Trans [Men's Uno Magazine] Interview with Zhou Mi: Feeling the Music


Slightly over two years after the debut of Korean idol group Super Junior, the company formed Super Junior- M to have activities in the Chinese music scene. The subunit consisted of 6 members from the main group, as well as two new faces, one of them is Zhou Mi. Fair-skinned, tall, and also a prominent nose bridge and sharp jawline, one would not miss his charm at the first look of SJM’s performance on stage. Getting to the roots of the topic, we find out that Zhou Mi is originally from Wuhan, actually he joined the Emperor Entertainment Group(EEG) Star Search Competition, and actually he dreamt then (as well as now) to release a Cantonese disc, this flower boy who can handle Korean, Chinese and (some) Cantonese always brings surprises for everyone. He officially released his solo debut album last year, and his path may be arduous and long in the future, but Zhou Mi continues going forward without hesitation, because he does not give himself an alternate choice to singing.

Loving Cantonese songs best

Zhou Mi, who was born in Wuhan but lived in Beijing, surprisingly grew up watching Hong Kong TV programmes, and mainly listened to Cantonese songs, “Although I cannot speak Cantonese, but I will try to sing along, pronunciation definitely sounds weird (laughs) Back then, it was mostly Twins, Joey Yeung, Leo Ku, Janice Vidal and etc, but almost all my friends don’t listen to Cantonese songs. Subsequently at Zhu Hai University, because it was near to Hong Kong, I took even greater interest in singers of the Hong Kong music industry, and frequently bought CDs in Hong Kong as well. As there was limited pocket money then, I would scrimp and save every month to buy the album, there is an entire wall in my house full of these CDs, every one of them I have listened to before!”

Teachers asked when we were younger what our aspirations were, other students either want to be a doctor or a lawyer, must be a teacher or an official, Zhou Mi however wanted to sing. Being influenced by Hong Kong music industry since young, Zhou Mi aspire to be a singer in Hong Kong upon graduation, and even was in the Emperor Entertainment Group(EEG) Star Search Competition, subsequently also talked about a contract with a certain Hong Kong artiste label and was in the process of preparing for signing the contract, yet he met a Korean talent scouter. “That time SM (his current label) held an audition in Guangzhou, and I actually had no intention of joining the competition, I was stopped on the streets by them, asked if I was interested to audition, then only I found out that it was because I looked like Siwon and the senior, Kangta.” Born with a celebrity face, and also having an interest for the industry since young, it is most likely fate that made him a star.

Not easy to be a Hallyu star

Zhou Mi wanted to develop his career in Hong Kong, but SM said that they wanted to nurture a celebrity who could do activities in Korea as well as in China, this was something that was unthinkable for a university student back then. “I never thought so far, I only wanted to sing, I could not speak Korean nor Japanese, at that time I asked myself ‘Can I do this?’ While I felt really lucky, I thought about the things that would follow and was quite worried.” Although attending university was also one thing that he did away from his home, but going to a country that he was entirely unfamiliar with to live, making a living alone, adapting to a new local culture over again, food, and even the weather, it is impossible to not have worries.

Touching down in Korea, the most important task was to become a Korean idol who is able to sing and dance from an average person within a year, this was not only about packaging, but something that started right from the foundation, the entire process from entering the company to the actual debut, Zhou Mi was a trainee.

The life of a trainee was not easy, schedules are always full, basically every day is about having classes “The process of training is equivalent to building the foundation properly, no matter in singing, dancing, hosting or acting, we had to learn everything, this made us more professional in our job. Before going to Korea, I was entirely unable to dance, asking me to perform on stage was something I would not dare to think of, but during the times I was a trainee, the company made me learn dancing, apart from hip-hop and jazz, there was even ballet, subsequently I also learnt Wushu. All in all, it was about practicing so that I can control my actions and attitude well. I was busy every day, there was also the weekly evaluation, needed to present everything I’ve learnt in the week to the company, so everyone was also under some stress. But this path was chosen by me, I am willing to put in effort, as long as I can fulfill my dream of being a singer, it is alright.”

I only want to sing

In a blink of an eye it has been 7 years, Zhou Mi today is someone who is not only able to sing and dance but is also the lyricist for SJM’s Chinese songs, and has tried out acting and hosting. It can be considered that his childhood dreams have been fulfilled and surpassed. He is really grateful when he looks back at these “Actually when being a trainee, it is uncertain whether or not debut would be possible in the future. At that time I thought that it was fine even if this was so, because ultimately the company still gave me an all-rounded training period, let me see where I was lacking, as well as gave me the opportunity to challenge myself beyond what I thought were impossible. This process was something that would help me and when I am older I would see the meaning in it.”

Last year, Zhou Mi officially debut as a solo male artiste, and released his first mini album <Rewind>, apart from Korean and Chinese songs, Hong Kong version also had a Cantonese version of one of the tracks, the company is indeed slowly introducing Zhou Mi to various Asian country as a solo artiste. All along, Zhou Mi and other members of Super Junior M have been performing together across countries as a team, the first time standing alone on stage surely made him slightly uncomfortable, “ Being alone on stage and singing a ballad is fine by me, but singing a dance number, the stress was huge, because the attention from start till the end is now on me alone, there is no one who can share this burden with me. Initially I was really anxious, right now I am starting to get used to it, performing alone can also be done easily.”

Although Super Junior M is popular across Asia, and releasing a solo album shines an even brighter light on his future, Zhou Mi still maintains his humble attitude, “I feel that I am still not a very successful singer, because many people still do not know me, so I feel that I need to work harder, let more people hear my voice, and hope that my voice can bring happiness and energy to others.” This seems slightly like a Thank You speech a singer would say at an awards ceremony but it really comes from the bottom of Zhou Mi’s heart. “ If you ask me what I would want to be if I was not a singer, I cannot give you an answer, because I never thought of any other dream, I only wanted to sing.”

Magazine scans via JaeL_HL
Trans by @Vanet9 for @SunshineZhouMi
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