Hello hello! It’s been a long time, more than two years, but rhythm.connection is finally back, and it has been well worth the wait! Over the last two years, we’ve been doing more networking to get more exclusive content to you! And on top of that, we have a new page! We’re still working on getting it all setup, but we didn’t want to make you wait longer, so without further ado, here is our first interview for our return!
Haeri Lee (이해리), born July 29/1993, is a singer in Korea, university student and CEO of Kompany93, a brand new KPOP/Korean culture startup/website made for the purpose of spread KPOP and Korea to the world through special events, interviews and exclusive content available only on the website. She is also more famously known for being the former leader of now defunct KPOP girl group MaskOT (Mask Of Thetis), managed by GBK Entertainment. With the recent opening of Kompany93 (Nov. 30th), Haeri took some time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions for us!
Haeri: Hello everyone, my name is Haeri and I was the leader of a girl group named Maskot which debuted earlier this year with the song that I co-produced called ‘This is Me.’ At the moment I am working with my new venture, Kompany93 which is a KPOP and Korean culture website which informs people about the Korean culture and Kpop.
For those who are familiar with you, they know that you’re the former leader of GBK Entertainment girl group MaskOT, who released some songs in 2011, but did not debut till early 2012. Please tell us a little about your experience with the group and your training experience up to your debut.
Since I was three I was a baby actress and have been in the industry since. Even during my stay in New Zealand for fifteen years I acted, sang, danced and performed and was under the modelling and talent agency VMA Model and Talent. I have dreamt of being a KPOP artist for pretty much all my life and had been a trainee at various different managements until I joined GBK and Maskot where we debuted in February 2012. Me and the girls had been training under GBK for about a year before debut and they were very hard times with a strict training plan and barely any free time. However, when I look back at it, they were very remembering times and remain as a good memory at heart.
What inspired you to go to Korea to pursue music?
When I was young, my mother was in the industry back in the 80s, and even when she was married she had acted as an actress and reporter. I think I was born with the performing blood and I got it from her. I always enojoyed being the center of attention and the limelight and still do, and music is what inspires me. To be honest, I don’t have a real true reason why I came to Korea; it’s just, it’s all I ever dreamt of.
Yes, me and my business partner Jeremy are actually working on a new single collaboration at the moment. He was actually a trainee at YG Entertainment and is an excellent rapper. However, we have been focusing a lot on Kompany93 and its launch so it’s continuously being delayed. We are also talking with Marcus, a very famous producer in the US about the release of a single soon.
As far as music is concerned, who do you look up to as inspiration?
BoA has always been my goddess. She still does and always has inspired me with the KPOP industry. The reason I started learning all these languages was to be like her as she was responsible for the first artist Hallyu wave back when I was young. Everything she does- her voice, her moves, her looks. Everything about her amazes me; especially her live performances and how she sings without a note out of tune with so much powerful dancing.
1- Lee Seung Gi has always been my ideal type, so his comeback song ‘되돌리다’,
2- HyunA’s Icecream as her music style and dance type, style are all the styles that I want to try and am most confident with,
3- Boa’s Only One has been on the list for quite some time. I have always loved her voice, and especially this song shows her relaxed vocals, but her performance shows how amazing of a dancer she is.
4- 로맨틱하게-Block B, is the favorite song from their new album ‘Nil lili Mambo.’ I love Zico’s rap in the song and the lyrics are so honest and true. I love the melody as well. Me and the Kompany93 staff always have the song at the office playing while we work.
5- Caffeine by Yoseop from B2ST. I wasn’t much of a B2ST fan, but since 2010 when I went to their concert I have been to all their concerts since as I was very impressed by their stages. Especially Yoseop, His lives are amazing. When I heard him sing ‘mum’ live at his concert in 2011, I cried. Since then I have been a huge fan of him, and this solo song has been very amazing. The lyrics are amazing again, his live is also amazing with no note out of tune.
Who are some of your favourite KPOP artists?
Lee Seung Gi as he has always been my ideal type, Boa; she has been my number one and only one idol ever since 2001, her debut. Also, Psy and JYP- how they are over their 40s and still have that much energy on stage. They inspire me as they really know how to hang at stage- they don’t try, they enjoy.
What do you do for fun when you have some time to spare?
Nowadays, I pretty much have no time to spare due to all the Kompany93 work, but normally I love composing and writing music or watching movies. I hate cold days so now in Korea, where its minus 10 degrees or so, I just stay at home and do everything here
I don’t drink, never have done drugs or smoked. I think this may sound really boring but as I dreamt of being a Kpop star since I was a kid, I didn’t want to do anything that would ruin my image as a star.
In 2010, you were admitted into NZ Victoria University at the age of 16. How did you feel to be in university at such a young age? And what are you studying there?
It might seem very limelight and amazing, but it was very hard. The only reason why I did this was to become a Kpop star and come to Korea as my parents were very strict and didn’t allow me to go to Korea before I went to Uni; thus, I worked and studied very hard to be accepted at such a young age- I was actually the youngest person ever accepted into Victoria. I majored in Political Science, International Relations and Japanese back in 2010.
Now the one thing fans may or may not know is that you started a KPOP/Korean culture startup called Kompany93 that just opened on November 30th. What inspired you to go in this direction and create this company?
When I was a kid Kpop was never this big, so I never got a chance to access KPOP in New Zealand. So I wanted Kompany93 to become a bridge for international fans so they could get access to everything I wanted when I was a kid and dreamt of being a KPOP star- audition opportunities, information about Korean culture, merchandise, clothing and such. Kompany93 is a bright community for all Korean fans and Kpop fans to get together and talk, enjoy and learn about Korea.
What are your goals by having started Kompany93? Where would you like to see the company go in five years?
We dream of becoming the biggest and most informative Korea/KPOP community there is for international fans. We want international fans to be and feel accepted and informed about KPOP and Korean culture and to be able to help them fulfill their dreams whether it’s to learn the Korean language, to finish their SNSD collection or to make it as a KPOP star, we want to be there for these fans and help them and lead them to their way.
How did you meet Jeremy (director/design)? What are his goals with being a part of Kompany93?
Jeremy and I met at a celebrity church- a church on Monday nights where celebrities attend for service. This is on Mondays as normally a lot of drama schedules and Music festivals and such are on Sundays, so it is postponed a day. We met there and became friends, then gradually began a partnership with Kompany93 and music.
Kompany93 is the place with the most giveaways and events. We have a lot more signed albums and posters coming, along with a Korea Convention we are planning soon, affiliated with SQ ENT based in Australia. Also we have scheduled exclusive interviews with some Top Kpop stars. Kompany93 loves surprises, so we have a lot of surprise attacks and events waiting for you!
If fans want more information on Kompany93 and what it’s all about, where can they go to find such information?
All information is on our Facebook: www.facebook.com/officialkompany93. And feel free to contact me on email or Facebook too
Any final words for the readers?
I really hope that Kompany93 will be of great help for all readers and will help you guys to get informed about Korea and KPOP. We will always try our best and stay and work for fans. I don’t bite. Please feel free to contact me any inquiries
Thank you so much to Haeri for giving us your time, we look forward to what Kompany93 will be bringing in the future, as well as your future music endeavours! Stay tuned for an exclusive greeting from Haeri! And stay tuned for more awesome interviews and exclusive content RIGHT HERE on rhythm.connection! Till next time!
Photo credits: GBK Entertainment, Haeri Lee, Kompany93