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NCT WISH, A Refreshing Addition To K-Pop
by. Jisu kim

NCT Wish is a group based in Korea and Japan. When asked about the difference between the music broadcasts in the two countries, we expected an answer discussing about the differences in the system or the culture. But an unexpected answer came back.

"The snacks in the waiting rooms were different."

This is because it's only been a month since their debut. The average age is 18.3 years old. It was obvious that they were nervous about their first interview. Their pure hearts, appropriate for their age, were clearly revealed.

They fit the perfect definition of a rookie. Although not quite seasoned yet, they were fresh-faced and, above all, sincere. Even after 4 hours of interviews and filming, NCT WISH voluntarily headed to the practice room.

"I believe that NCT's identity is its ability. We are also working hard to be heard as a group that is 'NCT worthy', worth the reputation of our seniors." (Sion)

'Dispatch' met NCT Wish. Now that it's been a month since their debut, let's hear their story.

◆ NCT's last group

NCT 127, NCT DREAM, WayV, and more. The end of that infinite expansion was NCT WISH. The members were formed through the ENA survival show 'NCT UNIVERSE: LASTART'.

There are a total of 6 members from Korea and Japan. It consists of the Korean members Sion and Jaehee, and Japanese members Riku, Yushi, Ryo, and Sakuya.

Last October, they released their pre-debut single 'Hands Up' and introduced the group. A total of 24 pre-debut tours were held in 9 cities in Japan.

There were also benefits for debuting under the name of NCT. However, the burden was as great as NCT WISH would become the group that puts an end to the vast 'NCT System'.

Leader Sion explained, "Our NCT seniors attempted genres that artists at the time had not shown. I think what they have proven by pushing ahead with that is the true neo-concept."

He continued, "I think that to do that, we need to have solid basic skills," and "We are also trying to be a team worthy of NCT in order to show neo-style performances as well."

◆ 5 years and 3 months

Each member's training period varies. Sion and Yushi, who were SM rookies, practiced for a whopping 5 years. On the other hand, Jaehee made his debut by being put into 'LASTART' after only 3 months of being a trainee.

As the gap between trainee periods were quite large, the roles of Sion and Yushi were important. Sion said, "A lot happened during my time as a trainee. Now that the team has finally been decided, I was very determined to get to know the members quickly and have fun working with them."

Yushi recalled, "Sion and I practiced longer than the other members. So, I wanted to do well by teaching and helping the members more."

In particular, Sion had a great sense of responsibility as a leader. He said, "It wasn't difficult because the members listened to me very well. I'm working with a sense of responsibility instead of feeling pressured. I'm just a person who sets high standards."

Sion's leadership was felt throughout the interview. He even organized the quite difficult questions clearly. Of course, he was also the best leader for his members. Riku praised him, saying, "He's the type of the guy I want to follow unconditionally."

"He is skilled as a leader, and everything he says is correct. That's why I have no choice but to listen. Even when I express my opinion, he makes it easy for me to express my opinion without difficulty. He leads us really well. He is the best leader." (Ryo)

Sion said, "We became a lot closer while preparing for the pre-debut tour and music video. We became closer through this promotion," and added, "We have the energy to work together no matter what the situation."

◆ Neo + Refreshing = NCT WISH

NCT WISH debuted on February 28th with their debut single 'WISH'. BoA was in charge of general producing. She directed the members' overall direction and music color.

ZSon said, "I talked with our senior, BoA, about the direction of the team. She said she would like us to make music that can showcase NCT's unique performance on top of easy-listening."

"She advised us that it would be good for us to create a concept appropriate for our age. At the beginning of our debut, we had a freshness that could only be shown at this period of time. Also, as we gain more years and mature in the future, we plan to naturally sing songs that are appropriate for that time." (Sion)

The title song 'WISH' is a medium tempo dance song based on old school hip hop. The lyrics contain the aspiration to move forward with 'wish' for a new future. Refreshment was added on top of the unique neo color.

They clearly distinguished themselves with cheerful melodies and energetic performances. In particular, they showed off their skills that were beyond that of a rookie. It was well received not only for dancing but also for a solid live performance.

"I think the strategy of showing a side that matches our current image and age worked. An unaffected look that doesn't pretend to be cool or cute. Above all, I really liked the combination of the six of us." (Sion and Riku)

◆ "Work hard, have fun"

It is not a popularity gained only due to the NCT name. They worked hard and tried again and again to show their skills worthy of the team name. Since their pre-debut, they have toured all over Japan and eagerly gathered fans.

Sion said, "As we practiced for a long time and debuted as the last team in NCT, we thought we had to show our team better. I am proud that people recognized the amount of practice we went through."

"Our team motto is to work our hardest and to have fun on stage. I wanted to show people performing on stage with real enjoyment, not just smiling because we have to smile." (Sion)

In order to enjoy it, practice was the only way to survive. They have been preparing for the title song since December of last year. They concentrated on practicing without missing a single day. Then they repeated the daily routine of monitoring and practicing.

Of course, there were some parts that were disappointing. Sakuya confessed, "I was so nervous during the first broadcast that my hair turned gray. I couldn't find the camera and my expression froze. I was disappointed that the stage didn't show up as I practiced."

Jaehee also added, "Because I performed a lot on stage during my pre-debut, I thought I would be able to do well on music broadcasts, but it wasn't easy to find the cameras. I continued to improve while monitoring."

◆ Wishlist

NCT WISH's debut single achieved pre-orders of 370,000 copies in Korea and Japan. It also reached #1 on Japan's Oricon daily single chart. They also won two music broadcast awards in just 8 days of Korean activities.

Sion said, "I didn't even know we were candidates for first place. I really didn't expect it," and "I was able to receive it thanks to the fans. I think they gave it to me as a sign to work harder in the future."

"What made me happier than winning first place was meeting our fans," Jaehee said expresing his gratitude. "There was a fan who came to visit us during our Japanese pre-debut. I was really grateful that they came to support us during our Korean promotion as well."

"At first, I was unfamiliar with the existence of fans. The fans spoke and treated me warmly. I am really grateful. I am especially grateful when I am on stage. I am working harder because I receive energy from the sound of them cheering us on." (Jaehee)

NCT Wish went straight to the practice room after the interview that day. They are preparing for the next comeback without rest. Sion said, "I really liked 'WISH' the first time I heard it, but the next song is even better. It's a difficult song, but it's a lot of fun to listen to."

Lastly, we asked the members about their wishlist.

"Our goal this year is to work hard and win the Rookie of the Year Award. We performed at the Tokyo Dome during our pre-debut. It still remains in my memory strongly. Next time, we want to hold a solo concert at the stadium with our own ability!"

<Photo=Dispatch>

<Translated by=Jisu Kim (Dispatch)>

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