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Dec 31 2013, 11:48 PM
YG's Rookie Group Winner
"Admiration towards seniors EXO and stimulation to do our best"
Would there be anyone else who experienced such an intense and agitating year as much as YG Entertainment’s “New Card of 2014” and 5-member male group, “Winner” (Kang Seungyoon, Lee Seunghoon, Song Mino, Kim Jinwoo, Nam Taehyun)?
From August to October of this year, they appeared on YG’s rookie group debut program, “Who Is Next: WIN” as Team A to battle the opponent, Team B, to eventually overcome them and won the name, “Winner”. It was an agonizing battle where they had to overcome the hurdle of triumphing over trainees of the same company to step up on stage as a professional.
After this process, where they even showed their tears, they are now awaiting their official debut in the beginning of next year. However, their "level" is already different from the ordinary rookie groups. One of the songs that they made for the battle maintained top positions in iTunes Charts of 5 different countries. And, around 8 thousand fans gathered for their first fan meeting that was held in Japan. This shows that they have established a global fandom.
Considering the industry, as we saw this year with SM Entertainment raising EXO to the rank of "superstars" through their global producing system, the public is paying attention to how YG's Winner will shake the system in the music industry.
In a recent interview that was held at the YG Building in Hapjungdong, Mapo-gu, Winner reflected this past year, "This year was a year that made our first foothold for our dream. We think we will not be able to forget our fiery passion forever."
Lee Seunghoon, Song Mino, and Kang Seungyoon stated, "This year, we acted with the goal of being the debut team of YG, not stars. Because we achieved that primary goal, it feels like we received an award after much suffering. Especially because we have made a family (the members) that will exist forever and because we can now sing as singers, we are happy."
It seems like their mental attitudes have become more stable as they face their entrance into the professional world.
Winner performed the opening stage at Big Bang's Dome Tour
Nam Taehyun said, "From when I was young, I was restless to achieve anything to make my suffering mother happy. After "WIN" ended, I was able to be upstanding to my mother and I felt at ease for the first time. Also for the first time, I was able to enjoy the stage with my own emotions."
Kang Seungyoon revealed, "Now, there are fans who come to our dorm and practice room." He laughed while adding, "Before, no one recognized us when we were walking around at Hongdae but now even the store owners recognizes us, so we need to be more careful of our actions."
As a "warm up" this group performed the opening stage for all of the Big Bang Japan Dome Tour concerts. It was their first stage overseas. However, placards that cheered on "Winner" lined the sea of fans.
Kim Jinwoo and Lee Seunghoon stated, "The naturalness at which Big Bang, our top seniors, interact with the audience and their performance are at a different level. As we saw the vast sea of audience members, we were refreshed with the thought, 'Right, this is my dream'. The thrill and delight that the stage gave us is still so vivid. We learned a lot from our Big Bang seniors."
We asked them the reason they persevered through the sufferings until now to become singers.
"In the past, in a singer's concert, I saw an audience member crying while laughing. They were tears of joy. If I were to provide healing and hope to someone's life, I think the job of a singer is quite wonderful." (Kang Seungyoon)
"If you had a girlfriend and she disappeared, you feel like you can't live, right? When my throat hurts and I don't want to sing and I start thinking about not being able to sing, I can't imagine my life like that. That is why I think music is a girlfriend I am attached to." (Nam Taehyun)
Until now, each group YG has presented, including Big Bang, 2NE1, Lee Hi, are artists embossed with individuality and so the curiosity for Winner's colors is gradually increasing. It is clear that Kang Seungyoon, Nam Taehyun, and Kim Jinwoo make up the vocal line and that Lee Seunghoon and Song Mino are in charge of rap. The members laughed, "Our overall image can only be found inside CEO Yang's head".
Nevertheless, the members are fully prepared with the ability to produce their own music and create their own choreography.
The fans who gathered at Winner's Japan fanmeeting
The members explained, "Kang Seungyoon, Nam Taehyun, and Song Mino personally produces the track while composing. Mino has a strong sense of hip-hop, Taehyun writes sensible lyrics well, and Seungyoon is proficient at incorporating hopefulness into songs."
Also, they added, "Lee Seunghoon leads our performances with meaningful choreography and our eldest hyung, Kim Jinwoo, keeps possible complications in check within our group."
Preparations as these are being broadcasted on Mnet reality program, "WINNERTV". Around the time when the program ends in the beginning of next year, their official debut date will be announced.
Henceforth, they will not be able to avoid competition with EXO.
The members stated, "Whenever senior EXO's performances and choreography practice videos were uploaded, we always watched it. We always admire their spotless choreography and we think we have a lot to learn from them. On the other hand, we are also stimulated to do our best."
From this point on, they are responsible with the name, "Winner".
Kang Seungyoon stated, "We will be a group that not only has the name of "Winner", but be suited to the name as well. CEO Yang advised, 'Do not make music that make you guys winners, make music that makes people who listen to your music winners'." He emphasized, "I want people who listen to our music to receive energy to live as winners."
This group, who became stronger after experiencing a survival program, will have to officially fight to survive.
The group expressed, "Our goal is to win the rookie award next year. We are not picky with music, therefore, we will display the capacity of what we can digest one by one."Source: Naver Translation Credits:
chrissy96 @ YG PrincesReporter:
chrissy96 @ YG Princes
Dec 17 2013, 10:48 PM
Kang Seungyoon is an entertainer of the new generation, who will be debuting with Winner, a new rookie group under YG Entertainment. He established national fame through Mnet <Superstar K2>, however, after entering YG, in 3 years, he had to take part in the survival program <WIN: Who Is Next> as a part of the 5-member group Team A against the 6-member group Team B to debut. Now, with debut confirmed, he has shown the process up to debut through <Winner TV> from last week Friday. He is a trainee who has filmed three different reality shows in 3 years, before debuting. Cameras follow him 24 hours straight and his smallest of actions gather the public's curiosity and criticism all at once. The songs he sings are given harsh points by the audiences who act like judges. Nevertheless, surprisingly, Kang Seungyoon says that the pressure given by reality shows were rather opportunities that abled him to mature and learn of confidence and responsibility. The camera that follows for 24 hours changes the life of a person just like that. A rather sophisticated transformation at that. Despite the many complications.
Soon after your debut was confirmed, you were able to perform on the stage of Big Bang's dome tour. Isn't it bewildering? (Laughs)
KSY: Because everyone isn't used to traveling abroad (laughs) simply riding on the airplane is wonderful. Instead of being bewildered, we're having fun.
Immediately after your debut was confirmed, you could say that you were given a new mission in the form of "Dome Tour", weren't you nervous?
KSY: I think that being able to stand on Big Bang-sunbaenims Dome Tour stage is an incredible opportunity given to us. Instead of thinking it as a mission, I thought a lot of ways I could give sunbaenims the least amount of trouble. As debut was confirmed, multiple emotions overlapped each other, if I had brought all that emotion with me to the stage, I felt that I wouldn't be able to perform properly so I concentrated on practicing for the most part.
It must've felt strange to perform in front of tens of thousands of people as a professional singer instead of performing to pass an audition.
KSY: First of all, the phrase "tens of thousands of people" seems unreal. The fact that I saw a venue that can hold that many people was the first time for me so just looking at the seats for the audience was overwhelming. But when I stepped up on stage, I felt really entranced. Fifty thousand people were shaking the Big Bang light sticks and… wow. (Laughs) The curious thing is, my members, including myself, were all a little nervous but we were more calm than nervous. In the final mission battle for <WIN>, we were incredibly nervous. I think this is because when we perform and breathe with the audience, we love it so much, but on stages that are judged, what follows the performance is the evaluation more than the cheers so the burden is so much greater.
You must feel more relaxed because you experienced the survival battle.
KSY: Now, when I'm on stage, my heart becomes serene instead of thumping. (Laughs)
Your members' mental attitudes must've changed as well.
KSY: Rather than changing anything, because the five of us are absolutely tied together as one team, we feel more responsible with the name, Winner. This was established when we were doing <WIN>, but we didn't know much about how to behave in front of cameras and we were so busy preparing for battles that we weren't aware of the words and actions that the people would see. Now, as a member of Winner, I always try to speak and act carefully with responsibility.
Did the cameras that followed you around influence you?
KSY: Yes. I think it is most difficult for trainees to become friendly with the camera before debuting. However, by having cameras always near us, I think we were able to practice. So, as trainees, we used and wrote words that were not appropriate for broadcast, like words that are mixed with Japanese (laughs), but because the cameras were always there, I learned to filter words and actions even when the camera is not on.
In the second episode of <WIN>, you saw that Song Mino was advancing too much compared to the other members so you talked to him privately. Wasn't it burdening to have that kind of talk in front of the camera?
KSY: Because it is a broadcast, it needs to be interesting for the viewers, but we were having a battle of life and death. You cannot stop yourself if you have something to say. Also, in that scene, I talked a lot more before it got filmed. The production crew found out belatedly that we were having a talk so they filmed us late. (Laughs) When I am joking around I speak very comfortably but when I talk seriously, I do not use "bad" language. Even when we are not being filmed I want to be cautious with language as much as possible when I have talks like that. Above anything, solving problems within our team is much more important than my reputation that is being broadcasted.
You seem to have felt very responsible.
KSY: At that time I was not the leader but, I was always burdened by my position. Because when the program started, CEO Yang said that only I will get to release a solo album. So I realized that I needed to be more caring for the team.
You must have been very worrisome because of that. You were one of the long-time trainees and your debut was already established.
KSY: When CEO Yang first announced the program, in front of the members he said, (while imitating Yang Hyunsuk's voice) "Seungyoon is going to release his solo album so you guys work hard" (laughs), at that moment, in a way, I became the bad guy out of the 11. Because anyone could think that even if I lose, I would be able to debut. I was so sorry about that so while we were broadcasting I tried to lower myself as much as possible. While we were being filmed, when it was my turn to give my opinion, I only contributed when there was no choice. I tried to listen to my members' opinions as much as possible.
Did you learn how to choose a position and the like in <Superstar K>? I feel like <WIN> was just 10 weeks of "Super Week" in <Superstar K>.
KSY: In the end, in <Superstar K> I only had to be responsible for myself. Of course, I became close with other contestants and when someone was eliminated I was sad but all the competition then was 1 on 1. I only had to worry about looking good on broadcasts of myself and I only had to worry about showing my individuality of myself. But on <WIN>, if I got eliminated, I had to be eliminated with everyone and if I won, I won with everyone. So if I disconnected myself with everyone else, nothing would work out. Also, because each of the members have different individuality and color, if everyone decided to disconnect themselves, our songs would've been horrible. That is why, because I experienced an audition program where I only had to worry about winning on my own, I thought of ways I could interconnect with others and ways I wouldn't stick out.
So when did the team start to have its own individual color?
KSY: In the beginning, each member had his strong opinion and tried to establish power. And then, around the time we had our second battle, the members thought that our situation was really not good and that we should support the leader's opinions and try to combine all the opinions into one. Then, coincidentally, I became the leader and in that sense, I was really lucky. Because the members realized that, they followed my opinion and even if they didn't necessarily agree with my opinion, they trusted me and regardless of the result, we became one.
Like that, for 100 days you and your members poured strength into combining to be one, and prepared the performance. Do you think each and everyone of you matured?
KSY: Because we prepared the performance under anxiety and pressure, all of the members, improved their ability to adapt quickly. When we become actual singers, it is inevitable that we will be very busy but because our ability to adapt is so fast now, whenever someone makes a song and teaches it, in that moment, everyone else will be able to learn it and record it. We improved that much. Do I think we will be able to perform like we did on our last battle stage in front of numerous people before we debut? After experiencing that kind of stage, I think, above our singing and dancing, we have gained the strength to control the audience. Before, people may have watched our performance as trainees who prepared a performance but now I feel like when people watch us, they see singers singing.
While you were doing the reality show, you had to put survival as your goal so you composed music, choreographed, and produced. How do you think this experience has impacted your team?
KSY: I never composed because I learned it beforehand, I think, as I made music, I started to make music that was well received by people. I don't think I sing and dance well, rather, I think I can sing and dance to an extent because I have always sang and danced. I have done things that are not required by singers who sing but because I did, I think I matured from that. Above anything, because we are there from the start to make a song, immersing ourselves into the song comes very smoothly and our affection and responsibility towards a song is that much greater so we are able to step up on stage more joyously and more focused.
In that sense, "Go Up" was very memorable. You composed with the final performance in mind and the song had elements that sounded like emotions right before exploding. I also felt that that was the moment when "Team A" became one team.
KSY: When I composed that song, I really thought that that was the last moment. And I was in a situation where I didn't know the results. So I couldn't express the happiness of victory or sing the sadness of defeat. That is why our team and "Team B", all 11 of us, thought of making songs that wouldn't have a loser in them. So while I was looking for the keyword in the song, I heard the phrase "Go Up" in Epik High huyngs' song, "Up". I started to write the song about getting immersed in that moment and going up, all 11 of us will go up, so let's not worry. I thought, "Aren't we worrying too much? So let's not worry for a while and simply enjoy the moment."
It was exciting how "Go Up" had a feeling of an electronica dance track that transformed into rock.
KSY: I originally thought of making that song house music. It would start off with an acoustic guitar and in the latter half I thought of putting a house beat into it but, perhaps it is because I have always done rock music, the melody line gradually moved towards a rock feeling. (Laughs) After I came into YG, all the music I learned are pop, R&B, hip-hop, and music like that but when I added my own color into it something distinctly ours formed. And I didn't intend on singing it like a rock song but as I sang, I could hear some rock in my voice.
I saw you talk jokingly about making the song match the rhythm of a heart beat, it seems like you knew the direction the song will go all planned out.
KSY: That is one of the many things I am thankful for YG. YG's most basic foundation is hip-hop but because I like rock when I listened to hip-hop, I had to listen to jazz, punk, pop, ballad, and even R&B. And when I did rock music for trainees' monthly evaluation, they never really liked it. So, because I had to survive amongst the trainees, I couldn't be stubborn with what kind of music I wanted to do. Even if I didn't like it, I had to learn trendy music. While I did this I had to establish my color as well. Through this process, I learned a lot about music and I came to know countless artists I didn't know before. And because of this I am now able to create my own music in a variety of genres.
Is that why you learned how to dance? I heard that you couldn't dance before going into YG. You seem to have matured in many different ways over the 3 years.
KSY: The reason I debuted into YG while knowing that I would be a trainee was because I regarded my skills lacking in competitiveness. The world had so many talented people I couldn't compare to. So I thought to myself, "I'll practice under YG. I need to practice until everyone acknowledges my skills." I composed before I was under YG because I thought being a singer-songwriter was really cool but as I practiced, I wanted to tell my story properly. What CEO Yang told me about dance was that rather than polishing a skill I was good at, learn something new so I can be ready for whatever that might come my way. He also told me that rock and folk was my colour and I should cherish it but I should also develop my singing, learn to dance or challenge myself to a new genre and become a singer that can do anything and ultimately be a singer for a long time. I was so thankful for his words that regardless of if I could dance or not, I threw my body into it.
I think your self-confidence grew through that process. It was quite memorable how you pulled all-nighters to complete a new song under 10 days.
KSY: I am thankful for my company for that as well. In the end, my company is the one who taught me how to trust myself under great pressure. Now, instead of thinking, "There's no time," I think, "I can do it. If I just sit and pull an all-nighter, something will come to me." I have gained that much trust in myself. That is why my mind is calm when I sing and when I make a mistake whilst making or singing a song, instead of thinking, "What should I do," I have come to trust my members and be fearless.
You must have watched your last performance you did fearlessly, after the concert. What did you think about it?
KSY: I liked it very much. I know that I made mistakes in intonation and choreography. However, when I watched each of my members, I saw that we all forgot about the difficult times and perfectly focus on our performance. I got goosebumps from watching my members mature and how they presented a performance where they were all immersed in emotion. My members' faces looked so happy.
After that performance, your debut was confirmed. How did you feel?
KSY: I thought I would be crazily happy but I wasn't. Of course I felt sorry for my dongsengs. When I woke up the next day, it wasn't exactly emptiness I felt, I was so happy to become Winner but I couldn't register it. When I woke up at three o'clock in the afternoon the day after, I felt like I needed to go to the practice room to prepare for the next mission. I think I was actually uneasy.
But you started to film <Winner TV> soon afterwards.
KSY: I didn't feel burdened because I would show the process of debuting instead of competing. I think we just need to show how hard we're working and I enjoy it. But I feel like only showing our practices will be boring for the viewers. (Laughs)
In one of the unreleased clips of <WIN>, when you were going to eat fruit salad, you excitedly said, "Fruit salad, fruit salad" in front of the camera and showed your cute side. Are we going to see more of this side of you in <Winner TV>? (Laughs)
KSY: Truthfully, when that clip was released, I was so surprised. (Laughs) That scene was part of a collection of scenes titled, "Seungyoon's Life in a Day" and when we were filming <WIN> a camera followed us for 24 hours straight. They just edited some parts out of that. It's just titled, "Seungyoon's Life in a Day", it's actually edited clips over the span of different days. (Laughs) I wasn't trying to be funny. I say those kinds of things when I'm manically delirious and they took those parts to make something freaky. (Laughs)
<Winner TV> is your third reality show. And 3 years have passed. How do you think this experience and time changed you?
KSY: Three years ago, I thought I was very mature. But when I look back at myself now, I was a completely immature child. At that time I didn't know anything about broadcasts and I was drunk in my popularity, but now I think I have this responsibility that matches the time I have practiced. The responsibility for the amount of time I sweated. I want to be a person who doesn't let that amount of time go to waste.
You have shown your self to the public from <Superstar K> to <Winner TV>. And you have come this far by accepting their choices. What would you like to say to those people?
KSY: I don't think I am right. I always keep in mind to not disappoint the people who have waited for me, my mother and CEO Yang and my members who trust me, and the thankful people who trust and watch me. Because I think about this, I think I am able to trust myself.
Translated by: chrissy96 @ YG Princes