The AOMG family gather together to send off labelmate and friend Loco as he begins his two years of mandatory military service.
On Wednesday, rapper and singer Gray posted a photo on social media with different artists signed to AOMG Music as a (temporary) farewell to friend and labelmate Loco (real name Kwon Hyuk-woo) who enlisted. The rapper is and is set to go through basic training before serving as a police officer.
In the photo Gray, Simon D., Ugly Duckling, Code Kunst, DJ Pumpkin, Woo Won-jae, Elo and others strike different poses around a cardboard cutout of Loco. Along with the photo, Gray wrote “my dear Hyuk-woo, don’t get hurt and make sure to come back healthy.”
However, the AOMG members weren’t the only ones to post a goodbye message. On the same day, Loco took to social media where he announced his latest album which also served as a goodbye present for his fans. “Hello, my new album Hello, will be released at 6 p.m. tonight. Please enjoy listening to the album,” the rapper wrote. In response, fans responded with massage and comments of encouragement and to say their farewells.
The new EP has six tracks and features many of the talented artists from his record label with collaborations with pH-1, Woo Won-jae, Paloalto, and Zion T. Moreover, it is also produced by Gray, Woogie, Goosebumps, Thurxday and Kitsches. In addition to the album, AOMG plans to sell limited edition stamps and calendar featuring Loco.
Meanwhile, besides Loco, BtoB member Lee Min-hyuk, rapper Hanhae, and former Infinite member Hoya also enlisted on Wednesday.
On January 12, Trot singer Hong Jin-Young held her first solo concert in Los Angeles, California. Highlights were Hong Sun Young’s surprise performance, wardrobe malfunction and other exciting segments.
Korea’s Trot fairy Hong Jin-Young, held her first solo concert in LA (technically Temecula which is 2 hours away) commemorating her 10th year since debuting in 2009.
Hong Jin Young sang all of her hit songs starting with Love Battery to set the mood followed by all of her singles like Cheer Up, My Love, Thumb Up, Good Bye etc. The concert audience consisted of a wide range of age groups from children to the elderly fans. It was a boisterous environment with lots of excitement. The stadium had a seating capacity of 3260 seats, which was filled to the max. The light sticks from the audience was mesmerizingly beautiful once the ceiling lights dimmed.
Photo of 2nd floor audience:
Permission to take photos and videos were granted!
Generally in regards to taking photos or videos during the concerts, it is not allowed. However in Hong Jin-Young’s case, the Trot fairy gave her explicit consent at the opening of the concert. Her method to convey her permission was witty, “When you all came in, did you see the sign about not taking photos or videos?” (Hearing this all the excited fans have drooped shoulders and are slowly putting away their phones.) She continues by saying, for me you can take as much photos and videos as you want. (People are in disbelief and shocked, myself included.) Hong Jin-Young says “In fact, I look better in videos, for some reason I don’t look so great in photos,” followed by “during the concert I will strike a pose and stay still, you can take photos then so the picture comes out nice.” As a result, I was able to take photos and videos to my heart’s content to share with everyone!
Highlights of the Concert
Hong Jin Young actively interacted with fans throughout the entire concert.
Hong Jin Young made sudden poses during her performance to give the audience a chance to take her picture. It was hilarious at times when the singer would be dancing then casually stay still for a few minutes at the left or right side of the stage to give fans a chance to capture a great photo. Her intent to interact with the crowd was so strong to the point her security detail probably exasperated at the artist’s determination.
Hong Jin Young visits 2nd floor audience:
Hong Jin Young shared her intention to walk to the audience to get a chance to greet them since only the fans sitting in the front can see her. The excitement from that announcement was really amazing. When the artist started walking out while singing a song, many fans blocked her path (security was busy keeping on eye on everything at this point) to take a selfie together or to shake her hand etc. Interesting point was these fans were of various ages ranging from 20s-70s. Grandfather figures were so excited seeing their favorite singer up close that they forgot about their wives and grandchildren seeing them turn into excited fan boys. One of the fun remarks about this from some people around me was “The ride back home will be full of fights for forgetting their social dignity.” Considering Korean social norms play a significant role in Korean-American society, it is understandable that for some it can seem socially embarrassing to see important figures changing into excited fan boys in front of their beloved singer.
It’s probably comparable to this scene from Descendants of the Sun when the officers in the army turn into ardent fan boys in front of Red Velvet in the drama.
Hong Jin Young had to make many attempts to reach the audience in the second floor due to many excited fans blocking her path at every point. By the time she finished her walk around the venue to return to the stage, Hong Jin Young found her shoe had fallen apart and needed to take a quick break to change them. She stated it was her first time seeing this happen although she has performed on the stage so many times, commenting on how memorable it is for her.
Hong Jin Young’s shoe fell apart:
During the segment where Hong Jin-Young reads all the post-its prepared in advance by fans, the most remarkable one was asking about her sister. As a result, Hong Jin Young called out her sister Hong Sun Young to the stage and the two performed a song together followed by Hong Sun Young’s solo performance. To be able to hear Hong Sun Young’s amazing vocals in person, it really reminded me of BMK in terms of her voice and singing style.
Hong Sun Young was shy and taken aback by the enthusiasm from the audience whenever everyone chanted “encore” at the end of her songs. Unfortunately the cheers were even louder for Hong Sun Young than for artist Hong Jin Young, which were remarked by the singer.
Hong Sun Young performance snippets:
Since 2018 there have been lots of speculation and interest in whether Trot singer Hong Jin-Young and former-idol Kim Jong-Kook are (or will be) dating.
Both Hong Jin-Young and Kim Jong-Kook have expressed their chemistry with each other on screen. Many fans who have watched the variety shows when they appeared together have been wishing for the two people to really date. The crucial variety show that broadcasted their chemistry was seen on SBS’s Running Man where Kim Jong-Kook has been a cast member since 2010 with Hong Jin-Young appearing as a featured member various times. Additionally, SBS’s Ugly Ducking where Hong Jin-Young and Kim Jong-Kook are both cast members since 2018 is also memorable. Much of the public have been very supportive of these two to become a couple in real life, including myself.
I don’t think I really understood how much love and support Hong Jin-Young and Kim Jong-Kook had been receiving as an on screen item until now. It has already been established on screen to consider them to be a potential couple with the ambiguous atmosphere and hyping from the MCs. Both have been flirty on screen in various shows with the editing building it up. This was confirmed when a compilation of those flirty scenes were played at Hong Jin-Young’s solo concert in Los Angeles.
Towards the end of the concert, Hong Jin Young started singing any song the audience requested. Lo and behold, Kim Jong Kook’s song was requested with many people shouting for Kim Jong Kook’s One Man. The cheers when Hong Jin Young sang Kim Jong Kook’s songs one after other were the loudest cheers during this segment. People were cheering for them to date, shouting they look great together etc.
Kim Jong Kook covers:
Someone yells “Kim Jong Kook” snippet:
Freebies like light sticks were given to cheer for Hong Jin Young.
Due to many local and corporate sponsors for the concert, there were some free stuff available for the audience before the concert like light sticks, health magazines, vitamin samples and coupons being handed out with some giveaways of skin care, electronics, gift certificates, health supplements and even a grand prize of one round trip to Korea from Korean Air.
Overall everyone had a wonderful time.
Hong Jin Young’s concert was not catered to one specific age group, but for all ages. Whole families from young to old had a great time listening to Korean Trot, ballads and great song covers from Hong Jin Young. Hong Jin Young was very proactive in interacting with the audience, not the mention the unexpected appearance of Hong Sun Young, which made an unforgettable experience.
Personally, I enjoyed the concert very much and glad for the spontaneous decision to go. If it wasn’t for my friend’s acquaintance being unable to go hours before the concert, my friend and I wouldn’t have had the chance to see and hear Hong Jin Young in person. There may be many memorable parts to the concert but what I shared are what was most memorable for me. Looking back to the concert a week later, I hope there are more chances to hear Hong Sun Young perform whether with her own debut as a singer or participating in her sister’s songs. She sounded awesome and would be perfect for Kdrama OSTs.