I think we can all agree that FT ISLAND has become a household name ever since they debuted. They were one of the very few rock bands in a sea full of idol groups. And amidst their status as underdogs, they managed to climb up the charts and make a name for themselves.
FT ISLAND is a South Korean rock boy band formed by FNC Entertainment in 2007. The band is composed of Jonghoon on guitars and keyboards, Hongki on vocals, Jaejin on bass and backing vocals, Seunghyun on guitars, vocals, and rap, and Minhwan on drums. Seunghyun was not originally a part of the group. His spot was originally occupied by Oh Wonbin but he left in 2009 and Seunghyun replaced him.
FT ISLAND debuted in Korea on June 7, 2007, with the song, “Love Sick”. Their first music show appearance was on M! Countdown. Their debut was well-received. Their debut album entitled “Cheerful Sensibility was the sixth best-selling album in 2007 and their debut song topped the KPOP charts for eight consecutive weeks. This kind of achievement is a little hard to come by in today’s state of KPOP.
The group also won the Best New Male Group in the MNet Asian Music Awards and the Popularity and Newcomer Award in the Golden Disk Awards in 2007.
A year after their Korean debut, the band debuted in Japan. They released the EP entitled “Prologue of F.T. Island: Soyogi”. However, unlike their Korean debut, their Japan one was not really as successful. The album peaked only at #95 in the Japanese charts and the album sales were sluggish. But, that did not stop the group from penetrating the Japanese market. When they released their third Japanese studio album “Five Treasure Island” with the title track “Flower Rock”, they finally got their success. The album reached the #1 position in chart ranking sales and sold more than 45,000 copies in Japan alone. They were also the first foreign male band to top the Oricon Daily Charts and the first band to top the charts in 42 years.
In 2009, a sub-unit called “F.T. Triple” was formed with members Jonghoon, Jaejin, and Minhwan. They released their first single “Love Letter” in that same year. They promoted on various music programs. However, the sub-unit has been inactive since 2012. Hongki, the main vocalist of the group, also made his solo debut in 2015.
In 2012, the band released a mini-album entitled “Grown-Up” with the title track “Severely”. This is by far my most favorite FT ISLAND song and I can’t ever get tired of listening to this song no matter what time of the day it is. When it was released, the album secured the #1 position on the Hanteo album chart for total album sales on both daily and weekly charts. The title track topped various online music charts. The main reason why I like this song is that it just hits right through the feels. Add to that the most tragic music video plot I have ever seen.
In total, the band has released sixteen full-length albums, eight mini-albums, and a lot of stand-alone singles, some are for drama soundtracks and anime opening theme songs. They are branded as South Korea’s first instrumental idol band and no one can ever take that away from them.
Name: Choi Jonghoon
Birthday: March 7, 1990
Position: Leader, Guitarist, Keyboardist, Bassist
Jonghoon started training with FNC during his high school years. His hobbies include listening to music and surfing the internet. Aside from being a member of the rock band, Jonghoon has also appeared on variety shows and dramas. He was a cast member of the second season of “the Romantic & Idol”. He also acted in “Prince of Prince”, “Heroes”, and “Unexpected Heroes. In June of 2017, it was confirmed that he was dating Son Yeonjae, a famous rhythmic gymnast. But, that was a very short-lived relationship as two months after, they reportedly broke up. Jonghoon’s ideal type is not the common princess-type of girl. He likes someone who is very comfortable around her and has the energy and freedom like that of a young boy.
Name: Lee Hongki
Birthday: March 2, 1990
Position: Main Vocalist, Visual, Face of the Group
There is no doubt that Hongki is the group’s front man. He is honestly the most famous member because of his appearances in many shows and dramas. His hobbies include singing, listening to music, playing soccer, surfing the internet, cooking, and surprisingly, nail art. Before being a band member, Hongki was already a child actor and has appeared in a drama called “Magic Kid Masuri”. He also appeared in dramas as an adult actor like “You’re Beautiful”, “Muscle Girl”, “Modern Farmer”, and “A Korean Odyssey”. Hongki was also a vocal trainer in the third season of the Produce franchise, “Produce 48”.
Name: Lee Jaejin
Birthday: December 17, 1991
Position: Lead Vocalist, Bassist
Jaejin is the more mysterious member of the group. Well, not really mysterious but he does not really appear in shows separately apart from his acting stints in a few dramas. He appeared in “The Flatterer”, “My Only Love Song”, “Band of Sisters”, and “Rich Man”. Jaejin is actually my favorite member. He’s just so cute and I don’t know if it is just me but Jaejin remained looking like a child despite his growing age. I also grew to like him during their appearances on “Weekly Idol”. He’s quiet but when he throws punchlines, those were just the funniest moments of the show.
Name: Song Seunghyun
Birthday: August 21, 1992
Position: Main Rapper, Vocalist, Guitarist
Like Jaejin, Seunghyun does not really go out there and promote the group alone. His most notable solo appearance was in a drama called “Investigator Alice 2”. Seunghyun said that his ideal type is someone shorter than 163cm. He prefers short and cute girls who like the color yellow and pink. But, he also said that those cute girls should also like Linkin’ Park and Hoobastank like him.
Name: Choi Minhwan
Birthday: November 11, 1992
Position: Drummer, Vocalist, Maknae
Minhwan is the latest buzz-maker. FT ISLAND was not really in the middle of the spotlight lately but when the news that their youngest member, Minhwan, is getting married, the media just broke loose. Minhwan and Yulhee were already confirmed to be dating in 2017 and in the following year, they got married and gave birth to a son named Jaeyul.