Manifesto Monday: U-Kiss Edition



 

To say that U-Kiss have not turned a few heads with their latest video, “Quit Playing” would be a bit of an understatement. With their new, 17 year old member Jun, a 19+ rated video, and being the first boy band ever in K-pop to have their choreography be banned, U-Kiss definitely got the attention it was looking for. Not all of it was positive, as many fans were shocked with the new, grown up image that the boys were showing. However, after six years in the k-pop industry, this isn’t the first time U-Kiss has changed their concept or had a line up change to shake things up.

 

 

The Members

Shin Soohyun

Shin Soohyun

Shin Soohyun

Position in group: Leader, vocals

Birthday: March 11th, 1989

Blood type: A

Height: 181 CM

Weight: 68 kg

Birthplace: Pojeon, Gyeonggi province, South Korea

Hobbies: Soccer, computer games

Strengths: Dance, Piano

Random facts:

  • His favourite Japanese food is tonkatsu
  • If U-Kiss were a family, he says he’d be the father
  • He LOVES the anime/manga “One Piece”
  • Soohyun used to be a trainee at JYP Entertainment, so was good friends with JoKwon from 2AM, Dongwoon and Kikwan from Beast and  Jay Park.

    Soohyun and JoKwon as trainees

    Soohyun and JoKwon as trainees

  • Soohyun attends Pai Chai University
  • Soohyun suffers from Englishphobia – he gets very nervous when speaking English. He would like to speak more English because he envies the way the fans respond to the English speaking members
  • Soohyun has a very loud personality, and is very outgoing when he feels comfortable
  • Soohyun has always been pretty insecure about his looks, however seems to be improving lately

 

10452836_660073967379330_6163921176428589229_o

Lee Kiseop

 

Lee Kiseop

Position in group: Lead dancer, vocals

Birthday: January 17th, 1991

Blood type: A

Height: 181 CM

Weight: 64 kg

Birthplace: North Bundang, Seongnam, Gyeonggi province, South Korea

Hobbies: Sports, driving, fashion

Strengths: Dance, tae kwon do, piano

Random facts:

  • Kiseop’s favourite Japanese food is shabushabu
  • If U-Kiss were a family, he would be the middle brother
  • Kiseop is well known for his love for taking photos, especially selcas / selfies
  • Kiseop scares very easily. He does not like heights, snakes, spiders, or anything that could probably be considered scary
  • When Kiseop gets nervous, he either talks fast, stutters, or sometimes goes really quiet
  • Kiseop suffered from depression before joining U-Kiss
  • Kiseop loves exercising
  • Loves Rilakkuma.
  • Kiseop attends Digital Seoul Culture Arts University

 

Eli Kim

Eli Kim

 

Eli Kim

Position in group: Rapper

Birthday: March 13th, 1991

Blood type: O

Height: 180 CM

Weight: 68 kg

Hometown: Fredericksburg, Virginia , United States

Hobbies: Music, Movies, computer games

Strengths: English, Chinese, tae kwon do, kung fu

Random facts:

  • Eli’s favourite Japanese food is yakiniku
  • If U-Kiss were a family, he’d be the younger brother
  • Eli is the host of “Simply K-Pop” on Arirang Television. Eli also was one of the hosts of Pops In Seoul with Kevin and Alexander years ago
  • Eli likes trying out new kinds of social media, and then abandoning them. (Reference: His tumblr account, his instagram account)
  • Eli was a huge fan of Red Bull for about a year. However, after a while, he switched to drinking Arizona Iced Tea. Now he only drinks Red Bull during long promotions when he really needs the energy
  • Eli has a tattoo on his foot
  • Eli has a lot of different piercings. It’s unsure of how many he has at the moment, but he apparently has had up to 14
  • Eli likes doing animal impersonations. His fans like his pigeon impersonation, but he often does one of an elephant now
  • Eli is a good cook. Probably because his dad owns a restaurant
    eli
  • Eli’s original plan was to be an actor in China. However, he got caught in a slave-like contract and had to have his parents come over from the US to help him get out of the contract. He eventually found his way into U-Kiss after that
  • Eli tries very hard to get to know his fans, especially the foreign ones who come to recordings. He likes to test himself to see if he has memorized names

 

Yeo Hoonmin

Yeo Hoonmin

Yeo Hoonmin

Position in group: Vocals

Birthday: August 16th, 1991

Blood type: B

Height: 180 CM

Weight: 70 kg

Birthplace: Namyangju, Gyeonggi, South Korea

Hobbies: Exercise, Studying piano, studying guitar

Strengths: tae kwon do

Random facts:

  • Hoon goes to Dongguk University
  • Hoon’s older brother’s name is Hoonbi
  • Hoon likes to cook
  • Hoon is addicted to the anime/manga “One Piece”, along with Soohyun
  • Hoon’s ears go bright red when he gets embarrassed
  • Hoon’s mom goes to lots of events when she can
  • Hoon is really awesome about trying to use other languages when he can at fan meetings
  • Hoon previously was a solo singer before joining U-Kiss

Hoon-BOOM


 

Kevin Woo

Kevin Woo

Kevin Woo

Position in group: Vocals

Birthday: November 25th, 1991

Blood type: O

Height: 180 CM

Weight: 55 kg

Birthplace: San Francisco (Danville), California, United States

Hobbies: Watching movies, reading, writing songs

Strengths: English, piano, guitar, dance, eating way too slowly, his smile

Random facts:

  • Kevin’s favourite Japanese foods are sushi, shabushabu, fried chicken, udon and ramen
  • If U-Kiss was a family, he would be the sister
  • Kevin co-hosts “After School Club” on Arirang along with Eric Nam. He used to host “Pops In Seoul” with Eli and Xander
  • Kevin is really interested in languages, and makes an effort to learn a bit of the language for every country they visit
  • Kevin was a member of the group Xing before joining U-Kiss
  • Kevin’s lawsuit to get out of his contract with Xing is actually the first time an artist sued his company to break a contract and succeeded
  • When U-Kiss was forming, he was the member with the best English and Korean skills, and so acted as translator for Eli and Xander as they were learning Korean
  • Kevin is known for his hands, and having really long fingers
  • Kevin was the original twitter addict for U-Kiss, however the other members have caught up with him since
  • Kevin’s drawings could give people nightmares
    tumblr_lv515sFn5N1qaiuw5tumblr_lv517wp4Ge1qaiuw5
  • Kevin loves to talk, and is well known with the fans for trying to make every fan feel appreciated when he can
  • Doesn’t like bugs
  • Kevin is one of the few who never seems to have a solid “ideal type”. His constant character traits he describes are that the person would need to understand him, be easy to talk to, be bright, and likes to smile
  • Kevin is an active Christian
  • Kevin and Eli like to watch fan reactions on Youtube, and search their names all the time to see what fans are saying

Kevin Watching you


 

Jun

Jun

Lee Junyeong (Jun)

Position in group: Rapper

Birthday: January 22nd, 1997

Blood type:  AB

Height: 185 CM

Weight: 61 kg

 

….We really have nothing on this kid at the moment. He is a solid 5 years younger than the other members, just joined in June, and for the most part has been sticking very close to the other members. He can dance well and his rapping is nice and he’s cute. Right now, we don’t even know how his Japanese is. His English is… okay, according to fans who have been to events.

Welcome to the group, Jun.


 

U-Kiss has a history of members coming and going. While there are six members active right now, there is also one inactive member, and three members who have left the group.

Inactive U-Kiss Members

Kim Jaeseop

Kim Jaeseop

Kim Jaeseop (AJ)

Position in group: Rapper / vocals

Birthday: June 4th, 1991

Blood type: A

Height: 181 CM

Weight: 68 kg

Birthplace: Namyangju, Gyeonggi province, South Korea

Hobbies: Reading, writing and composing songs

Strengths: English, games, being really smart

Random facts:

  • AJ is enrolled at Columbia University, and is studying Psychology
  • Apparently, AJ says everyone now asks if he can read minds
  • AJ was originally a member of the group Paran
  • AJ can be pretty outspoken
    AJ-Swag
  • He is hard working, and can be a perfectionist
  • Eli and AJ have been friends since before he joined U-Kiss
  • AJ studied at Korea Kent Foreign School, and so is fluent in English
  • AJ took a year to study for the SATs after not being accepted his first try. He scored high and was accepted the year he joined U-Kiss
  • All the members said that AJ is very much like the guy in the song “She’s Mine”

Currently, AJ is not an active member of U-Kiss. Officially, NH Media have stated that it is due to him needing to do more work at Columbia. However, recently, AJ has tweeted that he has undergone heart surgery in Seoul, and so there is uncertainty regarding where AJ is.

 

Previous U-Kiss Members

Shin Dongho

Shin Dongho

Shin Dongho

Position in group: Rapper

Birthday: June 29th, 1994

Active from: Debut (2008) until September 2013

Reason for leaving: It has been stated that Dongho was losing interest in the entertainment industry. Since he debuted at age 14, he spent all of his teens promoting, and may have been burnt out in the end. Through lots of discussion with NH Media, Dongho was allowed to leave U-Kiss without any contract issues. It was vaguely hinted at that there would be the opportunity for him to return, however most have taken the news as Dongho leaving.

Dongho has been spotted on some twitter accounts since, and there is a Facebook account for him, however we have no clear way of being sure it’s official.

Random Facts:

  • Probably was the most famous member of U-Kiss, due to his television appearances
  • Dongho acted in various TV series and dramas
  • Dongho is really mature
  • Dongho likes to knit
    tumblr_m13e6nf4Dh1qaiuw5
  • Dongho is not a morning person, and is hard to wake
  • Dongho does know a bit of English, due to his acting in “Real School”, however he doesn’t use it often

Xander

Xander

Alexander Lee Eusebio

Position in group: Rapper

Birthday: July 29th, 1988

Birthplace: Hong Kong

Active from: Debut (2008) until January, 2011

Reason for leaving: NH Media stated that it was because the members were going to pursue their studies. However, Xander and Kibum have said this isn’t true. There has been no clear answer as to why they left, but many believe is it because NH Media felt U-Kiss needed a major change to attempt to continue as a group.

Random Facts:

  • Xander speaks 7 languages in some way, shape or form: Cantonese, English, Korean, Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, and Japanese.
  • Xander was a host of Pops in Seoul with Eli and Kevin
  • Xander grew up in a very multicultural family
  • Xander is an active Christian, and works often with 3rd Wave Ministry with Brian Joo
  • Xander currently attends Korea University in the school of Media. He hosts KUltureTV on Youtube and works with the Korea Language Centre at the school

 

 

 

444742

Kim Kibum

Kim Kibum

Position in group: Vocals

Birthday: December 29th, 1990

Previously known as: Marumir (From his Xing days)

Current stage name: Allen Kibum

Active from: Debut (2008) until January, 2011

Reason for leaving: NH Media stated that it was because the members were going to pursue their studies. However, Xander and Kibum have said this isn’t true. There has been no clear answer as to why they left, but many believe is it because NH Media felt U-Kiss needed a major change to attempt to continue as a group.

Random Facts:

  • Kibum was a member of Xing with Kevin before joining U-Kiss
  • His brother is Kim Hyungjoon from SS501
  • Kibum and his brother made a company called HnB where they sold items with their character, PiroPiro. (site is no longer open)
    Screenshot2010-09-03at70936PM
  • Kibum is fluent in Japanese
  • Kibum’s career is focused in Japan now. He performs in Shin-Okubo often, and works as a guest and a judge on various shows from time to time.
  • Kibum is active on his Japanese Ameba Blog.

 

U-Kiss History

For many K-pop fans around the globe, the name U-KISS is one that pops up early during their time in Korean pop fandom. An acronym for Ubiquitous Korean International Idol Super Stars, U-KISS’ place as a representative for K-Pop and the Hallyu Wave was clear from the very beginning. Since their debut, the members of U-KISS have grown and developed over time, drawing in fans from around the globe.

U-KISS was formed in 2008 by NH Media. The original group was made up of Shin Soohyun, Alexander Lee Eusebio (Xander), Kim Kibum, Eli Kim, Kevin Woo and Shin Dongho. Both Kevin Woo and Kim Kibum had previously been members of the group Xing, however had left the group in 2007. With Kevin and Eli both originally from the United States, and Xander from Macao, U-KISS was well positioned to jump into the growing Hallyu Wave as global representatives.

U-KISS’ debut performance actually took place in Japan on August 18th, 2008. However, they debuted their first single, Not Young, on August 28th, 2008 on MNet in Korea. That year, U-KISS won big at the Asia Song Festival awards, taking the coveted “Asian Rookie Award” and “Influential Asian Artist” award. In 2009, I Like You was released, which continued to bring in attention, especially from overseas fans.

In the fall of 2009, U-KISS went through their first line-up change, with the addition of Lee Kiseop to U-KISS, making the group a seven-member group. He officially debuted on November 5th, 2009 with the release of Man Man Ha Ni. U-KISS’ popularity boomed with the new single, gaining national attention with its catchy chorus and intense choreography. This prompted the release of their first full album, Only One, which quickly shot to the top of the sales charts in February 2010 with the single Bingeul Bingeul. The album was promoted both in Korea and around Asia, with appearances in Malaysia, Mongolia and Japan, and ending in full concert in Manila due to their overwhelming success in the Philippines. The album was even nominated for two Golden Disk awards.

In the fall of 2010, U-KISS returned with their single Shut Up!  With a change of producers, U-KISS showed a more manly, sexy performance than before, with a video that was rated 18+. The song was promoted in both Korea and Japan, including a concert in Tokyo and an album release in Japan, First Kiss.

In February 2011, U-KISS went through a major line-up change. NH Media announced that founding members Xander and Kibum would be leaving the group, and their contracts terminated. Weeks later, it was announced that two new members, Yeo Hoonmin (Hoon) and Kim Jaeseop (AJ) would be joining U-KISS. All eyes were on the group as they released their mini album, Bran New KISS with the title track, 0330 on March 30th. The album did very well, with fans impressed with the new vocal powers of the newest additions of the group. The summer of 2011 was spent in Osaka, Japan, where the members of U-KISS underwent intensive Japanese language training for their upcoming Japanese debut. They also promoted 0330 heavily, building a solid Japanese fan base.

Upon returning from Japan, U-KISS released Neverland in September 2011 from their second full album of the same name. The response was resounding, topping the Hanteo charts. A second single, Someday, was promoted through October. The Neverland album caught the attention of fans around the world, and built up a massive international fan base, prompting promotions of the album in six countries around Asia.

In December 2011, U-KISS officially debuted with their first Japanese single, Tick Tack. Playing it safe with a limited release, copies sold out around Japan within the first week, placing the debut at #3 on the Oricon charts. Soon after, in February, U-KISS followed up with the single Forbidden Love and the full album A Shared Dream.

The beginning of 2012 was filled with international promotions. U-KISS took part in Music Bank: Paris in February, then in March had a nation wide Zepp tour in Japan that was completely sold out. In May, U-KISS were the first k-pop group to perform in Colombia at Los 40 Principales. While globe trotting, U-KISS released another Korean single, DoraDora. During their second Japanese tour in 2012, AJ announced that he would be taking a hiatus from the group to attend Columbia University, where he had been accepted the year before. The Japanese summer tour, which also marked the release of the summer singles Dear My Friend and One of You, closed with a performance at the famous Budokan in Tokyo, with an audience of 10,000 fans filling the hall.  Returning to Korea, U-KISS released Stop Girl as a 6-member group while AJ was away at university, then finished the year with the Japanese release, Distance.

AJ returned from Columbia University in February 2013, a few days after the Japanese single, Alone, was released. Soon after AJ’s return, all 7 members returned to Korea to promote their next Korean single, Standing Still. Through the promotions for Standing Still, U-KISS had the opportunity to perform in Malaysia alongside boy band royalty, The Backstreet Boys. As well, during these promotions, it was announced that U-KISS would release its first subunit, u-Beat, made up of Eli and AJ. The first single, Should Have Treated You Better, also featured Kevin.

Throughout the summer of 2013, U-KISS promoted in Japan once again, doing another national tour while also promoting their second full length album, Inside of Me.

In the fall of 2013, U-KISS was hit with another shock when, after weeks of rumours regarding his health, it was announced that Shin Dongho would be taking a leave from the entertainment industry. Dongho was not replaced, and NH Media said they would remain a 6-member group instead. They soon released She’s Mine in October 2013. The song took U-KISS into a new genre of hip-hop, and let the members show their masculine side through their possessive lyrics.

At the end of 2013, U-KISS returned to Japan to promote their double single, Fall In Love / Shape Of Your Heart. They also announced their first US tour, which took place in January 2014. As well, they released a unique album through a clothing line, entitled Only You.

In 2014, U-Kiss released the single “Break Up” in Japan as a 5 member unit, with Dongho away and AJ now studying in America. The original plan for the group was to wait for AJ to return to Korea and promote a new single in May. However, due to a series of unfortunate events, AJ was held up in New York and the fans were told that he would be doing a summer semester at Columbia. A few days later, the newest member, Jun, was introduced to the fans.

On June 1st, U-Kiss released their latest video, “Quit Playing”. The song got a lot of attention and created a lot of discussion with the fans due to the nature of the video. The 19+ video, along with the very sexual tone of the song seemed to polarize the fans. The dance also became the first male group choreography to be banned by the music shows, and had to be changed before they performed.

 

You can currently buy the latest single from YesAsia. We highly recommend buying from them because their CD sales are guarenteed to count for the charts in South Korea. If you use the link below, you’ll also be supporting K-Soul Magazine so we can continue to bring you awesome give aways and reviews.

 


Why should you like these guys?

Now, I know that a lot of English speaking fans will run into U-Kiss one time or another during their k-pop fandom lives. It’s just something that happens, because their fandom is more foreign than they are domestic. But, lots of people seem to treat U-Kiss like a gateway group; they’ll be a fan for a while, watching the English language stuff until they find their One True Group, and moving on.

Fuck this chair

NO. STOP DOING THAT.

Now, I’m going to speak as a fan who has been in Korea a LOT. Do you know how many groups care about their overseas fans? I mean, I know that loads DO care, of course they care. But there are so few that can communicate properly with their fans, and reach out so well. THREE FLUENT ENGLISH SPEAKERS. ALL SPEAK JAPANESE. KEVIN TRIES SPEAK SPANISH. AND THEY TRIED SPEAKING FRENCH. SERIOUSLY. LANGUAGE WISE, THEY’RE KINDA THE COOLEST GROUP EVER.

Then there is the whole diversity thing. With some groups, once you’ve heard one song, you’ve heard every song they’ll ever write. But U-Kiss change their concept EVERY. SINGLE. RELEASE. Crazy electronic dance? Got it. R&B? Done. Ballad? On it. Sometimes, it might be a bit frustrating because you don’t know what you’re going to get, but U-Kiss fans get to be diverse in their music! It’s awesome!

U-Kiss travel as much as they can to get to visit their fans. They’ve been all over South East Asia, are well established in Japan, have performed in China, did a tour in the US, performed in Europe, and have been down to South America twice. U-Kiss really bring lots of meaning to their name, being totally ubiquitous and international.

Check that out, Kevin's even on the US news during the tour!

Check that out, Kevin’s even on the US news during the tour!

All of the members have personalities that appeal to different kinds of people. No matter what, there’s going to be a member that appeals to your interests. From AJ with his smarts, Eli with his manliness, Kiseop with his looks and personality, Hoon with his charm, Soohyun with his caring personality, Kevin and his kindness, and new Jun who will be fun to find out about, there is a member that suits everyone. They are diverse and well rounded, and aren’t a cookie cutter group.

Hugs Don't fucking touch me

U-Kiss have grown out of that awkward idol group phase where their management seem to think that dressing up like idiots or dancing like girls will some how get them fans. The boys have become men, whether the younger fans like it or not, and their music is growing and maturing with them. Checking out U-Kiss’s music is always worth a listen, because their latest song could suddenly become your favourite.

Lets say goodbye to adorable, yet kinda awkward dressed up U-Kiss…

rockingukiss

donghomissa1

Kevin Haaaaay kevvykiseop

EliKevinChef

 

And say hello to the older, more mature, but lets face it, still as awkward and derpy as before (because this is why we love them) U-Kiss!

Hoon DoraDora frame Smash

Hoon OH YEAH Jaeli-Cute-As-Hell

Jaeli-YAO-Kick

Kevin Hoon Soda

Kevin-S-Line

Kiseop Eli Kevin Blank Stare

Soohyun-Bitch-Say-What

tumblr_myxkt273Bc1s7uhm6o8_400

Untitled-1

 

 


CONTEST TIME!!

(Old school glitter HTML. Yaaaas…)

This week, we have a VERY SPECIAL give away! We were able to get a SIGNED COPY of the new mini album, MONOSCANDAL.

Of course, to get this, we’ve made it very easy, but there are a couple of steps!

  1. You have to Like “K-Soul Magazine” on Facebook
  2. You have to Follow @KSoulMag on twitter
  3. The secret word is Neverland (I may change the secret word, so make sure you check the page before you fill this out!!)
  4. Check out the Contest Tab on K-Soul Magazine (You have to have liked the page to access it!)
  5. Tell us what is your favourite U-Kiss single is, and WHY!
  6. You have until Sunday, June 22nd!

Good luck everyone!

 

Written by:
Rebecca Bredin

long term U-Kiss fan
Card carrying member of the official fan club 3기 and 4기
Proud member of Team Kevin
That foreign fan that you might have seen in various Simply K-Pop tapings or crowd shots

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