EXO-K and EXO-M are in the 12 member male idol group that SM Entertainment, who raised Shinhwa, DBSK, Super Junior, etc, ambitiously prepared. Prior to their debut, SM had an online promotion for 100 days since the beginning of the year, so they’re receiving particular affection. The producer Lee Sooman gave them their name himself showing his support “Let’s open a new world in the K-Pop industry”.
EXO stands for EXOPLANET, a planet out of the solar system, meaning that they’re new stars coming from an unknown planet. EXO-K has 6 members, the K is Korea’s K so they’re promoting in Korea while EXO-M, which also has 6 members promotes in China as the M stands for Mandarin. Early this month they both released their first mini-album ‘MAMA’ and had a splendid debut.
EXO-K (composed of Suho, Chanyeol, Baekhyun, D.O, Kai, Sehun) said confidently “Right now, this year’s goal is getting the newcomer award. There are a lot of outstanding rookie groups but we believe that if we work hard our wish will come true”.
When we asked them what made them different from the other groups, they revealed “First, I think that debuting at the same time in Korea and China is something new. Both teams are quite competitive but we’re also monitoring and supporting each other a lot. We’d like to think that our biggest good point is our strong performance”.
Suho, the oldest of the team, said “I think that compared to other idol groups, our performance that has dance, expression acting and vocals is strong. We will work even harder to not damage the reputation of seniors such as Shinhwa and DBSK”.
D.O, who’s leading the main vocals with Baekhyun and Suho, said with a smile “The fact that our title song ‘MAMA’ was made by Yoo Youngjin senior makes EXO-K’s performances even greater. While practicing during the two last months, we didn’t get tired of it at all”.
EXO-K’s debut process was also long and difficult. Most of the members were selected by the staff of SM’s rookie development office between 6th grade of elementary school and middle school, or they’ve been casted through an audition. Chanyeol and Sehun joined SM in 2008 by street casting, Kai is from the 2007 SM Youth Best Contest. Suho who was cast in 2006 is currently a sophomore majoring in acting at Korea National University of Arts, his dream is to be acknowledged as a singer but also as an all-rounded entertainer that can act, MC, etc.
After becoming a SM trainee, they have to go through harsh training. During their training period, they had to go to school during week days and then they went to take courses for subjects such as dancing, vocals, acting, language, character, etc., until 9~10PM. They could only rest a day, on Saturday or Sunday. During school vacations, they had an even tighter schedule of intensive training. They got selected to be EXO-K’s members among a great number of trainees and were informed about their debut project a year ago. They started to live together in dorms starting from then.
“Not being able to go home and missing our parents was the most difficult thing about living at the dorm. Aside from that there was no dissatisfying point at all. We could only be happy about practicing a dance performance and vocals we liked, while waiting for the day we’ll debut. Of course we’d feel an electrifying joy when we slowly became synchronized.”
Kai got his dream of being a singer when he saw the group Shinhwa in 6th grade of elementary school, Shinhwa was coming back just in time for EXO-K’s debut on the cable channel Mnet ‘M!Countdown’, he expressed about the moment he got to stand on the same stage as them “I was incredibly moved!”.
The members don’t have personal cellphones. It’s because of the company’s guidelines to focus on the dance and singing practices.
EXO-K said “It’s not uncomfortable at all. It’s a good thing since we throw away all distractions to focus only on the trainings and the promotions. We will show you an even greater image. The newcomer award is a one in a lifetime chance for a singer, so of course we have to get it” and shouted a powerful fighting. “We are one! For the newcomer award~.”
translation cr; emilie @ exok-trans