[Mag] Key for GQ August 2017

[Mag] Key for GQ August 2017





Translation by SHINee USA Staff

SHINee Key “I really cannot hide who I am” (Source: GQ)

‘I can’t hide it, this bashfulness/ I can’t hide it, my joy, my excitement/ The wind blows the scent of flowers here/ Wanting to fly high, I’ve become a butterfly’

After interviewing SHINee’s Key and on the way back home, Sanullim’s (산울림) song kept appearing in my mind. (TN: Lyrics are from the song ‘숨길 수 없네’ you can listen to the song here.


I see you’re smiling.
Yesterday was the broadcast for Lookout‘s final episode. You know, it really seemed like it was never going to end. I was living like I always had this kind of tension (presses down on his shoulders) on me. Now that it’s done I feel carefree.


Thinking how you just finished your drama, I expected to meet a Key whose energy was completely depleted, but you have an unexpected light expression.
I don’t really like living with high-tension. Honestly, it isn’t possible to enjoy living like that. I’m just working this hard to enjoy the feeling when it all finishes. The feeling of a full heart. A worthwhile feeling. You know, this is the kind of work I do. I can give people support and joy, and sometimes I purposely make them feel sadness, but I do it all for the feeling of looking back upon my work as soon as I finish. What I hate most is practicing, and what I love most is standing on stage. But if you want to stand on a stage you need to rehearse right? So I am always full of worry. What should I do? This is really big. What do I do if it doesn’t work out? Sometimes as soon as I sign a contract I suddenly don’t want to do it. Maybe it’s because I know there’s so many processes waiting~


In the end the only thing you can do is prepare.
I’m not a perfectionist, but I do what needs to be prepared. Whether that’s movement or dialogue. Whether it’s correct or not. Whether I’m good at it or not.


Whether you perform on stage, or appear in a drama, there were moments when you had to resolve and cancel your schedules, right? It’s much more difficult/fleeting than a flower’s bloom.

Right. When I think about how I’ve already become a 10th year idol, I’ve really become good at compromises, like I can tell what needs to be let go of? Things like that. Like how during today’s photoshoot, I focused on whether each cut was maintaining the original vision of this pictorial more than if my face looks good in the shots. I mean, everyone already knows how I look at this point right? Actually, during Drinking Solo and Lookout I had hairstyles that are not my personal style. I really actually hated those hairstyles. However they were right for the characters weren’t they? It’s more convincing, you know?


I don’t know if it’s because of that, but your image strangely doesn’t give a fixed feeling. At a glance, it seems like Key is the most extravagant and provocative among SHINee’s members, but in reality you don’t give that feeling. It seems like you are hiding yourself, and yet that also enables you to always present something new.

If we say it like that, I would actually really hope people wouldn’t expect too much of my acting in dramas. Always sticking to the same image, always trying to look good, I don’t have any craving for that. I think it might be like I want to try things out since I won’t give the same type of feeling as before.


Most people want to find a steady rhythm in their lives, but I guess you would know how to find your own satisfaction best.
Actually, when I was younger my goal was to be the most famous and the most popular. Of course I was that way. But now that isn’t exactly my goal. Like you said, for each opportunity that passes by there is another goal you want to achieve. As this has happened, there’s actually been more events I could’ve never imagined come my way from all kinds of directions.


As things disappear, they’re actually all building up. (TN: ‘as you lessen your load, you’re actually making room for more work/experience/opportunities’).

As they add up like that, they become my energy and can return as opportunities. I think that much better work, better than I could ever imagine, will come my way as they disappear and add up one by one, more so than if I consciously trying to plan my future.


But SHINee always remains the center for you, right?
That’s right. SHINee debuted in a rapidly changing generation. When we debuted I don’t think people even used the word WiFi, but now we can receive messages in real time from countries I’ve only heard of for the first time. It can feel completely natural but also can feel jarring. I realize, ‘there’s really this many people who have expectations for me’, so I can’t really have thoughts like ‘I can do whatever I want next’, when a choice has to be made. I don’t want to disappoint anyone.


Having this much influence makes a difference, right?
I want to become someone who has a lot of influence. It’d be great if I could have an overflowing presence. I noticed this while doing an advertisement for women’s accessories; I want to have an attractiveness that goes beyond masculine or feminine. I want to become someone who influences others while constantly showing new sides of me.


We actually feel your charm through this side of you. David Bowie was like that, transcending beyond masculine and feminine.
I really like David Bowie. Though he also received his share of criticism right?


You seem to find this criticism interesting.
Don’t you think receiving criticism is something you need? If you’re afraid of criticism then it’s like you lose your competitiveness. A bland celebrity is just someone people aren’t interested in talking about. It’s much better to receive critique. I like being someone who can influence others that way.


And that’s the power of influence. But I don’t sense any emphasis or force from you.
I guess that’s because I’m not stubborn. I don’t obsess over useless things.


You weren’t always like that, right?
Of course. I used to be super stubborn. As I worked, I changed. In the past, I used to just want to do everything, like only sing cool, powerful songs, and only do what I was good at. Since we debuted at a young age, from there we released albums like it was just expected, earned money like it was expected, moved on to the next activity like expected. But is it proper to only want to do what I’m good at? In the end I’m a person who has to show myself to others and listen to them right? It’s about finding balance. Even if you say the song that’s number one on the charts right now is strange, it’s what people want to listen to in the end. It’s important to catch onto that as fast as possible. Actually I had these thoughts myself not too long ago.


What was it that influenced these kind of thoughts?
This isn’t just specific to music, I’ve had experiences where I’ve done something and, completely outside my expectations, others just aren’t interested in it. Like when, even if I thought I did really well during a broadcast, it all gets edited out, or when I think that a song is really amazing yet no one listens to it. I only realized after repeating these worries in my mind. This is a really basic thing isn’t it? I guess I have to compromise between the work I want to do and the work I have to do don’t I? But even still it seems like I’m in the right generation.


In the past, idols used to have to only do important work while at the same time kind of conceal themselves. However these days the frequency of your exposure is directly related to your popularity. The current generation, overrun with Facebook ads, couldn’t even have been fathomed back then. This generation where you have to constantly show yourself without reservation – it fits a person like me, a person who thinks carefully about every aspect of work. It fits me really well. Of course I have the company behind me, supporting me, but they can’t do everything for me. I also think that I have to do my own marketing to market myself.


Is there anything you regret or find disappointing?
I used to regret that I was spending my 20s like this. Somehow it seemed like I was always diligently working, without any time for myself. Then when I looked at my friends, it seemed like they were all out having fun. But now that I look back, it all seems fair. It really is “fair”(TN. He uses the English word for “fair” the second time). Since everything is relative.


Before you know it, you’re this big star. Aren’t you anxious?
I have lots of worries but I’m not anxious.


What would you say is your favorite time of day?
Even though every day is different, I have to say going to work in the morning is my favorite. After washing up and putting on basic skin care products, it feels the best. Even if I didn’t get to sleep more than a few hours, I really love the moment between getting ready and waiting to begin work the most.


While taking the photos today, we said “Like the time you’re alone in a room” and “Just don’t do anything”~ How was it?
I liked it. In my opinion I’m someone who appreciates alone time more than anyone. If there’s a person who won’t interrupt this aspect – I’ll have to marry that person. Even though I like being alone, when I go outside I look like an extroverted person. But no matter what, when I’m home I spend time truly just by myself. I prefer being alone, whether it’s worrying, or practicing. I feel like I’ll be able to think better.


There’s always work you have to try out at first, right?
Right. I used to not have much interest in musicals at all. But the opportunity to work came, so I just tried it out. And I ended up having so much fun. I started looking up every other musical I could. I would know what type of production this or that musical actor would be working on this time – that was how interested I became.


You aren’t the type that’s easy to become close to right away, right?
When I work with others, I don’t specifically think about whether or not they like me. I can also act kind of indifferent. Like as if I’m trying to hide part of myself. Even when I’m just sitting still, others often ask me if something is wrong/bothering me. But I was just spacing out.


Do you cry often?
I do cry easily. Like when other people aren’t crying I suddenly find something strange to cry about myself.


Your timing for humor is similar, right? I’ve seen you burst out clapping and choking by yourself several times.
That’s right. I seems like I really cannot hide myself.





Photoshoot Interview (trans)


Official Updates

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.