For SHINee, the latest rising idol group, the future is wide open with opportunities. /Courtesy of SM Entertainment
By Han Sang-hee
Korea boasts a number of idol groups, especially young, pretty, talented boy bands, and SHINee is starting to steal the spotlight with their cute image, catchy music and chic fashion style.
The Korea Times met the group last week at their agency SM Entertainment, while middle and high school students waited in front of the building in the hope of getting a glimpse of the young stars.
The group_ Jong-hyun, Min-ho, Tae-min, O-new and Key_ entered the room with a ``annyeonghaseyo!'' (loud and clear.) The young singers looked tired from their hectic schedule, with blank expressions and sleepy eyes.
However, their eyes lit up when asked how they became singers, answering that their love for music gradually led them to the entertainment business.
``After watching K-pop singers like H.O.T. on television, I started to mimic their dance moves. I loved it, and it turned out that I was actually good and so I went for an audition,'' Tae-min added.
Considering that the members are all relatively young, the youngest Tae-min being 14 and the oldest, leader O-new and Jong-hyun being 18, it was surprising that all the members knew what they wanted to do and were determined to make their dream come true.
``I started playing in the school band when I was in middle school. I was always interested in music and so I went to an audition, made it through and finally started training at SM,'' Jong-hyun said.
Making its debut last May with the album ``Replay,'' SHINee started off with great anticipation, even before their first performance. Being a group trained by one of the top entertainment agencies, which has brought BoA, TVXQ, H.O.T. and S.E.S., fans and critics alike awaited the group's first appearance.
``We were very nervous before our first performance, obviously. When I went up on stage, I could see my parents and from then, I started to relax,'' O-new said.
Although it has only been about five months since their debut, SHINee members have joined the flow in wanting to branch out in other fields and showing off their multiple talents. They don't have any specific plans yet, but are open to all possibilities.
``If we feel that it's a good opportunity we are more than eager to go for it. Although we are a team, we all have different colors and charms. When we feel that the opportunity will be right to show what we have, be it modeling, featuring on other singers' albums or even acting, we'll go for it,'' Key said.
But singing and dancing under the group SHINee is the main priority, another member added.
Training under SM was indeed a lucky experience, as they were able to listen to tips from some of the most popular singers here, and the members agreed that they realized there was nothing better than experience.
``Whether you do well on stage or not, it's the whole experience that counts. We learned that being a singer is the whole package, from performing on stage, greeting fans and even waiting before the show,'' said Key.
Walking along the streets here, one can find students wearing what has become the ``SHINee trend'': high-top sneakers, big, baggy shirts and hoodies with florescent, flashy colors and patterns. But due to the group's busy schedule, they haven't yet had the chance to witness the trend with their own eyes.
``We never got to actually see people walking down the streets with similar clothes on, but we heard about it and are very thrilled,'' O-new said.
The group's goal for this year is to win the best rookie award at the year-end music awards. Do they think they have what it takes to win?
``We don't want to catch up any other group, or consider anyone as our competitors. It's about us training hard and offering a better performance so we don't have an ultimate goal other than winning the rookie award for now,'' Jong-hyun said, with other members pleading ``Please give us one!'' in the background.
``Opportunities'' and ``possibility'' were the most frequently used words during the interview, showing SHINee are ready for any challenge.
``We love what we are doing right now and we're all so happy about it. We're just following the road given and hopefully, we will become role models for other singers some day,'' O-new said.