In a recent interview with Allure MagazineSHINee‘s Key talked all about his journey to becoming an idol.

He also spoke in-depth about the influence SM Entertainment had after SHINee debuted in 2008 with their song “Replay.” 

According to Key, he believes that SM Entertainment made SHINee.

We were a produced group. We had a set image and songs that went along with it.

This is not uncommon for a rookie group. Many idols, including labelmates Super Junior, explained how the company tends to control a group’s music and image, especially in the early days of their career.

Shockingly, Key explained that it wasn’t until 7 years after their debut that the staff asked the members for their opinion.

For him, this was an epiphany moment.

The opportunity came with the release of their 2015 album Odd. During this comeback, the members had a say in choosing the single “View.” They also influenced the concept of the video that included costumes based on Key’s own ideas.

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The concept photo for the 2015 single “View”. | SM Entertainment

The designs were vintage and old-school. Key remembered how different they were from the other groups who mostly wore uniforms.

Members opted for a more androgynous and baggy aesthetic which was uncommon during the time including Key’s oversized jersey with the words “Girl Power” emblazoned on the front.

Despite fears that people may not have appreciated the outfits, Key said he had no regrets. It allowed SHINee to show their fans the real them without the influence of their company.

 Going onstage with those outfits for the first time, I recall thinking, This is SHINee. We’re back.

– SHINee’s Key