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Interview: ‘Chameleonlike’ Jinu of Winner sometimes obsesses over things

By Yim Hyun-su

  • Published : Aug 16, 2019 - 17:11
  • Updated : Aug 16, 2019 - 17:11

The bandmate-gone-solo-artist talks going solo, breaking out of his “pretty boy” stereotype before 30, his casual obsessions

(YG Entertainment)
This week appears to have been a bit of a whirlwind for Jinu of the boy band Winner, who not only made his solo debut recently but also managed to tick one more thing off his 20s bucket list.

While going solo seems to be an expected next move for singers in groups these days, the Winner member sounded nervous yet genuinely eager -- determined to break out of the stereotype and prove he’s more than just “a pretty boy” with the new single “Call Anytime.”

“I’m feeling a bit of pressure to be here as Seungyoon is usually the talker,” the singer said at a roundtable interview at a cafe in central Seoul on Wednesday.

“When you are usually in a group of four and then now trying to do things on your own, I think the pressure is on,” he added.
Though Jinu received advice from fellow Winner member Mino -- who features in the song and has released a solo album of his own -- he says nervousness always gets the best of him.

“He’s always given me advice ever since I began recording (my solo work). Telling me to just be myself and other positive things. But when the time comes, my mind goes blank and I don’t remember it,” he said with a grin.

The 27-year-old turns 28 next month. With two years to go before he hits 30, he’s not only releasing a solo record under his name but also ticking off one rather big thing off his 20s must-do list -- showing the world there isn’t just one side to him.

“I was afraid of being remembered by people as just a pretty boy and wanted to show my different sides before I enter my 30s. I wanted to do this while in my 20s.

“When I’m in Winner, I feel like I’m just a pretty face and I’ve been stuck with that image. I wanted to show my inner self with this solo record, which has been hard to do in the past,” he said.

The song was co-written by Mino and features him too, as Jinu says he just prefers a good song regardless of who wrote it. And Jinu’s creative priorities lie elsewhere -- the packaging of the physical copy of his new record, for instance.

His solo debut single takes the form of a magazine, and a great deal of thought seems to have gone into that design decision -- as, again, his main goal was to show different sides of himself.

“I once asked during an interview with a magazine, ‘Why there are always so many different people featured in a magazine?’”
The answer that came back was “some do but not really,” which prompted him to do the exact opposite and fill up a whole magazine with just himself this time.

(YG Entertainment)
And just as if you’re reading a magazine, you can see Jinu channel multiple roles both in the photobook and the music video -- including “timid,” “sexy,” “vampire,” “professor” and “myself” -- so it might be no wonder that later in the interview he chose “chameleon” as the label that best describes him.

He opened up a little further as the interview turned its focus to the lyrics of the song, which allude to obsessive behavior.
The opening line of the song goes, “It’s 3 in the morning. You don’t respond to my messages.” For the 28-year-old singer, a little bit of obsession is not a hard thing to admit.

“Yeah I obsess over things. It doesn’t have to be a woman. Even with friends, if they don’t answer my call and don’t pick up, I keep calling until they answer, which I can see how people will find annoying,” he said with laughter.

By Yim Hyun-su (hyunsu@heraldcorp.com)