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From K-pop idol to K-drama lead: What you need to know about Hwang Min-hyun

By Mica Rodriguez Published Mar 15, 2023 3:42 pm

Did Hwang Min-hyun catch your eye in the fantasy romance series Alchemy of Souls?

A lot of K-drama viewers might think that the Korean actor, who plays the role of Seo Yul in the show, is a newbie—but he's actually celebrating his 11th year in the entertainment industry this month. He was first known as a K-pop idol and was even a standout member of two boy bands: Wanna One (2017-2019) and NU'EST (2012-2022). He also dropped his solo album dubbed Truth or Lie in February, led by the title track Hidden Side.

Want to know more about Hwang Min-hyun as you enjoy his solo debut and rewatch the K-drama show? Read on.

NU’EST forever

Min-hyun officially debuted as a member of the K-Pop boy band NU’EST in March 2012 as the lead vocalist and visual of the group. Their debut single Face was a big hit along with other catchy tracks like Action, Sleep Talking, Good Bye Bye, and Overcome. They also dropped a breathtaking ballad titled Hello, which became popular in 2017.

Due to several factors, their popularity declined in the years that followed, prompting four members of the group to join the second season of the reality-based show Produce 101 in 2017 to revive their careers. For fans, it was tough seeing the members as trainees again knowing that the boys deserved so much success. By the finale of the show, Min-hyun ranked 9th out of the 11 winners and he became a member of the project boy group Wanna One, where he also served as its lead vocalist.

The exposure of NU’EST in Produce 101 Season 2 got the attention of viewers and it led their song Hello to the charts once again as well as the group's promotion as a sub-unit named NU’EST-W. What did the W in it mean? Apparently, it was "waiting" for Min-hyun.

Min-hyun returned to NU’EST after his contract as a Wanna One member expired. The group produced and promoted several albums together, including hit tracks like Bet Bet, Universe, Love Me, I’m in Trouble, Inside Out, and Again.

NU’EST officially disbanded on March 15, 2022—exactly 10 years after their debut. It was heartbreaking for LOVES or L.O.Λ. E (fans of NU’EST) as the announcement was sudden. We're still hopeful that the members will reunite soon—we deserve a proper farewell concert!

Time with Wanna One

For a year and a half, Min-hyun was a member of the project group Wanna One. He became the lead vocalist of the group, but it only became active from 2017-2019. They enjoyed massive success in different parts of the world during their run, performing their biggest hits Energetic, Burn it Up, Beautiful, and Boomerang.

Solo singles and OSTs

Min-hyun recorded a number of solo songs while he was still an active member of NU’EST. His first solo digital single Universe was the pre-release single of the album Happily Ever After. He recorded the mellow song Earphone for the group’s second full studio album Romanticize, which was released in 2021.

Also worth mentioning is Min-hyun’s duet track with fellow NU’EST member JR titled Daybreak—a hopeful song that's worth a listen! Because of his calming vocals, he is often asked to record OSTs for webtoons like Moonlight for Love Revolution and So Beautiful for After School Lessons for Unripe Apples as well as K-dramas including I’ll Be With You Every Day for The Red Sleeve and Tree (Just Watching You 2) for Alchemy of Souls 2: Light and Shadow. The latter perfectly shows Seo Yul’s unrequited love for Naksu.

Budding lead actor

Min-hyun debuted as a movie actor in 2015 via the Japanese film Their Distance along with his fellow NU’EST members. He played the role of college student Nam Sang-soo, who also works in a convenience store. His character is in love with his co-worker.

For a time, he was also part of the sitcom Reckless Family 3 with fellow NU’EST member Ren. He was the male lead of the coming-of-age drama Live On, where he played the role of Go Eun-Taek, a top high school student who is on top of the school’s broadcasting club. Through the show, Min-hyun was able to show his capabilities as a sensible romantic lead.

In 2019, he debuted as a musical actor via Marie Antoinette, where he played the role of Count Axel von Fersen. Apart from his notable performance, a lot of viewers were left mesmerized by how amazing he looked in his striking costumes onstage.

Perhaps his breakthrough role as an actor is in the recently concluded Alchemy of Souls series, where he portrayed a handsome and skillful mage named Seo Yul and made some of the show's loyal viewers experience the "second lead syndrome." We just love how he put his skills in double swords on display and showed some natural chemistry with the cast members!

Miss seeing the actor onscreen? No need to fret as he is set to star in the upcoming drama Useless Lies with Seo Ji-hoon, which is slated for release in June 2023.

Due to his experience as a K-pop boy band veteran, he was rightfully chosen as the first "Star Master" of the ongoing reality show Boys Planet.

New chapter as a soloist
Hwang Min-hyun's solo album is dubbed "Truth or Lie"

Hwang Min-hyun is now set to conquer greater heights as a soloist with the release of his first mini-album Truth or Lie last month. The highly anticipated project contains six tracks. Based on the highlight medley, it sounds like something that Hwangdos (fandom name) and casual listeners alike will enjoy.

There's no doubt that Min-hyun is one of the few K-pop idols-turned-K-drama leading men to watch out for. He will be a bigger star—and we're rooting for him all the way!