With the release of his pre-debut single today, Kim Woojin officially embarks on the next chapter of his career. But in order to fully absorb this big moment, it is important to remember where he’s come from and what he has been through. And to be sure, let’s do it in a mature and serious way.
Yes, Kim Woojin is a former member of Stray Kids. JYP Entertainment announced his departure from the group and the company on October 28, 2019. And in concluding the official statement, JYP Entertainment said:
We would like you to send your support to Woojin, who will be going on his new path. We would also like to ask STAY to continue to support the 8 Stray Kids members, who will continue on their path to their dreams, with their compass.
It’s a pretty amicable statement. Yet of course, this is K-pop in the modern era. And some people, for whatever reason, tried to pull things out of thin air in order to justify whatever prejudiced opinion they might have had toward the situation.
But for this, the only truth is that no one outside of JYPE Entertainment, Stray Kids or Kim Woojin know anything beyond what has been said in that official statement. Despite what some people may claim, no, these random people on the internets do not know the specific reason Woojin may have left the group and company. And no one outside of that select group will likely ever know.
(And please, never point to selectively edited, out of context compilations of random clips on YouTube as proof of anything. Those are as reliable as the plethora of compilation videos alleging every single boy or girl group member is dating each one of their fellow members or several members of other groups just because they brushed hands or looked at each other. Let’s be real here.)
Stray Kids leader Bang Chan may or may not have indirectly referred to the situation in the past. But he did ask the group’s fans not to send hate. Unfortunately, that didn’t stop anyone. Whatever may have happened between them all, if anything, is between them and for no one else. Just as the statement requested, all they ask is for continued support to both Stray Kids and Woojin.
Months later in 2020, Kim Woojin would be accused of sexual harassment by an apparent international fan. He denied the allegations. And earlier this year, his new agency 10x Entertainment decided to take legal action against the initial accusers after an investigation into the claims revealed them to be false.
Just last week, 10x Entertainment released a documentary laying out the results of that investigation as well as address the even more malicious false rumors that were spurred by that initial accusation.
During the year and a half since his departure from JYP Entertainment, Kim Woojin was on the receiving end of a barrage of vitriol. Much, if not all of it undeserved. And all stemming from false accusations and assumptions from a small, but very loud online contingent.
But despite all of that and the realization that perhaps he became the victim himself, Kim Woojin is ready to put that all behind him as he embarks on this next chapter. And that’s what we should come to focus on now.
Ahead of his official solo debut, Kim Woojin releases a pre-debut single entitled “Still Dream.”
Just the fact that he is at this point is a testament to his resilience and undoubtedly having a strong support system behind him. It wouldn’t be easy for anyone to go through what he did in the last year and a half. Even more difficult to pick yourself up and move forward by essentially restarting your career.
But “Still Dream” is the perfect track for Woojin as he reintroduces himself. Composed by Ryan S. Jhun, John Samuel Gerhart, Joe Henderson and Zachariah Palmer with lyrics by ZNEE, Woojin and Jay, the song speaks of overcoming the darkness and being able to fly on toward your dreams.
The lyrics are certainly fitting for Woojin’s journey in the last year and a half. And that extra meaning and emotion support what is an excellent performance from him. Woojin shows off his “Main Vocalist” talent while delivering a dynamic and impassioned dance performance in the cinematic music video. The music starts off soft before crescendoing into its soaring climax, again, befitting its uplifting and positive message.
Woojin absolutely soars with “Still Dream” and it is a wonderful way to unofficially start this next chapter.
As this is only a pre-debut track, “Still Dream” is only a taste of things to come from Kim Woojin. And I for one am very excited to see what he has in store. I’ve always admired his talent and while following him, I’ve seen he’s been working hard to develop and grow that talent. As is evident in “Still Dream” already.
The future is bright for Kim Woojin, a guy who has managed to get back up and move forward toward that dream.