K-pop’s fourth-generation boy band VANNER (@vanner__official) has been active for a few years now, beginning their journey with an ambitious rookie debut in 2019 that brought a charming combination of (highly-trained) young men together looking to tackle the challenges of the music industry. And throughout the first few years for the group, VANNER’s five-member lineup accumulated a handful of distinctive singles that incorporated everything from smooth R&B detailing on songs like “Better Do Better,” and “Crazy Love,” to the absolutely infectious summer anthem “Rollin,’” presenting a comprehensive love for music. With a few fun, engaging releases behind them, VANNER eventually embarked on a US tour and displayed their talents through several music show appearances, online concerts, and much more, exploring every angle possible in order to break into an industry that’s not the easiest to crack.
Then, in early 2023, everything changed as the group enlisted themselves in an uncharted survival program known as Peak Time. During the freshman series, several underrated dark horse K-pop boy bands would compete for global viewers and an esteemed panelist of judges – all working towards a chance to revitalize their careers. For some, it offered a chance to challenge themselves or put them on the map entirely. For VANNER, it meant being a few steps closer to attaining a dream that they’d been chasing for nearly a decade. Recognition.
By the time the dust settled on Peak Time, VANNER rightfully came out on top, opening exciting new doors to funding, sought-after producers, and long-term career plans that implied the group was finally being embraced on a global scale. But how exactly did post-Peak Time fame ultimately alter the trajectory of the group? Well, with the recent release of VINI VIDI VICI, VANNER’s fresh mainstream stature led to more than 110,000 units sold in its first week (exponentially exceeding all of their prior releases combined), reaching numbers that even current veteran artists strive for.
Yet, even with strong sales and growing popularity aside, the album composition itself proved that they came, they saw, and they marvelously conquered. On the impactful thematic six-track EP, VANNER finally has their foot placed firmly on the gas with the group’s title track “Performer,” going full force into a gripping single that solidifies them as innately relentless artists. Because, when tapping into a mixture of a synthy delight and unstoppable dance-pop characteristics – this new essential VANNER production not only depicts the majestic evolution of an artistic force but also perfectly illustrates that this is a bold new turning point for a group that’s only getting better with age.
Now, as our newest digital cover group, the members of VANNER are discussing their uncommon journey to stardom, quality music, and a few words of wisdom for the next generation of K-pop talent.
You’re no strangers to the industry because you’ve been dropping playlist essentials since 2019, including one of our all-time favorite pop tracks, “Rollin.” Looking back at when you first set out on this path, what was your first shared goal, or vision for VANNER?
Hyesung: Our shared goal is continuously growing and being able to perform on the stage for a long time. VANNER has been performing on stage over 200 times, even before our debut, and we were able to learn so many things through this. We also feel the happiest on stage.
Over the past few years, you’ve garnered several loyal, long-term fans who have followed your career every step of the way. How has that relationship changed from day one to today?
Yeonggwang: Thanks to so much love from a lot of people, the number of followers on social media has increased 4 – 5 times, and since we are able to have more opportunities to meet VVS our love is growing even bigger.
When you joined the survival show Peak Time, viewers around the world became drawn to your impressive talent and overwhelmingly humble energy! Whose idea was it to join the series and did you experience any apprehension about the prospect of competing?
Taehwan: The reason why we participated in Peak Time is because I first found out about the announcement of the show and thought it was an opportunity that we needed to grab. There were some members who were afraid of participating in the show, but after a long conversation, we all decided to join the show.
During your time on the series, you encountered a lot of exciting challenges that can push artists to evolve! With those moments in mind, what was the biggest lesson you learned from Peak Time?
Taehwan: I learned that opportunities come to people who don’t give up and consistently work hard.
Gon: Through Peak Time we were able to confirm our trust for each other, and the show suggested the direction that VANNER should advance towards.
Hyesung: I learned that if you wish for something in earnest your wish will come true. We started Peak Time with such ardor and I believe that led us to winning the show. I think we should always be on stage with ardor.
Sungkook: Regardless of the result, I felt that taking on the challenge itself was beautiful. I was greatly moved by all the passion and endless effort that I felt from many participants.
Yeonggwang: I learned that opportunities come to people who don’t give up and that you need to grab onto the opportunity when it comes.
Obviously winning was a massive moment in your career because people were able to truly appreciate everything VANNER has to offer on a global platform! Outside of the win itself, what was probably your proudest moment during the program?
Taehwan: When we were doing the joint performance each member was assigned to other positions, and while watching the members perform on stage as an audience I was so proud of them.
Gon: I felt so proud all the time looking at the members always giving their best on stage.
Hyesung: It was when we performed Seventeen’s “Adore U” on stage during Peak Time and got picked unanimously. That was the moment I felt confident about which direction VANNER needs to head towards, and I also felt so proud of the members who have been working so hard.
Sungkook: I was inwardly proud of the rap unit performance. This too, regardless of the result, I loved participating in the challenge with no regrets to create a great show.
Yeonggwang: When we won the show I was able to share the prideful moment with my mother, and to me that was the most proud moment of myself.
Diving into your new album VENI VIDI VICI, what would you say makes this feel like something uniquely catered to your originality, or VANNER’s strengths?
Taehwan: I think our strength is being able to digest various types of music. It was exciting to try different genres of music that we had never tried before.
Gon: I think this album depicts VANNER’s new voyage since Peak Time, and it is an album that shows each member’s strengths and strong suits.
Hyesung: It is an album that we worked hard to show various sides of VANNER. There were music genres that we tried for the very first time and because of that, everything felt like a great challenge.
Sungkook: It is an album that shows all five members’ voices and various charms in a more exquisite and powerful manner.
Yeonggwang: I think our album’s strength is the vocal parts and choreography that make each member’s strong suits stand out.
“Performer” is such a compelling pop track with lyrics that feel very close to your journey – and that authenticity combined with the group’s skills makes this an instant classic! But in your own words, why is “Performer” the perfect track to kick off this new chapter for VANNER?
Taehwan: I think “Performer” was chosen as our title track because it expresses our overwhelming emotions to be back on stage again so well.
Gon: We packed in everything VANNER wants to show to the audience including live singing and dancing in this song, and it is also a perfect song to show that VANNER will always remember where we started.
Hyesung: All of us sincerely love to perform on stage, thus, we see each other as ‘performers’. A stage is completed when an audience is present to watch the performance, therefore, I believe “Performer” is a stage that VVS and VANNER complete together.
Sungkook: We feel the burning exhilaration the moment we go on stage, and the song also captures our vigor that we will continuously sing and dance on stage. So I think it is the most perfect song for us.
Yeonggwang: I think it is a great song to announce VANNER’s new beginning, as the song lyrics show our vigor and ambition since winning Peak Time.
You have five other tracks that essentially offer you the chance to reintroduce VANNER to a new audience that you’ve gained from Peak Time so with that being said, what were some of your primary objectives with VENI VIDI VICI’s b-sides?
Gon: Our primary objective was to show various types of music and different kinds of concepts of VANNER as much as possible.
You currently have a new video, mini-album, and a lot of things in the works, but is there anything that can you tease about what might be coming next for the group?
Sungkook: After we successfully complete performing “Performer,” we are planning to have our first fan concert at the beginning of October! We hope you look forward to it.
In closing, it’s important to highlight the fact that you’re an honorable group strictly fueled by your love for music, and this journey you’ve been on has been very inspiring! What advice would you offer someone who’s been encouraged by your story?
Taehwan: I would like to say that despite the difficult seasons, if you continue to work hard, spring will arrive and flowers will blossom one day.
Gon: When you are on the brink of crisis and want to give up, you can overcome anything as long as you trust yourself and have people that you love around you. Love yourself and look at things with a positive mindset.
Hyesung: I would like to say that if you continuously push forward, don’t give up, and ardently wish for it, it will come true.
Sungkook: I would like to say that you can certainly do it, and if you try just a little harder and don’t give up, the results won’t betray you.
Yeonggwang: Thank you so much for loving our performance and our music. VANNER will always send positive energy and messages to our fans.