Super Junior-M, often referred to as SJ-M, is the third official sub-unit of Korean boy band Super Junior. They are the first international music group in the Chinese music industry to have members of both Chinese and Korean descent, and are also the first group produced by Korea’s CT (Culture Technology) organization, created through a comprehensive localization strategy. Super Junior-M consists of Super Junior members Han Geng (the leader), Donghae, Siwon, Ryeowook, Kyuhyun, and two non-Super Junior members, Henry and Zhou Mi.

Origin of the name

Before the official name of the subgroup was released, they were often referred to as Super Junior China. On April 3, 2008, SM Entertainment released the official name of the subgroup, Super Junior-M, with “M” representing the word “Mandarin,” expressing the subgroup’s ambition to become successful in the Chinese music market not limited to only China. The “M” can also represent a list of other aspects, such as the first letter of their debut album, Me, and also “mi“, which denotes to “charismatic” as well as “fan” in Mandarin, the latter meaning referring to their desire to connect closer with fans.

Background

Pre-debut:

Responding to Super Junior’s rising popularity in Mainland China, Super Junior’s management, SM Entertainment, decided to compose a new Super Junior sub-unit that is to focus entirely on the Chinese market. On October 2, 2007, an official announcement was released to the media, stating the birth of a third Super Junior subgroup that would debut in China in 2008. Super Junior’s original member Han Geng, and an SM Chinese trainee, Henry, were stated to be the first two of the seven members representing the subgroup. Five months later, a second Super Junior member, Siwon, was mentioned in news articles to be the third member. However, the confirmed list of members were not released to the public until April. Starting from April 4 to April 7, 2008, the seven members were individually released to the media in a chain of short trailer clips. Han Geng was the first member to be announced on April 4. On April 5, Siwon and Donghae were announced to be the second and third members, On April 6, Kyuhyun was announced to be the fourth Super Junior-M member, following a new member Henry as the fifth. Ryeowook was announced to be the sixth member on April 7 followed by rookie Zhou Mi as the final member. A trailer of all seven members was released on the group’s debut day, April 8. Super Junior-M’s trailer clips exceeded 1.4 million views in less than four days, garnering interest in both the Chinese and Korean audiences.

Musical career

Super Junior-M debuted in China on April 8, 2008 at the 8th Annual Music Chart Awards and with the release of their first music video, “U” online. Their debut album was released in various provinces in China starting April 23, 2008 and the Korean version with three bonus Korean tracks was released in South Korea on April 30, 2008. The album was also distributed in several other Chinese communities on May 2, 2008 such as Hong Kong and Taiwan. Reviews for the album were generally positive and it also gained praise from Hong Kong singer, Hins Cheung, who said the album contains “international-level music” and that the group is “vocally-talented”. A month after their debut, Super Junior-M won their first award, Asia’s Most Popular New Group Award, at the 5th annual Music King Awards in Macau on May 25. After their debut performance in early April 2008, the group made guest appearances in many chains of entertainment variety shows. They appeared in an episode of the second season of TVB and HunanTV‘s collaboration show, Strictly Come Dancing, which made the show’s ratings increase to 5.01%, ranking it the third most watched show ever in all of China.[14] Super Junior-M’s appearance in the talk show, Behind Story two months later also increased ratings. The show had the highest ratings during that time slot, with a strong 4.05% Separated into several weekly episodes, the group’s appearance in their first episode on the challenging game show, Bravely Going Forward,in early August gave the show the highest ratings during that time slot as well.

Super Junior-M and Show Luo of Taiwan replaced Hong Kong entertainers, Nicholas Tse and Twins, for the 2008 summer season endorsement spots of Semir, a Chinese clothing’s brand. They were acclaimed to be sunny, young, and passionate; thus their image was suitable to endorse the brand. The last performance of “U” was on August 29, 2008 at the 7th Golden Eagle Opening Ceremony Concert. The group gave their first performance of their second single, “Me,” on September 13, 2008 at the SMTOWN LIVE ’08 in Shanghai concert. The music video was then released a day later through Sohu. Super Junior-M held their first concert in Hong Kong on December 27 and 28. On September 14 2009, Super Junior-M released the music video for their upcoming comeback single Super Girl which features Girls’ Generation‘s Jessica.

Musical style

Super Junior-M’s goal is to bring the Korean pop influence over to the Chinese market, re-representing the hits in Mandarin. Similar to the style of their main group Super Junior, Super Junior-M’s music style falls into the category of mainstream pop, dance, and R&B. Dance pop songs with rock and hip hop influences are easily heard in their music, such as in “Me” and “The Moment”, which contains guitar riffs and heavy bass sounds. Rap is not performed as often like the main group, but these influences can be heard in “The Moment” and also the rap remakes in “Don’t Don” and “A Man In Love“.

Controversy

After the first announcement of Super Junior-M on October 2, 2007, and the possibility of adding a non-Super Junior member, Henry, to this unit, Super Junior fans immediately voiced out their dissatisfaction and opposition. Immediately, a website was built, called “Only 13”, to oppose against SM Entertainment’s actions. Through the website, fans of Super Junior communicate and plan out protesting actions against the company. Before legal protests began, many online petitions were made by both Korean and Chinese fans to prevent and convince the label to not add a fourteenth member. Initially fans were planning to boycott the company’s products, similar to the actions taken by fans of TVXQ in the past. However, most fans agreed on a silent protest instead. On October 21, 2007 and throughout the week, over 400 fans from Super Junior’s official fanclub, E.L.F, silently sat in front of the SM building and held signs that supported the group to have only thirteen members.  Situations became worse when SM Entertainment announced through the media that they never stated that Super Junior was a fixed group, although the label announced that Super Junior was a permanent group when Kyuhyun was added to the group in mid-2006. Thousands of fans wrote letters to the company and pleaded them to keep the group permanent, but no answer was returned. Over one thousand more fans appeared in front of the SM building on E.L.F’s third protest on November 3, 2007 .Instead of a silent protest, the fans sang various Super Junior songs and shouted “thirteen.” Although SM Entertainment’s answer to the fans’ protest stated that new members in Super Junior-M will not be added to the official group and thus will not affect Super Junior’s main career, many fans still held the belief that there will be this possibility of seeing new official Super Junior members in the future.

After more rumors leaked of SM Entertainment sneaking in an extra non-Super Junior member, Zhou Mi, to the subgroup, the fans decided to gain this chance to have a legal representation as part of SM Entertainment’s stockholders. As of March 20, 2008, Super Junior fans from all over the world purchased 58,206 stocks of SM Entertainment, holding 0.3% of the company’s entire stock. They released a statement through the media, stating that they will obtain all chances to prevent SM Entertainment from adding new members and to keep Super Junior as only thirteen. After the release of Super Junior-M’s official blog on April 3, 2008, over 5,000 comments were posted by Chinese fans in an hour, voicing out their support to keep Super Junior as thirteen members. The administrator resulted in locking the comment box where only those with sohu blog accounts could comment.

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HENRY LAU

Henry Lau (born October 11, 1989), better known mononymously as Henry, is a Chinese-Taiwanese Canadian pop singer. He is one of the two new additional members to the Super Junior sub-unit Super Junior-M, the other being Zhou Mi. Henry is fluent in two languages: English, Mandarin, and proficient in Cantonese, and Korean, with English being his primary language.

Biography

Henry Lau learned to play the violin at age 6 and learned a unique form of dancing called boogaloo popping while in high school. He attended North Toronto Collegiate Institute in grade 9, and attended A.Y. Jackson Secondary School (Toronto) for the rest of his high school years before being chosen at the 2006 SM Entertainment Global Audition in Toronto, Ontario. His first appearance was in Super Junior’s “Don’t Don” music video in September 2007. A few months later, Don’t Don became number one hit in Korea. In 2008, Henry was added to Super Junior-M.  and the group debuted in China on April 8, 2008, releasing their “U” remake music video and an album entitled “Me” soon after that incorporated Henry’s violin. Henry returned to the music industry after a year-long break as Super Junior-M and their first mini-album: Super Girl was released in China on September 25, 2009. In the mini-album, Henry does not display his violin playing.

Henry’s areas of expertise lie in playing the violin, playing the piano, popping and singing. He began violin lessons at the age of six, although apparently, he used to cry when he had his violin lessons, and after only one year of dancing, Henry competed in dance (popping) competitions and shows. Henry has won many awards for violin and piano performance such as the Silver Medal in Level 10 Violin for the Canadian Royal Conservatory of Music (award granted to the highest mark achieved in Canada for violin performance in level 10 in the province that year), and has won awards for his dancing as well.

Controversy

Before debuting as a member of Super Junior-M, Henry appeared as a violinist in Super Junior‘s 2007 single “Don’t Don”  which caused a controversy among the fans after SM Entertainment officially announced Henry to be a member of a new Super Junior sub-unit. Previously, there were rumors stating that Henry was to be the fourteenth member of Super Junior, stemming from SM’s statement regarding the controversy, which led fans to the form an “Only 13” campaign. However, SM Entertainment later announced that Henry will not be an official member of Super Junior, and is only a guest member.

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Zhou Mi

Zhou Mi (born April 19, 1986) is a Chinese pop singer. He is one of the two new members of Super Junior‘s third sub-unit Super Junior-M, the other being Henry. Aside from singing, he has contributed to the group’s first Chinese album “Me)” by writing Chinese lyrics to songs such as Love Song, “Marry U” and  A Man In Love.

He speaks fluent Mandarin, and understands conversational Korean and Cantonese.

Pre-debut

Even before he became a singer, Zhou Mi made a name for himself in the Chinese entertainment scene – particularly in the field of music and TV hosting – by competing in and winning several music and hosting contests.

Becoming an SM Talent

Zhou Mi won the grand prize at the SM UCC Star Audition although he did not audition directly. The audition was held online within a three-month period from March 27 until early June 2007. His Korean friend entered the audition for him through the “Recommend a Friend” category, where he uploaded a customized video with Zhou Mi’s singing clip. His ability to sing in fluent Korean made him one of the top favorites among the netizens and judges alike.

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