ATEEZ makes one team, and that team wouldn’t be complete without their leader: Kim Hongjoong! The K-pop star is responsible for most of the boy group’s music and had a long journey to debut. Keep reading to learn more about Hongjoong.

Who Is Hongjoong?

Born in Seoul, South Korea, on November 7, 1998, Hongjoong is a Scorpio. He was the first member of ATEEZ to join KQ Entertainment, which would ultimately debut the boy group in 2018. Due to his musical ability and skill in composing music and concepts, the CEO of the company even gave him the title of “Captain” of ATEEZ.

Not only is he the leader (and captain!) of the boy group, he’s also the main rapper.

“I want for us to provide people with a better understanding of K-pop worldwide,” HongJoong told i-D in March 2023. “There are people who continue to say that K-pop is so technical and manufactured but K-pop isn’t just a single genre; each group has a different type of art and I want to show how we express our art to everyone. When I look into the crowd at concerts, I can see so many people of all ages and backgrounds yet stereotypes against the artists and the fans still exist.”

Who Are ATEEZ?

The group consists of Hongjoong, along with SeonghwaYunhoYeosangSanMingiWooyoung and Jongho. They debuted on October 24, 2018, with their songs “Pirate King” and “Treasure.”

The group comes from a pretty small South Korean music company, KQ Entertainment, which is a rarity in an industry that leans heavily on big companies like HYBE (BTS, TXT), YG Entertainment (BLACKPINK) and JYP Entertainment (TWICE, Stray Kids).

“Many people say that I can be proud of being a group from a small company that has made their own way,” Hongjoong told i-D. “So if we continually do it like this with ATINY [ATEEZ’s fanbase name], then in the future people might agree that ATEEZ have made a change in K-pop. I think for now though, we haven’t done enough.”

On top of their small company roots, the group has their unique sound created by the group’s own members, as Hongjoong is a regular producer of their songs — which is almost never heard of in the K-pop world.

“These days, when I write lyrics or produce a song, I just start from zero,” he explained. “Before, if we had a pirate theme, for example, I would start with that as a topic. That’s why I found it so hard.”

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