Oddly, Kpop has taught me quite a bit about myself as a person. Though I swear that I do my fair share of whining and complaining, I’m often told that I, in fact, am terrible about sharing my own feelings. After XX years of hearing this, I’ve always just kind of figured that maybe I don’t feel things quite as deeply as other folks or that maybe I’m a bit cold. Kpop has taught me that this is bull shit. I feel very deeply about many, many groups and idols, there are countless songs that can bring a literal tear to my eye, and the injustices of this crazy competitive industry has broken my heart over and over. I get attached to groups and when I see them struggle to achieve their goals I feel just as helpless and maybe a little empowered to help as when someone close to me is going through a rough time.
As you can imagine, broken hearts are a major pitfall when you’re bread and butter groups aren’t the A level superstars you might imagine them to be. They have all of the skill, talent, drive, and potential as anyone out there, but for some reason, they just can’t seem to catch a break. I’ve spent more than four years on this site swooning over groups like IMFACT, TREI, Up10tion, and so on only to have them continue to face challenge after challenge or roadblock after roadblock – some of them even disbanding because it’s just not sustainable. For every group that eventually hits it big (I’ve been ecstatic for Nu’est and A.C.E this past year) there are tens of groups that just don’t make it regardless of effort.
Thank goodness, there are also those groups that find their niche and keep plugging along. There are groups out there hoping that their day will come, but also loving every opportunity they have to perform for fans, connect with supporters, and keep making music. ONF, first mentioned on the site way back in 2017, is one of those groups and I just love them. Originally debuting with 7 members and now with 6, this group has been busting their buns since 2017 to gain a foothold on music stages across Korea with their own unique sound, styling, concept, and razor sharp choreo. They’re known by other idols as being crazy talented, friendly, and a real contender on the charts, but fans outside of their tight-knit Fuse haven’t quite caught on – even after their success on Road to Kingdom they haven’t quite made it to the winner’s circle. It kills me when I hear them, after four years, still talking about how they can’t afford to eat meat every day and to see them apologizing for not making enough money to match the investment their company has made in them. I’ve watched professional musicians fall all over themselves over ONF songs and vocal coaches fawn over their voices and skill. And yet they haven’t yet garnered enough recognition to headline their own concert or grab those lucrative spokesperson contracts.
All of this and still they have the most beautiful smiles, they laugh the loudest, they make friends everywhere they go, and they’ve made one of my favorite songs ever.
Moscow Moscow, ONF