[텐아시아 최진실 기자] WINNER kicked off the year 2015 with much dynamism, joined by their fans.
WINNER was in Seoul Olympic Park Gymnastic Stadium on Jan 31 for the Worldwide Inner Circle 2015 (WWIC) accompanied by 10,000 fans.
The unfamiliar name “WWIC 2015” is a project that WINNER was heavily involved in terms of its planning, branding and promotion. The concert project is designed for South Korea, China and Japan. WINNER was in Beijing on Jan 10, Shanghai on Jan 17 and Shenzhen on Jan 24, attracting a total of 13,500 fans across the three cities in China.
WWIC is an event that is held with the group’s fan club “Inner Circle,” and it goes beyond just a simple fan-artist meeting. It is an opportunity for fans to actually bond with WINNER. Just like the title suggests, the concert was held in a form of a conference, where the members of WINNER delivers presentations and engage with the fans. NAM TAEHYUN commented, “I always felt sad that we could not perform more in Korea.” But at the WWIC, the five did a perfect job in making up for their absence in the country.
# WINNER’s “Yesterday”
WINNER opened WWIC with “EMPTY,” a song that represents the group. And then they each sat down to get ready for a presentation. The first to go was KANG SEUNGYOON. With a guitar in his hand, he talked about his childhood where he incubated a dream of becoming a singer while watching other artists on TV, and his adolescence where he experienced the shock of breaking of his voice—all of this in a very frank and genuine way. He also talked about his best friend who was at the site, a friend who worked toward their dreams together. He then explained, “I entered Busan Art High School and started music again. As you all know, I was able to go a step closer to achieving my dreams through Superstar K2. He told the fans about becoming a trainee for an indefinite period of time after joining YG, while appearing on MBC’s “High Kick” and then appearing on the survival program “WIN.”
KIM JINWOO then continued on with his daily timetable. He talked about receiving voice lessons. He practiced songs by the fellow YG artists GD. Born in Imjado, he was the first to be in YG as a trainee since 2010. He also unveiled stories of meeting the members for the first time.
LEE SEUNGHOON’s presentation looked like what you would see on social media. Showing his childhood photos, he commented, “I loved dancing since I was a kid. I made a dance group with my best friend and have been dreaming on.” Born in Busan, he moved to Seoul to become a dancer and lived in a tiny room near an art university. He appeared on SBS’s K-Pop Star and joined YG then. He wittily unraveled the stories of his past and the present as a WINNER member.
Dubbed the artist of WINNER, SONG MINHO revealed his artwork in the presentation. He added, “I loved music since I was little. I rapped when I walked on the street. I had so much passion for it. I can now say for sure that my hard work bore fruit. After enduring all the hardship I became a part of WINNER, becoming #1, and experienced some dramatic exhilaration by winning an award at the awards ceremony late last year.”
The youngest of the group, NAM TAEHYUN, unveiled his story with photographs. Pointing to a photo where a high-school Taehyun with light-colored hair, he explained, “There isn’t any jobs that I have not tried. I worked at a restaurant, petrol station, convenience shop, storages and more.” He then moved on to tell the stories of practicing singing in karaoke and becoming a trainee in YG since 2011.
WINNER became the champion on the survival program “WIN: WHO IS NEXT.” Out of the five, two were discovered on an audition program, having a real competitive edge. Each member became to be WINNER, after much hardship and hard work to achieve their dream.
# WINNER’s “Today”
WINNER’s “Today” was indeed zestful. It hasn’t even been a year since their debut, but they already had enough fans to fill the large stadium. The group was nicknamed the “super rookies.” They ranked #1 on music charts while also receiving New Artist award at a ceremony.
10,000 fans accompanied them through the WWIC 2015. The members made time to respond to questions received beforehand from the fans. When asked if he still keeps a diary, SONG MINHO answered, “Of course I do. I never miss a day. When time passes I forget everything. If it is not recorded, then that span of time is completely lost.” To the question what his source of motivation is, he answered, “It is my family. My family keeps me going.”
When asked if there is a genre that he wants to try as a solo, NAM TAEHYUN answered, “We did sweet and sentimental ones in the 1st album, but my character is stronger than that. I want to do something that is more powerful and sexier than ‘I’m Him’.” NAM showcased a DJing performance, something that the fans have not seen before.
To the question what his favorite self-written song is, KANG SEUNGYOON answered, “There isn’t a song that I would throw away. But recently I made a song called ‘Jacket’.” He then unveiled the chorus part of the newest song, exciting the fans.
After responding to the fans’ questions, they held a session to play games with the fans, where all of them enjoyed thoroughly. They also delivered performances from “Go Up”, the song they showcased on “WIN”, to “Love Is a Lie,” “Different,” “Tonight,” “Don’t Flirt,” “Color Ring” and “Just Another Boy.”
# WINNER’s “Tomorrow”
WINNER also gave a presentation on the “Winning Point” of 2015. KIM JINWOO commented, “I want 2015 to be a meaningful. I want to improve my skills and want a clear direction for the group WINNER. I also want to see our fans often.”
SONG MINHO added, “Our goal is being ‘Different.’ We and I, SONG MINHO, want to show something that is different to what we showed in 2014, putting in much hard work and passion.”
LEE SEUNGHOON said, “It’s going back to the initial motivation. I loved being absorbed in music since I was a little kid. But using dance for competition no longer made me happy. I am passionate about many things but I thought a lot about what I really want to do. In 2015 I am going to be even more passionate about dance. Instead of trying to win, it will be my source of joy.”
NAM TAEHYUN commented, “It’s love. I want to become closer to the fans, like we are in a relationship,” making everyone laugh.
KANG SEUNGYOON added, “I want to set a future direction for WINNER in terms of music. Coming closer with the fans, evolving while changing. We want to surpass what we already achieved and accomplish more.”
In the curtain-call performance, the members told the fans, “We have only been receiving. Now it is time to give.” With this they prepared a cake for the fans, with a writing that read “Thank you always. We exist because you exist” on a placard. They delivered hand-written messages to the fans to show their gratitude. KANG SEUNGYOON commented, “An artist cannot exist without an audience. We are so fortunate to be able to sing in front of so many people. For Korean artists, being able to perform in the Gymnastics Arena is a dream-come-true. PSY also says that there is no other venue that has the energy that this one carries. We are so grateful to be able to perform here, all thanks to you.” WINNER, in tears of joy, bowed to the fans—a promise they made at the MAMA when they received the New Artist award. It was a truly meaningful 120 minutes with the fans, which will surely remain the most precious moment for the five members.