F.T Island’s Jonghoon’s Career Journey
Successfully debuting in Korea, they also spread their wings to the country of the rising sun. F.T. Island debuted in Japan with the first mini-album Prologue of F.T. ISLAND: Soyogi, on June 7th, 2008. The album contains 8 songs, of which there are 2 new versions of “F.T. Island” and “Primadonna”. After promoting the album in Japan, they returned to Korea and then released their second album Colorful Sensibility on August 27th. Meanwhile, the second part was released in mid-October.
After debuting in Korea, FNC Music moved the activities of F.T. Island overseas. On March 31st, 2008, an autograph session in Malaysia was held at Damansara Cineleisure, which was followed the following day by the group’s first concert at the Sunway Lagoon Amphitheater. The performance was canceled, and instead, their first concert was held in Thailand, at the Royal Paragon Hall on April 12th, 2008. The band performed songs from their album and showed off their individual talents in their solo performances.
After their promotional activities in Japan ended, the band returned to Korea to release their second Korean album Colorful Sensibility on August 27th, 2008. A follow-up EP, Colorful Sensibility: Part 2, was released on October 17th, 2008.
In early 2009, original member Oh Won-bin left F.T. Island. Then his position was replaced by Song Seung-hyun who was also a trainee at FNC Entertainment. Seung-hyun filled the guitar and vocals position. He then debuted together with the other members through the song “Bad Woman”. With the new formation change, F.T. Island released the music video for their mini-album track, “Bad Woman”. They also promoted it on SBS’s Inkigayo, and two days later, they released the band’s first Korean mini-album Jump Up.
On April 22nd, 2009, F.T. Island released their second Japanese single, “I Believe Myself”. For the first time ever, the members participated with lyrics and composition. For the song “Moonlight Angel”, member Lee Jae-jin wrote, and leader Choi Jong-hoon composed the song.
“I Believe Myself” is the first Japanese single with member Song Seung-hyun. They held a 2009 F.T. Island Tour titled I Believe Myself in all Japanese cities and in several other Asian countries which include Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, etc., to promote themselves in the summer of 2009. Performances kicked off in Singapore on June 25th–27th.
F.T. Island released their 3rd Japanese single, “Raining”, on October 21st, 2009. A music video for the title track single was released. Leader Choi Jong-hoon played the piano for this song, not the guitar. In January and February, they embarked on a tour in Asia. This tour visited Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Singapore. Tickets sold out quickly; representatives of the band believed it was due to the popularity of Lee Hong-ki who starred in the drama You’re Beautiful.
After celebrating their 1000th day in the music industry, they flew to Japan and stayed there until the end of August for their big debut in Japan under the combination of the Japanese company’s new label, Warner Music Japan and their official label company, FNC Music. They also started a new Japanese show which started airing starting on April 7th, 2010.
After promoting in Japan, F.T. Island focused on their comeback in Korea in mid-August 2010. Their new mini-album Beautiful Journey and the music video for their title track “Love Love Love” were released on August 25th, 2010. F.T. Island made their comeback performance in Korea on August 27th, 2010.
The title song topped the music charts that are popular in South Korea and was also gaining international attention, especially in Taiwan. Choi Jong-hoon wrote and composed one of the songs, “Don Quixote’s Song”, making it the first Korean song to include composition from F.T. ISLAND themselves. During November and December, F.T. Island performed two separate concerts, Beautiful Journey Concert and So Today…, both in Korea and Japan.
F.T. ISLAND won favorable comments in the Chinese media. For concert tickets and merchandise alone, revenues for the F.T. ISLAND Beautiful Journey concert surpassed a total of $ 20 million. They have been named as the Korean artist who got the most money for the end of 2010 and F.T. ISLAND also wanted to visit Taiwan again later. Four major news agencies such as Times, Yonhap News, Apple Daily, and Liberty Times, covered the news at the concert, indicating the band’s high popularity.
F.T. ISLAND immediately returned to South Korea after almost a year away from Korean activities, with a mini-album titled Return. The album was released on May 24th with the title track, “Hello Hello”, a fast-paced rock track recorded at an impressive 200 BPM. This album has five songs in total. “I Confess”, in which leader Choi Jong-hoon says he writes with their fans in mind, became their first Korean release popularized to feature all five members’ vocals.
After releasing a tragic music video for their title track “Severely”, F.T. Island released their fourth mini-album, titled Grown-Up! Featuring five songs, Grown-Up! is composed of slow tempo rock ballads, and, as the album title suggests, showcases the group’s maturation since the group’s last release. This was followed by “Even Had Lost a Friend”, “I’m a Foolish Person”, “Grown Man”, and “I Hope You Will Be My Lover” which make up a total of the five songs on this album. The song “Severely” is about lovers who love each other but express feelings of heartbreak and separation.
The album was released on January 31st and was a success. Since it was made available to the public, on February 9th, the album has sold 50,000 copies so far.
The agency FNC Entertainment has said this in response to the album being sold, “We want to wait until the retail amount has run out before we order additional unit production. We never expected it to happen so quickly.” They continued, “The high praise given to this album has played a role in the monumental sales.”
Group album sales trends can be seen on the chart. Real-time information has been gathered from the Hanteo and the numbers prove that this album has topped both the daily and weekly charts. The monthly chart is definitely in F.T. ISLAND, music fans will be waiting for the results with great anticipation.
After 1 year and 4 months of hiatus in Korea (most recently releasing the mini-album The Mood in November 2013), finally, on March 23rd, 2015, F.T Island launched their 6th album, I Will. The album contains 11 songs with “Pray” serving as their comeback song. Previously, in 2014, F.T. ISLAND did not make a comeback in Korea because of the same focus on promotions in Japan and the individual activities of each member.
The following year, F.T. Island again released several albums, both the Korean and Japanese albums became their schedule that had to be carried out to keep their fans entertained. Some of the albums they released, such as Where’s the Truth? (2016) and Over 10 Years (2017) for their Korean albums, and 5 ….. Go (2015), NWU (2016), United Shadows (2017), Planet Bonds (2018), and Everlasting (2019) for their Japanese albums.
Active in F.T. Island’s Subunit, F.T. Triple
Three members Choi Jong-hoon, Choi Min-hwan, and Lee Jae-jin formed a sub-group called F.T. Triple. Some of the reasons behind this move were to showcase the strengths of the members’ skills and to prevent the lead singer, Lee Hong-ki, from grinding his voice further. Another reason was to continue promoting F.T. Island while Lee Hong-ki was busy filming the South Korean drama You’re Beautiful and Song Seung-hyun that was busy with various events.
At first, the trio was unofficially announced at the Dream Concert in Japan as A3. They almost named themselves A3 because they were all blood type A.
They wanted to keep the name F.T. so they added a Triple behind it to declare that it was a trio. In F.T. Triple, Lee Jae-jin, who was originally in charge of bass for F.T. Island, was a guitarist and vocalist; leader Choi Jong-hoon played the piano, and Choi Min-hwan continued to play the drums. Their first single was titled “Love Letter” and was released with the 2CD Repackaged Album F.T. Island Double Date as the second CD titled Two Date which features all F.T. Triple’s songs.
F.T. Island embarked on a nationwide tour titled Men’s Stories. The national tour started on November 14th, 2009, in Seoul, South Korea. The hit single from their album, “I Hope”, was very well received by their fans and the five members planned to present their lives backstage together with strong visuals and sound on a more personal level for fans. For their concert, F.T. Island emphasized their growth as a band when they started shedding their boyish charms in comparison to the masculine and mature.