Trans [Cosmopolitan Magazine] Interview with Zhou Mi: In love with Canto-pop


“If I am not a member of SJM, I might debut in Hong Kong,” Korean boy-band Super Junior-M’s Zhou Mi tells us seriously. Hailing from Hubei in Wuhan, he was initially not familiar with Cantonese at all, but in his teens, he liked Cantonese songs and fell in love with Hong Kong’s idol singers. Growing older and being part of the Hallyu wave himself, his heart still saves a space for renditions in Cantonese that he loved as the industry starts fading. Going strong and solo in his debut mini album, Zhou Mi also set aside a Cantonese bonus track for the listeners, telling us that he is also working towards being able to produce a full Cantonese album one day.

Super Junior’s huge popularity has led to the formation of many subunits to cater to the various markets over the years. 7 years ago, Super Junior-M (M meaning Mandarin, abbreviated as SJM) as its name sounds, was to target the Chinese market.

Zhou Mi who is from China, initially planned to kick off his career in Hong Kong. Yet unexpectedly, he got himself tangled up with the strong Hallyu wave instead. “Back then I participated in the singing competition, Emperor Entertainment Group Star Hunt. A week before I was about to sign the contract with the Hong Kong firm, I had the opportunity of SJ-M. The (Korean) company hoped that I could join a boy band and do activities in places like China, Japan, Korea and etc. I was surprised myself. I thought that the first song I would release would actually be a Cantonese one.”

The debut of SJM was a great success and the results were good. To Zhou Mi, last year was the year of great harvest, for he was doing well in both music and hosting schedules. He also released his debut mini album <Rewind>. “ After a long wait for this album, I worked on 6 Chinese songs personally, writing the lyrics and it was also the first time I did composing.”

At such an important time of “going solo”, Zhou Mi hadn’t forgotten about the Cantonese songs that he’d love and was working hard to negotiate with the company to let him record the Cantonese version of <Lovesick>. “When I made this suggestion to the company, they found it very hard to understand why I wanted to do so. The company has never done cantonese releases before, so then let it be the one leading the way.”

Endless love for Cantonese
Zhou Mi has an unexplainable “bond” with Cantonese songs, that started since he was young and glued to the television for Cantonese dramas at home. “No one around me knew how to speak Cantonese at that time, but I didn’t know why I just enjoyed listening to Cantonese pop. When I grew older, my idols was Twins, Joey Yung, Janice M. Vidal and the like. I know their songs well and can sing all of them. I remember the first day when I first debut as SJM, I met Twins while I was onstage and even went up to greet up. It was really an exciting moment there.”

Zhou Mi did his university studies in Zhu Hai University and also placed learning the Cantonese language into his academic plans. He was really envious of stars who were proficient in the language and had no problems with it. “One time I saw Tang Wei on the screens doing an interview in Cantonese. Wow! It was amazing! I hope that one day I would also be like her, speaking Cantonese accurately and fluently.”

Celebrity level “New Immigrant”
In the entertainment industry and particularly for singers, there is a devilish training regime. Yet, as opposed to that, Zhou Mi confessed that he found having to deal with loneliness in a foreign country like Korea harder to handle. “Many people say that training is really tiring, but I feel that there haven’t been any artiste who had it easy in the lead up to their debut. On the other hand, it is not being able to go home that is most draining. At times even if I get to go to Beijing, our schedules are too tight for me to go to my parents and they are the ones who have to come meet me in the hotel.” He told us as he recalled the times in the past where he had only first started out with his activities in Korea.

Six years have passed, Zhou Mi’s Korean is more than enough for him to initiate and sustain conversations. This “New Immigrant” seems to be growing an alliance while working overseas as well. “ Us Chinese who all work in Korea, have a group called “China Line”. We support each other and encourage each other like a small family. When people care for you, you naturally become happier.”

As for his plans in the future, Zhou Mi told us that it definitely would have to do with Hong Kong. “ I am anticipating any chances to collaborate with some Hong Kong stars, and also am really hoping to be able to release a full Cantonese album some day.”

In the boy band
SJM is an 8-member group, 6 of whom are Koreans and two from China. The difference in cultures, however, have not caused any barriers between them. “Another Chinese member Henry grew up in Canada, his culture is entirely different from those of ours. As for the other Korean members, everyone has a different personality, but being able to have a cross- cultural experience when the team is together is really refreshing.”

As for whom he is closest to? The answer is Kim Hee Chul of Super Junior. “Heechul looks cool on the outside but he is really someone who helps others out alot. We usually call each other or text. He has also left me encouraging messages online. He makes it really heart-warming.”

Trans by @Vanet9 for @SunshineZhouMi
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