left hand and my right hand," he said.

Thanks to his acting exposure, this year's successes eclipse last year's. He graduated to playing the second lead in the horror romcom "The Master's Sun" and romancing Gng Hyo Jijn. He then starred in the film "No Breathing" with popular actor Lee Jong Suk and Girls Generation's Yuri. Actress Gu Hye Sun not only appeared in the music video for his single "I Smiled Then I Cried," but she wrote the song "Were We Happy" for him. He recently sang a duet with Zia titled "Loved You" that quickly topped the charts. And ticket sales for his year-end solo concert are a hot item. 

"He had a busy year filming a drama and a movie, but he is committed to performing a solo concert at the end of the year," said a representative of his agency, Jellyfish Entertainment. "On stage he'll show off even more of his charms."

It took him a long time to feel confident about his abilities but now Seo In Guk has enough confidence to share. His "No Breathing" co-star Lee Jong Suk said that Seo In Guk gave him confidence when they were filming.

"I worried that I lacked the maturity and skills necessary to make a film," said Lee Jong Suk. "But In Guk changed my mind. He can really act. I was really surprised, and it prompted me to try harder."

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