[Interview] Teen Top’s Niel Talks Finding Passion for Music, What Teen Top Means to Him and More
Everyone has a dream. But they have different ways of achieving them. Many members of idol groups also have a dream. It is to make a solo debut. The same was true for Teen Top’s Niel, who debuted in July 2010 and has been promoting actively.
Then the opportunity finally came for him to make a solo debut in February 2015. “Every idol member’s dream is probably to make a solo debut,” said Niel, who returned with his first solo mini album oNIELy.
He released the title song Lovekiller on February 16 and held a showcase, launching promotions for his solo activities.
- You are the first to make a solo debut from Teen Top. Is there any reason for this?
▶ I showed my potential through programs, such as Immortal Song. The company paid attention to this and when the members began their individual activities, they gave me the opportunity to go solo. I tightly grabbed that chance. I will be promoting as Teen Top soon but as much as the members are currently focusing on their individual activities, we’ve been cheering each other on.
- Why did you choose to release a solo album when the other members have been challenging themselves with acting?
▶ I experienced something similar to a slump last year. I wondered if I was going down the right path. I think it was worse since I’m shy and I’m not the type that likes to go out a lot. I had many worries but then when I appeared on Mnet’s 4show, I talked to many different people, and I had a realization. Along with the determination to change myself, my thoughts became firmer about music.
- Tell us about your solo album
▶ The album is called oNIELy because it reflects my desire to contain music that I can do and express with my voice. It holds a total of seven tracks, including the title song. I actually wanted to include more but the company told me it has to be a mini album (laughter), so I had to obey. More than anything, I wrote a song for this album. It’s a song called Affogato and it harmonizes sweetness and bitterness. I hope that many of the songs, from the title track Lovekiller and Affogato to Song of an Angel from Lucid Fall sunbaenim, can all be loved.
- We heard that this is the first time that Lucid Fall gave a song to an idol singer
▶ I was also shocked when I heard that. This is the first time that he wrote a song for an idol singer. He told me that he watched many of my performances and praised my unique voice. I feel a bit regretful since I recorded the song after working throughout the night before, but I guess nothing can be perfect. (smile)
- You have been promoting in various ways, appearing on Running Man and more.
▶ I actually have a shy personality but I wanted to work hard in whatever I was given since it’s my solo activities. So I went on Running Man and filmed Star Golden Bell as well. Running Man has already been aired but I wanted to save my face when I was rolling on the mud flat. Hahaha. I wanted to seem cool to the fans, since I’ve shown my ugly side too many times. But I ended up being covered in mud because Yoo Jae Suk sunbaenim caught me. I enjoyed it since I wasn’t afraid of being ruined. More than anything, I thought Kwang Soo hyung was really amazing. He didn’t care even when his pants fell off in the cold weather. I felt like he’s a true pro.”
- Now that you’re about to promote as a soloist, what does Teen Top mean to you?
▶ It might sound cliché, but they’re like my family and brothers. There are groups that are more like business but we spent more time with each other than family and went through difficult times together. So we became a family that can help each other out during difficult times.”
- Are you close to the members?
▶ I’m very close to them. We became friends because we spent our school days together. My role model is Shinhwa sunbaenims and they told me to fight them if there is something bothering me, instead of holding it in. So there were times when we actually fought, but I think that made us become tighter. The six of us gathered at the end of January and shared honest conversations. Since we’re at the age to be thinking about the future, we have deeper thoughts and can complement each other better.
- What are your goals for your activities this year?
▶ I will be working hard as the first to go solo from Teen Top. Since I’m also preparing to promote as Teen Top, this year will be a very busy year for me.
- Please share your last words of determination
▶ I started off as a child actor so I tried acting too but in the past few years, I felt like music suits me better. I would like to show myself growing in terms of music. I will become Niel, who grows as a soloist and as a member of Teen Top.
Photo credit: enews/ Kim Byung Kwan
- Teen Top Niel (Teen Top)
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