Debuting Again in 2017, as Highlight
Highlight was finally debuted and released their first mini-album, Can You Feel It?, on March 20, 2017. Jun-hyung said that the purpose of this album was to give a tap on the shoulder, since they were having a hard time. They released it in two versions, with different vibes, SENSE version and SENSIBILITY version. In the SENSE version, they had a fun concept and it was more colorful, whereas in the SENSIBILITY version, they had a softer and more serious concept, with blue and white colors. Both versions would come with one of eighteen photo cards and one of three posters.
The mini-album came with six tracks, Plz Don’t Be Sad, It’s Still Beautiful, The Beginning, Danger, Can You Feel It?, and Plz Don’t Be Sad (Instrumental). It gained so much attention that it peaked on the Gaon Weekly Album Chart on the first position in the 12th week of 2017.
Highlight chose their debut song, Plz Don’t Be Sad, composed by Good Life (collaboration between Yong Jun-hyung and Kim Tae-joo). It was an upbeat song and made it impossible for listeners to feel down, but only happy. The music video was colorful and people watching it could see the members enjoying themselves in many places and circumstances. Even though some animal-headed people tried to bother them, they just kept going on having fun. It seemed like the message through the music video was to tell us not to be sad, just like the title. Let’s check it out!
Highlight made their debut stage at Mnet’s M!Countdown on March 23, 2017, with their debut song Plz Don’t Be Sad. Rather than call it a debut stage Mnet, on their YouTube channel, called it a comeback stage. It looked like they brought the SENSIBILITY version vibes in blue and white on their very first stage as Highlight.
In addition, they also made their debut through KBS Music Bank and won a triple crown. This time, they brought their SENSE version, which was more colorful.
So what about now? It’s been a couple of years since their debut as Highlight. In these two years too, many things happened to the members. Let’s check them out!
Doo-joon’s Military Enlistment
After nine years of working in entertainment, Doo-joon was the first member of Highlight who enlisted in the military. Earlie,r on August 21, 2018, it was confirmed by the agency that Yo-seob would be the first member to enlist but the date hadn’t been determined. On August 22, 2018, Around Us Entertainment announced that Doo-joon had received a military draft notice and would abruptly be enlisting on August 24, 2018. All were shocked by the sudden notification (only two days before the enlistment date). Doo-joon then wrote a letter to his fans saying that he was sorry and sad that he could not make a proper goodbye. However, he looked forward to his enlistment and thanked the fans who supported him until then.
He would start training on August 24, 2018, for five weeks before becoming an active duty soldier. As Doo-joon’s wished to enlist quietly, the location and the time of his enlistment were not revealed. He reported to the training center after receiving farewells on-site from Highlight members, his family, and Around Us staff. The members then posted a picture and expressed their feelings about Doo-joon’s enlistment on their Instagram account, showing their strong bond and support for each other. Doo-joon will be discharged from the military on April 10, 2020.
Meanwhile, the rest of the members were preparing for their comeback on November 20, 2018, with the album Outro. They also released a music video for their title track, Loved.
Yo-seob’s Military Enlistment
As previously confirmed, Yo-seob would be enlisting in the early part of 2019. He was accepted to serve as a conscripted policeman, and then enlisted on January 24, 2019.
A day before his enlistment, the agency revealed that Yo-seob would release a digital single album titled 20 Full Moons on January 24, 2019, at 6 p.m. KST, right on the day of his enlistment. The album consisted of two single tracks that he composed himself, titled Moonlight and With You. The song With You was dedicated to his fellow members who stayed by his side for almost ten years.
On the day of his enlistment, Yo-seob also wrote a letter to his fans through his Instagram account. He said that he would adapt well in the new environment and meet new friends there. He promised to become more handsome as he returned and would sing for his fans. He thought that this would be a good opportunity for him to organize his thoughts and become more mature. He ended warmly by saying stay healthy to his fans.
In July, 2017, Gi-kwang was rumored to be preparing his solo comeback in August or September of that year. The agency later confirmed it and said the specific date had not been decided yet. It was actually his first solo comeback after his last solo promotion, eight years earlier, before he was debuted as a Beast member. Back then, he was known as AJ.
On September 4, 2017, he released a music video, What You Like, which was the title track of his first mini-album, ONE. The song was composed by Good Life.
Around Us Entertainment confirmed that Gi-kwang would hold his first solo concert in early 2018. The concert title, Lee Gikwang Mini Live 2018 One, was held on January 27-28, 2018, at The Blue Square Market Hall in Seoul.
On March 23-24, 2019, Gi-kwang successfully held his second solo concert, Lee Gikwang Live 2019, at the same place he held his first one. This second concert would be the last chance for the fans to see him before his enlistment. Before, he made a solo comeback and released his new single album titled I, along with a music video of the title track Don’t Close Your Eyes (D.C.Y.E.).
On the second day of his concert, Gi-kwang was visited by his fellow member, Yo-seob, who was on his first leave from the military at the time. The agency posted a photo of them.
Gikwang is the third member to be enlisted, on April 18, 2019. He was accepted to be a conscripted policeman, just like Yo-seob. He would be receiving training at the Korea Army Training Center in Nonsan before starting to serve at the Gyeonggi Nambu Provincial Police Agency, the same place as Yo-seob’s.