Known as the quiet and stay-at-home member of the K-pop group GOT7, Mark Tuan doesn’t flex his ambition through sheer talk but by constant evolution and hard work.

“Don’t diminish your progress just because it’s not perfect” is one of Mark Tuan’s famous lines. He’s not a man of many words but what he lacks in verbosity, he makes up for in action and support for his fellow GOT7 members: JB, Jackson, Jinyoung, Youngjae, BamBam, and Yugyeom. In fact, his empathy and thoughtfulness have become his most formidable assets; the impact of his own actions has benefitted not only his family and friends but also the community.

Last February, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in China, Mark provided air for the healthcare workers in Hubei. He also stepped up in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement last May by donating $7,000 to the Official George Floyd Memorial Fund. Shortly after, Mark posted a screenshot of his donation on Twitter while reminding his fans to “Stay strong, stay safe.”

Considering he belongs to a band with top hits and sold-out performances in South Korea and abroad, it’s rare that he doesn’t indulge in social media the way contemporaries from his age group and of his stature are wont to do. Aside from personal snaps and a few promotions here and there – Mark would rather share personal tidbits about his pet or Cheetos craving. However, during unprecedented times – Mark isn’t one to sit out.

In an era where people are bound to engage in virtue signaling and performative allyship, Mark stands out by offering urgent support. His social awareness and bias to action are something the youth can emulate but the South Korea singer would rather remain low-key and focus on measurable progress rather than relish in the limelight. Regardless of his preferences when it comes to showing his love, 2020 has proven that Mark indeed thrives through his quiet strength embodied by the recent release of his debut solo single, “Outta My Head.”


Although don’t be mistaken; he’s no wallflower onstage. He’s more of a firecracker whose spark lends endless inspiration for GOT7 fans worldwide otherwise known as AhGaSe. Not only can Mark sing, but he also raps and models on top of his acrobatic and martial arts performances that have given GOT7 a signature edge since its debut in 2014.

Prior to his music career, Mark never thought he would pursue his current path. It all happened very quickly after a JYP Entertainment scout in the US discovered him in 2010 – the same year he moved to South Korea. Having spent his childhood in Los Angeles, California with brief periods in Brazil and Paraguay – Mark grew up exposed to different cultures. It started in his household where his Taiwanese and Korean roots mingled with American customs. These influences would then become handy as he became GOT7’s resident polyglot because he can speak English, Mandarin, Japanese, and basic Spanish. The doors may have swung open for him in rapid succession early in life – all thanks to luck and raw potential – but that hasn’t stopped Mark to continuously push the boundaries. Though he carries four albums under his belt, namely Identify (2014), Moriagatteyo (2016), Flight Log: Turbulence (2016), and Present: You (2018), he wants to further his career by crossing over to acting and fashion. His involvement in SBS reality-documentary show, Law of the Jungle, is promising and his countless fashion engagements for magazines like Vogue, Arena Homme+, GQ, Grazia, Dazed, and Nylon, prove that his interest in shifting his narrative to another art form is highly anticipated. It all seems like a natural progression. At 27, Mark keeps learning and improving, and when you have your moves laid out like Mark, it becomes easier to stay silent with the confidence of knowing that you can bring it home and let your work do the talking.

Hi Mark, how are you? What’s keeping you busy lately?
I’ve been doing pretty good. Lately, I’ve been playing computer games and watching TV at home. Just trying to keep myself busy through this time.

2020 has been an intense year. As someone known for enjoying staying at home – how has the lockdown affected your activities?
I agree. 2020 has been a crazy year. But for someone like me that likes to stay home, it hasn’t been that rough on me. The things I usually do at home are play computer games and watch TV, so it hasn’t affected me too much. I hope everyone stays safe during this time.

What are your plans for winter and the holidays?
I think this winter and holidays we won’t have much time off. There still isn’t anything planned though, but we are never sure until that month.

What experiences led you to be more empathetic to people beyond your geography?
Coming to Korea actually changed me a lot. I think that coming out here playing a big part. Also, I adapt very quick to the environment I am in.

As an American with Chinese and Korean heritage – how do you merge these influences to your work?
As an American with Chinese heritage, I think it has helped me a lot with my work. It really helps me to be able to connect with more fans around the world as I am able to express myself much easier. Also, it makes it easier for me to make songs in different languages for my fans to enjoy.

You’ve also dabbled in acrobatics and martial arts. What are your interests, hobbies, and inspirations outside of work?
Yeah, I was put into lessons when I was still a trainee, but I really enjoyed the experience and never really looked at it as a class or lesson. Ever since I was young, I really liked to move around and play sports. Coming to Korea, there aren’t many places I can go to do the activities that I enjoy, so I guess my hobbies right now would be computer games. Haha.

What’s your creative process like?
I am not a person that comes up with things right away in the studio. I have to sit there for hours – maybe days to come up with something. But when I hear a track, I would listen to it a couple of times and think of what topic of what theme I would want to write about. From there, I start to think of melodies and lyrics after that. It can take a few days for me to write maybe a couple of lines.

We hear that you spent a number of years in Paraguay and Brazil. Give us a glimpse of your life before moving to South Korea.
Right after I was born in America, we moved to Brazil and then Paraguay. I spent my whole childhood there but I don’t remember much. After that, I moved back to the States and entered Kindergarten. I graduated 10th grade before moving to Korea and started the next chapter in my life.

What makes Seoul exciting?
I really enjoy eating Korean food! And knowing that Korea has a lot of stores that open until late and past midnight is really exciting because whenever I get hungry past midnight, I can always order in.

Having appeared in many fashion shoot and campaigns, how would you describe your aesthetic?
I actually really don’t know how I would explain my aesthetic. I actually try to go for a different concept and look every time we do a fashion shoot. I think doing that and experimenting a lot put me in a position where I can play off different styles and it doesn’t feel or look weird on me. These are just my thoughts and opinions! Haha.

How did you get into music?
I actually always enjoyed listening to music before I came to Korea. It wasn’t until I came to Korea and started taking vocal lessons and dance lessons that I really got into it more. Also after debuting, I got even more into it and started to produce songs with other producers. I think that there is still a lot I need to learn but as the years go by, I am still currently getting more and more into music.

What’s the best and most challenging thing about being a part of GOT7? How do you manage the pressure?
The best and most challenging part is having six other members. It’s really nice to have them because we’re always there for each other. Even though sometimes we don’t agree on something, we can relate with each other. Knowing that there are six other people that will support me and I will support them back makes things feel a lot easier. Also having six other members really challenges you to try to do better. It isn’t a competition but you feel like you don’t want to be the loose end of the team and that motivates you to work harder and get better.

Photo source: LINED IG (1) (2), Photographer Sang Hun (1) (2), GOT7 Twitter