Scary rookies B1A4: “Pure love comic? A friendly ‘neighbourhood oppa’ character”
An average age of 20. Despite being old enough to get rid of the looks of a young teen, the freshness is still intact. “I cannot believe I’ve debuted”, they said with bashful smiles, making them look like the innocent boys in manhwas. The fans who noticed this charm said that “they (B1A4) is an idol group that tore up (jjit) and came out of the comic (manhwa)”, hence the nickname ‘manjjit-dol’.
The five innocent men of B1A4 came to the office of Kuki Media in Seoul Sangam-dong on 25 May. ‘Be the one, All for one’, when five members become one, they will become the best. The meaning of their group name B1A4 is one filled with resolution, and emphasizes on teamwork. That is due to the fact that since the first time they met as trainees 2 years ago, up until now, they have never fought. It was clear that even during the interview, no matter who spoke, they would trust and rely on each other.
“It was not easy for the members who grew up in different environments to become one. It was with a lot of talking, that we managed to understand each other. Every Saturday, we would have a pre-arranged talk time, to tell each other what we did good, and what we didn’t do good. Compliments and advices are given without any holding it. As we talk about this and that, all the resentment will disappear. As we did this for 2 years continually, we grew to learn to trust each other. We are aware of each other’s inclinations and skills, and learnt to fill in the lacking gaps together.
Before B1A4 became 1, they all walked different paths. Firstly, Jinyoung (Jung Jinyoung, 21) debuted as an actor. He appeared with minor roles in KBS drama ‘My Mom, Super Mom’ and cable channel MBC Dramanet ‘Chosun Police’. He has also topped a ‘flower boy’ poll held by Mnet, beating out SHINee’s Jonghyun. His current agency noticed him after seeing a picture posted by netizens on an online cafe, and offered him an audition. After all his efforts, he became B1A4′s leader, and leads his members with a gentle charisma.
The awards that Sandeul (Lee Junghwan, 20) have won are impressive. In order to prove his skills, he has participated in many singing competitions and swept away 20 awards. He won the daesang award at the Korea Youth Song Festival in 2009. His experience has led him to be the team’s main vocal.
Shinwoo (Shin Dongwoo, 21) has gained a lot of hands-on experience by performing along the streets of Hongdae, as well as participating in various singing competitions. Alongside Jinyoung of the same age as eldest hyungs, they guide and lead the team together. His rap skills are also outstanding.
Baro (Cha Sunwoo, 20) was introduced to music as he sang and rapped along to songs. A picture of him on the Internet received a record-high number of hits, and he received an offer for an audition from his current agency. When he matches up with Shinwoo, their rap skills are totally revealed.
Gongchan (Gong Chansik, 19) is an online star. A picture uploaded by a friend caused netizens to give him high praises of ‘flower boy’. Despite his awkwardness, he is the team’s cute maknae with an innocent charm.
They finally greeted everyone for the first time together as one with their first album ‘Let’s Fly’. Their title song O.K has a rock base, with electronic beats. They are well-prepared enough to be able to personally participate in writing songs. Member Baro made the rap for all their songs, while leader Jinyoung wrote and composed the track Bling Girl.
“I wrote the lyrics with my imagination. With the thought of ‘what if I felt wild’, I cautiously wrote the lyrics. I’m very happy that there have been many responses that (the lyrics) go well with the feel of the song. (Laugh) I am very glad that I could participate in the debut album.” (Baro)
“It’s really hard to get a song on an album, isn’t it? It is even more so for a lacking rookie seeking an opportunity to be noticed. I was in doubt, thinking ‘will the song I made be good enough’. Upon given the opportunity, I used all my strength to hang on. You have no idea how happy I was that a song I made would be put on the album. It was simply amazing, and I felt proud. (Laugh)” (Jinyoung)
A good start. Title song O.K has been steadily receiving love and interest on the various online music portal sites. A fansign held on 21 May at Seoul’s Kyobo Hottracks Yeongdeungpo confirmed B1A4′s successful debut. Despite being rookies, fans from Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, America, Poland, France, Mexico and Italy flocked to the fansign. Behind this large crowd is the strength of social networking. The number of fans increased significantly after the images of their webtoon was posted onto Youtube. The agency official stated “Even though the language is different, they (the fans) said that the songs have good rhythms and are very nice. There were many responses that they liked the clean image of them coming out from a comic”.
As expected of an online star, the group name ‘B1A4′ appeared on Twitter’s World Trends #3 on 23 April 2011. Thanks to his exceptional vocals, member Sandeul was #5 on the search. His video cover of Park Hyoshin ‘Because I Am A Common Man’ on MBC Radio ‘Shim Shim Ta Pa’ was spread worldwide through Youtube. What is the charm of B1A4 that is able to reach out to every country?
“Um, firstly… It’s definitely not the looks. (Laugh) We are not like popular idol groups who are as good looking as sculptures, we don’t have the looks. Perhaps it’s the amiable impression we have on people, and the friendly charm. We give off the comfortable feeling of your neighbourhood oppas. We treat all the fans that we meet at fansigns kindly like friends. Is it not because of that? Haha.”
Of course, popularity does not only come from being friendly. Everyone seems to know the secret. They said, “We have confidence in singing. We believe in our skills.”, and are aiming for the rookie group of the year award.
“There is a prejudice that if you are an idol singer, you cannot sing. We’ll change it. We’ll stand every stage each time with a different look, so please give us a lot of time. We’ll seize the rookie award, so please look forward to it. (Laugh)”
Source: Kuki News
Translation Credits: skipfire @ FLIGHTB1A4.com