1st full album “2014 S/S” knocks down Korean charts
“We thought we would be off to a good start if we could just put our name on the charts. The members and staffers watched the song being released, and we shouted in joy when we saw the ranking. I was so thrilled inside, but because I was the leader, I kept my calm by telling the members it will drop soon.” (KANG SEUNG YOON)
However, or “fortunately,” he was wrong.
YG Entertainment’s first boy group WINNER swept across all domestic charts immediately after the release of their debut album. They even lined up charts with several songs, while also crossing the border to top iTunes in other Asian countries.
In the music world where things change every few hours, it is extraordinary for a new group to maintain their top position for more than a week.
About the incredible popularity they are garnering with the debut album, the members looked happy while also “puzzled and amazed” at the same time. Here we meet them for an interview on August 19 at Mapogu Hapjeong.
“I was at the studio with JIN WOO, and from 11:50pm, we kept checking the charts with our phones. As soon as our album was released, we listened to it over and over again. When the song was listed in the ranking the streaming number was extremely high, which gave us the chills.” (LEE SEUNG HOON)
He added, “I am thrilled to make our fans feel proud when they tell others that they are WINNER’s fans.”
KANG SEUNG YOON continued, “We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the fans, staff members and Executive Producer YANG HYUN SUK,” and added, “We are so grateful that they helped us make a debut with such confidence. After our TV debut, we messaged YANG to say thank you.”
Last August, WINNER’s debut was confirmed on the TV survival program “WIN: WHO IS NEXT” after championing the competition. They caught the attention of viewers at once with incredible musical talents, and their opening of BIGBANG’s and 2NE1’s concerts helped them secure a grand-scale fandom.
However, unlike the original plan, it took them one year to make a debut. It must have been a long time of patience for the members.
“We were aware that if our music is not complete, then we couldn’t release an album. For one year, we were stuck in the studio except when we were performing. People told us were ‘wrecked.’ We grew by receiving advice on the songs we made from YANG and other producers.” (KANG SEUNG YOON)
With the help of the fans, they can top charts ‘temporarily,’ but that does not necessarily lead to maintaining that position long term. It clearly shows that the album that was written and composed by all the members was highly well received by the general public.
“It feels great. We thought our ranking would drop after reaching the top, but we didn’t, and we were thrilled. (laughter) We are grateful for people liking our music. We followed our hearts instead of the trend, and people liked it. It helped us believe that the path we chose has potential.” (KANG SEUNG YOON)
WINNER recently delivered their debut performance through YG Family Concert, while also quenching the thirst of the much-awaited fans by making a TV debut.
NAM TAE HYUN commented, “We were overwhelmed to stand before the fans who had been waiting for so long,” while KIM JIN WOO said, “We were proud to be performing on stage with our very own songs.”
On the program “WIN” that gave them the chance to become pro artists, BIGBANG and 2NE1 delivered some meaningful advice. They did the same in the process of producing the album.
“Because we worked at the head office, we bumped into other artists a lot. Once we showed our solo song to GD, and he gave us advice for one whole hour. We saw TAEYANG often, too, and he gave us energy by complimenting our music. Every time we bump into each other, he would hum our songs.” (SONG MIN HO)
About TEAM B, their former competitor whose debut is postponed, WINNER commented, “The TEAM B members are busier than us, appearing on ‘Show Me The Money 3.’” And added, “B.I is the writer of our #1 song ‘EMPTY.’ We are happy that we are able to help each other.”
Some say that WINNER is the group that opens up a new path for the next generation. They are under heavy pressure of continuing on the reputation built on by existing artists. They are seen as the group that would lead the South Korean idol music with another boy group EXO.
“We have to work hard, while also bearing the weight that comes from being the boy group to follow BIGBANG and simply from being part of YG. Instead of thinking of ourselves as the next leader with EXO, we are focusing on how to create our own path following what the fellow artists have paved.” (KANG SEUNG YOON)
“We worry that we may disappoint other artists or the agency, but we worked hard for a very long time for this. Our lives are important too, as we only live it once. Instead of working hard for someone else, I focus on myself and my family, which motivates me more.” (LEE SEUNG HOON)
As they spend so much time together, they understand each other’s character now. Among them, SEUNG YOON is the “nagging mother,” JIN WOO the “cute puppy that greets the members,” SEUNG HOON the “friendly mother,” MIN HO the “oldest son,” and TAE HYUN, the “chic cat.”
Executive Producer YANG once announced that he would be actively supporting various activities that interest WINNER. LEE SEUNG HOON said, “SEUNG YOON’s got so much talent that he would be great if he starred in a movie,” while SEUNG YOON added, “SEUNG HOON is outgoing. He would do well in a variety show program or even in a movie as a character that stands out.”
At the press conference just before the album release, members commented, “We want to make the people who listen to our music ‘WINNERS’.” What would that entail?
“The most important aspect is to mesmerize the listener. I believe we should produce music that can touch the hearts. We will do our best to make our music a source of energy. We are thrilled to hear that our fan club’s name is ‘Inner Circle’—we are going to do our best until the fans become the ‘WINNERS’ and we their ‘inner circle.’” (KANG SEUNG YOON)
Credits : YG Life