The Korea Times

Settings

ⓕ font-size

  • -2
  • -1
  • 0
  • +1
  • +2

INTERVIEWWith unusual nicknames and backgrounds, MIRAE eyes becoming next big K-pop star

  • Facebook share button
  • Twitter share button
  • Kakao share button
  • Mail share button
  • Link share button
Members of K-pop boy group MIRAE play a game as part of an interview with The Korea Times in a studio in Mapo District, western Seoul. Korea Times photo by Yun Da-been
Members of K-pop boy group MIRAE play a game as part of an interview with The Korea Times in a studio in Mapo District, western Seoul. Korea Times photo by Yun Da-been

By Dong Sun-hwa

Upon sitting in their chairs for an interview, the seven members of rookie K-pop boy group MIRAE ― meaning "future" in Korean ― began introducing themselves. But before saying their names, they first introduced their nicknames ― including "Cotton candy," "Wolf," "Angel" and "Christmas" ― which were all hard to forget.

"I am a cotton candy-like person who can melt people's hearts with my charm," member Park Si-young told The Korea Times in a studio in Mapo District, western Seoul.

Front man Lee Jun-hyuk dubs himself "Wolf" ― a family-oriented animal known for its leadership ― while Khael uses the nickname, "Angel," as he was named after Archangel Michael in the Bible. Yoo Dou-hyun is called "Christmas" because he was born on Dec. 25.

"We made these monikers on our own soon after our debut, so that we can better display who we are," Lee, who seemed a bit shy, explained.



Just like their unusual nicknames, MIRAE's members have out-of-the-ordinary backgrounds. In particular, Yoo revealed he had tried nearly all kinds of part-time jobs to make a living, before clinching a contract with his current management company, DSP Media.

"Working as a food delivery driver was the toughest experience," he recalled. "The food delivery business was just taking off when I started my work, so the wage was quite high. I made deliveries on foot for about five hours a day after my singing and dancing lessons at a music academy and often worked until 2 a.m."

From left are MIRAE's Son Dong-pyo, Jang Yu-bin, Yoo Dou-hyun and Lee Jun-hyuk during an interview with The Korea Times in a studio in Mapo District, western Seoul. Korea Times photo by Yun Da-been
From left are MIRAE's Son Dong-pyo, Jang Yu-bin, Yoo Dou-hyun and Lee Jun-hyuk during an interview with The Korea Times in a studio in Mapo District, western Seoul. Korea Times photo by Yun Da-been

Lien, the only Japanese member on the team, used to be on a working holiday visa.

"K-pop was hitting high notes in Japan when I was an elementary school student, so I also dreamed of becoming a singer in Korea," he said. "Since I was fond of singing, I wanted to perform in front of a huge audience and grab international attention. To live my dream, I came to Korea five years ago and landed a job while on a working holiday permit until I joined DSP."

All seven members were featured in different audition programs as well. In the case of Son Dong-pyo, he debuted as part of project boy band X1 after finishing sixth on Mnet's fan-voted competition show, "Produce X 101" (2019). Although the 11-piece act disbanded soon after its formation, as Mnet was accused of manipulating the voting results, he is the most familiar face to the public.

"It would be a lie if I said I was not pressured by the fact that I am the most well-known member in our group," he said after pausing to choose his words carefully for a while. "But I always try to see things in a positive light. So I came to think that this is actually a good opportunity for me to develop."

Khael, who was a contender on MBC's "Under Nineteen," said appearing on this show helped him take a further leap.

"I enjoyed the show because I could perform on stage even before making my debut," he revealed. "This experience led me to hone my performing skills, too."

From left are MIRAE's Lien, Khael, Park Si-young and Son Dong-pyo during an interview with The Korea Times in a studio in Mapo District, western Seoul. Korea Times photo by Yun Da-been
From left are MIRAE's Lien, Khael, Park Si-young and Son Dong-pyo during an interview with The Korea Times in a studio in Mapo District, western Seoul. Korea Times photo by Yun Da-been

After bursting onto the K-pop scene in 2021 with its first EP, "Killa," MIRAE has put out a series of tracks to carve out its presence in the highly-competitive market, where some 50 hard-trained groups debut each year. For those who are not yet familiar with the group, the members picked three songs they can listen to in order to get a snapshot of the group's eclectic music.

"I would recommend people to listen to 'Marvelous,' the lead single off our third mini-album that came out in January," Jang Yu-bin said. "I think this addictive song is a good fit for all seven of us, in which we showcased our maturity through our performances."

Lee chimed in, saying: "It is a hidden gem."

Park's pick was "Bang-up," a tune included on MIRAE's second EP, "Splash" (2021). Khael recommended "Sugar," another song on "Splash" that has a summer vibe.

"I think our competitive edge is that we are good at performing live," Khael said. "We all know how to rock the stage. In the future, I hope we can drop a song that highlights our youthful energy."

MIRAE, which received the Rookie of the Year award at Mnet Japan Fan's Choice Awards in 2021, wrapped up the interview by talking about their role models and goals.

"RM, the leader of K-pop juggernaut BTS, is my role model," Lee said. "A lot of thoughts came to my mind after watching BTS' documentary, 'Burn the Stage: The Movie' (2018). I was particularly impressed by the ways RM treats his members. I want to be like him."

Yoo said, "We recently met our fans in Japan and Turkey and I truly enjoyed my time there. I also want to interact with our followers in other countries."

Khael added, "In hindsight, the most memorable moment for me was when MIRAE was announced as a candidate for the No. 1 spot on SBS MTV's music program, 'The Show,' in July. I desperately hope MIRAE can rank first in days ahead, and I believe we can achieve it one day."


Dong Sun-hwa sunhwadong@koreatimes.co.kr


Interactive News

  • With tough love,
  • 'Santa dogs' help rebuild burnt forests in Andong
  • 'Santa dogs' help rebuild burnt forests in Andong
  • A tale of natural wine

Top 10 Stories

go top LETTER