We don’t get to see a lot of KPOP groups that last for so long. In fact, fans would be lucky enough to have their idols for eight years. This is why fans of Shinhwa are one of the luckiest fans there is in the KPOP industry because they still have their idols even after 20 years!
Shinhwa is a six-member boy band that was originally formed under SM Entertainment back in 1998. They are composed of members Eric, Minwoo, Dongwan, Hyesung, Junjin, and Andy. In 2004, They signed with another entertainment agency called Good Entertainment before creating their own company called Shinhwa company to manage their own career.
Shinhwa did not have it all good when they started. They experienced struggle in gaining popularity during their debut but quickly got back to their feet when their second album, T.O.P., was released. When their contract with SM Entertainment expired, the whole group signed with another talent agency and released “Brand New”, marking the start of the group’s new journey. This was also the time that the members slowly started to pursue individual careers.
The group then decided to take a hiatus that would last for about four years due to the members serving their mandatory military services. After that, the group then established their own company called the Shinhwa Company to manage their career as a group.
With the release of their tenth album called “The Return”, they were the first Korean boy band to continue performing after all the members have completed their military service. They are also the first KPOP idol to have a successful career after leaving their original agency. Although, their departure was not smooth. They had to go through a series of legal battles with their original company because of the use of their name “Shinhwa”.
The group holds the record as the longest-running boy band in KPOP’s history. They are considered as one of the “first generation” idols like H.O.T., S.E.S., g.o.d, and Fin.K.L. The type of work that they do and the length of their activity served as an inspiration to many KPOP idols of today. This has made the group branded as “legendary”.
The group has released a lot of songs over the course of 20 years. But, my most favorite one was their song called “Wild Eyes”. It displayed the group’s sexy but elegant charms. I also personally like the song because of the choreography. The dance involved the group doing movements while sitting on a chair. It was not very common even for new KPOP artists to incorporate props during their dances and Shinhwa has successfully done that with “Wild Eyes”.
There is also another song called “This Love”. I do like the song but not as much as I like “Wild Eyes”. The thing that I like about “This Love” is the group’s bravery in trying a new concept. The song’s choreography involved vogue movements which were characterized by fancy and magazine-like poses. To some, this might come across as feminine and unlikely for a boy band. I commend the group’s bold and brave move to try it even if the audience is not really that ready for something like that. However, the song would then become one of KPOP’s most sensational songs with new KPOP groups covering it for performances.
In terms of my favorite member, there really is no one in particular. I’m not that of a religious fan. But, I would say that Andy is my favorite. He may not be that perfect but he sure knows how to professionally handle careers. Plus, I came across their past music videos and I must say Andy is one of the most promising performers of the group.
Name: Mun Junghyuk
Birthday: February 16, 1979
Position: Leader, Main Rapper
Eric was born in South Korea but spent most of his childhood and teenage years in the USA. In 1996, he returned to South Korea to pursue his career as an idol when SM Entertainment scouted him. Eric may have started as an idol but he is also acclaimed as an actor. He appeared in a lot of Korean dramas in the leading role. He has also opened his own talent agency called Top Class Entertainment and has spearheaded the debut of some of the most well-known idols of today like “Stellar”.
Name: Lee Minwoo
Birthday: July 28, 1979
Position: Lead Vocalist, Main Dancer
Minwoo’s inspiration to become an artist is R&B sensation Usher. He has a natural talent in dancing and is very good at breakdancing and beatboxing. Like Eric, he has also established his own company called M Rising Entertainment.
Name: Kim Dongwan
Birthday: November 21, 1979
Dongwan’s solo career has been more focused on acting. He has appeared in some famous dramas like “Moorim School”, “Cheer Up, Mr. Kim”, and “To My Love”. He has released a solo album as a singer and is signed as a solo artist under Liveworks Company. His musical inspiration is the rock icon, Kurt Cobain and YooYoungjin.
Name: Jung Pilkyo
Birthday: November 27, 1979
Position: Main Vocalist
Hyesung majored in English when he was still studying at Chung An University. This is primarily the reason why he is good at English. His favorite artist is Baby Face. His solo career is managed by Liveworks Company.
Name: Park Choongjae
Birthday: August 19, 1980
Position: Lead Rapper, Vocalist, Lead Dancer
Being a celebrity is in Junjin’s blood. His father is the famous actor and singer, Charlie Park. Like the rest of the group, he has also been successful when it comes to his solo career.
Name: Lee Sunho
Birthday: January 21, 1981
Position: Rapper, Maknae
Andy might just be the group’s most controversial member. In 2013, he was forced to go on a hiatus because of the gambling controversy he was caught up in. But amidst that, he has successfully opened his own talent agency called T.O.P Media which housed some of the most famous boy bands in KPOP like TEEN TOP, 100%, and UP10TION.