Energetic, passionate and inspirational, NCT DREAM, a Korean pop group, shared advice in a virtual interview with The Mercury for college students pursuing their dreams.
The Mercury received an opportunity to attend a virtual roundtable with the members of world-renowned K-pop boy band NCT DREAM, along with journalists from other universities across America. In honor of NCT DREAM’s first world tour, the group shared their thoughts on the joys and struggles of growing up.
NCT DREAM originally debuted in 2016, and the group members’ average age is 22, falling in the same age range as most college students. Since their debut, the band has gained international fame for their feel-good and upbeat music that encourages listeners to follow their dreams. In the roundtable, the members opened up about their experiences traveling the world, debuting at such a young age and lessons they have learned through their journey as artists.
“I’d like to tell myself to not be scared or shy,” JISUNG, the main dancer of NCT DREAM, said through a translator. “Back then, I was kind of concerned with what people would think, and I was very shy, but I don’t think there’s a need for that. That is what I would tell my past self.”
The Korean music industry is known for its physically and emotionally taxing trainee system that prepares aspiring idols for debut. The NCT DREAM members, having entered the music industry at such a young age, live vastly different lives than most college students. However, while their childhood and day-to-day experiences might differ, their hopes, like their music, are universal.
“I would have to say that your college years are when you have the most passion and the most strength to pursue your dreams. And I would want to say to do everything that you wanna do, so that you live without regrets,” RENJUN, the main vocalist of NCT DREAM, said.
Although NCT DREAM produces music primarily in Korean, their international fanbase stands strong, with Billboard naming them as one of the 21 under 21 in music’s next generation for three years in a row, and their first LP, “Hot Sauce,” selling one million copies within the first week of release.
“[Their music] is very energetic, very good-feeling music,” Nancy Tapia, an ATEC senior and Hallyu Wave community chair, said. “I feel like you can just listen to it and it just instantly brightens up your mood. And I just need that because I am a college student and I am very stressed. So, listening to their music makes me so relaxed and at peace.”
UTD, with its diverse range of clubs, also hosts several NCT DREAM fans who, like Tapia, are active in different Korean media-related clubs on campus. Fans use NCT DREAM’s music to motivate themselves to continue their studies.
“My personal dream is to be a motion designer, and [NCT DREAM] utilizes that a lot when teasing comebacks, like they change their designs and layouts and put animated logos and stuff like that and I really like that,” Tapia said. “And seeing that, I just think,‘oh, I could possibly do that’ or even work with them and make something for them, and that would be a huge dream, so I hope I achieve that one day.”
As college students, doubt can easily creep into our minds at any point, making the process of studying and pursuing our degrees seem unnecessarily difficult. However, finding fulfillment in the outcome of our work, little hobbies we enjoy with our friends and personal growth make these the most worthwhile years of our lives. Just as NCT DREAM’s music highlights, the joy and nostalgia of being young come only once and should be experienced with open arms.
“We started our careers when we were all below the age of 18,” MARK, the leader of NCT DREAM, said. “And even then, we had this goal … We wanted to be a symbol of healing to our listeners and to be a beacon of hope to everyone that sees us and that supports us, and especially for people that were young like us, young dreamers … To see that there are people like us who are just striving so hard for their dreams at a young age, we’re here to support them too.”
NCT DREAM is currently on the U.S. leg of their world tour and performed in the Texas Trust CU Theatre stadium in Dallas on April 14.