NewJeans owes much of their early success to Min Hee Jin.
At the end of July, 2022, HYBE released a surprise second female group project of the year, with no teaser nor specific information, through a single MV that drove fans crazy with the group’s personal flair. The project was a long-term one, resulting from HYBE’s 300-billion investment into the sublabel ADOR, headed by Min Hee Jin.
“Ditto” and “OMG continue NewJeans’ resounding success with four debut songs and create new trends in K-pop. The producer behind NewJeans, Min Hee Jin, is being recognized by the critics and audience alike. Known as the “creator” of the “super-rookie,” the routes Min Hee Jin chose is gaining success beyond expectation.
The creative director behind SM stellar groups
In July 2019, Korean media was buzzing with the news that Min Hee Jin was recruited by HYBE and would take charge of her own company here. She had earned her reputation as the “idea bank” from her work in SM Entertainment as a creative director for 11 years and had created a series of unique concepts for Girls’ Generation, f(x), SHINee, Red Velvet, EXO.
Min Hee Jin’s ideas had strong influene on the direction of top SM groups and, by extension, the Hallyu wave. The dicisive turn in Min Hee Jin’s career was a complete replacement of image in the music industry. SM was the top entertainment company to have additional gifts with the physical copies, giving “birth” to the well-known photocard concept with Girls’ Generation’s album, “Oh!”. Min Hee Jin joined the design process for the cover, poster and the main style of the album, tutning planning, production and promotion a compelling visual storytelling.
Min Hee Jin was behind Girls’ Generation and SHINee’s success. She came up with the colorful concept and multi-colored jeans that turned Girls’ Generation into real “girls of the generation” in “Gee” MV, experimented with SHINee from poster, trailer to album, all of which carried hidden messages.
Min Hee Jin worked with f(x) the most when she was in SM, allowing the girl group to gain a special place in K-pop with a girl crush style and experimental music. From their first “La Cha Ta” to the most recent “4 Walls,” the tracks contained a mysterious and edgy feel and experimented with different concepts, from retro to punk or rock. In the promotion for “Electric Shock,” Min Hee Jin created a unique look by letting f(x) wore animal heads in a EDM-inspired song. In “Rum Pum Pum Pum (Pink Tape), f(x) delivered an short “art film” that told a melancholy love stories of the members from their own perspectives.
With Red Velvet, Min Hee Jin created a unique mark with “Red Flavor” and “Peek-A-Boo.” The bright summer concept inspired by fruit slices were the heat of 2017, bringing fame to the summer song by Red Velvet. In the same year, Red Velvet made a complete turn with “Peek-A-Boo,” a highly cryptic plot with spooky theories proposed by the audience. The visual elements were the most rich in meaning. “Bad Boy” and “Russian Roulette” were highly regarded in images and plots.
Min Hee Jin always chose a road less treated on. Her works were deeply meaningful and highly cryptic that genearated curiosity.
Working for HYBE, becoming the “creator” of NewJeans
Min Hee Jin brought a major female group success to HYBE with NewJeans, the outcome of three years of work.
While SM focused on the images of their groups, the company was not strong in the global market driven by recognizable frames. Nonetheless, Min Hee Jin’s “creative madness” garnered maximum success with NewJeans at present and in the future with appropriate envisioning. By opening up a “universe of theory,” Min Hee Jin could bring the girl group even farther.
NewJeans is the top fourth-generation rookie group that appealed to the early 2000 feel, from image to music. “Y2K” is the key word when it comes to NewJeans. Their songs gain the attention from humane messages that tackle mental and social issues. Their new way of communicating messages is unique, sophisticated and various.
Nonetheless, Min Hee Jin has come in to cricism for some times. She was criticized for putting the adolescent girls in croptop that “pushed” their maturity, or conveyed an adult content with “Cookie.”
Whereas challenges lie ahead, NewJeans proves one thing: “Once the [difference] is accepted, that’s what writes new history. Min Hee Jin is always determined with the trend-setting music and image direction.
When speaking of the reasons NewJeans was loved, the majority of the audience recognized Min Hee Jin’s role in it:
- Min Hee Jin’s new girl group NewJeans should be receiving more attention.
- People came for Min Hee Jin but stayed for NewJeans’ music and choreography.
- Min Hee Jin + members’ visual + music quality
- Good music, Min Hee Jin and HYBE