EXCLUSIVE: Metro Talks With Korean Boy Group WINNER
In this exclusive, the members of this K-pop boy group talk about their comeback through their fourth EP "HOLIDAY" and share the stories behind the tracks in it
K-pop boy group WINNER has long since established their name in the music industry through their back-to-back hits and record-breaking achievements.
WINNER, composed of YOON (Kang Seungyoon), JINU (Kim Jinwoo), HOONY (Lee Seunghoon), and MINO (Song Minho), is a group under YG Entertainment that made their debut in 2014. The group, with five members at the time, was formed via the YG survival show, WIN: Who Is Next, where they competed as “Team A” and came out as the winners of the program, thus gaining the group title “WINNER” and the chance to make their debut.
The group officially debuted on August 17, 2014, with the title tracks “Empty” and “Color Ring.” WINNER went on to become the fastest K-pop group in history to win a music show, as they won their first-ever music show five days after their debut on August 21, 2014, on the show M! Countdown.
Their debut album, 2014 S/S, charted at #1 on the Gaon Album Chart and Billboard World Albums Chart. Their title track, “Empty,” garnered an all-kill on South Korea’s music charts, charting #1 across streaming platforms, while their other title track, “Color Ring,” charted #2 across streaming platforms. Because of the great success of WINNER’s debut, they won several Rookie of the Year Awards at the Mnet Asian Music Awards, Melon Music Awards, and Gaon Chart Music Awards, among others, and were then given the label as monster rookies.
The group was able to triumph over setbacks and several hiatuses and move forward with their music careers. Their title track, “Really Really,” released in 2017, charted #3 on Billboard World Digital Song Sales and was the first song by a male idol group in history to achieve “chart-in” 100 million streams, meaning that the song achieved 100 million streams while never leaving the Top 100 charts.
WINNER is known to be very versatile when it comes to music, as their discography contains a lot of various genres, including pop, disco, R&B, hip hop, ballad, and more. The group has shared in the past that they do not wish to give themselves limitations when it comes to exploring music genres, so this has since become one of the group’s many charms, quite possibly the group’s most defining charm. The members also participate in the songwriting, composition, and overall production of their music, with YOON often being acknowledged as the main producer for the group. Aside from this, the members have successful solo careers in music, acting, and variety shows, further establishing just how talented and well-rounded WINNER is not only as a group but also as individuals.
WINNER is also known to be the Kings of Summer, as the general public often correlates the group’s upbeat songs to the feeling and general vibe of summer. This brings us to WINNER’s latest comeback with their mini album, HOLIDAY, released last July 5, which is perfect for the summer season. The album has six songs, with “I LOVE U” being the title track. This marks WINNER’s comeback as a full group since their full-length album, Remember, back in 2020, as JINU and HOONY went on to enlist for mandatory military service.
We were given the great opportunity to interview the members about their comeback, and here’s what they had to say about it!
First, YOON shared that it’s been a long time since the members had come together to introduce an album and perform songs as WINNER, so he feels that every moment has become precious. HOONY expressed that looking at his hoobaes or juniors reminds him of the past, and has given him the opportunity to reflect on his growth and the growth of WINNER as a group.
On the topic of WINNER’s versatility and how this album is different from their previous releases, YOON said, “We made an album that everyone can enjoy. Instead of trying to make a song that made us look cool, since WINNER is already cool, we made a song that everyone can enjoy lightly.” HOONY added that this is a special album because the songs are more about the members’ personal situations and personal stories.
Watch WINNER talk more about their comeback and their latest tracks in this exclusive Metro Talks interview:
Video courtesy of YG Entertainment
Metro.Style editor: Grace Libero-Cruz
Video editing by Pat Buenaobra
Interview translation by Luccia de Leon
Additional photos and videos from YG Entertainment, @winnercity on Instagram, and Winner on YouTube
Special thanks to Applewood KR and Applewood PH