|Jinu, a member of K-pop boy band WINNER, will release his first solo album "JINU's HEYDAY" on Wednesday afternoon. Courtesy of YG Entertainment|
By Dong Sun-hwa
Many K-pop fans rate WINNER's Jinu as one of the most attractive K-pop singers, along with ASTRO's Cha Eun-woo and BTS's V.
Since Jinu debuted as a member of YG Entertainment's boy band in 2014, his clean image ― rather than musical talents ― has been a hot talking point.
But the singer, 27, does not want to be recognized as a mere "pretty boy" anymore. He hopes people will discover his offbeat charms through his first solo album "JINU's HEYDAY," which will hit shelves on Wednesday afternoon.
"Most people just know me as a handsome or pretty member of WINNER, but I want to shed that image," Jinu said during an interview with media outlets on Wednesday morning at a cafe in Hapjeong-dong, western Seoul. "Through the solo album, I will show off my different and unexploited sides."
He added: "As a WINNER member, I have been sticking to the same image. Most people thought I could neither swear nor get angry, but this was a stereotype that has been locking me up."
Such a perception was strong, since Jinu is seemingly shy and innocent. But it drove him to strive even more to reveal his different sides ― his brightness and bubbliness.
"I did not know how to freely express myself in a group, but I have learnt to do so as a soloist," he said.
His first solo album, fronted by pop-flavored lead number "CALL ANYTIME," is a product reflecting his transformation.
Introducing "CALL ANYTIME" as a song that suits him best, Jinu said: "It is a bright and casual song for summer that revolves around ordinary relationships. The lyrics also reflect the reality."
"CALL ANYTIME," featuring WINNER's rapper Mino, is a rhythmic track with a touch of sentimental guitar melodies. Jinu believes the song is an extension of WINNER's musical styles.
"A merit of being a soloist is that I can belt out my own song, but I prefer being in a group," he said. "With my fresh release, I don't want to mind about its rank on the streaming charts or music shows, but will just enjoy everything."
|Jinu said during Wednesday's interview at a Seoul cafe that he also wants to appear in films. Courtesy of YG Entertainment|
But Jinu also wants to tackle another challenge. He said he wants to appear in films, especially action or thriller flicks.
"I want to feature in a movie before I join the army," he said. "I think I can display myself more in a film, which takes a longer time to shoot than a TV series. But I am not quite interested in a romance genre, since I want a role with more powerful impact."
Unlike many K-pop stars, Jinu was outspoken throughout the interview. He did not hesitate to answer questions about Yang Hyun-suk, the former CEO of his management company, as well as dating.
Yang stepped down from his post in June after the drug scandal involving B.I, the leader of YG's boy band iKON. He was booked for alleged overseas gambling, according to police, Wednesday.
"(Despite Yang's resignation,) WINNER has been walking our own path, regardless of what was happening outside. I think other YG artists are the same," Jinu said. "Other staff members in our company, especially WINNER members, gave help to me in gearing up for the album."
Jinu wrapped up the interview by saying he was positive about going public with his relationship.
"I might open up my relationship in the future ― I think I am old enough," he said. "It would be delightful to see people celebrating me. But this is just my wish."