South Korean band ENHYPEN spurs bravery and hustle from young fans to pursue dreams

Photo courtesy of BELIFT LAB

Fans of South Korean band ENHYPEN say they traveled far and wide to New York over the weekend to rally around the group that has inspired them to fight for their dreams. 

Thousands flocked to Belmont Park’s UBS Arena on May 3 to attend the final stop on ENHYPEN’s World Tour “FATE PLUS,” with many sharing that the band’s humble beginnings motivated them to travel far from home to see the group and, in turn, work hard to achieve their own future careers. 

Christy Vu, 20, journeyed all the way from Austin, Texas.  After the long trek she stood outside of the UBS Arena clutching a basket full of fan made ENHYPEN memorabilia to sell. It is via these handcrafted creations she says she is striving to put herself through college– blending her love of art and the band for a meaningful cause. Vu attends the University of Texas and says she is hustling to get through school, just like her favorite band did to become idols. 

“ENHYPEN to me, they’re one of my inspirations because if you know about their backstory, they all had to hustle and they all come from different places. So, for me, it encourages me to work hard and know that my dreams will come true,” Vu said. 

“They encourage me to hustle and share what I like to do with all the fans,” Vu added. “The fans, the ENGENEs are all willing to support each other. I’ve had a lot of support with my goodie bags and they told me good luck with school.” 

Female Friends at the Concert

Vu wasn’t the only college student ending the school year with the ENHYPEN concert. Wearing a cap and gown, Gina Tran, 22, says that she will be graduating from the University of Connecticut the following day at 1:30 p.m. Tran wanted to celebrate this milestone a day early with her favorite group who’ve helped motivate her along the way. 

“I grew up with ENHYPEN,” Tran said. “I basically saw them grow as artists and performers. I think that’s what makes them so captivating. It’s not just their music but how much passion and hard work they put into their performances.” 

Sixteen-year-old Leanne Jolicoeur, who says she is on the cusp of her 17th birthday, convinced her parents to allow her to fly from Quebec, Canada to New York by herself.  Jolicoeur says that the members of ENHYPEN trained for years and traveled the world to broaden themselves, so she wanted to tap into that same bravery. 

“This is my first concert ever. I came all the way from Canada to see ENYPHEN by myself. They mean comfort that when I feel down, I know I can listen to their music or watch their videos and it will bring a smile to my face,” Jolicoeur said “[They mean bravery] to me because coming here to New York, this big city alone was really nerve wracking and I was a bit scared but now that I am here I don’t regret it a bit.” 

ENHYPEN even spurred on the creation of a worldwide fan network entitled “ENGENE CITY” where people are connected together through their love for the K-Pop powerhouse.  Started by Di, who says she developed the group as a safe space for fans to have fun, meet, and celebrate the band’s birthdays, albums and overall success. 

Photo courtesy of BELIFT LAB

Last year, ENGENE City coordinated a gallery displaying artwork from fans globally depicting drawing and paintings of ENHYPEN seven members: JUNGWON, HEESEUNG, JAY, JAKE, SUNGHOON, SUNOO, and NI-KI. 

“The way that we work is that we make projects we sell [fan-made items] and then from that it funds events where we make [poster designs] and distribute it for free at concerts,” Di said. “We had a gallery for the FATE tour in New Jersey last year, and we had people from Europe like Germany, Spain, France and other places who sent us pictures to show how they love ENYHYPEN. It was a two-floor venue.”  

The name ENHYPEN harkens from the meaning behind the hyphen sign, which is used to join words together and that is what the group aims to do. To connect people together as well as grow to form a new act. 

Last year, ENHYPEN saw over 327,000 fans, affectionately known as ENGENEs—across 13 cities for the FATE tour. As an encore for 2024, the FATE PLUS tour kicked off with three-sold out shows in Seoul’s KSPO Dome, and continued through five US cities—Anaheim, Oakland, Tacoma, Rosemont and wrapped up in Belmont Park.   

The group performed a revamped setlist that they said was filled with enthralling segments that engaged fans. 

“I am so happy that we were able to finish the FATE PLUS tour here in New York. Tonight, we made so many good memories,” JAKE told the crowd. “It was a night that we will never forget. Like NI-KI said we are coming out with a crazy album so next time we come here we will bring you something special.” 

Female Friends at the Concert
Photo by Amanda Moses

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