On December 18th 2017 we lost one of our brightest stars. As you may know, Jinjja Cha is a podcast about South Korean Pop-Culture, so when we say we lost one of OURS. We mean it. Jonghyun was insanely talented as not only a vocalist and dancer, but he was also an amazing songwriter and radio DJ. He was a man who never wavered in the face of adversity, always tried and never forgot to give people the respect they deserved. And lastly, he was ever so gracious to the SHINee fans (known as Shawols) around the world.
I had the privilege of being able to see Jonghyun in person twice and those are memories I will treasure forever. I’ll never forget waving that blue balloon and screaming your name out during the ‘Lucifer’ fanchants in London 2011.
In a way I feel like I failed Jonghyun as a fan and as someone who constantly reaped the benefits of his hard work, because quite frankly, after all that work he put, he deserved way better than to ‘pass on’ alone. At this point I’m writing from a place of frustration and misdirected anger, but I will NEVER be angry at Kim Jonghyun. He fought a long hard struggle with himself and ultimately believed he was making the right choice. Jonghyun, you worked extremely hard. And I’m sorry I couldn’t help you.
GIRL DAVIS From London.
This is my favourite solo song by Jonghyun, I hope you guys enjoy it too.
‘누난 너무 예뻐’라는 데뷔곡으로 처음 만나 멋진 가수가 나왔다고 생각했어요. 그 다음에 나왔던 곡들도 모두 ‘샤이니’라는 이름에 정말 잘 어울리는 좋은 곡들뿐이었어요. 그저 이름만 아는 유명한 아이돌 에서 진짜 관심이 가기 시작한 것은 아마 그대가 라디오 디제이를 맡기 시작하면서부터 일 거에요. 나도 대략 그때쯤부터 듣기 시작했거든요. 당신의 소통이, 당신의 선곡이 너무 와 닿았어요. 그 위로가 너무 고마웠어요. 생각이 깊은 사람이구나. 진솔한 말을 들으며 얘기하기도 하고 그저 내 또래의 평범한 이름 모를 누군가처럼 웃고 떠들기도 하고 그대도 평범한 사람이었음을. 그대의 솔로 앨범도 너무 좋아했어요. 그 모든 곡이 자신의 틀인 아이돌을 뛰어넘으려는 노력이 보였거든요. 가사도 음색도 너무 좋았어요. 이제 더는 그대의 고운 생각이 온전히 담긴 새 노래를 들을 수 없음에 안타까워요.
다시 돌아오겠다고 했을 때, 나도 다시 돌아가려고 했는데, 이제 영영 함께할 수 없게 되었어요.
유서를 쓰고, 막내의 스케줄에 피해가 갈까, 같이 하는 스케줄에 피해 갈까, 콘서트에서도 팬들을 아련하게 쳐다보던 당신,팬들에게 불러줬던 ‘환상통’이라는 곡마저도 끝까지 다른 사람들을 생각했을 그대를 생각하면 마음이 미어져요.
가장 빛나는 곳에서 그 이면의 어두움에 힘들어했을 당신.
당신은 누군가에게 위로가, 자랑이 되었지만 정작 자신은 어느 곳에도 편히 기대지 못했음에
당신의 우울함을 곡으로 세상에 외쳤을 때도 나는 그마저 소비했음을.
미안해요. 수고했어요. 정말 고생했어요. 그댄 나의 자랑이죠.
너무 아파하게 해서 미안해요.
부디 그곳에서 편히 쉬어요.
When you debuted with ‘Replay’, I thought that one nice singer just debuted. and the next songs were all great just like the name ‘SHINee’. You were just one famous idol that I knew. When I start to get really interested in you was when you became the DJ of ‘Blue Night’. That’s when I started to listen to the Radio. Every Night, your communication, the songs you chose, touched my heart. Whenever I listened to your radio show, I thought you were such a thoughtful young man of our generation. When you had a serious moment in your corner, you pulled out your thoughts together seriously. There were even times when you talked with other guests on your radio like just a regular fellow 20’s something of my generation. You made me realize that you’re just an ordinary person like everybody else. I really liked your solo albums and all the songs you created- the ones you made for some other artists in SM, shows that you were trying so hard to break the frame of ‘Idol’. All the lyrics, all the sounds in there were so great. I really loved them all. Now I’m sad that I can’t hear your new songs that contain your lovely thoughts and sounds no longer.
I’ll remember you, and cherish you in my heart.
I’m sorry you worked so hard, you really did well. You are my pride.
I’m so sorry to let you hurt so much and being alone.
Please, take a rest in Peace and be loved up there forever.
-Kelly Choi, Guest writer/host to Jinjja Cha From Seoul
This is the song I find most appropriate for me during this time. If you never heard it, here is your chance:
Jonghyun, what a beautiful soul you are. When thinking of you and Shinee it brings up the time when I was just getting into Kpop. Rain opened up the door and Shinee, BOA, MBLAQ and TVXQ ushered me in. I can literally remember the day sitting on bed watching the “Hello” video over and over again thinking “This is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen.” Or who could forget the epicness of Taemin’s long hair or your furry vest! That belting call right before Key’s rap; things that will forever be ingrained in me.
I’m so sorry that you were’t able to realize how special you were to this world and that you, yes YOU mattered. You had a long fulfilling life to live. I’ve shared on the podcast before that I felt you would be the Teddy of SM; slaying tracks left and right with magnificent lyrics and melodies. It’s sad to see that’ll never come true. That we’ll never get to see you again. If we could reverse time to get you back we would. But with what we’re capable of now we’ll lift your voice and songs to the highest mountain and let your memory, your charisma live on.
Thank you for being you.
-April in Chicago