NCT 127 Chicago Show Johnny Suh’s Homecoming

In the entertainment world, Johnny Suh has become one of the biggest international K-pop stars as a member of the record-breaking group NCT 127, the boy band behind the giants’ latest hit “2 Baddies.” He’s also a burgeoning fashion icon who was recently profiled in Vogue, People, and Paper for making his Met Gala debut in 2022. It was a night when his nine million Instagram followers made him one of the most talked about celebrities of the night. , even before co-host Ryan Reynolds, according to data from market research firm Netbase Quid.

But in the northern suburbs of Northbrook is Johnny Suh, a 2013 graduate of Glenbrook North High School who loves to come home from Seoul, South Korea, where he now lives, admitting to fellow Chicagoan Jennifer Hudson during the band’s October appearance on her talk show that he misses the chill. And snow in a chicago winter.

“I asked what I missed most about Chicago and I said chill, call me crazy or something,” Suh said with a laugh during a phone conversation ahead of NCT 127’s short US tour, which kicks off January 9 at the United Center.

Chicago has recently enjoyed some “firsts” in the hugely popular K-pop (K-pop) genre, including the first-ever South Korean song at a North American festival when BTS’s J-Hope closed out Lollapalooza last year; and contemporaries Tomorrow x Together took the stage the same weekend, marking the first time a K-pop group played the event.

But having a K-pop member hail from our city fair is another big, if not unexpected, point.

Suh grew up loving dancers and singers like Usher, and he always knew he wanted to be famous. His mother landed a global audition in 2007 hosted by SM Entertainment, one of the largest entertainment conglomerates in South Korea that boasts an in-house talent agency, record label, music production division, and publishing house. She has been the force behind the careers of a number of notable K-pop artists such as TVXQ, Super Junior, and Girls’ Generation.

“It’s a little kid’s dream, and I think my mother knew about the dream, and there was an opportunity for me to audition. … She asked me if I wanted to go, and even though I was a ‘teenager’ and thought it might be uncool, I was like, Why not? Just take this opportunity and see what happens,” Suh ​​recalled.

NCT 127 member Johnny Suh

NCT 127 member Johnny Suh is an alumnus of Glenbrook North High School.

He was in seventh grade at the time, and says the experience was similar to what we might see now during the auditions for “American Idol.” After finishing the final rounds, Suh was recruited by the SM Entertainment division, which, over time, moved the newcomer to live in South Korea where he would eventually be paired with eight other chosen artists who would become NCT 127. The group was officially launched in 2016. .

“The transition took a long time. I was very young, so they wanted me to see what it was like first,” Suh says, recalling that he traveled to Asia where he honed his pop-star skills during summer breaks from school. “It was like summer camp. I came to Korea and learned how to sing, how to dance, and I did for a few years.” After graduating from high school, he moved to Seoul full time.

NCT 127 has been a successful part of the global K-pop phenomenon for the past decade. Billboard describes the group as “a massive part of the modern American music industry” and hosted the first-ever THE-K Billboard Awards in 2022, honoring the achievements of artists in the genre. Forbes also called K-pop a “power player,” noting that it recently ranked sixth in the music market according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s World Music Report. In 2019, fellow K-pop group BTS became the second most streamed group on Spotify.


Boy group NCT 127 performs during the 11th Gaon Chart Music Awards at Jasmil Indoor Gymnasium on January 27, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea.

With 665 million streams on Spotify in the US alone, and their fourth album “질주 (2 Baddies)”, released in September at number three on the Billboard 200 chart, NCT 127 are the second K-pop artists ever to have three albums in the chart. Top 5. On January 30, the group will release a repackaged version of the album featuring additional songs Suh says “It will be another side of NCT 127 that people haven’t seen yet. … It’s definitely the hardest performance we’ve had to prepare for, in my opinion.”

Some have compared the rise of K-pop to the cultural staple known as ’90s boy groups like NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys.

“I think it’s similar in a way [band] Members work together and grow together, yet technology and social media have made it more accessible,” says Suh.

There’s also more branching out with sound, as NCT 127 is known for incorporating dance, electronics, hip-hop, and R&B into their music.

But there is also an important cultural exchange: NCT 127 stands for New Culture Technology, while 127 is the longitude (east-west geographical coordination) of Seoul. Suh explains the concept as, “We know how powerful music affects people and our whole idea is that through music everyone is connected. Through music, we also want to share our culture and our hearts with people all over the world.”

He keeps in touch with fans through “Johnny’s Communication Center,” a series on NCT 127’s YouTube channel where he shares new experiences with his 5.6 million subscribers like golfing, surfing, and beer brewing. There’s even one video featuring Northbrook and Chicago in front of his bandmates while he’s in town for a sleepover at his parents’ house.

The idea came from [the other NCT 127] Individuals. They always call me “the call center” because I love to talk. I like to communicate to see what the other person is thinking. I thought why not make this some kind of YouTube channel and show [aspects] Some of our members or me to our fans have never seen it before,” Suh shares.

As for the next part? “I kind of want to show what I did to have fun in the winter in Chicago, and I hope the fans enjoy what I have planned.”

Leave a Comment