[SHIN] How This Man LivesㅣShin Wonho, Leader of Idol ‘Cross Gene’
“Cross Gene leader who received a gift of eternal youth”
How This Man Lives ㅣSinger Shin Wonho
Members who became strong like a family
“I remember every detail. A classroom with heavy desks and chairs, a pool of water caused by the melted show… Even now, if I close my eyes, I can see my classmates’ back.”
Fred Ullman’s short novel ‘Classmate’ main character Hans remembers 30 years ago just like it’s yesterday, and cherishes the time together with his friends dearly.
Five-membered male idol group Cross Gene’s leader Shin Wonho(27) resembles Hans. 10 years in total combined with training days, he remembers clearly the moments of crying and laughing with the members. The fluttering feeling of standing on debut stage, the happiness of getting new artist award in Korean Culture Entertainment Awards, exceeding Korea gaining popularity in Japan, and deeply touching first concert in Tokyo…
All this while the path Cross Gene walked on is filled with shining moments. Among those the moments he treasures in his heart unexpectedly are common daily ones.
“On the day our maknae Yongseok first entered high school, the members all took him to school. Because if we accompany him it feels like Yongseok would feel less nervous. On rainy days the members who have finished their class early together would come fetch the ones who didn’t bring umbrella. When those fun times of everything has to be done together come to mind, I become cherishing the members more. Even though now I’m still with them everyday.”
Because he’s spending youth together with members who are like friends, the weight of leader position never weighs down on his shoulders. But even so he has worked hard to take good care more on even if it’s one thing and understand more the members’ feeling even if it’s little. He wants to share deep conversation with Japanese member Takuya so inside moving car, waiting room, like he has nothing to do anywhere he didn’t let go of Japanese book and studied hard, his love for his members one by one exceeds family.
It’s been 7 years since debut. As the time being together stacking up more, without realizing the members has become family to him. That’s why fifth mini album ‘ZERO’ that was released on last May becomes more special. As much as it is the first album after being rearranged from six members to five with the sixth member Casper leaving, they stick together more than other times and prepared it.
Every time the burden gets bigger as the leader to lead the rest well, he doesn’t forget the feeling of gratitude to the members who are shared the burden carried in his heart.
“While preparing the album this time we shared a lot of conversations with each other about us going to a better direction forward. Members sharing about Cross Gene’s strength and improvement made me feel secure. It’s a confusing time but instead it felt like we understand each other more, it becomes a period where we become closer so I’m happy.”
The feeling of having to separate with friends who dream the same dream and share joy and sorrow with him was huge, but at the thought of having to become support for the members beside him he didn’t get sad for long. Soon he pulled himself together and encouraged the members to not forget about identity of Cross Gene being ‘Idols who give matured music’.
In this fact that Cross Gene are adapting, memories with the members are put. When they debuted Cross Gene who were in their early 20’s had disadvantage for being above average compared to other groups that was in their 10’s. The six trainees who fell into worry of how big the competitiveness would be and what should they do, finally came to solution of ‘hook song and distinct sincere song’.
For him who can’t forget that moment when they looked at each other pleasingly as if saying ‘If it’s a sincere song of our own, we will be able paint the world beautiful with it!’ with their eyes, Cross Gene’s music philosophy that doesn’t age is equal to a milestone.
“We want to put the joy, sorrow, or other emotions that we feel into melody and lyrics as whole. It is so that the people who listen can empathize with it. No matter which genre all music can become healing. We want to make people listen to music that makes them feel better.”
If together with friends, it’s always a youthful day
As much as the effort to make music that contains sincerity, Cross Gene needs a long time to prepare.
Compared to average comeback cycle of other idol groups which is four months, Cross Gene’s hiatus is six months at least. This time too ‘ZERO’ is released after one year and three months, so it can be guessed just how much work invested in it.
If looked upon at their active participation in album making, collided opinions do occur. At that time the leader Shin Wonho puts himself before others and gives enough time so that he can exchange wholehearted opinions with the members.
It’s no telling he trusts that it won’t spread to become fight of feeling, to accommodate each members’ high musicality even if trial and error comes from time to time, he positively thinks that it’s a progress that brings out the creativity in music.
He who always listens to the members’ voices first gains huge strength from only the fact that his reliable friends are beside him. He who wants for all of them to carry on living while smiling more than competing, does sometimes feel that idol life is hard. When he learned about news article that compares them to top idol groups that releases album overlapping with them and predicts the success rate, the harsh reality made him sad.
Happiness just for being able to create music with the members, he’s upset that it feels like people around him denying that and saying it’s not what happiness is. Even so, him spending most of his time happy is because of the joy of being together with the members.
“Yesterday when we are on our way to music broadcast shooting site, Sangmin suddenly humming to a pop song. Upon that the members who were on their phone or listened to music sang along and burst out laughing. That situation is fun and also warm. I really like that trivial moment when it is felt that our hearts connect without even saying anything.”
The idol group’s leader is at that age where it’s still fine to feel the joy of life more than the bitter taste of competition.
“I’m fine with whichever my image is. Whether it’s me being popular star, whether it’s me without popularity, I like them all.”
From those words he said, the image of him enjoying the present is still as it is. In his daily life fun times are definitely more than the disappointing ones.
During album preparation they did dance practice then went outside together to play baseball, during times like recently whenever there’s leisure time they often go for a drive to Bugak Mountain Highway; He kept smiling all throughout telling those stories.
Work is work, hobby is hobby, he’s a friend-like leader that won’t get bored when doing anything together; He’s also a leader that even in between packed schedule of doing music and acting activity at the same time, comes to support the musical or play that the members starred in without fail like he’s the oldest.
While doing activity as Cross Gene, among bearing fruit of getting recognition or 1st place, there’s a more important thing. That is to be a lifetime friend. He’s building close friendship as he wants to remain as a cherished friend not a leader to the members.
“If you go to country village there would be a tree that has been there for long. Either when being together or apart, I for the rest of our lives want to be a friend like that tree. I want to create a wide shade that they can go back to and rest under,” he said, the blue light of youth that won’t fade for a long time poured upon his hopeful face.
Article Han Jaewon reporter | Photos Choi Sunho