Both in his songs and on stage, Wonho (Lee Hoseok) unabashedly showcases many sides of himself. He can be an endearing dreamer and a pensive realist. His honeyed vocals breath life into lyrics that are both tantalizing and tender. And while his oft-mentioned physique routinely earns admiration, he truly stands out due to his strength of character, conviction and confidence.
Wonho’s striking sense of self-assurance is not a surprise; while his solo career is relatively young, he is a music industry veteran who has absorbed many lessons in the face of adversity. He understands that vulnerability is not at odds with fortitude. Look no further than the poignant ballad “Losing You” from his first mini-album Love Synonym Pt 1: Right For Me. The song is, in Wonho’s own words per an interview with Rolling Stone, “about the connection between people, and the selflessness of loving someone so much that you’ll become one with them and they become even more important to you than yourself.”
Fear can act as both a hindrance and motivation. In “Losing You” it becomes a catalyst for the expression of unconditional love.
Toward the end of the “Losing You” video clip, light tentatively begins to peek through a seemingly gloomy atmosphere. Light and dark imagery is present throughout much of Wonho’s work, particularly in the sweeping fan song “Weneed” on Love Synonym Pt. 2: Right for Us. Wonho asserts that he and his fans “need each other like stars and the night sky.” Stars, of course, are always present, but not visible to human eyes during the day. It is only against the backdrop of darkness that the light emanating from them can be seen.
The fans, much like the stars, are a constant for Wonho. Nonetheless, he doesn’t take their devotion for granted. In the bridge of “Weneed” Wonho asks, “When I’m back on the stage and sing this song/Will you be there for me again?” Undoubtedly, the fans would not hesitate to reassure him that they never left.
Yet while his fans find great comfort in his music, Wonho’s songs are not feel-good ditties. His art reflects his keen awareness of life’s glories and consequences. He acknowledges that loving openly comes with costs.
Despite any setbacks, Wonho remains unbowed. He has chosen to continue making music when perhaps it would have been easier to walk away. It’s a decision that he reaffirms every day by continuing to put forth his best efforts to connect with fans around the globe. That sincerity only strengthens his fans’ belief in him – and makes him beloved.