When a k-pop band has managed to survive for over two decades, then you know that there must be something extraordinary about them. One such extraordinary band is Shinhwa. Founded in 1998, the six-member ensemble has dropped several chart-topping albums and won many awards. They have also survived mandatory military service, as well as management disputes, in order to become the longest-running k-pop act in history. Want to know more about this legendary group, Shinhwa and its members? Then, we have got just what you need.
Brief History and How Shinhwa Came to Be
Shinhwa is the brainchild of EM entertainment; the label that had previously birthed other successful bands including H.O.T and S.E.S. The group dropped their first album, Resolver, in May 1998. The album performed poorly and many accused the band of copying their label mate, H.O.T. Shinhwa members did not despair but returned with their second album, T.O.P, in 1999. T.O.P received positive reviews and sold more than 377,500 copies. It also fetched the band several awards.
Following this breakthrough, Shinhwa spent the early parts of the new millennium dishing out good music. They, however, hit a snag after their contracts expired in 2003. SM Entertainment decided that they would not renew Dongwan’s contract and the remaining members refused to renew without him. They rather choose to move to a new label and this resulted in litigation over the use of their name. The Shinhwa members later triumphed and the rest is history.
The group is now the longest-running k-pop act and in April 2019, They celebrated their 21st anniversary with fans. During the two-day concert, Shinhwa members performed many of their classic and contemporary hits. They also promised their fans that they would stay with them forever.
Shinhwa Members’ Profile
Shinhwa consists of six members namely Eric Mun, Lee Min-woo, Dongwan, Hyesung, Junjin, and Andy. The membership of the band has remained stable since its debut and there have not been any departures or new additions. This stability has no doubt contributed to the band’s longevity. Meet the members below.
Eric Mun (Stage name – Eric Mun)
Eric Mun is the leader as well as the main rapper of Shinhwa. He was born on the 16th of February 1979 in South Korea. He hails from a family of five and has two older sisters. Mun spent his formative years in America. He later returned to South Korea and joined SM Entertainment as a trainee in 1996. He subsequently debuted as a Shinhwa member in 1998. Asides music, Eric Mun is also a prolific actor. His hobbies include fishing and snowboarding.
Lee Min-woo (Stage name – Lee Min-woo)
Lee Min-woo is the lead vocalist and main dancer of the group. He was born on the 28th of July 1979 in South Korea. He was scouted while dancing in a competition and subsequently joined the band. Asides his Shinhwa career, Min-woo also releases solo music under the moniker M. He is a big fan of Usher and his hobbies include drawing and listening to music.
Kim Dong Wan (Stage name –Dongwan)
Dongwan is primarily a vocalist. He was born on the 21st of November 1979 and hails from a family of three. Apart from music, Dongwan is also a prolific actor. He has featured in several movies and TV series including Glory Day, Deranged, Beating Heart, Non Stop, and I Hate Going to Work. He has also received several awards for his acting including the excellence actor award at the 2012 KBS Drama Awards.
Shin Hye-sung (Stage name – Hyesung)
Hyesung is also primarily a vocalist. He was born on the 27th of November 1979. He hails from a family of four and has a younger brother. Hyesung is a prolific songwriter and pens a significant portion of Shinhwa’s lyrics. Asides being a member of Shinhwa boy group, the vocalist also has a thriving solo career and has so far released five Korean and two Japanese-language albums. Hyesung studied English in college and speaks it fluently.
Park Choong Jae (Stage name –Junjin)
Junjin is another multi-talented Shinhwa member. He is not only a lead rapper but is also a lead dancer as well as a vocalist. Junjin was born on the 19th of August 1980. His father is a famous Korean actor and singer named Charlie Park. Junjin auditioned to join Shinhwa while in high school. He initially started out as just a rapper in the group but later picked up singing responsibilities.
Lee Sun Ho (Stage name – Andy)
Andy is primarily a rapper. He was born on the 21st of January 1981 and hails from a family of four. Andy spent his formative years in America. He later moved to Korea and successfully auditioned to join SM Entertainment. Just like most of his fellow Shinhwa members, Andy is also an actor. The rapper also has a thriving solo career and has produced hits for various k-pop groups including Teen Top.
Shinhwa has thus far released an astonishing 15 Korean-language and one Japanese-language full-length albums. The band has also dropped three live albums, five compilation albums, and a total of 34 singles. Some of their bestselling albums include T.O.P (1999), Only One (2001), Hey, Come On! (2001), Wedding (2002), Winter Story (2003), Brand New (2004), and State of the Art (2006), etc.