The sun is up and rising on the career of FM Entertainment trainee Beomhan, and we're so excited to see him shine! In celebration of his Predebut Solo Showcase in New York this Friday, Beomhan joined KpopStarz for an exclusive interview - we explored his dreams as an idol, work ethic, and more through the lyrics of his pre-debut release "Sun's Up!" Stick around to learn more about this up-and-coming idol (and turn on "Sun's Up" while reading for ~ambiance~!)
Beomhan, for the KpopStarz viewers who don't know you, and even for the ones that do, introduce yourself for us!
"Hello everybody my name is Beomhan! I'm a K-pop trainee under FM Entertainment. I sing, I dance, I rap, and it's very nice to meet everybody. What's up?"
(The sun was definitely up, a la Beomhan's release - but so was the energy as we kicked off the interview!)
In "Sun's Up," were there any lyrics in particular that are your favorite or any that have really fun memories attached to them?
"There was this line in the first verse that kind of went: "Breakfast lunch and dinner/ I ain't have a single bite yet, but now I'm stumbling down the street, people think I'm drunk." During that specific training period that I was talking about, we would diet and practice a lot and I would get off dance practice at around 6 am and I would have to walk back to my dorm for an hour [...] I'd be super tired and stumbling down a street. To get back to my dorm, I had to cross through Hongdae, which is where all the clubs are. So, there's a lot of people leaving the clubs around that same time, also stumbling down the street. I would look across the street and there's this guy who's very clearly drunk, and I'm also stumbling so I'm like...Wait. And I kinda had that moment. [...] That was a fun moment from the lyrics!"
To get us started with "Sun's Up," what is your "Sun's Up," or your morning routine?
"For me, how I work is that it's very hard for me to transition from state to state. If I'm working, I work really intensely and it's hard for me to be like, "Okay now I'm going to take a break," right? The same goes for me when I'm sleeping or awake. It takes me a while to transition from "Oh, I'm sleeping," to "Now I have to wake up." Because when I sleep... I sleep. So, I wake up in the morning and I just sit up and I close my eyes and I meditate. I try to get myself into the idea of 'Okay, I'm going to start my day.' So I wake up and meditate first thing in the morning."
In the chorus of "Sun's Up," there's a line where the "sun always shows us the way." What is your guiding light? What are you running towards?
"I see myself as a really passionate and ambitious person, and I'm always chasing my dreams and that's always keeping me forward. I guess that is the 'thing' that I'm following. I wanna be the biggest idol in the world and I want to see myself standing in front of a stadium one day in front of all the fans that I've managed to meet throughout these years of being an idol. I would say my guiding light would be the fans! Knowing that they enjoy the stuff that I'm doing. I'm in a way adding value to their lives as much as they're adding value to my life as well. So that's what keeps me moving forward."
In the song you talk about all-nighters and staying on that grind - can you tell us more about your work ethic and how you're working towards that goal of being the biggest idol in the world?
"I feel as though one thing that does define me would be my work ethic because I don't see myself as naturally gifted or as talented as the other idols around me, so I feel as though there's an experience from my youth that kind of parallels this situation. I used to be a part of a basketball team when I was younger and I would always be the smallest in the gym, but I'd always be the one who hustled the hardest and was always diving for loose balls and at the end of the season I would win MVP! It was really unexpected from the person that people would say, 'oh this person is small, why is he playing basketball?' This parallels my idol experience [...] because I always feel as though because I'm not naturally gifted, I have to work harder. And I am willing to work hard."
One of the most unique parts of that work ethic, or that Beomhan Daily Grind, is how you've managed to take TikTok along with you on your "Day In The Life of a K-Pop Trainee" Tiktok series. What's been your favorite part about slotting that into your daily routine?
"I feel as though the TikTok vlogs I've been making are super light-hearted and it showcases the little things and the best parts of my days. And then, as much as I am appreciative that the fans can see and appreciate and engage on it, it also serves as a little reminder for me as well, that what I'm doing is fun. It allows me to look at all the little things that I wouldn't normally be able to see day to day if I wasn't making the vlog. I guess that's my favorite part about it... It's kind of therapeutic in a way."
In "Sun's Up," you talk about coming to some realizations. What's the biggest realization you've had throughout your journey as a K-Pop idol trainee so far?
"I've had a lot of realizations. For example, a lot of what I'm doing is a choice I have to take responsibility for. What I get to do every day, which is wake up, sing and dance, and to do the things that I love all day, is a privilege. Realizing it is a privilege is something that helps me move forward and look past all the hardships. And there are a lot of hardships. Obviously, it's hard and obviously, it is a lot of work but just realizing that this is all a privilege and this is a responsibility and this is my choice, that is a realization that I had after training for a long period of time."
Also in "Sun's Up" you say "you're scared if you sleep that you'll never wake up." Can you speak more on these lines?
"I was hoping this one wouldn't get talked about. I spoke a little bit about our schedules during that trainee period. Looking back on it, it was a little bit ridiculous. We would wake up at 10,11 AM and then we would start our day and do our rap training and Korean, because I [didn't] really speak Korean [that well] when I first got to Korea. At 12 am, we would start dance practice and we would dance all the way up to 6 am. [...] I'd have to get home and shower, do all that stuff. And I was like - wait, if I go to sleep and I'm already super tired, I'm not going to be able to wake up for the next day because I'm only going to get two or three hours and I was like, oh should I just not sleep? If I don't sleep, I won't have any energy for the next day, but if I do sleep, I'm not gonna wake up for the next day. So, it was this endless cycle of work that I wasn't sure how to get out of. Now, it's a lot more sustainable and we found a lot of healthier ways to do it! I don't want anyone to be worried."
Amidst all the hard work and always being on that grind, we do know that "diamonds shine brighter in the rough." Has there been a defining moment of hardship that you know has made you shine brighter as a person?
"Yes. This might get a little bit dark, so put on your seatbelts! Before I came across the blessing that is my current company, FM Entertainment, I used to be a part of another company that was more American. They had systems that were very, for lack of a better term, toxic and negative. Going through that for almost half a year really chipped at my mental health, and the things we would go through on a day-to-day basis kind of made me question my self-worth a lot. After my six months with this company, I decided to free myself from the shackles and step up and say I physically can't do this anymore. After freeing myself from that company, I was still haunted by it a little bit because now that there was no one yelling at me every single day - my brain was like, 'this is weird,' and then my brain would yell at me. [...] It got to this whole decisive moment where I thought, 'Am I finally gonna move on from these shackles and try to do something to move past this, or am I gonna let this haunt me for the rest of my life?' That was the moment when I was like 'Hey, if I was able to conquer this and make the decision [to] move past it, then I'll be able to conquer a lot more in the future.'
My current company FM has been super patient with me and helping me heal. I was very unhealthy but now we have a foundation that is irreplaceable because of the things we have gone through together and the hardships we had to overcome to get to where we are now. There's a much further journey in the future, but we have a foundation to walk through it."
So when you're dealing with these hardships, and of course you have such an incredible support system now, with these wounds on your heart, what words do you like to hear to patch up these wounds that would make you feel better?
"I like to hear that someone I really care about is proud of me. The words 'I'm proud of you.'"
Someone knowing what to say exactly when you're feeling down feels like a superpower sometimes. In "Sun's Up," you talk about this desire to save people. In an alternate universe, what superpower do you think you'd have?
"I'm not really good at these questions because I think too much about it. I really like fire, and I want to do something with fire. But realistically, in an alternate universe, I'd probably get something lame with fire. Like...breathing fire. That's cool - everybody's like 'wow, they can breathe fire' but it's like my mouth gets hot, you know? And it's like, do I always breathe fire, or do I sometimes breathe air? If I always breathe fire I can't blow out candles. I can't have another happy birthday. They'd be like, 'yo, happy birthday, blow out your candles,' - but I can't!"
Are there any alternate universes, like movies or books or video games, that you've been really into lately?
"I've been really into One Piece. It's really long so [...] because I can't read it a lot at a time because I'm super busy, I feel like this series will be with me for a long time. Just because it's super long. Like, wow I'm invested in this, you know?"
Going back to "Sun's Up" lyrics, you also talk a lot about calling your mom and that love you have for your family. What is a message that you would send to your biggest supporters - your family?
"I want to say thank you for believing in me and investing in me. Coming from a culture where pursuing the arts and creative stuff is looked down upon, my parents watched me go to dance class and I'd come back and be like, 'yo Mom, watch this!" and it was really bad and she'd blink twice and say 'You're doing great, I guess.' And then seeing me come back three months after and being like, 'I'm gonna do this for a living,' it definitely must've been stressful for her. Thank you for always believing in me and supporting me. When I talk about my day ones, the most day ones would be my family. I cannot thank them enough."
It takes so much to leave New York and go to Korea to be a K-Pop idol. In "Sun's Up" there's a line, "you're down cause home's too far away." How do you deal with homesickness?
"For me, I kind of think to the fact that I don't think our connection, me and my friends and family and fans, time and distance doesn't really affect the connection that we have. There is always something that connects us that is stronger than this barrier of time and distance. For example, just as though when you look up to the sky. We're looking at the same sky, the same sun, and the same moon. There is always something that is stronger than time and distance. I think to that connection and I think to that strength and I don't feel as homesick anymore after I think of that."
Even now, how does it feel that home isn't far away, and that you're home back in New York for your first-ever tour stop?
"It is weird. Normally when I'm home I'm like 'Oh, I'm at home! Hello mother!' Now the staff came back with me and they're in my hometown and I'm like, wow this is a weird crossover of universes. You know those anime crossover episodes where it's like, this is Korea and this is America and now they're together!"
What did you miss the most about New York now that you're back?
"New York City is by far the most diverse place on the planet. For example, there was one day we had a day off and for breakfast, I was like 'I want some Chinese food!' and then I went down the block and got Chinese food. And the very same store next to it, I was like, 'for lunch, I want Middle Eastern food,' and then Spanish food and other stuff all on the same block. So I was like, wow, this is New York City, you know? That's what I miss the most."
We're really only just getting started with your career as a K-Pop idol. In "Sun's Up" you have a line of "I have to go, my future is waiting for me." What do you think or hope is waiting for you in the future?
"In the future? I have a saying in my heart. I say it as a joke but I kind of mean it: 'I don't live for anxiety, I live for regret.' I don't really think ahead. I have a goal in mind and I run towards it blindly and hope for the best. My goal is definitely being the biggest idol in the world, and that is the direction I'm running towards. Whatever happens, I take it day by day and just know that I'm working my hardest every single day, and just hope it works out."
Rest assured, KpopStarz will be cheering you on in your goal of being the biggest idol in the world! No matter what, we do know what is waiting for you this week, and it's your pre-debut solo showcase! Can you give us a little spoiler of what's waiting for us and other attendees at your first stop?
"I'm so excited for the showcase. We have prepared a setlist of about an hour and realistically, you have no idea what's about to happen at the showcase. There's not even an hour of content out on the internet for you to see. A lot of the stuff we've been preparing is for specifically this showcase. It's a bunch of high-energy stuff; we're going to make sure everybody has a great time. It's gonna be a great show. The spoiler is that it's going to be a great show. August 20!"
Another one of my favorite lines from "Sun's Up," and a kind touching one as the last question as part of this interview is "I'll be back soon, this isn't goodbye." Could you send a message to KpopStarz and to all of the fans that are eager to see you again?
"Thank you so much for supporting me and giving me all these opportunities despite my current lack of accolades. Everybody being here right now is a sign that you believe in me and believe in what it is I'm chasing after. I said this before but the fact that my content and my music is able to bring even a little bit of joy to your lives means a lot to me because you bring so much value to my life. Having this give and take relationship really means so much to me. Thank you for being here, thank you for supporting my stuff, thank you for watching my stuff, and thank you for allowing me to be a part of your life as much as you guys are a part of mine."
We are so proud of Beomhan for pursuing his dreams of becoming the biggest idol in the world, and for sharing his dreams & goals with us here at KpopStarz! And this dream is just getting started - beginning with Beomhan's Predebut Solo Showcase this Friday, August 20, 2021 at 7:00 PM!
If you're in New York and excited to see the world's incoming biggest idol, purchase tickets here! The sun's up, and it always shows us the way to supporting Beomhan! ️