Despite having only arrived at dawn, NU`EST began their day almost immediately at St James Powerhouse for their showcase rehearsal. Fatigue aside, the members displayed their professionalism as the met the media and fans in smiles that afternoon during the press conference, photo taking session, fansign and showcase.
This being NU`EST’s first trip to Singapore, what more apt a time than now to find out more about the boys – How they joined Pledis, how they coped with school, what can fans anticipate in the future and what they do during their free time.
What makes NU`EST different from other K-Pop groups?
JR: The biggest difference is that we tried to incorporate different elements in our dance, such as using props like chairs, to create depth for the choreography.
What can the fans anticipate in the future?
Baekho: We would like to reach out internationally instead of just staying in the Korean market. As such, we would like to show all of you out there the development and evolvement of NU`EST.
How did NU`EST join Pledis? Was it through casting or auditions?
Aron: For me, I auditioned for the 2010 Pledis USA Auditions and I got first place. So after the audition, I came into the company and became a part of NU`EST.
Baekho: I was playing with my friends in my hometown (A/N: Jeju Island) and I was casted by the Music Director.
JR: I was casted when I was heading home from school and at first I thought that it was a con as I was not interested in the entertainment industry initially. But my interest grew and that is why I’m here today.
Ren: I went to audition at Pledis Entertainment when I was in ninth grade as my dream was to be a singer.
Minhyun: I was also casted when I was heading home from school but the difference was the fact that I’m really interested in the entertainment industry so I didn’t think of it as a con and I was really happy to be able to be a part of Pledis.
With the average age of 17.4, all of you must have been still schooling. How do you juggle your time between schedule, singing, dancing and practising on top of your school curriculum?
Baekho: We are attending an entertainment-performance related school so the school and our management company is always trying to adjust our schedules so that we can head for lessons. As such, there is not much issues juggling both of them.
Having starred in several of your seniors’ MVs, do any of you have plans to enter the acting scene or is there an area you would like to try out?
JR: Yes, a few of us have starred in our seniors’ MVs but they have no plans yet to head into acting. However, should there be an opportunity, we would like to try it out too someday.
This is NU`EST’s first time in Singapore. What is your impression of Singapore and your Singapore fans?
Aron: Singapore is definitely one of the cleanest country I’ve ever been to. And the people are really nice. I’m really glad to meet you guys and it’s definitely a pleasure to be here.
NU`EST made their debut with FACE, a powerful track that discusses societal problems of bullying in schools. What are your personal thoughts on this social issue?
Baekho: We cannot change the whole world and we cannot fix all the problems out there but at least through this song, we hope that everyone can rethink about this issue.
In ACTION, NU`EST sings about breaking free and daring to be different. In your opinion, how is NU`EST uniquely different from other K-Pop groups?
JR: Our uniqueness could be seen from the albums we produce as it does not only dependant on what the producers want, but instead, the producers and management do listen to our stories as we are students now and we know what issues are worth discussing. As such, our uniqueness is that we participate in every song, with our own story.
Which of the old time boy group inspire you the most and why?
Minhyun: I admire TVXQ and Bigbang the most. For TVXQ, they have very powerful stage and impactful dances. And for Bigbang, they are artistes who know how to communicate with their fans through their stages.
JR: We love all the senior groups and we learn from their stages so that we can be as good as them.
What is your favourite food in Singapore?
Aron: We actually arrived only today so we haven’t eaten much but I heard about Chili Crab so I really want to try those out.
Baekho: 만두 (T/N: Korean-style Dumplings)? Singapore-style만두? (A/N: I think he actually meant Guo Tie (锅贴))
JR: It’s my first time in Singapore so I would like to try everything that anyone recommends.
Aron: Durian? Is that like a fruit? Baekho says he likes it.
Ren: I like everything about Singapore food.
Minhyun: I’ve not tried anything yet as we just arrived, but I would like to try as much as I can.
Out of all the MVs you’ve filmed thus far, which MV do you like the best?
Aron: For me, I would say ACTION. I like ACTION because the song is good and the message is good and I think the tune is good too. And the dance is good so I can say ACTION is my favourite.
Baekho: Sandy is my favourite as it is being produced with our fans.
JR: I like all the MVs’ concepts but I would like to try different styles in the future for our new songs and albums.
Ren: I love FACE the most as it is our debut single and the MV’s concept was awesome.
Minhyun: I like my solo teaser for FACE the most as in it, I was playing the piano. I would like to try a similar concept again. But the problem is that I do not know how to play the piano and I memorised that part just for the teaser.
Sandy is a romantic proposal song. Is there any female artiste that you want to dedicate the song to?
Aron: Sandy was definitely dedicated to the fans who have been supporting us so there isn’t really an artiste I want to dedicate it to.
What were your first impressions of each other when you guys first met?
Baekho: Aron was really cute and funny cause he was from the US and at that time Korea was really cold, so he wore long coats and big pants which was really hilarious.
Aron: Cause I was from LA and there was no snow in LA and it was not really cold in LA as it’s like warm most of the time and when I went to Korea it was like snowing blizzards and I almost died last year.
JR: Aron is the funniest guy from LA.
How do you feel about the successful debut of your group and what’s the most memorable experience?
JR: We do not think that we had a successful debut yet and we want more and we would like to reach out to the world. The most memorable experience had to be our debut stage.
As the leader, were there any moments you feel that you faced difficulty in managing NU`EST?
JR: To be a leader, usually the member should be older than the other members, but we are all friends. So it is a little difficult to be a leader, but not in a negative way because we are all friends.
Not Over You portrayed the boys in a relaxed mood doing leisure activities. What does each member do during their free time?
Baekho: We enjoy our free time by playing the play station or games. And sometimes we watch movies and even do shopping.
JR: However, recently, we are all obsessed with watching dramas. Whenever one of us say that this drama is really good then the rest of us will be addicted.
Baekho: Dramas such as Nice Guy, Reply 1997.
Did NU`EST hear about Singapore from other artistes that had been here before and what are they expecting from the Singapore fans?
Baekho: There is a staff in Pledis that mentioned before that Singapore is really a clean and beautiful city so I had big expectations of Singapore. And what we are expecting from Singapore fans is their enthusiastic applause as it is going to be our biggest motivation when we perform beautiful stages for all of you.
What can Singapore fans expect from Singapore’s showcase seeing that it is their first time performing in Singapore.
JR: We will show everything that we’ve got just.
Minhyun: And in between songs, there will be games and fan interactions so please anticipate.
What is one thing you hope to achieve now that you’ve become a singer as a member of NU`EST?
Baekho: I want to have a global tour.
Minhyun: I want to receive an award during the year end shows and I want to cry on stage.
JR: I want to have a big-scale concert with 100,000 or 200,000 fans gathered and to be able to do this, we need the support of you fans.
It is common for members in groups to have disagreements from time to time. Who is the mediator in the group and how do you resolve the conflicts in the group?
Aron: I’m the oldest in the group so I’m the형 (T/N: older brother). There is a difference between형 and동생(T/N: younger brother) right? So when they are fighting, I will be like “하지마! Stop!” (T/N: Don’t do it!) and they will be like “네,형.” There is not that many disagreements in the group as we are really close with each other and we get along really well.
Where do you see yourselves in 5 years?
JR: After 5 years, NU`EST will be on the top and maybe touring around the world.
Which countries would you like to visit?
What does NU`EST intend to achieve in the music industry in the future?
JR: To be the top in the Billboard charts.
If NU`EST were to bring a lucky Singaporean fan to Korea, where would you bring them to and why?
Minhyun: I am from Busan so I would like to bring the fan to Busan and show her the tourist attractions in my hometown.
Ren: My hometown is in Busan too and there is a beautiful beach called Haeundae and I would like to swim with the fans and eat good food together.
JR: My hometown is in Gangwon-do and my parents own a small restaurant there. So I would like to bring my fans there for a meal together.
Baekho: I would like to bring my fans to my hometown, Jeju Island, where the beautiful mountains and the beautiful sea are.
Aron: I would like to say LA but it’s not is Korea so… We shot our Sandy MV in Myeongdong and I think I would like to take a fan there cause I think it will be fun to go there for a date.
Were there any moments as a trainee where you seriously considered dropping out? If yes, why? And if no, what kept you going?
Baekho: Yes, there were occasions. I am someone who needs to have sufficient sleep so I really had a hard time waking up.
JR: Even though trainings were tough and there are difficult situations back then, but our teamwork is beautiful. That is why you see NU`EST here.
If you didn’t debut as singers, what will you be?
Aron: I would be a college student.
Baekho: I will probably be in school since I’m 18. (A/N: 17 in international age)
JR: Maybe I would just remain as a normal student.
Ren: I’m interested in fashion so maybe I will be a fashion designer.
Minhyun: My dream is to be a singer so while studying, I may join Superstar K.
Was there any memorable events which the fans prepared for you?
Baekho: On April’s Fool Day, fans teamed up together for a joke and while they are performing, there were actually no fans.
Baekho: It was nearing Minhyun’s birthday so the Thailand fans sang Happy Birthday to Minhyun at the airport.
What is the boys’ definition of a perfect day?
JR: A perfect day will be to show you what NU`EST has got on a stage like this.
Minhyun: I’ve nothing to say cause JR has the best answer.
Christmas is coming. What present would you like to receive the most?
Aron: Your love.
Minhyun/Baekho: A new album.
JR: We do not want to receive anything but instead, we want to give you all something.
One last thing you would like to say to your fans out there.
Aron: We would like to thank you guys for coming here and supporting us. It’s definitely an honour and a pleasure and we hope you guys enjoy the day today. Thank you.
Known for their charismatic dance performance, the showcase opened with FACE, along with their signature chair dance, to hype the crowd up. It was then continued with a slow melancholic I’m Sorry, which undeniably changed the mood of the showcase immediately, as it no doubt showcased NU`EST’s singing abilities.
After greeting the crowd with waves and hearts, NU`EST proceeded with a mid tempo track, Not Over You, where the crowd saw a never seen before side of NU`EST during a performance- playful, active and lively.
What’s a showcase without fan interactions? Three lucky fans were chosen to head on stage for a mini competition with NU`EST, where they had to dance to a short verse of FACE, and the lucky winner got to take away a personal gift specially prepared by Ren – a Lady Gaga shirt.
And yes, with Gangnam Style being the hottest thing in this Hallyu Wave now, the NU`EST boys showcased their rendition of it. Members Baekho and Aron undoubtedly showed signs of embarrassment though it was not hard to notice that Ren was totally into it, teasing the audience with winks as he danced throughout.
With Ren’s birthday coming round the corner, the local fanclub prepared a cake to celebrate his birthday in advance, and the birthday boy revealed his birthday wish of wanting their fans to support NU`EST forever.
NU`EST ended their showcase with an impactful dance stage, ACTION, and thanked their fans for gracing this showcase.