Onew : “I like fun things and I always like to sing merrily”
Jonghyun: “I’m Jonghyun. Out of SHINee, I’d say Minho is the most competitive and Onew is a massive sleepyhead!”
Minho : “Jonghyun’s right, I do get very competitive…I love sports, such as football. I’m happy to meet UK fans. I hope to see you all as often as possible.”
Key : “I’m a kind person with various colours.”
Taemin : “I’m happy to be here, meeting UK fans!”
SIXTY SECONDS IS all it took for servers to crash and general hysteria to spread nationwide amongst SHINee’s solid following.
Tickets for the Korean boyband’s first UK show (their first that the citizens of the country were allowed to attend, anyway) had just gone on sale – and had come off again almost as quickly.
When SHINee’s Onew, Jonghyun, Key, Minho and Taemin touched down in the UK for the first time, a few months prior to this, it was to mark the K-pop unit’s debut in Japan in the summer of 2011 – why they chose London still remains a mystery to us, but they celebrated there none the less, and took an audience of lucky Japanese so-and-sos with them for a special live set at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. Suffice to say, British K-pop fans were more than a little envious about the whole affair – and when it was announced that the boys would be returning to the UK as special guests at the London Korean Film Festival 2011, at London’s Odeon cinema in Leicester Square, those fans were going to make sure they were a part of the action this time round. Unfortunately for the Odeon’s website engineers, they didn’t take into consideration just how big of a following K-pop has in the UK.
As a result, their site was forced offline within a minute – and remained down for a further five hours!
Security also underestimated the fans. When the band arrived at Heathrow, masses had already formed, eager to welcome SHINee with grabby hands – and grab is precisely what they did! The quintet was, quite literally, mobbed. The experience didn’t seem to faze the lads. Onew, the leader of the group, comments :
“I always appreciate this kind of welcome. Sometimes there are large crowds of fans waiting for us, cheering, and when one rushes forward, many follow! I just worry that they’ll hurt themselves…”
Main vocalist Jonghyun agrees, and said :
“The airport is the first point of call, it’s the first place fans get the chance to meet us. So I understand why they’re enthusiastic – I’m always happy and grateful when they welcome us in such a way.”
Nihongo Benkyou Shimasu
SHINee (pronounced ‘shiny’, “like a rainbow!” according to Jonghyun – more like a special Pokémon card if you ask us) burst onto the Korean music scene in 2008 with their EP Replay. It gained a top ten chart position and led to the unit claiming the ‘Hot New Star’ award at Mnet’s 20′s Choice Award 2008. Two full-length albums later, and as many EPs, and the boys live up to the Mnet award and more; they’re one of the hottest groups not only in their country, but in Japan too.
On 22 June 2011, they made their debut into Japan with a Japanese remake of their original single from the Replay EP, ‘Noona Neomu Yeppeo’, now renamed to ‘Kimi wa Boku no Everything’ for the Japanese market. Sales figures blew the original Korean release out of the water, reaching over 100k, the highest ranking sales of a debut from a Korean male group. Of course, the young men had to learn Japanese in order to record it – luckily, anime and J-pop were on hand to help them through!
As is the way with idol culture, SHINee have also had a massive impact in the world of fashion – even sparking their own style craze. Referred to by the media and fans as the ‘SHINee trend’, the style is defined by big, baggy shirts, bright colours and high-top trainers – it’s Jedward, but cool. It’s not a look for everyone, though. We asked the guys if they had any fashion tips for people wanting to follow in their footsteps, and three out of the five members stated that it was best to find something that suits the individual’s style rather than imitating someone else’s. Onew offers some additional advice :
“Following trends is important, but it’s best to keep an eye on what’s available – you show avoid narrowing down to one particular style or brand.”
Jonghyun also recommends clothing that brings out the strength of a person’s body, and Onew continue:
“It was like a dream come true when we came to the UK for the first time.”
Girls, Girls, Girls
Did we mention that the boys are also reality TV stars? Around the time of their debut, the baby-faced popstars featured in a dating show where they wined and dined older ladies. We were curious to see if the little wannabe gigolos really had a taste for the more mature lady, so we quizzed them on their ideal type of girls. Here are the results:
It turns out Onew isn’t that fussy :
“I like someone who likes me”
any takes out there? Jonghyun and Minho, on the other hand, like their ladies feminine, with the former adding :
“I like it when they act naive and a little bit jealous”
Key isn’t quite so evasive of naming any names, and spurted out his celebrity crush without any protest; Kaya Scoldelario, probably best known for her role as Effy in Skins. The Brit connection continues with Taemin :
Onew states :
“I couldn’t speak Japanese at all before I joined SHINee.”
Jonghyun told us that he practised Japanese using anime and music, while one of the main rapper of the unit, Minho, took a more hands-on approach and picked up the language by constantly harassing the staff at EMI Japan to talk to him in Japanese :
“Though, I used to listen to a lot of J-pop when I was young.”
heir language skills were put to the test, as following their Japanese debut single, was their first Japanese album, suitably titled The First, released in December 2011. The release has yet to materialise on iTunes UK but some of the group’s prior releases, including their Japanese singles, are available for download from the service, which means there’s always a chance for the group to enjoy chart success if enough people get behind them.
So what does the future hold for SHINee? 2012 began with the news that Seoul University’s Professor Kim Nando is penning a song for the group’s comeback this year. And, it turns out there’s a very real chance for the boys to return to the UK for a third time. Onew said :
“It was like a dream come true when we came to the UK for the first time,”
and continue :
“Playing at Abbey Road Studios was something that none of us expected. And as for this show at the Korean Film Festival, thank you everyone for surprising us with many things and making us happy. We’d like to come and visit you more often in the future.”
Minho was also excited by both of his experiences in London and can’t wait to return, Minho Said :
“Coming to London made me realise that I have a responsibility,”
he continue :
“I have to try my best as a singer and let people know about SHINee and Korea. If there’s an opportunity to perform in London again, we will come. Until our new release continue to give us your love.”
SHINee’s albums The SHINee World, Amigo and The First, their EPs Replay, Romeo and 2009, Year of Us; and their singles Replay: Kimi wa Boku no Everything, Juliette and Lucifer are all available now from iTunes UK.
The European K-pop season of 2012 kick-started with a wonderful kaboom of fans’ screams that had the Palais Omnisports of Bercy trembling! The Music Bank in Paris was a greatly entertaining experience for all who participated, even though they weren’t as many as one would have expected….