Uniting through teamwork “The Legend Continues”
- Idol group Shinhwa that has debut for 15 years
- Consideration, giving way is the source of strength behind being the longest-running
- Thinking of “us” before “me” even while having solo activities
- Even their fan club “Shinhwa Changjo” gives advice instead of blindly loving
When you think about it, there are few things harder than preserving the status quo. If you fall at the top you’ll drop into a slump; if you’re lucky, you can even dream of getting a taste of heaven. Counting on 101% of passion as compared to 1% of luck, carving a path out to stay at the top through the power of effort, by knowing how to be nervous instead of being satisfied. Because we and they themselves know that it’s a daunting process, so Shinhwa carries the meaning of “legend” in it. This year is their 15th year. They came back as Shinhwa last year, and with the number 15, they held a celebratory solo concert recently, titled “The Legend Continues”. Isn’t it scary. The ‘determination to preserving the status quo’, that they will “continue” remaining on that impressive peak named “legend”.
– Teamwork is like air
When asked on the key to being the longest-running idol group, Shinhwa gave a very obvious answer, “teamwork”. As what photographer Jo Seon Hee, who shot Shinhwa’s concert poster, recently wrote on her Twitter, “the source of strength behind Shinhwa going on for a long time is giving way and consideration.”
Their twenties was hot-blooded to the extent that even Shinhwa didn’t have a day where they didn’t quarrel. “Why would we not have had big or small conflicts?” It was because they have the “commendable thought” to think of Shinhwa as a whole that they are able to become friendly once more. The current Shinhwa is made because they think of each other as perfect complements, whether it is leader Eric, who “resolves the members’ troubles”, or Lee Minwoo, who “is understanding of everything, like a magnanimous person”, or Kim Dongwan, who “thinks of himself as the atmosphere maker when the members are feeling down” etc. As Eric said, “if you think of the immediate profits, you are bound to think of yourself before the team, but if you think of teamwork as an existence like air, then it’ll be easy.”
The teamwork that Shinhwa explained is like a lesson to the idol groups that have just debuted. When compared with the music industry when Shinhwa promoted, recently, the teams that you have to compete against and the schedules you have to complete has increased to the extent where it is incomparable. Just like music charts that change in a day, the reality is that there are many teams that debut and disappear without anyone knowing.
That’s why the recent idol groups also stress on team management. Whether it is having a time to talk once every week, or regularly changing room mates, etc, these are the first steps taken in order to continue on for a long time together. An idol group’s leader said to Sports Seoul, “there have been many times where we’ve felt hurt because of the constantly changing emotions during our busy schedules,” adding “it is only the initial stage where it is difficult, after getting on the right track, the next time, we develop into a group that understands each other even just by looking at each other’s gaze. That is what I felt as I looked at Shinhwa sunbaes.”
– Standing by the principle, Shinhwa first, then solo
When speaking of a “legend” it might give a feeling of being immersed in past reputation but for Shinhwa, they are even active in their solo promotions, not losing out to the current idol groups. Lee Minwoo and Shin Hyesung shows off charisma that they couldn’t within the team through their solo activities. Eric and Kim Dongwan have secured their places as actors and Junjin and Andy have been seen in a new light through variety programs like MBC’s “Infinity Challenge” and “We Got Married”.
In groups where members juggle between “separate and together” activities, Shinhwa’s experience can once again be verified. Otherwise, would a program (general entertainment channel JTBC’s ‘Shinhwa Broadcast’) that only uses them to create laughter and joy be born?
Where can the secret to that be found? Shinhwa only concentrated on solo activities in 2004, a few years after they debut, when they swept the 3 major music daesangs. A representative from Shinhwa Company said, “Even though at that time, it wasn’t an era where ‘acting-idols’ were readily accepted, it was good enough to carry out solo activities,” further explaining, “thanks to them standing by the ‘first Shinhwa, then OO’ principle, they seemed to have gotten even better chances.”
Nowadays, in the music industry, it is not uncommon to focus on individual activities even before the team’s name is made known. It is, by nature, a way to survive amidst intense competition. Occasionally, you see instances where the popularity gained by one or a few people spills over into the team’s popularity.
Some stress that even under such circumstances, the focus should still be on “proper promotions”. A music company’s CEO said, “because the market now makes it very easy and quick for people to debut, so to capture the general public’s attention in a short time, it became such that solo activities are carried out at the same time.” Adding on, he stressed, “But no matter how the times have changed, the attitude that current idol groups should learn is what Shinhwa has shown, the determination to run all the way towards their true dream.”
– Never-changing, Shinhwa’s unique colours
When speaking of Shinhwa, who has debut for 15 years, an existence that cannot be missed out on is the fandom. Just like what Shinhwa says, “now they hold on to the hands of their children and come to the concert venue”, the “teenage fans” from more than 10 years ago have now become a mother of a family and a wife of a man.
The name of Shinhwa’s official fan club is “Shinhwa Changjo”. Their cohesion shown during the recent solo concert does not lose out to the fandom of current idols. They are, as named, the ones who ‘created (changjo)’ the unshakeable Shinhwa now.
A representative from Shinhwa Company said, “our fans, unlike the fans of other groups, does not just blindly loves”, and “within boundaries of affection, they would tell us this is right, this is wrong, and give clear advice.” He added, “it seems like because the members actively accommodates to that, so there is a deep and trusting relationship between the star and the fans”, adding, “the pride that Shinhwa Changjo feels is amazing”.
Actually, to the fans, the “pride as a person who likes Shinhwa” was built up thanks to Shinhwa’s efforts. From the debut song “Haegyulsa” till last year’s 10th album’s title song “Venus”. Apart from one ballad title song (in 2006), they have never given up on their trademark intense synchronized dance performance. The secret to Shinhwa, whose average age is 35 years old, still being seen as idols is their joke-like determinations, such as “we can’t look like ahjusshis”, “let’s make sure that not even a mustache mark can be seen” etc.
A representative from JTBC, who has observed them for more than a year through ‘Shinhwa Broadcast’ said, “occasionally, when we invite current idols in as guests, I really feel how much Shinhwa’s stamina and mental age has become younger”, and revealed “it seems like because of how much they work hard, that’s why their 15-year fandom can grow healthily too.”
There are so many wonderfully written articles about my guys. I’m just so happy reading them. I even would like to thank the writers. Haha! I really like this one and of course Grace Hong’s concert review. It makes me feel good reading these articles, it’s like it’s lifting me up. 🙂