Minho becomes last piece of the SHINee puzzle with solo EP 'Chase'

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Minho becomes last piece of the SHINee puzzle with solo EP 'Chase'

Minho of SHINee, right, sat down to discuss his solo debut EP "Chase" during an online press conference on Tuesday. Eunhyuk of Super Junior served as the emcee. [SM ENTERTAINMENT]

Minho of SHINee, right, sat down to discuss his solo debut EP "Chase" during an online press conference on Tuesday. Eunhyuk of Super Junior served as the emcee. [SM ENTERTAINMENT]

 
Minho of SHINee is ready to prove his artistry as he becomes the fifth and final member of the boy band to start a solo career.
 
“I have a lot of expectations for my first solo EP,” Minho said during an online press conference Tuesday. “Other members [of SHINee] have all released solo music, and I’m so excited to become the last piece of the puzzle.”
 
The six individual tracks from his EP “Chase” were released on Tuesday, while the EP’s physical copies and the music video for the title track will be available from Dec. 12.
 
Minho released a digital single titled “Heartbreak” in December 2021, but this is the first official start of his additional solo career, since debuting as a member of SHINee in 2008. Over a decade later, “Chase,” his solo debut EP, is especially meaningful as the band members planned out each of their EPs to share a common theme.
 
Minho poses during Tuesday's online press conference. [SM ENTERTAINMENT]

Minho poses during Tuesday's online press conference. [SM ENTERTAINMENT]

 
“I think this EP would be a great gift for our fans, because all five of us SHINee members’ solo CDs have the same packaging size and theme,” he said. “So mine is the final piece, and I’d feel so proud to see all five of our CDs placed together on my bookshelf.”
 
Even each of the CD titles are themed so that they share the same last syllable when written in Korean: Taemin’s solo debut “Ace” in 2014, the late Jonghyun’s “Base” in 2015, Key’s “Face” and Onew’s “Voice” in 2018, and now, last but not least, Minho’s “Chase.”
 
“As the last SHINee member to release solo music, I really had to keep in mind the interconnectedness with the other members’ previous releases,” Minho continued. “It was a much bigger picture I had to be part of. The general design and theme are all unified, even the components inside. In a way, it was handy that there was already a theme to adhere to. It was also tricky to express myself while keeping that certain uniformity in mind, but I’m thankful that the other members laid down a format.”
 
Concept image for Minho's "Chase" [SM ENTERTAINMENT]

Concept image for Minho's "Chase" [SM ENTERTAINMENT]

 
“Chase” features six tracks in total: the title track, “Runaway,” “Waterfall” featuring singer Lim Kim, “Prove It,” “Choice” and “Heartbreak.”
 
“I’m excited to tell my story in this EP based on hip-hop and R&B, which are genres I always wanted to challenge myself to,” Minho said.
 
“'Run Away’ is a hip-hop track, a genre I love listening to,” he continued. “It’s my second favorite song following the lead track, and it actually almost became the lead track but lost by a close margin. I participated in writing its lyrics. And through the track “Prove It,” I wanted to prove that I am capable of trying this different music style.”
 
Concept image for Minho's "Chase" [SM ENTERTAINMENT]

Concept image for Minho's "Chase" [SM ENTERTAINMENT]

 
The singer also shared behind-the-scenes stories about “Waterfall,” a duet number between him and Lim Kim.
 
“It almost became someone else’s song,” he said. “I’m glad I quickly got my hands on it. I fell in love with this song because it is very much like the dreamy vibe of SHINee’s music. It was also supposed to be my solo track, but our team strongly recommended that this should be a duet. That’s how I got to collaborate with Lim Kim, who was the first singer that came to my mind. She kindly accepted my offer right away.”
 
Concept image for Minho's "Chase" [SM ENTERTAINMENT]

Concept image for Minho's "Chase" [SM ENTERTAINMENT]

 
He added that completing the title track “Chase” was also quite a journey.
 
“'Chase’ is a chic but sentimental hip-hop and R&B number,” he said. “I loved the [demo version] so much that our agency’s employee actually went to the songwriter in the United States to acquire it. Afterward, we thought the song could use a hook, so [R&B songwriter] Gemini wrote a new melody line for me.”
 
Gemini is also featured in the track “Runaway” and wrote the track’s lyrics.
 
Minho put his heart into the song’s choreography, an intricate dance routine featuring eight other dancers, and actively sought feedback from his bandmates and colleagues at SM Entertainment.
 
“U-Know Yunho of TVXQ! gave me extremely detailed feedback for my new lead track’s dance performance,” he said. “He gave me advice for almost every second of the performance video I sent him, attaching screenshots and all. I really wanted to get feedback from him, because he’s known for his dancing, but it was so much more detailed than I had expected!”
 
Boy band SHINee [SM ENTERTAINMENT]

Boy band SHINee [SM ENTERTAINMENT]

 
Nonetheless, Minho decided the music video should focus more on a storyline and express emotions rather than dance sequences.
 
“SM Entertainment is known for our powerful performances, but we decided to skip that in the music video for ‘Chase,’” he said. “Higher-ups at our agency usually suggest we show a lot of dance performances in our videos, but this time, they approved of my decision.”
 
Launching his solo career 14 years after debuting as a teen heartthrob, Minho admitted he was nervous and had been “sweating the whole time” during the press conference. He said he does feel pressure about how the EP will be received, but is also focusing on being himself.
 
Concept image for Minho's "Chase" [SM ENTERTAINMENT]

Concept image for Minho's "Chase" [SM ENTERTAINMENT]

 
“Between Minho the member of boy band SHINee and Minho the solo singer, there’s no big difference,” he said, wrapping up the event.
 
“My original form is always Minho of SHINee, and I feel like my solo music is a branch coming off of that. […] Rather than how this EP performs [commercially], what I care about most is people thinking, 'Minho got this done right. He expressed his story and is capable of doing it well.'”

BY HALEY YANG [yang.hyunjoo@joongang.co.kr]
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