The Journey to be Real
Countless artists come and go in the K-pop world. Getting in is easy but the real challenge is staying in. Despite the hardship, they accepted the challenge; they are the new group R-eal. Let's look inside the dynamic resumes of Yoon, Jinwoong, Changhyun, In Seok, and Sang il.R-eal
They've already been focused as healthy trees before debut
Last May, R-eal received an unexpected phone call from Japan. The caller said that R-eal's inofficial stage performance video is ranking top spots for the most searched topic on Japan Hanryu websites.
Few days later, news came that R-eal fan cafes have been opened in various Asian countries as well as in Sweden. Neither members nor the agency staff could not hide their amazement. All this has happened before R-eal's debut.
J: When I searched R-eal on portal sites, there were already numerous R-eal videos and files. It seems like you have alot of fans even though you recently debuted.
R-eal: For leader Yoon, he has alot of fans thanks to him having been preparing to become a singer for a long time. Formal ulzzangs Sang il and Inseok already had numerous fan cafes for them. Sang il, specially is the 3rd of 5 best ulzzangs. I hope to meet Goo Hye Sun and Park Han Byul with Sang il's help later (laugh). I think that R-eal owes most of its popularity to these three.
J.: I heard before that the international fan response is very hot.
R-eal: We still don't understand that. We have no idea how international fans know about us and like us when we just debuted. We had a stage performance before debut once and there were so many fans from Thailand. One of them even cried when she saw Yoon. We also heard that our video was uploaded on Japan Hanryu web page before our debut. A manger in Japan saw that and thought we already debuted. We heard that our fan cafes exist in Thailand, Singapore and even in Sweden. Our manager said many countries are requesting our visit. So we plan to do abroad promotion while we do our debut stuff. We plan to visit Thailand at the end of June. We'll debut in Japan at the end of this year.
J.: You will also be working as CF models?
R-eal: This company released a drink called I'm Real. The name is very similar to ours. We got to know about them because few fans brought the drinks to us. We thought it'd be fun to do CF for them. We suppose the drink company thought the same. They called us so we've been doing promotion stuff. We'll be shooting a TV CF later in the year.
J.: Why do you think people are so interested in R-eal?
R-eal: Mm, how should we say this? Because we are comfortable and easy to approach just like next door oppa or dongsaeng? Bright and healthy charm? .. is what we want to say, but honestly, we don't know. We are confused too. When we first formed the group, we wished that people feel true happiness when looking at us and we guess it worked. We were lucky. R-eal
Faces un-expected harship
The excitement about having both national and international fans soon faded away and R-eal learned about their anti-cafe. They are also worried about various entertainment agencies released idol groups and increasing the competition.
J.: You are dubbed the second FT Island. How did this come about? When I look at R-eal's stage, I can't even find a tambourine, let alone a guitar.
R-eal: We've been waiting for that question the most. When we were having a photoshoot for a magazine, the concept was a band. We each took a picture holding an instrument in order to emphasize that we'll be debuting soon. Many must have misunderstood that. After that, some magazines incorrectly introduced us as a five member band. Many probably had a wrong idea that our image was similar to that of FT Island sunbaes???. So thats why we think we were called the second FT Island. We are honored that we've been compared to great and passionate musicians. However, we also had some trouble. Thanks to our nickname, we got ourselves anti cafes. But now they know that R-eal is not a band. So hopefully the anti cafes will disappear?
J.: Today's K-pop industry is producing more Idol groups than ever, almost at the rate, which it should be called the idol group market. A major entertainment agency released an idol group almost at the exact time as R-eal's debut too. In addition, there are even more idol groups preparing to debut later this year. How do you feel?
R-eal: If we say we don't care, then that should be a lie, right? Now that we debuted, it's natural that we want as much attention as possible. Having all this competition encourages us to work harder but it is also stressful both mentally and physically. But we trust that if we do our best, many people will acknowledge us and like us. Our manager always tells us "Let's run looking only ahead." We think that's the answer.
J.: But that's not the situation in reality. Does R-eal have a secret weapon that enables them to do this?
R-eal: Group R-eal has more talents than you think. We have members talented in not only music but also in acting and dancing. So we plan to work in various areas. We'll try our best to be remembered as the group that bring excitement to audience where ever. We'll never forget our first goal. We'll always cherish our first determination that we'll bring 'real' happiness with 'real' music as 'real' musicians. R-eal
The Journey to be Real
The repetition of many artists coming and going in K-pop word happens daily. But R-eal says instead of being one-time stars, they want to be real artists that will be remembered for a long time.
J.: What is this "real" music that R-eal speak of?
R-eal: We don't want a specific genre. We hope to try whatever that brings happiness to our audience. The music that you want to listen more than once...is the music that we want to make.
J.: When I look at your debut album, I see alot of famous Japanese artists' names. Hirata Shoichiro, Hibino Hirohumi...etc. Aren't they celebrated composers who worked with SMAP, KAT-TUN, News?
R-eal: That's correct. They may not be well known in Korea but they are very famous in Japan. First we contacted them so we can do a re-make of their classic works. However, during our meeting, a talk of a new song came out casually and we got our own song. Our title song 'Make L.O.V.E' is the song that Hirata Shoichiro, who has worked with SMAP, KAT-TUN, made for us after seeing our potential. 'Moving on' is composed by Hibino Hirokumi, who has worked with NEWS and Kinki Kids. This song is a very precious one to R-eal because it has a message from the composer to us.
J.: Famous Japanese musicians must have looked at R-eal differently. What did they say about the members?
R-eal: We met with them last year in Japan but our Japanese wasn't as fluent so we couldn't exchange alot of words. We only managed to say 'hello' with the help from our translator. But we feel that they thought good of us trying our best with music despite the language barrier. They said we have much potential as other Hanryu stars. We were honored. We plan to debut in Japan at the end of this year.
J.: Working in Korea should be first. What are your plans?
R-eal: We have so many requests coming from abroad but Korea is our priority. We want to be a group that many people talk about. We, R-eal, plan to work not only in music but also in acting for dramas, stage, and musicals. We'll try our hardest to show the public our 'real' selves and bring them 'real' happiness.