Why Taemin Was First in SHINee to Go Solo

Taemin, member of popular boy group SHINee, debuted six years ago and has now blossomed into a solo artist. This summer, SHINee’s youngest member released his first solo album. Not only is it his first solo project, but Taemin is the first member of SHINee to have a solo album.

Six years ago, I don’t think anyone would have guessed that Taemin would go solo before his other group mates. Did you think this young kid…

Taemin Replay

… would turn into this grown man?

Let’s revisit Taemin as the first SHINee member to have a solo debut. First of all, Taemin’s solo was hush hush until the end of July when rumors speculated about a solo debut. SM Entertainment did later justify the rumor, but with little information given. Finally, a week before his debut, SM released his teaser photos (see photo gallery above).

Not much was provided in terms of build up for the debut. Maybe SM wanted to go with the element of surprise with this one. And who would blame them? If there was a lot of talk leading up to his debut, there would most likely be more people questioning why Taemin received a solo before Onew and Jonghyun, the main and lead vocals of SHINee.

Publicly talking about and acknowledging Taemin’s debut months ahead of the release also opens up the door for a lot of speculation and expectation from fans. Doing the project in as much secrecy as possible allows for an organic process with little interference from fans and others not involved in the project. It also creates a better experience for fans as they do not know what to expect and will hopefully be impressed with the entire project.

Since SHINee’s debut six years ago, people haven’t really noticed (for lack of a better word) or talked about Taemin until SHINee’s most recent comebacks. Most notably, Dream Girl, when he famously went from Taemin to TaeMAN. With each SHINee comeback, fans have seen him grow in age, maturity, and not to focus on looks, but in his looks as well. But the most notable improvement from the dance machine, has been his singing voice.


Again, starting with Dream Girl, Taemin received more singing lines, and when Jonghyun was out during their Why So Serious promotions, Taemin sang his parts during their live performances. Maybe this was SM’s brilliant idea all along. Give Taemin more singing parts so fans can see how much he has improved, and one day, we’ll give me a solo debut. But that’s just speculation…

The meat of this article is about Taemin and his solo debut. Initially, when it was announced that he would have a solo, I questioned it. I thought Jonghyun would be the first SHINee member to have a solo. BUT after watching Taemin’s music video and live performance of Danger, I realized SM made a great decision.

Taemin has many qualities that make him a suitable artist for a solo debut. First, he can dance. We all know this. Since debut, that kid could dance. Obviously as he’s gotten older his dancing has improved and matured. He’s always fun to watch during the dance breaks in the music videos and at live performances. SHINee as a whole are AMAZING dancers, but Taemin just has that extra oomph that puts him above his hyungs. Although he is the best dancer in SHINee, he doesn’t brag about it or flaunt it. Yes, he usually shows how to do the dance moves before the other members, but he doesn’t go around stating he is the best dancer in SHINee. He’s humble, and that is what makes a great solo artist.

Second, Taemin has grown up. It’s hard to imagine what a 15-year-old boy will look like at 21. And Taemin clearly has good genes because he has grown into a handsome young man. Aside from being handsome, he has a tall and thin frame. And although he is thin, he doesn’t look fragile or weak. Instead, he is elongated and elegant, which adds to his powerful and impressive dancing.

Third, Teamin can sing. He is finally past puberty and actually has a great singing voice. It may not be very powerful or soulful, but that doesn’t matter because it’s own sound that’s different from others. In order to have a solo debut, it would serve that person best to have their own sound that isn’t like anyone else’s. Not only that, but he sings live while hitting his dance moves hard. That is talent.

Finally, when you watch Taemin perform his solo songs, it’s clear he is doing this for the love of music. The choreography for his songs are perfect for him. He puts his all into every dance move and makes the whole dance his own with his charisma and overall dancing skills. After watching his Danger music video (in the above playlist), it is also clear that Michael Jackson was the inspiration for the choreography, outfits, and even some of the singing in the song.

All of these qualities are what make Taemin a solid choice for a solo artist. The numerous videos SM posted of his dance practice with Ian Eastwood and the full choreography, and his Ace video concept show that he is a true performer. His stage presence is unbelievable, which he has had six years to craft and he surely has done that.

As fans and non-fans listen to Ace in it’s entirety, it’s clear to hear that this mini album is Teamin’s style. The vocals, the beats, the music, everything feels like a perfect fit. These are the types of songs Teamin was meant to sing and he does so with confidence and gusto. He has proven once and for all that he is more than just an exceptional dancer and a handsome maknae. He is a vocalist and I can’t wait to see his role in SHINee’s next comeback, whenever that may be.

Until then, listen to Taemin’s solo debut mini album Ace and you will see why Taemin is the first SHINee member to have a solo debut. What is your favorite song from Taemin’s mini album? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and Bloglovin’ so you can keep up with all our posts.

  • MusicIsAGift

    My favorite song is Wicked although I love the whole album:)

  • Genesis77

    While this posting is old, it has brought up relevance in light of Jonghyun’s recent death. I believe this may have been something Jonghyun had been expressing when it came to his music….to debut the youngest member of Shinee when he was not that strong vocally, could have been seen as a front. Especially given the fact that Jonghyun was also an accomplished writer and had written for Shinee and other artist….something Taemin had not accomplished.
    I think SM went with visual over harder talent….they shaped Taemin around the image/concept they wanted to develop….when truth is, this overly sexual image they have Taemin portraying does not fit him…..it was a bad decision, but nevertheless it’s to late to correct….

    I just wonder how it really made Jonghyun feel….there had to be jealousy there….because it seems they promoted Taemin more than any other group members…..and that is factual.

    • HeeJong

      If you were a Shawol, you would have known that Jonghyun was the biggest fan of Taemin. Fans even joked about how Jonghyun was Taemin’s proud daddy. Rumors have it that both Jonghyun and Onew coached Taemin. Jonghyun even gave him self-composed song to Taemin.
      I don’t want to sound offensive, but as a Korean myself working in the industry in SK, I found that most of the music “reviews,” here or over at Billboard–the English-speaking world at large, only know a tiny fraction of the industry identified under the rubric of K-pop. I never wanted to leave comments prior to tragedy, but now I want to urge everyone to refrain from “surmising” what we don’t know,
      For the writer of this entry, the reason SM chose Taemin to go solo first is fairly simple. The number registering under Taemin’s fan cafe/DC inside is more than those under Jonghyun and Onew, both in SK and in Japan. SM conducted detailed market research when they make decisions. Taemin is talented, but after all, he’s still considered a “commodity,” a product, the euphemism of which is “idol,” that has a bigger market than other members.
      {Jonghyun’s case is rather different and interesting. I will not elaborate on this here. Jonghyun’s personality and music have far exceeded the framework of what Koreans call idol. That is is why even my parents, who only listen to Gayo, were also devastated by his death, if only non-native Korean speakers really know the nuances and the poetic references his lyrics are. And good lyrics are key to good Korean songs for Koreans.

      • Lalal

        Heejong That was incredibly insightful and well put . Thank you for that explaination and thoughtout response.

      • Rain Rina

        I understand your point; however, even during the early years of Shinee, Jonghyun showed already the desire to be a singer-songwriter/composer (e.g. he wrote the lyrics of Juliette together with Minho) so I believe his management was already aware of the path Jonghyun wanted to take. I don’t know but I guess since Jonghyun performed very well during Shinee’s peak of popularity, then out of respect and consideration to him (aside from being the main vocalist), the management should have allowed him to debut first and/or give him full support by making enough promotional videos during his album launching. It is just my opinion..

        • Alieninthissociety

          I respect and appreciate Jonghyun as an artist, especially how he incorporated many vocal styles and what he tried to do. He wasn’t an idol to me. And I really wish I had the opportunity to converse with him.


          To illustrate a point: Just like many K-Pop fans liken Taemin to Michael Jackson, I liken Jonghyun to Prince [not just because of his height].

          Throughout Prince’s career, his songs that were performed and covered by others were way more popular (sold more) than his own recordings of same songs. No, Jonghyun was nowhere near Prince’s level in regards to writing, composition, arrangements, producing, or being a multi-instrumentalist, but if he hadn’t been constrained, it seemed like it was where he was trying to go. Believe it or not, under his label, Prince was constrained too.

          So Taemin – Michael, Jonghyun – Prince. Jonghyun may have been a stronger musician, but Taemin gives a better visual performance. Prince was more musically diverse and experimental, but “pop” sells more = Michael.

          And I agree with everything @HeeJong wrote. When profit is the goal, what sells the most is what goes on the market. And sadly, while all of Taemin’s output charted – high even, Jonghyun didn’t make it onto charts until after he died.

    • Aria Alb

      Jonghyun might have been affected by Taemin’s solo debut but not due to “jealousy”; he was TaeMin’s biggest fan and I am sure he loved Taemin very much. However, Taemin’s solo debut might have been perceived by Jonghyun as a confirmation that he is “not good enough, he is lacking”. I am sure he was very happy for Taemin success.
      This is strictly my own personal opinion , having some experience with depression myself. Nobody knows how he really felt at the time. May he rest in peace.