The Korea Herald


[Herald Interview] Nam Woo-hyun returns with solo studio album after rare cancer battle

By Hong Yoo

Published : Nov. 28, 2023 - 08:45

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Nam Woo-hyun (Blade Entertainment) Nam Woo-hyun (Blade Entertainment)

It's been quite a year for Nam Woo-hyun of the K-pop boy group Infinite. He was diagnosed with a rare cancer for which he underwent hourslong surgery, and then joined the band for comeback concerts and the release of a mini-album.

On Tuesday, he dropped his first solo LP and is due to hold concerts next month.

“I was diagnosed with a gastrointestinal stromal tumor for which I underwent surgery at a university hospital in April. I was expecting a small surgery at first. But when the surgery began, the surgeon found that the tumor was much bigger. I was under general anesthesia for 10 hours,” he said during a group interview last Thursday in Seoul.

The artist felt devastated when his doctor told him that he would not be able to sing and perform as he had before the surgery, because it would be difficult for him to breathe normally.

“I felt miserable because I thought I was not going to be able to have this job anymore. But my fans made me put myself together and get back on stage. The nurses looking after me at the hospital also encouraged me by saying that I could continue being a K-pop artist if I eat well and exercise,” said the artist.

Although the doctor had recommended rest, Nam decided to push ahead with Infinite's comeback planned for July. The group gave two concerts, its first in five years, and released a mini album.

“We had everything planned since January, including the concert venue reservation. I didn’t want to delay our group’s comeback because of me. My fans did know by that time that I had had surgery, but I did not give them the details as to why because I did not want to worry them,” he said.

Nam pushed himself even further by releasing his first solo studio album “Whitree,” which had also been scheduled for this year.

“I wanted to give positive energy and hope to people who are ill like me through my first solo studio album. This is the first LP that I have released since my debut as a soloist seven years ago. I composed and wrote the lyrics to most of the songs in this album,” said the soloist.

The 11-track album released on Monday is led by “Baby Baby," a city pop track.

He also targeted global listeners with an English version of the lead track.

“I made the English version of ‘Baby Baby’ hoping that my album lands on the Billboard charts and also for my foreign fans. As a member of Infinite, I’ve been on numerous world tours, and we’ve received a lot of love from fans around the world. I wanted to present this music in a way that is more comfortable for them to listen to,” said Nam.

Following the release of his new album, Nam Woo-hyun is scheduled to hold standalone concerts in Seoul on Dec. 30 and 31.