You heard it: ENHYPEN isn’t going anywhere anytime soon as they continue to entertain their ever-growing global fanbase, ENGENEs.
In today’s ever-crowding world of K-pop, it has become simultaneously easier and harder for K-pop groups to build a career for themselves. On one hand, with how global K-pop has become, it won’t be that big of a challenge for groups to get their names out there, especially to fans overseas. But on the other, to stand out from the dozens of active groups and dozens more that will eventually come requires a truly concentrated effort.
It’s safe to say then that ENHYPEN, who debuted in November 2020, had the best of both worlds. When I-LAND was set to premiere in 2020, there was no guarantee that the show, and especially the group that it would form, would become a surefire hit. Yes, it had the backing of HYBE, which automatically got heads turning. But still, you just can’t assume given how fast people can move on to the next trend.
That, of course, did not happen.
I-LAND became one of the most talked about K-pop events of the year as twenty-three contestants, many of whom built fanbases just by being on the show, were whittled down to the final seven. And just like that, JUNGWON, HEESEUNG, JAY, JAKE, SUNGHOON, SUNOO, and NI-KI’s lives were changed forever as ENHYPEN formed and became a force in the K-pop scene. As the group approaches its second anniversary this November, it’s very much clear that the boy band from South Korea still has so much more to give.
THE FULL PACKAGE
As Heeseung, Jay, Jake, Sunghoon, Sunoo, Jungwon, and Ni-Ki were set to prepare for their debut with the full backing of BELIFT LAB and HYBE, the group already had a growing fanbase waiting for them. Their debut, Given-Taken, was a satisfying opener for what would soon become a whirlwind of a year. The group followed that up with a slew of singles and albums that showcased how the boys were getting better and better. There’s the immaculate Drunk-Dazed, the youthful Tamed-Dashed, the angsty Blessed-Cursed, and unapologetic Future Perfect (Pass the MIC). But it was through their B-sides that ENHYPEN really jumped from being just another K-pop boy group to K-pop’s next obsession.
FEVER was that B-side and scored the group their first true global crossover hit. That was then followed up in early 2022 with Polaroid Love, the heart-fluttering hit song that went uber viral on TikTok. It even spawned an equally popular fan-made dance challenge. Meanwhile, Foreshadow is begging for a full song release. Heck, even their music focused on children, Hey Tayo and Billy Poco, are catchy guilty-pleasures. But aside from a discography filled with hits and diverse fan favorites, the group has also been noted for their blend of honest lyrics with the use of mysticism and fantasy in their music videos.
Drunk-Dazed touched upon the aura of fame and attention, especially as the group is made up of teenagers no older than 20 who were thrust into the global spotlight. Blessed-Cursed, meanwhile, saw the group open up about how what we initially perceive as a blessing can become a curse with its downsides. Their latest lead single, Future Perfect (Pass the MIC), is a straight-up rejection of the status quo as the boys refuse to walk the line as they make their own journeys in life. And all while this is happening, their music videos built worlds that often hinted at more fantastical ideas that complemented the music.
When you watch a K-pop group perform, it’s expected that they deliver the goods, from synchronized moves to clear-cut formations. But when ENHYPEN performs, they perform. To watch an ENHYPEN performance is to watch a group deliver perfect choreography as they channel the energy of whatever track is on. To constantly hit the mark whenever they hit the stage can be a lot of pressure to pull off, but as they share, they have their ways of coping. “I try to prepare myself mentally before going on stage,” shares JAKE. “Because if I picture what’s going to happen in my head, I won’t be as flustered and do great.” It’s this kind of thinking that JAKE feels has helped him even once he steps off the stage. “It is not just about on the stage. The same goes for our lives, too.”
THE LOVE OF THEIR FANS
No ENHYPEN conversation is complete without mentioning their fans, ENGENEs. After all, one of 4th gen’s biggest boy groups did not get to where they are now if it weren’t for the help of their supporters. They truly go big for the boys, whether it be voting for them, streaming their music, or completing that coveted full set of photocards. And when it comes to their fans, there’s a special place for ENGENEs in the Philippines.
It’s no secret that many Filipinos love K-pop. But the hold the group has on many Filipinos is something else. If you could measure the tenacity, passion, and love ENGENEs in the Philippines have for ENHYPEN, it would be near the top. Their Filipino fans, the Philippines, and Pinoy culture, in general, are things the boys are no strangers to.
If you watch their V-lives, you probably know then the boys are aware of the word pogi and know its meaning. ENGENEs may also know the running joke that HEESEUNG is secretly a Pinoy thanks to his surprising fluency in Tagalog, among other things. Some of the members have also been to the Philippines.
There’s JAY, who says he went to Cebu once and described his trip as memorable, particularly remembering the views of the sea. During his figure skating era, SUNGHOON traveled to the country to compete in a competition called Asian Trophy, which he did well in. Even JUNGWON has expressed how he would love to visit Cebu one day. “The beach in Cebu is really famous. The emerald-colored beach,” describes the leader of ENHYPEN. “I don’t know if I have time to go, but if I do, I really want to go to a beach in Cebu.”
FUTURE-PERFECT WITH BYS
With all this and more, it’s really no wonder then that BYS Philippines tapped the group to serve as their ambassadors for the brand’s 10th anniversary, marking the first time ENHYPEN has participated in a local campaign. “We have to be in the now, with one foot in the future, constantly surprising and delighting our customers with cut-through product-lines, collaborations, and endorsers. And we’ve got to top ourselves, especially on our 10th anniversary. ENHYPEN is perfect with their edge, creativity, and personality,” details Angie Goyena, president of iFace, Inc.
Not only did the boys shoot an entire campaign with BYS, but they will also be gracing the shelves and social media platforms of BYS in the Philippines. ENHYPEN’s creative drive and goal of making connections is a match made in heaven with BYS’s own creative pillars and goal to connect with their customers. When asked about working with BYS Philippines, ENHYPEN shared how the products they shot with reminded them of the wonders of the country.
“The one I shot with, The Boracay Eye Shadow product, caught my eyes,” expresses SUNGHOON. “The front package design is pretty and most of all, I want to go Boracay right now. Guess that’s why I like the product.” As for JAY, he connected to the campaign on a deeper level thanks to how one of the songs on rotation on his playlist is from a Filipino. “The Shadow Manila Edition is my favorite. One of my favorite songs, it’s called Manila by Young Cocoa. I really like this song so I feel attached to it.”
INDIVIDUALS WITH THEIR OWN STORY TO TELL
It’s not just their music and stages that have attracted the boys fans from all four corners of the world. It’s also because each member has something to bring to the table and their own unique personalities that give the group its flavor. There’s JUNGWON, whose dynamic stage presence, cherry personality, and blackbelt in taekwondo sometimes mask his intense dedication as their leader. HEESEUNG is a born performer whose charms knows no bounds, whether it be the stage or his gaming computer. Noted corn lover JAY is as handsome as he is thoughtful (and don’t get us started on his underrated vocals).
Aussie boy JAKE radiates excited golden retriever energy that can give way to an often viral and attention-grabbing stage persona. Whether it is the ice rink or dance floor, SUNGHOON can make any stage he’s on his own. And don’t let his introverted nature fool you, the athlete-idol can also build a rapport with people as seen in his memorable run as a co-host on Music Bank alongside IVE’s Wonyoung. SUNOO has a rolodex filled with talents and a chameleonic stage presence while NI-KI is a 16-year-old kid behind all the talent, glitz, and glamour who just wants to have fun with his hyungs.
At the end of the day, ENHYPEN is made up of teenagers who have their own thoughts, emotions, and likes. Take NI-KI for example who finds himself gravitating towards rock these days. “I especially listen to rock a lot,” he shares regarding what’s on repeat in his playlist. As for one of the artists he likes, it’s none other than the Japanese rock band ONE OK ROCK. “Because the songs are good and also the lyrics, I listen to them every day.” In and outside of music, like any teenager, the members are continuously finding themselves as seven individuals. They rarely, if ever, get down in the dumps as exemplified by SUNOO’s life motto, “Be happy. No matter what I do, I hope I’m happy.”
ONWARD AND UPWARD
In just under two years, ENHYPEN has achieved more than what many groups have done in five. The group is proud owners of multiple best new artist awards, as well as two albums that have surpassed one million copies in sales in their native Korea. But still, the hits keep on coming for the boys. Following the release of their 3rd Mini Album MANIFESTO : DAY 1 in July, ENHYPEN achieved a major career milestone when they performed in their first-ever overseas concert at KPOP.FLEX in Frankfurt, Germany, in front of an impressive gathering of K-pop fans.
Speaking of concerts, the group recently embarked on their very first world tour, ENHYPEN WORLD TOUR ‘MANIFESTO,’ that will take them to the US and Japan later this year. And yes, the group also has its sights set on coming to the Philippines. In fact, as part of BYS Philippines’s 10th-anniversary celebration, the company is bringing the group to the Philippines for a special event on December 3 at the Araneta Coliseum. “It would be an honor to have the opportunity to go to the Philippines thanks to BYS,” quips HEESEUNG. “I heard there are a lot of ENGENE in the Philippines. It’ll be lots of fun and exciting to meet ENGENEs in person. I can’t wait to go.” And the best part is, ENGENEs and K-pop fans alike all have a chance to go and see their beloved ENHYPEN in person! Want to be a part of this special BYS 10th Anniversary event? Stay tuned to BYS Philippines’ socials on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more details.
If it hasn’t been made clear already, the shine that ENHYPEN had when they debuted has not worn off. In fact, it has only become brighter and more dazzling as the group continues to build a name for themselves and get bigger and better. Even with the biggest companies behind you, it’s not easy to become a global superstar, especially in just a short time. It’s a true testament then to ENHYPEN and all that they have going for them given their place in the K-pop world. As long as they continue to work hard and stay true to what makes them so loved by millions, it’s going to be a continuous journey up the hill for ENHYPEN. The boys aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
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Creative Agency: Wizard Manila
Director: Kim Junho
Producer: Peter Kang, Boyoung Lee, and Kim Seoyeon
Director of Photography: Bo Yun Choi
Art Director: Yang Hyun-Young
Hair: Sohee Kim
Makeup: Sojung Kwon
Stylist: Seyun Ji
Special thanks to: BYS Philippines