[Interview] WINNER, a Global Phenomenon of 2019


If there was a group in the Kpop industry who knows how to play and reinvent themselves over time, it’s WINNER. After being crowned five years ago as the winners of WIN: Who Is Next – A survival show under YG Entertainment, the agency under which the group operates-the careers of Jinu, Yoon, Mino and Hoony have grown non-stop. Following the imminent success of “REALLY REALLY” in the ranks, the group has worked non-stop to launch success after success, and its fans around the world remain loyal to their side.

This road led them to crown as one of the groups with the most projection in the industry, being 2018 the year that would mark their career forever with the start of their Everywhere Tour, which would take them out of Asia for the first time. With a tour of North America featuring stops in Seattle, SF LA, Dallas, Chicago, Toronto and New York, Winner returns back to Korea with a pride for their achievement and an aftertaste of nostalgia for how fast the trip was spent. “It was a experience out of this world. We’ve waited for this moment for a long time and it finally happened“, notes Mino as he reminisces the North America stops a few hours before the last show in New York. “A couple weeks before we left or even when we were on the plane, we didn’t know what was going on. It wasn’t until we were rehearsing in Seattle, our first stop on the tour, when it really hit us. We’re here. This is really happening“, he comments with emotion, to which Jinu sums up with “It’s an unreal sensation. It’s unbelievable“.

After launching (releasing) “REALLY REALLY” in 2017, they declared that they had found their sound and their own voice. With this track having become of the greatest successes of the decade and being the first male group to reach more than 100 million playbacks in Gaon Ranking in South Korea, Winner has been little by little creating new goals, among them to trying new styles. “Lately, I’ve been enjoying of what Post Malone is doing. In the future I would like to experiment with something similar, giving a twist to our music inspired by that kind of music”, sums up/ adds Yoon, to which the members agree

And despite the great number of milestones that marked his career, there are many challenges to cross oft his list in the future. “There still are so many challenges to overcome as a group. In the long run, personally, I am focused on releasing a solo album. It’s a big challenge for me. I would like to do something related to photography. I’ve fallen in love with taking photos with my cameras everywhere, so at some point I would like to release a book to share all these photos with the world“, reveals Yoon, who has given us clues to these goals in different occasions in his SNS.

On the other hand, Mino believes that the group is ready to give a step towards a universal language, ” After this tour, we want to reach a wider audience, we want our music to be global. We want to release a song in English at some point to be able to sing with our fans around the world. Not just the choruses or certain phrases, but a complete song. It’s something we really want to do“, he tells us.

Before we finish up our conversation and hours before the final show in North America in Madison Square Garden, NY, the four members agree that it’s their differences and specialties that make WINNER a unique and particular group. Each one contributes something totally distinct, in a way, become the perfect snack-mix. “What kind of snack are you do you think you are in this mix?” We ask them. “I think I’d probably be the nachos” confesses Mino quickly, while the other members take more time to decide what their part on their plate is. “l think I’d be pretzels” declares Yoon, “crunchy, salty but simple“. Jinu bets on the chocolate chip cookies, “They have their sweet side but also crunchy and fun” he points out, finally, closing with Hoony who is considered a piece of steak in this combo.

Full of new projects for 2019, WINNER bets to win. One of their main goals of the year being to work harder than before to make their fans feel proud of their work. “This year will definitely be busier than any other, but we like that it will be like that“, Mino comments with emotion. “We want to make this our year, and we are making sure we will achieve it. We are expectant and thrilled to be able to continue working together“, ends Jinu.

Original interview in Nylon (Spanish). English translation credit to @JINNYSUBS.

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