ST PHOTO: NURIA LING
The Korean entertainment scene can be a fickle world. So when South Korean boyband 2AM, known for their soulful ballads, wanted to do something different for their new repackaged mini album, they were worried their fans would defect.
The four-member group released the mini album, I Did Wrong, in March and included a new dance track of the same name.
The gamble paid off - I Did Wrong made it to the Top 40 of karaoke hits in South Korea within three months of its release.
In town for a showcase and to promote their album last Saturday, band leader Jo Kwon, 21, tells Life! through a translator: 'We've always been known for singing ballads and we were nervous about people's perceptions of us as we changed halfway from being a ballad group to singing dance tracks.
'We really trained very hard so that fans will like the new song in the repackaged album.'
Member Chang Min, 24, adds: 'We are glad that the response from everyone is so good, and it is a good form of encouragement for us.'
I Did Wrong is a repackaging of previous hits from their previous three albums with the addition of the title track as a new song.
Buoyed by their success, the pretty boy quartet will also be including more of such dance tracks in their new album, due out in September.
Chang says: 'We are not just focusing on ballads but will also look at fast numbers.'
While not quite in the ranks of, say, Super Junior, the band's first mini album, Can't Let You Go Even If I Die, which was released in January, sold a respectable 34,400 copies in South Korea within six months. Their agency also produced superstar South Korean girl group Wonder Girls.
Their success is a culmination of years of training. Jo, for instance, was a trainee for more than seven years before he was selected by his agency to be a star.
The quartet admit that they had a hard time as trainees.
Member Seul Ong, 23, says: 'We loved training because we were singing and dancing and that was what we liked to do. But we didn't know when we could debut, and that was very difficult for us. We felt like giving up from time to time.'
Youngest member Jin Woon, 19, agrees: 'We tried to overcome difficulties by thinking positively, and we encouraged one another along the way. It was good to have one another to depend on.'
And their fans, of course. The members use social networking site Twitter to stay in touch with their growing fan base.
Jo, who tweets several times a day, says he tweets in English more often for the sake of his international fans.
He adds: 'Whenever I tweet in English, I will check the spelling of my tweets several times before uploading them.'
In Singapore for the first time, the pop singers took time off to try the local delicacies - fried Hokkien mee and chicken rice.
Seul gives the food the thumbs-up, while Jo says: 'I've heard so much about the chilli crab and I must try it soon.'
"Jo, who tweets several times a day, says he tweets in English more often for the sake of his international fans." aww..why you so sweet Kwon~
Chilli crab FTW! Durians next! =D
Reported by Jocelyn Lee for the Straits Time (Singapore) [accessible to paying subscribers only]