As the well-groomed members of the new K-pop supergroup, SuperM, gather in a Los Angeles conference room, they feel as though they’ve left something on the table.
Two days earlier, the seven-piece unit had shut down an intersection in Hollywood and made their live debut in front of more than 5,000 frenzied fans, some of whom had lined up for days just to get a prime spot to see the guys perform. The group was formed by members of four established K-pop boy bands.
After months of keeping their identity a secret, the boy band SuperM eventually made their public debut at the outdoor concert, which was broadcast live to the world on YouTube.
EXO’s Kai, the lovely, pouty-mouthed vocalist who was selected to join SuperM from EXO, admits that performing as SuperM was nerve-wracking. “We’ve all been in this profession for a while now,” she says. As he smiles, he says, “There were some members who felt like we could have done better with this or stronger with that.” Rather than anything else, I was proud that we could finally show everyone what we had been working towards.
SM Entertainment’s latest project, the band named SuperM, is the brainchild of the firm. To this day, SM is considered as one of the forerunners of the worldwide K-pop movement, having imported the first Korean pop stars to the United States in the early 2000s when that country was experiencing a heyday in the adolescent pop mania.
A new product, SuperM, is the company’s latest effort to penetrate the American market .’s Since bands like BTS and Blackpink have been breaking records in Asia for years while staying relatively unknown in the United States, entertainment corporations like SM have been more interested in expanding internationally, with the United States serving as a key launching pad.
When it came to SuperM, starting at the bottom wasn’t an option. Some of the most popular SM groups have combined to sell more than 14 million adjusted albums, and their music videos have been viewed approximately four billion times online. As a result of their conviction that the group includes the most skilled and popular members from each of the various bands, SuperM’s fans affectionately refer to them as “the Avengers of K-pop.”
As of 2018, EXO had actually sold more records than BTS in Korea, however the release of BTS’ Map of the Soul: Persona in April 2018 has tilted the scales back in favour of the latter group. Baekhyun and Kai are members of EXO. Since Baekhyun is the eldest member of the band, it’s safe to say that he’s informally in charge.
He’s the second oldest member at 26, and he’s a veteran of the Korean pop music scene, having started in 2008 with SHINee. A controversy concerning working conditions and unrealistically high expectations for these young performers, many of whom are taken out of school to begin “training” for their debut, prompted by the death of the group’s founder member, Jonghyun, in 2017.
To round out SuperM’s roster, Mr. Lee selected four members from among the several NCT subunits (which he describes as the world’s first “infinite” boy band). WayV is NCT’s Chinese subset, while Taeyong and Mark are from NCT 127. Ten and Lucas are from WayV.
All-star group was first discussed last year, but the seven members didn’t actually come together to record until early this spring. Despite the fact that the members had previously met on SM’s annual “SM Town” concert tour, akin to Diddy’s Bad Boy artists’ road trips, they had never worked together prior to the formation of SuperM.
The 1st Mini Album, the band’s debut EP, was released last week. Five-song set commences with “Jopping,” which is a turbo-charged track named after the words, “jumping” and “popping,” respectively (a publicist sighed that the name was both crazy yet catchy at the same time). With lyrics in both English and Korean, the song combines hip-hop and electronic music. ‘Jopping’ was shot in Dubai during the summer and has already racked up over 22 million views on the internet. Meanwhile. This week, SuperM announced that they’ll be embarking on a North American tour, beginning in Fort Worth, Texas, on November 11th.
They are motivated to succeed on their own terms despite BTS’ success in the mainstream, with number one albums, late-night talk show appearances, and even Grammy chatter.
The competition is real, and we can’t ignore it, says Taemin, “but we don’t want to step on other groups in our quest for success. As a group, we aim to set ourselves apart and add something unique to the K-pop landscape.”
Consequently, for their debut album, the group has been working on developing a unique sound that is both hip-hop/pop/R&B-friendly and allows them to seamlessly transition from one genre to another inside a single song. It’s possible that SuperM will release more English-language material in the future than other K-pop groups like Blackpink and BTS. This band’s spokesperson says that all of the band members have been taking English lessons, even though Mark was born in Canada and is proficient in the language).
They’ve been listening to the radio in Los Angeles and streaming an eclectic mix of musicians like H.E.R., Ella Mai, Daniel Caesar, and Billie Eilish (“Let’s get that collabo!” Taemin hollers). They’ve also been doing their homework.
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And while Korean management companies are notorious for controlling their groups’ images and keeping their artists on a short leash (I once arrived to meet EXO in Seoul and was told I couldn’t interview the guys in person because they didn’t have their makeup on), from this perspective, SuperM feels a lot… looser.
This time around, the young men say that their first stop after landing at LAX was not their hotel, but rather In-N-Out Burger. A 24-hour Southern California chain of low-cost food, BCD Tofu House’s traditional Korean tofu stew is a favourite of the group’s members, despite their reservations over Malibu meals (“It’s honestly better than Korea,” Taeyong claims). With iced Starbucks coffees in hand, the lads talk about their plans to go on a vacation together when their tour ends. Despite the fact that they’re accompanied by a translator, each of them makes a brave effort to answer questions in English before collapsing in laughter. If their previous bands taught them the basics of breaking into the music industry, it appears that SuperM will allow these musicians to explore new aspects of their personalities and, as a result, help them mature.
That would be a lie if Kai stated he didn’t feel any pressure. Even though we all come from well-established careers, we’re still somewhat of a mystery to each other, at least in the context of our band. In spite of the added stress, he says, “the possibilities are unlimited since we have so much more we can try.”
Despite the fact that there are many other groups out there, Taeyong says, “our goal is to make K-pop shine even more brightly.” Because it motivates us to strive for excellence, competition can be a good thing.
According to Kai, “SuperM is here to level the K-pop genre,” he claims. It’s time for K-pop to raise the standard. “We’re ready for it.”