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What’s Taecyeon’s ‘SpecialTY’? ‘Taking myself to the next level’

By Kitty Elicay-Carpena Published Sep 23, 2023 1:52 pm

Whether you know him as a second-generation idol and 2PM’s charismatic rapper or as a versatile K-drama actor who can play the leading man and villain effectively, Ok Taecyeon is inarguably one of Korean entertainment’s most recognizable talents today. Since his last Manila visit was in 2013 with fellow 2PM members, he’s been steadily building his acting portfolio, capturing audiences in dramas like Bring It On, Ghost, Save Me, Vincenzo, Secret Royal Inspector & Joy, and most recently, Heartbeat.

Now, 15 years after his debut, Taecyeon is giving back the love he’s gotten from his fans, starting with a tour of Asia for fan meetings aptly called “SpecialTY.” Luckily for Filipino “OKtizens,” his second stop is Manila.

“Last time I was here, it was very, very hot. That’s all I can remember,” the idol-actor shared in jest during the press conference for Taecyeon in Manila: SpecialTY, held at Novotel in Araneta City. He adds that since he was here 10 years ago for a concert with 2PM, he remembers that “Philippine fans were so supportive, so loud, they were so energetic… It felt like all the fans were on stage performing with us.”

Since 2PM also marked their 15th anniversary with a sold-out concert in Seoul just before Taecyeon began his tour, he couldn’t help but feel nostalgic comparing his life as an idol member and as a solo artist.

“When it’s [the] six of us, I think we can kind of trust each other to do [our] best work—and we can share the responsibility as a group. Responsibility-wise, I think it’s easier for the group, rather than being a solo artist [because] it’s just you. You’re the only one who has to take care of your everyday business,” he shares.

Successfully navigating the industry for more than a decade is no easy feat, and it’s a testament to Taecyeon’s sheer talent and love for entertainment. That’s why he feels the need to constantly challenge himself and broaden his acting career, purposely jumping from one genre to another.

“Every time I do a very light, very bright comedic genre, I do a very dark one [after]. And then, I do a bright one and a dark one [again]. I try to keep expanding the horizon for the whole acting sphere,” he shares. “I want to try different roles. I want to see what other characters I could put myself into. [I want to try] taking myself to the next level.”

Having found success in his home country, Taecyeon hints at his desire to pursue acting projects outside of South Korea. After all, he’s already dipped his toes in Hollywood with his cameo role in the Netflix series, XO, Kitty. “I do want to try a project where I can see myself growing more as an actor,” he shares.

It won’t be an easy journey, he admitted, but Taecyeon is ready to face the challenges head-on. “I mean, I could fail. [Or] I could do it well. I could succeed in… the things that I do.”

He adds, “In this musical called Chicago, they say after 50 years, they’re not gonna remember if I fail miserably, if I succeed fantastically. But after like a hundred or 200 years, maybe they’ll remember. I have to keep going on and on in order for me to leave my legacy.”

Whatever happens, the love and support that Taecyeon gets from his “OKtizens,” will enable him to pursue his future goals. “My motivation is, first and foremost, you guys, the fans. It’s what gets me going. Every time I go to work, every time I perform, I’m shown on TV or a movie screen or anywhere, if it’s without you, it’s basically meaningless. I want to be a part of your life where I can be a little bit of strength and energy for you as well.”

Taecyeon adds, “If it wasn’t for you… I don’t think I’ll be able to do anything this long. The history that we have together, it’s what makes us unique, and that’s what keeps us lasting longer.”

Catch Taecyeon at the New Frontier Theater on September 23, 6 p.m. for Taecyeon in Manila: SpecialTY presented by Pulp Live World. Tickets for the show are still available at