Each year, the Shiny Foundation — founded by the late SHINee member Jonghyun‘s family in memory of the artist — hosts the “Shiny Arts Festival,” as a way to “support the growth and development of cultural artists who crave the stage.”
This year, the festival took place online amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Regardless, some of Jonghyun’s closest friends and K-Pop idols showed up to perform live, celebrate the festival, and remember Jonghyun.
During the festival, these friends and fellow artists shared how they remember Jonghyun via a segment featuring their comments about Jonghyun. His SHINee teammates, starting with Taemin, looked back on how much Jonghyun loved the stage and the music he performed on the stage.
Taemin: He loved music and the stage more than anyone ever could.
Key: The most headstrong member. Jonghyun is my favorite artist, my best friend, my hyung, and my teammate.
Veteran radio host Bae Chul Soo also remembered Jonghyun, who comforted listeners with his warm personality on MBC‘s Blue Night Jonghyun between 2014 to 2017. To Bae Chul Soo, Jonghyun has always been and will forever remain “a good friend who loved music and radio.”
Fellow SM Entertainment agency-mates and K-Pop industry artists celebrated Jonghyun’s endless passion for his work, his unparalleled talent, and his kindhearted nature.
Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon: Jonghyun is the most unique, amazing, and talented artist I’ve known in my life.
IU: Caught between utterly underestimating himself and overly pushing himself to his limit, Jonghyun constantly looked for the his identity — through writing and through singing. His devotion to work made me want to tell him to stop and relax, but at the same time I understand where he’s coming from. So I always end up rooting for him from the bottom of my heart.
Former EXO’s Tao: Jonghyun is the first person I met when I came to Korea. I’ll always be grateful for how supportive he had been since then.
Girls’ Generation’s Sooyoung: You never failed to impress me. And you always inspired me to try harder. We absolutely adore you, Jonghyun.
The endearing comments reminded us all of what a wonderful human being Jonghyun is…
DinDin: I never got a chance to befriend him, but Jonghyun always smiled at me and said hello first when I ran into him in the hallways. I would love to get to know him better.
Baek Yerin: Jonghyun is a friendly, kindhearted, considerate person. We used to talk about music and listen to what we worked on. “Shiny” is a perfect way to describe him. I’ve always wanted to take after him as an artist.
Jo Kwon: We debuted the same year. Oh, how we worked so hard toward the same goal back then. And he glowed.
… and how dearly he is missed, not only on stage as an incredible performer…
Lee Hi: Jonghyun is an artist, whose melodies can really touch people’s hearts.
Jung Gigo: His eyes would light up every time he talked about which part of certain songs sound good or which tracks by certain artists are good.
Ali: I could hear it in his voice, how serious he is about his work and how much he loves music.
Jung Joonil: Jonghyun is the kindest person I know.
… but also in our lives as someone who simply loves making and talking about music as much as we do.
Davichi’s Kang Minkyung: He and I are friends of the same age. We talked about music all the time. There was never a moment when he wasn’t sincere.
Ailee: Jonghyun will forever be loved and never, ever forgotten.
Baek Ayeon: I still remember when he congratulated me on the day I won #1 on a music show for the first time. He tossed confetti over me… Jonghyun is such a kind soul.
To his sunbae artists, Jonghyun remains a star of all stars too. The fact that his seniors still cherish him and keep memories of him says a lot about Jonghyun.
Producer Kim Hyung Seok: I would always look forward to hearing and seeing what Jonghyun would put out next because he had great taste in the way he put the music and the performance together.
Lyn: I miss his beautiful voice and his gorgeous smile…
Uhm Jung Hwa: He is a star, always glistening.
Yangpa: Jonghyun is a star that has the biggest, brightest glow.
Afterschool’s Jungah: It’s the stage, performing in front of his fans, which always made Jonghyun the happiest.
Previously, Key mentioned in an episode of I Live Alone that he hopes to see people start talking about Jonghyun more — after he brought up the late teammate during a thank you speech.
To be honest, I hate how [talking about Jonghyun] has become taboo and something that people shouldn’t bring up. I hope everyone knows that I am okay now — and, more importantly, that it is okay for us all to miss him.
It’s okay to talk about him and say that we need him and miss him… Before, when I received questions about Jonghyun, I tried to avoid them. It felt like people were trying to use Jonghyun, like they were bringing him up to see me get emotional or whatever. But I knew there would come a day when I can talk about Jonghyun without feeling that way. So the speech kind of happened. The words came flowing from my mouth.
— SHINee’s Key
The festival’s segment, dedicated to remembering Jonghyun by talking about him, is surely another step closer to what Key hopes to see from Jonghyun’s friends and fans.
You can watch the 3rd Shiny Arts Festival in full, below.