November in Beijing is already winter; Duan Yi En arrived at the shooting venue in the evening. Despite the busy schedules throughout the few days (in Beijing), he was still fully energetic and there was no sign of tiredness visible on him. Despite the shy and a little introvert character of his, during the photo shoot he showed a lot of expressions; while the cameras were capturing some behind the scenes, he immediately showed the shy side of him, asking the staff to “not look” at him.

It can be said that Mark has achieved a lot through this trip to China. All of the songs in GOT7’s third full album are being recognised as the “Platinum album” in Korea’s certified music chart, the Gaon Chart; their title song also received consecutive first placing in various music shows such as “Music Bank” and “Inkigayo”, achieving 7 first place records.

This is the 5th year since Duan Yi En’s debut. Duan Yi En studied in America back in his college days; thinking about the times when he was still a student, he remembers that every summer he wouldn’t be able to leave the beach. Together with his friends, they would always swim and surf together, and after school they would drive the car to the steakhouse to eat and drink. When he was in college back then in America, he was already very interested in music. Other than listening to the music using his MP3, he would deliberately go to the physical stores to buy the albums.

He’s really interested in hip hop music, especially artists like Eminem. “Out of all the songs by Eminem, I love “WHEN I’M GONE” the most, I even watched the movie “8 MILE” that Eminem acted in”. Whether Duan Yi En was on his way to school or when he’s exercising, he likes to put on his earpiece and listen to the music while he walks – which is also how he gradually built up his interest in music. However, such a laid back life didn’t continue for too long — when Duan Yi En was still in school, he was offered an opportunity to go for an audition by the overseas media company, which marked the start of his singer career.

In 2010, when Duan Yi En was 17 years old, he went all the way to Korea, became a trainee and started to embark on the trainee life. Before coming to Korea, Duan Yi En had not received any professional training in singing and he doesn’t know the language either. It can be said that he was just like a piece of white paper. He only got in touch with music officially when he started to be a trainee. On top of that, he had to learn how to dance, do MATs and many more talents. In order to do that, he had to put in a lot more effort as compared to the rest.

I don’t know how to sing, dance, speak Korean, or rap. I had to practice all of these every day, so it felt really difficult back then.” Even though it was really hectic every day, Duan Yi En never felt like it was tough; he smiled and said “Thankfully the Korean food suits my taste.Duan Yi En entered the company in August 2010 and debuted in January 2014; he became the rap and MAT representative in the group and even personally participated in composing music and practiced lyrics writing. During the 3.5 years of being a trainee, Duan Yi En continuously grew and learned, gradually, from someone who knew nothing about the industry to being a qualified artist.

Initially when he was still a trainee, he didn’t have a lot of fans. Occasionally when there were fans who gave him letters or drinks, he found it really shocking – thinking to himself that since he hasn’t debuted, why was he receiving gifts? “Before the trainees showcase, other than the canteen near the company or places that I always go to, it’s almost impossible to see me so I’m really surprised that they would become my fans at that point of time.”

The 25 year old Duan Yi En has many more wishes and the road is still long but whenever he’s on the stage, that is when he enjoys it the most. Of course, what makes him feel more blessed is when he lies down on the bed after everyday’s hectic schedules, thinking about the process of that day’s hard work, thinking that he has done pretty well.

In which area/aspect do you think that you’ve grown the most in?
To be honest I feel that there are a lot of areas where I am lacking in, but I’m really very thankful towards all the fans, they’ve really given me a lot of support and encouragement. I feel that currently for me, rather than looking at the areas where I’ve learned/grown up a lot in, perhaps I know better what I’m lacking in; hopefully I’ll be able to work harder and become better in the future.

As an artist, there are definitely unavoidable negative comments or those that question you. How do you handle these comments and adjust your attitude towards it?
This is an avoidable scenario that every artist will face but I don’t let it affect me too much. I would put more thoughts into it if it mentions areas that I am lacking in, and in order to not continue lacking in that area, I’ll work hard to change it.

When going on variety shows, being energetic is really important. It seems like being more of an extrovert would be at an advantage, how do you cope with this?
Recently I’ve been trying really hard to talk more to people I’ve met. In a variety show, I will prepare in advance for as long as I’m able to. Because this is the only way I will be able to get more opportunities to see people who love me, and for that I’m always working hard.

What are the songs that you’re listening to recently? What movies are you watching?
I don’t specifically listen to one song, but I do listen to a lot of the songs on the charts. Recently I’ve watched some action movies such as “Undisputed”. I didn’t plan on watching it but I saw it on TV and it looked like it’s something that’s related to MMA so it’s interesting to me. Recently I feel that movies that shows cool moves are pretty interesting.

When you’re watching the movie, do you imagine yourself acting in it?
Since I don’t really have a lot of experience in acting/performing, I want to try a role that is similar to my character, something like a student. In the future, when I have more experience I would like to try different character.

Without even noticing it, you’ve already debuted for 5 years. Do you think that you’re doing much better in performing or on variety shows?
I feel that I’m doing fine in the performances since the trainee period was quite long so I have more experiences in performing on the stage. As compared to performing on the stage, I don’t have a lot of experiences in going on variety shows so I’m still a bit nervous.

Currently in China there are many new groups appearing in the industry, including your juniors BOYSTORY. As a senior, what advice do you have for them?
Give it your best in everything that you do, communicate more within the group, build a relationship where you can be each other’s strength. BOYSTORY members are relatively young but they’re really hard working kids, I feel everything would be fine once they can do it in the “Work Hard Play Hard” way.

Say some words to the fans in China.
I know that all of you have always been supporting me and waiting for me. In the future, there would be more opportunities for me to come to China, I believe that we will be able to meet more often! When that happens, please do support me too! I will work even harder.

Please note that the source photo cuts off halfway as seen.

Translated by
Source: CeCi China (photos)