FT Island (Korean: 에프티 아일랜드), Five Treasure Island, or FTI, is a five-member South Korean band. The name FT Island stands for ‘Five Treasure Island’, noting that each of the five members is a treasure of talents of their own.Their debut album, titled “Cheerful Sensibility”, was the sixth best-selling album in 2007. Their debut song ‘Lovesick’ stayed on top of K-Pop charts for 8 consecutive weeks.The official fanclub name is “Primadonna” and the official fanclub color is sunshine yellow; the band’s fans carry yellow flags known as “pentasticks”.

Members

Choi Jong Hoon

  • Position: Leader, Lead Guitarist, Keyboardist, occasional Composer, Lyricist, and Sub Vocalist
  • Birthdate: March 7, 1990 (Age 20)

Lee Hong Ki

  • Position: Lead Vocalist
  • Birthdate: March 2, 1990 (Age 20)

Lee Jae Jin

  • Position: Bassist, occasional Sub Vocalist, Lyricist
  • Birthdate: December 17, 1991 (Age 19)

Song Seung Hyun

  • Position: Second Guitarist, Sub Vocalist, Rapper
  • Birthdate: August 21, 1992 (Age 18)

Choi Min Hwan

  • Position: Drummer, occasional Sub Vocalist
  • Birthdate: November 11, 1992 (Age 18)

Career

2007

Debut

Although FT Island’s first album, Cheerful Sensibility, was scheduled to be released commercially in May 2007, the members appeared on the show “Wanna be my boyfriend?” (Korean: 두근두근 여친만들기) on the Korean television channel MNet. The band also performed on stage live at Rolling Hall and held their first official showcase at Live House Melon-AX, Gwangjang-dong in Seoul on May 27, 2007.

On June 7, 2007 the group performed their debut song Love Sick on the popular music television program M!Countdown; their debut album, Cheerful Sensibility, was released on the same day. Despite their young age, FT Island captured the hearts of the young and old with their musicality, earning the nickname “Flower Boy” band. Their title song stayed on top of many popular music charts for 8 consecutive weeks in South Korea. They received their first #1 M!Countdown, beating other top artists such as Dynamic Duo and Fly to the Sky two weeks after debuting.[6]

Debut Album: Cheerful Sensibility

Cheerful Sensibility combined 13 songs that were loosely divided into two parts, “Emotional Chapter” and “FT Island Chapter”, according to the genre of the songs [4]. The “Emotional Chapter” consists of rock ballads that were composed by those who also worked with many famous Korean singers, such as SG Wannabe. The “FT Island Chapter” was produced by the Japanese composers who worked with the Japanese band, SMAP and is composed of a variety of pop rock songs.[7]

Selling over 79,000 copies in 2007, it was the sixth best-selling album of the year.[8] The album was re-released on December 3, 2007, titled The Refreshment, with three extra songs, a photobook, a stack of photocards, and a mixing program called Music 2.0 which allows one to adjust the levels of the instruments and vocals accordingly. This edition sold 25,724 copies in December 2007.[

2008

Overseas Activities and Japanese Debut Album: Prologue of FT Island

After debuting in Korea, FNC Music moved FT Island’s activities overseas. On March 31, 2008, an autograph session in Malaysia at the Damansara Cineleisure was held, which was to be follow the next day by the group’s first concert at the Sunway Lagoon Amphitheater.[9] The performance was cancelled, and their first concert was held in Thailand instead, at the Royal Paragon Hall on April 12, 2008. The band performed songs from their album and showcased their individual talents in their solo performances [10].

F.T. Island’s Japanese debut album, entitled Prologue of FT Island, was released on June 7, 2008, with the first single released being Soyogi . The album consists of 8 songs, 2 of which are newer versions of the original songs FT Island and Primadonna. The last track, Always Be Mine, is an English version of First Kiss from their debut album (though the lyrics are original). Music videos were also released for Soyogi and Friendship, displaying the band’s professional and youthful sides, respectively.

Return to Korea and Second Album: Colorful Sensibility

After their promotional activities in Japan ended, the band returned to Korea to release their second Korean album Colorful Sensibility on August 27, 2008. A follow-up EP, Colorful Sensibility Part 2, was released on October 17, 2008.

[edit] Japanese Single, The One

Later that year, FT Island released The One, their first Japanese commercial single, under an indie label AI Entertainment. The single hit #9 on the Oricon daily charts [11]. F&C Music stated that although other Korean bands utilized the assistance of large Japanese record labels to gain popularity, F.T. Island was able to make it onto the charts without any true marketing efforts [12]. The single also became notable for being the last official release with member Oh Won Bin before his departure [13].

2009

New lineup and Mini-Album: Jump Up

Rumors had been circulating that speculated that member Oh Won Bin would be leaving the group. On January 28, 2009, the rumors were confirmed as it was announced that he would indeed be leaving the group and would soon be replaced [14]. It was announced a day later that FNC trainee Song Seung Hyun would be joining FT Island as a guitarist and backup vocalist.[15] With the new lineup change, FT Island released the music video for their mini-album title song “Bad Woman.” They also promoted it on SBS Inkigayo, and two days later, released the band’s first Korean mini-album Jump Up.

Japanese Single: I Believe Myself

On April 22, F.T. Island released their second Japanese single, I believe Myself. For the first time, members participated with lyrics and composition. For the song Moonlight Angel, member Lee Jae Jin co-wrote it and leader Choi Jong Hoon co-composed the song. I Believe Myself is the first Japanese single with member Song Seung Hyun. They held their 2009 FT Island Tour-I Believe Myself in cities all over Japan during the summer of 2009 [16].

2009 ASIA Tour

F.T. Island toured parts of Asia which include Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, etc. to promote themselves in the summer of 2009. The showcases kicked off in Singapore during June 25 to 27 .

Third Korean Album: Cross & Change

While preparing for overseas promotions, the members were in the midst of recording their third album. On July 9, FNC Music released a jacket photo for the upcoming third album called Cross & Change. On the following day, a musc video teaser was released online, featuring kids watching their idols (played by the members themselves) on TV. The title song, called “I Hope/Barae”, was released on July 16.

FT Island tried out a variety of music styles for Cross & Change; it includes a total of 12 songs, ranging from moving ballads to addictive songs with a bright melody. FT Island adopted a new fashion style and concept for the album, using a “retro” and the so-called “Bokgo” approach, which was inspired during the “jeans jeans look” from the 80s in Korea.

[edit] Japanese Single: Raining

F.T. Island released their 3rd Japanese single, Raining, on October 21, 2009. A music video of the single’s title track was released. Leader Choi Jong Hoon played the piano for the title song instead of the guitar.

F.T. Island’s Sub-group: F.T. Triple

The three members Choi Jong Hun, Choi Min Hwan, and Lee Jae Jin formed a sub-group called F.T. Triple. Some of the reasons behind this move were to showcase more of the members’ skills and to prevent lead singer, Lee Hongki, from overstraining his voice again (refer to Gayo Daejun Incident under ‘Headlines’ below). Another reason was to continue promoting FT Island while Lee Hongki was busy filming the South Korean drama “You’re Beautiful” and while Song Seunghyun was busy with variety shows.

At first, this trio was unofficially announced at the Dream Concert in Japan as “A3”. They almost named themselves A3 because they all are blood A type. They wanted to keep the F.T. name so they added Triple at the end of it to represent that it is a trio. In F.T. triple, Lee Jaejin, originally in charge of bass for FT Island, becomes a guitarist and the lead vocalist; leader Choi Jonghun plays the piano and Choi Min Hwan continues to play the drums. Their first single was titled “Love Letter” and was released with F.T. Island’s 2CD Repackaged Album Double Date as a second CD named Two Date that features all F.T. Triple songs.

[edit] National Concert Tour – “Men’s Stories”

F.T. Island held a national tour titled, “Men’s Stories”.

F.T. Island released their 3rd album titled, Cross & Change. Their hit single from the album, I Hope, was very well received by their fans and the five members planned on showing their life behind the stage along with strong visuals and sounds on a more personal level for the fans. For their concert, FT Island emphasized their growth as a band as they begin to shed their boyish charms for a more mature and masculine appeal[22].

The national tour began on November 14, 2009 in Seoul, South Korea.

2010-present

2010 ASIA Tour

In the months January and February, the boys started touring in Asia. The tour visited Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Philippines, and Singapore. Tickets were sold out quickly; representatives of the band believe it was due to the popularity of Lee Hong Ki starring in the drama, “You’re Beautiful”.

Major Debut in Japan with Singles, Flower Rock and Brand New Days

After celebrating their 1000 days, they flew to Japan and stayed there until the end of August for their major debut in Japan under the combination of new Japanese label company, Warner Music Japan and their official label company, FNC Music. They also began a new Japanese show which began airing starting 7 April 2010.[23] On May 19, 2010, FT Island released their new single “Flower Rock” under Warner Music. “Flower Rock” entered the Oricon daily charts at 3rd position on May 19, 2010, the day of its release, and held the fourth position of that week. On July 14, 2010, FT Island released another single named “Brand-new days,” which included songs written and composed by the FT Island members Song Seung Hyun and Choi Jong Hun. FT Island performed a five-city concert tour in Japan after releasing both singles. They also performed at the international rock festival “Summer Sonic 2010” in Maishima Arena, Osaka, Japan.

Return to Korea with Mini Album: Beautiful Journey

After promotions in Japan, FT Island focused on their comeback in Korea in mid-August 2010..Their new mini album “Beautiful Journey” and the music video for their main title song “Love Love Love” were released on August 25, 2010. FT Island held their comeback performance in Korean on August 27, 2010. The title song topped many popular music charts in South Korea and also gained international notice, especially in Taiwan . Choi Jong Hoon co-wrote and co-composed one of the songs, titled Don Quixote’s Song, making it the first Korean song that includes the composition from FT Island itself. Concerts were held on November 6 and 7 in Seoul and on November 27 in Busan, South Korea. FT Island were voted first for Mnet Asian Music Awards 2010, but did not receive the award as they were not present for the ceremony; the award was given to another band.

Japanese Single: So Today…

While promoting their second Korean mini-album, FT Island recorded another Japanese single titled So today… to be released in November. All three songs were co-written by Lee Jae Jin; the song, Boom Boom Boom, was composed by Choi Jong Hoon. The single ranked 6th on the Oricon Daily Chart; the chart rankings on the same day had KAT-TUN’s “Change Ur World” on the 1st position, followed by SKE48, Kobukuro, AAA, and Morning Musume, taking the 2nd to 5th positions respectively. KAT-TUN, Kobukuro and other singers are known to be the top chart killers. It is indeed incredible for a band, and not a dance group to top the 6th position in the chart. With FT Island’s 3rd single taking the 6th position, they now have a record of all their singles ranking top 10 in the Oricon charts. About 10,000 fans turned up at their promotional events in Osaka and Tokyo on 20 and 21 November .

Headlines

Gayo Daejun Incident[34]

During the Gayo Daejun’s festival at the very end of 2008, F.T. Island performed on the festival of SBS. Because of the busy schedule, Hong Ki fell sick. He suffered from fatigue, exhaustion and problems with his voice. However, he continued to perform, resulting that he lost his voice gradually. Later on, he fell and was rushed to a hospital to get medical treatment. Netizens affirmed first that this was “unprofessionalism” of Hong Ki, but then the assumption changed after they knew about his illness. Hong Ki himself felt ashamed with that incident and had publicly apologized to everyone especially “Primadonnas” (FT Island fans) for that incident.

Oh Won Bin Quits The Band

Former Member Oh Won Bin officially left the group on January 28, 2009. The sudden incident and the fast member replacement created questions among the fans. FNC Music later stated that his withdrawal was because of “differences in music” to subsidize the raising rumor, which was “disharmony between band members”. Won Bin himself has said that he is pursuing a solo career and is currently in training as a trainee again in the same company

Choi Min Hwan Fainted

Youngest member Choi Min Hwan fainted on the 23rd March during shooting his drama. He was quickly taken to the hospital where he received treatment. Nothing serious happened and he was able to leave early the next day. F&C stated that he had become increasingly tired because of his music activities and his drama. In addition, he had caught a serious cold and seemed to have overworked himself.

[edit] F.T. Island Stranded in Cebu[38]

F.T. Island, in Cebu (Philippines) on September 25 to film their new Japanese single “Raining” music video. However, they were left isolated due to this sudden crisis of the typhoon as it is typhoon season in Philippines. Upon receiving this news, F&C company called to check if anything goes wrong, only to be met with no signal. During the crisis, radio contact was lost due to hurricane damage, thus cutting off any connection with the crew. Fortunately, F&C finally made contact with the crew that afternoon and was able to breathe a sigh of relief with report that everyone was safe. The filming was advanced to a few days shorter and F.T. Island flew back to Korea.

Oh Won Bin’s Project With F.T. Island Lee Hong Ki[39]

Oh Won Bin, ex-member of F.T. Island, participated in Lee Hong Gi’s drama “You’re Beautiful” OST. Along with Miss $, Oh Won Bin sung the cheerful second track titled “하늘에서 내려와 (Coming Down from the Sky)”. Even before the album was released, this particular song has received lots of attention. Won Bin’s participation created many speculations among netizens: he might return to the band, he has projects together with F.T. Island members, a new start of his solo career, or he just wants to support his old band mate. No official comment has been made yet