Spotlighting old school K-Pop artists who started it all. I may do this every week or once a month. Since I discussed their awesome group name earlier, this week, I talk about Shinhwa.
“It’s The legendary…SHINHWA!!” Not sure which member says that at the beginning of their song “Be My Love,” but it is an accurate description. “Shinhwa” means legendary or myth in Korean, which is exactly what Shinhwa has become. Created by SM Entertainment in 1998, Shinhwa is the longest running K-pop group with no member changes. They also began the trend of “variety idols.” Although they have taken breaks to pursue solo careers and fulfill their military duty, they have been a group for 14 years. It’s simply amazing that this a group where all the members are over 30, still going strong, and loved by the public.
Debut: March 24, 1998
Fan Club Name/Color: Changjo/Orange
Eric (Mun Junghyuk):
- Position: Leader and Rapper
- Birth Date: February 16, 1979
- Agency: Top Class Entertainment
- Trivia: Actor; Attended school in LA; Co-CEO of Shinhwa Company; managed by his own company, Top Class Entertainment and produced girl group Stellar.
Minwoo (Lee Minwoo)
- Position: Vocalist, Choreographer
- Birth Date: July 28, 1979
- Agency: M Rising Entertainment (creator)
- Trivia: Was initially rapper and vocalist; Teased for his short height and “shrimp eyes;” When solo, he also goes by “M;” composes/arranges music for Shinhwa and other artists; Co-CEO of Shinhwa Company
Dongwan (Kim Dongwan)
- Position: Vocalist
- Birth Date: November 21, 1979
- Agency: Liveworks Company
- Trivia: Actor; musical actor; won the Best Actor award at the 2005 KBS Drama Awards for his role in A Farewell to Sorrow; debuted as a soloist in 2007; also known for his short height
Hyesung (Jung Pilgyo)
- Position: Lead Vocalist
- Birth Date: November 27, 1979
- Agency: Liveworks Company
- Trivia: known for his princely image; grew up in California; his stage name means “comet;” debuted as a soloist in 2005; composes and writes songs
Junjin (Park Choongjae)
- Position: Rapper, Vocalist, Dancer
- Birth Date: August 19, 1980
- Trivia: actor; son of singer Charlie Park; debuted as a soloist in 2006; known for being competitive and athletic
Andy (Lee Sunho)
- Position: Maknae, Rapper
- Birth Date: January 21, 1981
- Agency: TOP Media
- Trivia: actor; real English name is Jason; originally was supposed to debut with H.O.T; grew up in California; nicknamed “Zomdy” after his crazy transformations on “Shinhwa Broadcast;” Producer of boy band TEEN TOP
- Resolver (1998)
- T.O.P (1999)
- Only One (2000)
- Hey, Come On! (2001)
- Perfect Man (2002
- Wedding (2002)
- Brand New (2004)
- State of the Art (2006)
- Volume 9 (2008)
- The Return (2012)
Shinhwa debuted in 1998, under SM Entertainment, with their single “Solver.” This was followed up by “Eusha Eusha” and “Sharing Forever.” Due to criticism as being another H.O.T, and an unfortunate accident, their initial debut didn’t fare well, and they almost disbanded.
With an edgier concept, their second album, T.O.P, was successful and they even won an award for the MV. Their fourth album, Hey, Come On!, featured “Wild Eyes,” which has some of my favorite choreography from Shinhwa (and it’s pretty creepy).
Shinhwa left SM Entertainment in 2002 and signed with Good Entertainment. (Allegedly due to the desire to stay together. According to the members, SME would have split up the group under the new contract). After a legal battle with SME, they were able to retain their name. During 2003, the group pursued solo activities.
With their return in 2004, Shinhwa won the Daesang award for Best Artist of the Year, at the Seoul Gayo Daesang Awards. Their album, Brand New, peaked at #1 that year. By the end of the year, Shinhwa would go on to win thirteen + awards.
From 2009 to 2012, Shinhwa completed their military duties and pursued solo careers. With the return of Minwoo in 2012, the group was complete once again.
Most recently, Shinhwa returned with an album in March 2012 and began their own variety show, “Shinhwa Broadcast.”
Throughout the years, Shinhwa has set benchmarks for k-pop groups and continues to serve as role models for second and third generation idols. They truly are legendary.
Extra Video: A performance of my favorite song off their The Return album, “On the Road”