Hyunjin (real name Kim Hyunjin) has reawakened her dulled senses and taken flight. She has released the first album under Loossemble, the group formed together with LOONA peers Yeojin, Vivi, Go Won, and Hyeju, and taken powerful strokes for a new beginning.
Hyunjin entered the K-pop industry in earnest in November 2016, when she was revealed as the second member of LOONA. After the subunit LOONA ⅓, she began full group activities as LOONA in 2018, spanning stages domestic and international. This year, she was forced to take an unwanted hiatus while undergoing an exclusive contract dispute with her old agency.
Finally, after committing to legal conflict instead of activities for about half a year, Hyunjin made a new home at CTD E&M in June. The first album as a Loossemble member was released in September. Immediately after release, she announced re-debut with grandeur while touring 10 cities in the United States, and also successfully completed domestic promotions after the tour.
Meeting with EDaily for a Doldam interview at the KG Tower in Jung-gu in Seoul, Hyunjin said “I feel satisfied that I think we made a good impression of Loossemble’s image, completing the U.S. tour with our very first promotion.” She continued, “We also expected around 40,000 copies for the first week sales and were surprised to see over 70,000. It made me realize a lot of people waited for us to restart activities and it felt encouraging.”
Many members are said to have cried emotional tears during the U.S. tour. Hyunjin said, “I can still hear the fans’ cheers over the IEMs. While going through the tour, I thought it was such a good decision to not give up and return to the stage.” Looking back, she said: “Whenever I went on morning walks during the tour, people recognized me, and that made the international popularity feel more real. When someone said ‘Thanks for reconsidering’, it made me really emotional, too.”
As these results were obtained through hardship, the sense of achievement was even greater. Hyunjin said, “We only had about a month and a half for album preparations. There was a lot to prepare in a short period. We were keen to increase the quality since this was our first album, so we worked on preparation and practice while sleeping only 2~3 hours per day.”
Hyunjin is also carrying out Loossemble’s leader role. On this, she smiled, saying “It’s an unfamiliar job, but I’m pretty involved to begin with, and I’ve been good about finding compromise between the company and the members’ opinions, so fortunately I think it suits me well.”
In the first album, Loossemble included the Korean and English versions of title track “Sensitive”, as well as “Real World”, “Colouring”, “Newtopia”, “Strawberry Soda”, and “Day by Day”. Hyunjin said, “To show more growth compared to before, every member including me participated in lyric-writing, and we selected the choreography demos ourselves, too.”
In the album, they also incorporated a story of the members becoming crewmembers on a spaceship and setting out on a journey to find their friends. Saying “While preparing the album, we thought about the reasons why LOONA was beloved by fans,” Hyunjin explained that “Our conclusion was that a lot of people liked the team’s story of growth and the lore which had people curious about the future.” She added that “We wanted to incorporate a story that carries some of LOONA’s colors but can focus more on each individual member than before.”
Title track “Sensitive”, which stands out for a catchy and funky sound, is about the initiative-taking message of trusting in the senses that have brought you this far, and moving on even more boldly. It fits well with the Loossemble members, who are setting out on a new beginning. When told that the song is good, Hyunjin smiled and said “I picked it,” emphasizing that the members’ opinions were reflected in the song selection process as well.
Meanwhile, at the domestic showcase for the album’s release, the other LOONA members now at other homes attended and filled the stands alongside fans. Hyunjin was grateful: “When we sang ‘Day by Day’, the song I wrote lyrics for, as the encore, the members cheered for us holding up placards with slogans on them.”
As Hyunjin said “That looked funny, but on the other hand I also thought, ‘Why are the members who should be right next to me sitting over there,’ and that made me sad too,” her eyes welled up momentarily as if overcome. Hyunjin said of her hopes: “I think we are just on a temporary rest right now, and I don’t think LOONA activities are completely over. All the members have trust in each other, so I’m hoping that one day we will become one again.”
After gathering herself, Hyunjin laughed and said “That story we incorporated into the first Loossemble album, where we become spaceship crew and set out for friends, you never know if that will lead into a big picture where we end up meeting the LOONA members.” She also made sure to remind readers about the upcoming Loossemble fan meeting on the 25th of this month.
“Sometimes I’m tired and exhausted, but I still like this job,” said Hyunjin, adding that “I think the most important thing for an idol is a firm mindset and constant effort.”
Hyunjin said, “I think the most important thing is how you approach your activities. I’ve been realizing that if you want more attention and love than others in the entertainment industry, you need to be working and thinking harder, and you need to have that desire.”
Then, looking back on the LOONA activities, she said “With 12 members, each individual could only receive short lines. Sometimes I only had two seconds, and through those experiences, I came to understand that you need to have the initiative to do more when you have the chance.”
Further, she emphasized that “Even when I’m on a break from activities, I’m continuing to practice even little by little so I won’t get complacent, working to fill out where I’m lacking.” She then smiled proudly, saying “Fortunately, I think I’ve been good about maintaining the mindset that I established when I was dreaming of becoming an idol. I never lost the beginner’s mindset.”
Hyunjin first stepped foot into the industry in middle school, after appearing on the tvN variety show 3 Idiots’ “Beauty Since Birth Awards” special episode. Hyunjin said, “Before that, I’d never even attended an applied music academy. I appeared on the “Beauty Since Birth Awards” as the teenager representative and won fifth place, then I got cast by the agency, and started trainee life.”
To achieve her idol dreams, Hyunjin left her family home in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, and lived with her oldest brother in Mok-dong, in the Yangcheon district of Seoul. Hyunjin reminisced: “I had a tough routine, taking the subway between the practice room in Apgujeong, Gangnam and my brother’s apartment. That’s the time when a fourteen-year-old girl became tougher and determined.”
That oldest brother that she lived with was also a band member. Hyunjin said, “My oldest brother went to college for music, so that helped when I was auditioning. These days, my brother is unable to focus fully on music, and one of my wishes is to become more successful so I can help his music career too.”
Hyunjin also spoke of a goal to become active as a solo singer and actress in the future. When asked about a direction of solo artistry she’s interested in, Hyunjin replied “I want to be a performance-type singer.” She then added, smiling, “I used to like dancing even as a kid, but I was bad at it. I’ve only gotten good at dancing through lots of practice, so I have to hold on to dance.”
Hyunjin added, “Watching Chuu unnie’s performance, after her solo release recently, made me desire being a soloist even more. If I get the chance, I want to do solo promotions with a song that takes me a step closer to the public.”
She’s also been getting acting lessons consistently, even before Loossemble’s first album and tour. “I’m adventurous and like to have different experiences, so I want to be aggressive about acting too.” She smiled, saying “I started acting lessons for the first time after joining this current agency, but I’ve always enjoyed copying scenes from movies and dramas.”
She also mentioned characters she’d like to act. Hyunjin said, “I’m a cold-looking but innocent image, so I think Suzy sunbaenim’s role in the movie Architecture 101 might fit well. I’d like to act out a role like that and earn a title like ‘the nation’s first love’,” showing off an ambition.
She picked honesty as her unique charm. Hyunjin emphasized: “I’m an idol who’s exactly the same on the outside and inside. I’m really honest and don’t embellish. My personality is also simple and frank.” She added, “I’m never afraid to show my face without makeup to the fans, either. When you like someone, you want to show everything, right. That’s how special the fans are to me.”
While discussing her honest charms, Hyunjin once again showed pride about the fact that she was “born a beauty”. She said, “Sometimes I get DMs on social media like, ‘You’re so pretty the way you are, so please never get plastic surgery,’ and I feel good whenever I see something like that.” Vowing, she said “I’ll never touch up my face, and I’m going to show my natural side to the fans.”
“I’m sure a lot of people don’t know me well yet. Since I’ve started out on a new beginning, I want to introduce myself to more people, and I want to become a better person befitting that. I’ll work hard to become a more influential idol who makes fans happy.”