Artist of the Week – M
Real Name: Lee Min-woo
Stage Name: M
Date of Birth: July 28, 1980
Physique: 175 cm ; 60 kg
Blood Type: A
Hobbies: Drawing cartoons, listening to music
Motto: There’s no giving up.
Filmography: Sitcoms – Haeng Jin (2000), Nonstop (2001), Nonstop 5 (2005). Movie – Wontak’s Angel 원탁의 천사 (aka Holy Daddy)
M, or Lee Min-woo, is a singer of the six-member Korean boy band, Shinhwa. He was the fourth member to be picked and has recorded nine studio albums to date with the popular group. Lee was also the first of the group to perform as a solo singer, and his band-mates quickly followed suit.
Lee first started his solo act when Shinhwa was on hiatus. He debuted in late 2003 and chose the stage name M. His first album, Un-Touch-Able : Freestyle, was put together by many popular songwriters like Park Chang-hyun and Kim Do-hyun. Through this album, Lee was able to introduce songs with R&B, hip-hop, dance, ballad, and pop beats that matched his tone color. The album sold in excess of 100,000 copies (according to the January 2004 Music Industry Association of Korea chart, the last time the album charted), surpassing all expectations. The lead single, Just One Night, was a jazzy, groovy song that showcased a different, more sophisticated, side of Lee, who also co-wrote the lyrics to another track, Sweet Girl. He stopped promoting the album to help Shinhwa prepare for their 7th album (released in August 2004), but by the fall of 2005, Lee was ready to unleash his second album.
IInd Winds was made in collaboration with notable names like Kim Do-hyun, Jang Jun-ho and Kim Jong-kuk. Lee again showed off his talents by penning, composing and arranging the title song, Bump, a track filled with electrifying up-tempo dance beats. He also went all out by having the MV for Last First Kiss shot in the United States.
In the beginning of 2007, Lee left his bandmates’ label Good Entertainment to create his own, naming it M RISING Entertainment. That signalled his intention to focus more on his solo career, although he has stated Shinhwa will never disband. He returned with his third album, Explore, in mid-2007. It features nine tracks composed by Lee himself, along with collaborations featuring musicians such as Drunken Tiger’s Tiger JK, Yoon Mi Rae, and Epik High’s Tablo. Among the gems in the album, Stomp showcases Lee’s unique urban hip-hop style, while La Noche Bonita is a laid-back, fun song that’s at once sweet and refreshing.
As a Valentine’s Day tribute for all his lovely fans, Lee pushed out a mini-album titled The Sentimental Reason just last month. Filled with goodies that feature funky jazz performers such as Seo Young Do, Jang Hyuk, Gill Eun Kyung, and Kim Dong Ha, the album’s six tracks are full of romanticism and sentimentalism, making it a perfect gift for one’s sweetheart on Valentine’s Day.
The multi-talented Lee has come a long way since his early days with Shinhwa, and throughout his career, has had many opportunities to showcase his strengths. Being a good composer, lyricist, and producer, he has written many songs for Shinhwa and other Korean singers. Notable hits include Jewelry’s Superstar and One More Time, and also Shinhwa band-mates Andy’s Never Give Up and Kim Dongwan’s My Love.
Un-Touch-Able (2003) 1st Official Album 01 Intro 02 Punch 03 One in a Million 04 Just One Night 05 Sweet Girl 06 Biya
IInd Winds (2005) 2nd Official Album 01 Fighter 02 Mirage 03 Last, First Kiss 04 Bump 05 Let me Love you 06 Girl Friend
Explore M (2007) 3rd Official Album 01 Showdown 02 The M Style 03 Boy Friend 04 Boy Friend 05 Stomp 06 La Noche Bonita
The Sentimental Reason (2008) Mini-album 01 Just One More Night 02 Believe in love 03 사랑이란 예쁜 두 글자 04 Back to the Funk — M’s Life 05 Believe in Love (M’s Sentimental Version）06 Just One More Night（M’s Romanticize Version)
Credits: M thread in soompi, yesasia for album images