What is the new generation group SHINee?
SHINee, who kept twinkling during the photo and interview sessions, is a boy group of miracle born out of the times. They shine more on stage to captivate women in Japan as well as in Korea with their unique aura. We want to find the source of the light in what they show frankly.
World-level “blowout new artists” to debut
“Blowout new artists” are to debut. Their first solo live concert in Yoyogi Stadium before their debut received about 100,000 applications. Examples for the view counts of their music videos on Youtube are 19 million for Lucifer and 22 million for Ring Ding Dong (June 1st). They will have a Japan debut premium reception in Abbey Road Studios, a sacred place for Beatles in London. This is a “blowout” for new artists. These new artists with world-level potential are SHINee, Korea’s contemporary band of five members—Onew, Jonghyun, Taemin, Minho, and Key.
Contemporary is not a familiar word, but Onew explains, “It means a group that always presents newest trends, future-oriented in pursuit of the newest in everything from music and dance to fashion and culture.”
SHINee is a new-generation group from SM Entertainment, a company that manages BoA, DBSK, Super Junior, and SNSD. They debuted with Noona Is So Pretty (Replay), a song that expresses love for an older woman, in May, 2008, and swept all the new artist awards of the year with absolute support for “the cute younger men.” They are also expanding their fanbase as “DBSK’s younger brothers” with their upcoming debut.
“We received advice from DBSK sunbaes after our debut was set.” (Minho)
In the Korean pop world where most groups are “carnivorous” with strong dance beat and manly performances, it is understandable that people are attracted to their fresh “herbivorous” cuteness. However, with their singing ability and powerful performance, they are in complete control of songs of “Western music taste” based on dance music. The gap is the point of their attraction. Now, their popularity goes beyond Asia to reach the U.S., South America, and Europe, to the extent even Le Monde made a report on them.
“We have fans all over the world, but fans in different countries have different characters. Japanese fans are rather pure… they are like girls whose hearts are pounding at the sight of us?” (Jonghyun)
“Right, right. The beating heart, we can feel it.” (Key)
Debuting with the same song Replay in Korea and Japan
They are in the third year since their debut. Their album Lucifer released last year made a big hit. Their album sales show their growth into top artists to follow Super Junior and SNSD. They grabbed the K-pop fans’ hearts with this hit, and their popularity soared up. And this June they are finally debuting in Japan. Their Japanese debut song is the same one for their Korean debut: Replay – You Are My Everything.
“When we debuted 3 years ago in Korea, maknae Taemin was 14 years old, and I was 18. Noona Is So Pretty was a song a boy gets broken-hearted by an older girl. It expresses a teenage boy’s frank and pure feelings and weakness, dilemma and sadness over his inability to show his feelings. The Japanese version Replay-You Are My Everything after 4 years have passed expresses love for a girl the same age or younger as well as an older woman. It has expanded to include more generations from the longing for an older woman 3 years ago. We have also grown up more (laugh).” (Onew)
“Don’t you think we have quite grown up from 3 years ago when we looked very young? The choreography is the same with Noona Is So Pretty, but you will see our moves are more confident.” (Taemin)
“I think it’s meaningful to debut in both Korea and Japan with the same song. But I feel like it’s a new song, not the same song. This song is a turning point for us SHINee.” (Key)
“People ask us what our goal is. I think it is more important to make our own stage with the audience than to acquire titles. So our goal is to show our performances on as many stages in Japan. Because our duty is singing!” (Jonghyun)
“We have visited Japan several times before, but after our debut was set, I feel differently about Japan. We will make a new start. And I want to continue to make new challenges.” (Minho)
Now the industry is paying attention to Korean boy groups and fans are enthusiastic about them more than any time, all Japanese women are wondering how much shiny shining SHINee will be!
Minho – Exotic looks and athletic physique
“His face is so small! His style is good!,” all the staff said with one voice. He looks like a prince when he poses before a camera with his perfect well-proportioned body and big twinkling eyes. He says he likes “simple basic monotone and jeans with a t-shirt” for his private fashion. He is not talkative, but speaks what he thinks clearly when he talks. During a break, he showed his good relationship with members. The handsome store clerk in the Japanese music video for SNSD’s hit song Gee was him. He starred in Pianist, a Korean drama, last year.
Key – Sharp sense in fashion and music
“Hello, nice to meet you!” He greeted us in Japanese as he entered the studio. His Japanese is the best in the group. His composed Japanese is cute. He is very interested in fashion, and was wearing pretty street style clothes for the day as SHINee’s fashionista. He said thoughtfully “I know Pia” to make us happy. When the photo and interview sessions started, he twinkled more and captivated people. His favorite food is tonkatsu ramen and jaru soba.
Taemin – excellent dance skill and beautiful looks
He was a 14 year old middle schooler when SHINee debuted. He was called the maknae of idol world at that time, but three years having passed (but still a high school student!), he is on the stair from a boy to an adult. He looks gentle, but doesn’t like losing. In charge of dance in SHINee. His recent growth as a vocalist is so splendid many noonas wept deeply moved when he sang Romeo+Juliette for his solo part in the concert. “DBSK’s Changmin hyung told me, ‘old gags work well in a variety program.’ I should memorize something!”
Jonghyun – a wide range of vocal and smart thinking
It’s not an exaggeration to say his husky voice unique for an Asian colors SHINee’s music. His excellent singing is exceptional among Korean young singers. During the interview session, he actively answered questions and showed a positive attitude to brighten up the mood. Because he had a surgery for his ankle injury last year, he couldn’t dance in the first solo concert in Tokyo and Seoul. Many fans nearly died with their heart pounding at his pure aspect when he cried apologizing for it. “I cried, but Key-goon cried in every round (laugh). I want to be frank on stage.”
Onew – Leader with gentle looks and sweet voice
He is an ultimate healer with his gentle voice and smiling face. A blood type O leader leading the free men with blood types AB and B. “It’s our new challenge. We will enjoy it! This is what expresses my feeling best,” he says regarding their Japanese debut. He cuddled Japanese senbei from the gift set the Pia editors brought, and liked it very much saying “It’s delicious!” Asked “What do you want to eat?”, he answers “Chicken!” right away. His favorite Japanese food is “Unagi-dong, hitsumabushi, and katsu-don.”
[Korean trans by ㄷㅂ29@DC Shinee Gallery | Korean trans by jujugal]
* You know this may not be 100% accurate as translated from the Korean translation.
This is a long interview. I’ll skip the part about the Japanese Replay m/v. The most interesting part is the magazine’s interview with EMI Japan’s Suzuki-san. You can see how much they love SHINee and what plan they have for SHINee’s future. Look forward to it! 🙂