Stage names are a tricky thing when you’re trying to get or stay popular, especially when you have a long and varied career. Depending on their company, many idols start building a fan base as trainees, using their given names, as they haven’t yet gotten a group or carved out their niche or crafted their persona. Once a group has been formed and a debut date has been selected, the marketing team works diligently to promote the idols in their new image, sometimes completely changing how we’ve known them through survival shows or as collabs or guests. The new and much wider fan base develops a relationship with the idols and their reputations and personas solidify. Sometimes there is some reshuffling and renaming, think Ikon, but for the most part, they stick to what they were given at the start. Consistency is key when keeping your fans.
However, when idols go off to do solo work on the side or when the group disbands and they have to start over, they either have to create some separation from the group or they really have to start over. Name and all. We talked about this last week with V-Hawk’s new release and it reminded me of another prime example. If you haven’t yet, please meet Nano. He’s fab.
Nano debuted as a solo artist in February of 2018 with the song Forever You and I, a breathy R&B inspired pop song good for playing in the background while you’re working or dancing around the house doing chores. I liked it immediately. But this certainly wasn’t the first time I’d seen Nano perform…I mean, come on, we’ve all seen Nano. We’ve all seen Nano’s abs…as Jaeho from History. In case you haven’t, please see below at around 2’33”.
Might Just Die, History
When History disbanded in 2017, the members were all left to pick up the pieces and to choose their own futures. Jaeho turned into Nano and has put out several great songs, slowly rebuilding a fanbase with his own approach and style and I know it hasn’t been easy. I’ve seen him pop up on Makestar looking for some crowdfunding support for his activities and after a year and a half, his debut song has only 108,000 views on YouTube. My favorite of his songs, Punishment, has only about twice that. That’s nothing in the grand scheme of Kpop and it hurts my little heart.
This is exactly why I keep digging through obscure songs and MVs every week. There are songs that deserve to be heard and artists doing everything it takes to make it in the biz. So many gems in this expansive field.