Have you ever heard a voice that instantly touched you in all of the right places? Like if that voice were a cult leader, you would totally drink the Flavor Aid? I have. There are several out there that kill me with just the tiniest of utterances – Oh Hyuk, Bang Yongguk, and Hash Swan, to name a few. Voices are something I notice and pay attention to. Gosh, they don’t even have to carry a tune well if there’s something there that speaks to my ragged little soul.
The AOMG maknae has one of those voices and despite our vast age difference, I’m pretty sure we’re in love. Or, I’m in love and he doesn’t know I exist. Whatever. Irrelevant. Woo Won Jae – stage name Woo – appeared on Show Me the Money 6 in 2017 and took third place overall. He got tight with Gray and Loco during the show and recorded the song We Are with them for what would have been his final stage had he not been eliminated. Instead, the song was released as his solo debut in September of that year garnering an all-kill on several Korean charts. Just a month later, it was announced that Woo had signed on under Jay Park on AOMG followed very quickly by the release of his first album Anxiety in November.
During the filming of SMTM 6, it came out that Woo suffered from a panic disorder, anxiety, and depression. He has publically said that he had a really difficult time during the show and that he struggles with ongoing mental health issues, taking medication to handle his symptoms. However, during the show Sign Here, on which he was one of the judges, it was clear that he is incredibly happy and supported in his current situation. In fact, one of the contestants, Black Nut, had also competed with Woo on SMTM and they’d bonded over their struggles with depression. Black Nut said that he’d decided to try for AOMG because of how happy Woo had become.
Woo Won Jae has one of those deep, gravely voices that make you think of sex, smokey clubs, and late nights that turn into early mornings. He has gorgeous tattoos and piercings and is intensely introverted and shy making him seem much darker than he actually is. He was not made for Korean variety television as his rumbly voice gets lost in the hustle and bustle of much more outgoing personalities, but he’s been trying a bit more of late.
His lyrics are dark and depressing, written from personal experience and his music varies from hard driving rap, energetic hip hop to a much more lyrical sound. But that voice – it just is. It’s everything.
A Fence, Woo Won Jae