Exclusive interview with new K-pop idol JENT

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With the K-pop scene forever churning out new talent who are scrambling for the top spot, sometimes the idea of getting fame becomes more important than the music. But someone who I am pleased to see who has kept his roots is the upcoming solo artist JENT.

Being part of the boy group PURE, known for their releases “I Still Love You” and “Wedding Day“, it wasn’t long till member Lee Jungbin wanted to embark on his own adventure and try his hand at going solo along with new entertainment and business, Kompany93.

JENT has been working hard on his first solo single titled “Girl Like Coffee” but managed to take a little time out to record a greetings video and hold an interview with MCM Buzz. He chatted about his experiences in the past, what he is doing at present, and what he would like to be doing in the future.

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hello everyone, my name is JENT and I am a new solo artist debuting with my first digital single, Girl Like Coffee. I hope you enjoy my music!

You had previously debuted under the boy group PURE but are currently taking on a solo journey. What are the key differences between being in a group and going solo? 

Being part of a team is more about the team work and promoting the group more than individual musical colours. At the moment as a solo artist I admit that it is a little lonelier compared to being part of PURE, but I do prefer it as I can discuss more about my music and about my concept and work.

The K-pop music industry is one of the fastest paced industry’s going. Where would you like to see yourself in 5-10 years time? 
I want to see myself  having a day on the Billboard charts as it has always been my dream to be able to promote and show off my music to the wider world. Also as I am acting now I would like to star in movies with some of my favourite actors and inspirations.

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Your first digital solo track was released on September 2nd. Could you tell us about the lyrics and the concept for the song?
Girl like Coffee is a very relaxing song, a song you can listen to any day with lyrics comparing the girl I love and coffee. The song is very relaxing with funny lyrics and was actually co-written by myself and my close friend and musician ‘Talking Park.’ Within the lyrics there is a hidden secret! There is actually a hint to my next song!

You recently did an OST track for the web based drama ‘One More Time’. What is the difference between preparing and performing for an OST against releasing your own song?
The OST soundtrack hasn’t been released yet, but the difference is that releasing my own song I can show more of my musical side and can express more of my opinions in the making of the song. As for the OST soundtrack, the song is based on the theme of the drama so basically it was all written for me. Also for the soundtrack there was a co-singer named Yopi whom I sang the song with.

You have played the lead role “Jinsung” for the movie ‘Ugly Foot’. What were the best parts about acting as a lead for the movie?
The best part of being able to act is that I can live as someone else other than myself. Jinsung was a very in-depth character with scars that he could never forget; he is a strong boy with dreams, bravery and loyalty. I can definitely see myself acting again sometime soon, maybe in a drama or sitcom? I want to do more movies some time in the future as well.

If you could pick three people from around the world who inspired you to be who you are today, who would you pick and why?
I’d choose my mother and father as they were the two people whom have literally created me. Maybe Haeri, my CEO of Kompany93 as she has led me to become ‘JENT’ and is leading me with the rest of the Kompany93 crew for our success.

If you had the chance to collaborate with someone in singing, music or acting, who would you pick and why?
Trey Songz, Chris Brown and Eric Bellinger are my musical inspirations. If I was given the chance to maybe collaborate with them in the future I would take it as an honour. Also for acting I’d really want to act with actor Song Gang Ho once my acting gets a bit better – I’ve heard he’s very scary so I think I ought to practice more before I get to meet him in person.

Kompany93 as an entertainment company is very new to the scene, but what makes them stand out for you and makes them a unique company to follow?
All of Kompany93’s workers are in their 20s, including myself. We are more like a label than a company. We listen to each other, communicate daily about concepts and music and have a family like structure like other entertainment business’ in Korea. Also the workload is huge – our workers stay up till around 4am daily, working, but are never moaning about it as the bond we have with each other is very strong. We trust each other strongly and every member tries their hardest for everything they do. We are very passionate and loathe all the dirty behind-the-scenes scandals that happen in the Korean entertainment business and want to prove that we can succeed without the dirty bits.Untitled 4

You have already built up a sizeable fanbase of over 1700+ members, but do you plan on giving them a name or colour to represent their connection to you?
Hmm… not yet with a name – I’d really want a very sensational name to come from fans! As for the colour, maybe blue (it’s my favourite colour!).

You held a personal fan meeting with some lucky fans. Could you tell us what the best parts of fan meetings are for you? Do you have a memorable moment, fan or gift?
I want to have a personal relationship with fans rather than the star and fan relationship, I really want to just be able to talk to them about anything, communicate with them regularly, also even ask them about music, concepts etc. I think fan meetings are the best for that kind of interaction. I don’t consider myself an idol any more so I want to have more fan meets and places with meet ups so that me and my fans can be more than that. As for a memorable fan, I still have my best fan in Korea who came every day to my movie filming and takes all the behind the scenes pictures for me. She even runs my fan website www.leejungbin.com.

Idols get fan letters but very few take the time to read them. Do you personally read the letters that fans have given you? Is there a memorable one that you keep with you?
The very first fan letter I got was the most memorable. I remember it said the words “Lee Jung Bin (my real name) over Hyunbin and Wonbin”. All our workers at Kompany93 still laugh at that and diss me (sigh). I do read all of them! I do, I do, and I normally don’t let anyone else touch them either as it is private. I don’t get much lately so feel free to send some over too!

Not all fans are as understanding or loving about idols leading and living a natural and normal life (such as dating, going out to parties and such). They are given the name ‘sasaengs’ and are classed more as overly faithful fans. What are your views on sasaengs?
To be honest, I do think that sasaengs tend to go overboard. I think privacy is something to be kept and even idols or artists have the right to live their natural and normal life. We did have sasaengs back when I was part of PURE, but none of our members really liked it as it seemed a bit scary to be honest. We did send the sasaengs safely back home though, and gave them chocolate.

You have done your fair share of modelling for fashion brands. What are the elements of modelling you like? What kind of fashion style do you prefer to wear?
Going with my name, JENT (coming from Gentleman, but with a J as Jungbin starts with J,) I do prefer the dandier look with shirts and ties. Occasionally on stage I do enjoy the street hip-hop look as well. I am very into fashion and styling and think it has a very close link to music as well.Untitledzxz 2

Everyday the K-pop self proclaimed “Hallyu Wave” is growing bigger and better around the world, it is slowly gaining global recognition as a music movement that is on par with the likes of Brit pop in the 1990s or modern day American pop music. What are your thoughts about Korean music being such a globally loved genre?
I think if idols were the second Hallyu generation it’s time for the third now, and I see myself very close into it. Nowadays more people are into music and the R&B/hip-hop style and tend to look more into skills and talent rather than visuals and the company brand name. I’d very much like to lead the new Hallyu generation and show the world that Hallyu is more than just pretty faces and the same dance routines.

With K-pop being global and with artists such as Bangtan Boys, Super Junior, Big Bang, CNBlue, Teen Top, Infinite, Lunafly and more recently U-KISS coming to Europe, could you ever see yourself doing your own solo tour of Europe? Where would you like to visit?
I would love to visit Europe sometime! Actually Lunafly and myself are also very close, so I have heard a lot about Europe and would very much like to visit when I release more songs and have more to show you guys! I’m also going to China soon and would want to visit the whole of Asia, and also the USA as it has always been a dream.

Have you ever heard of cosplay or tried it before yourself? If you could become a character from TV/movie/game/comic book/manhwa/manga/anime/cartoon – who would you pick and why?
I have never cosplayed myself but I do really enjoy watching anime. My favorite is definitely One-Piece, have watched pretty much all episodes so far! Also we had a Dragon Ball night the other week at Kompany93 where we all watched episodes of Dragon Ball, which was fun too.

You have a hard journey ahead of you, yet you seem confident enough to reach your goals. Are there any tips you could give our readers and viewers on what they need to do or how they can join the K-pop industry? What can they do to prepare themselves for their own journey?
K-pop is changing heavily nowadays so I think it’s better to focus more on your musical colours and skills now rather than going on diets and getting surgery.

If you could send a message to our readers what would you say?
Hi MCM Buzz! Thank you for reading my long interview. I hope you enjoy my song “Girl Like Coffee,” the fan video we have ready to release will be uploaded on my Official YouTube, but for now there is my audio video! My next song is also in the making so be sure to keep an eye out for that! I really hope to see you guys in Europe soon! Thank you for the support!


As said, be sure to check out JENT’s audio video below, and keep checking back to MCM Buzz for a review of “Girl Like Coffee” and the fan video when it is released next week.

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