One of the hottest acts taking over the K-Pop industry right now is NewJeans. Though associated with HYBE, the five member girl group is actually the ultimate brainchild of Min Hee Jin, the CEO of new label ADOR.
She is best known for being the creative director of SM Entertainment (2002 to 2018) where she created some of their most critically acclaimed concepts such as f(x)‘s “4 Walls,” EXO‘s “Monster,” and Red Velvet‘s “Peek-A-Boo.”
She is currently Chief Brand Officer of HYBE and CEO of its subsidiary, ADOR, which debuted its first group earlier this year.
Min Hee Jin recently sat down for an interview with Billboard where she discussed her vision for NewJeans as well as her past career decisions. In terms of the latter, she mentioned the reason why she left her wildly successful job at SM Entertainment in the first place—it was always her desire to make a specific type of sound that she could not achieve in the “Big Three” company she used to work in.
Billboard: CEO Min, after a successful career at SM Entertainment, what made you want to join HYBE?
Min Hee Jin: You might not have expected it because I worked as a creative director at SM, but I long dreamed of making an album with the kind of music I want—a final product with the music I had in mind—that’s why I wanted to create my own label.
She saw a brighter future by leaving behind her stable job for a partnership with HYBE Corporation rather than stagnating in SM Entertainment. With the former, she could quickly establish her own company and lead the reins.
I chose to join them because I thought it would be the fastest path toward establishing ADOR.
— Min Hee Jin
Min Hee Jin emphasized that the kind of group she always wanted to form was not something that could be done in a normal company. She intended for ADOR, helmed by its first group NewJeans, to put out “all kinds of radically different music” that the K-Pop industry had yet to see. She took this first step in 2019 when she was appointed Chief Brand Officer who oversaw HYBE’s rebranding from BIGHIT Entertainment and she eventually became the CEO of ADOR in November 2021.
When I received the offer to work together [with HYBE] before ADOR was ever formed, I thought it over carefully. Realistically, there would have been a number of different challenges involved, so I decided to focus on ADOR as originally planned. I had this vision of the ideal label for a long time while working in the industry: a label that puts out all kinds of radically different music! And I wanted to create a label with a brand-new look that did things never seen in the K-pop scene before. The kind of music I’m going for is something that hasn’t really been attempted in the K-pop scene, so an independent label was essential to push ahead with this.
— Min Hee Jin
She concluded by reminding viewers of the meaning behind the company name: “ADOR is an open door into the world of Min Hee Jin, the producer. The name ADOR, [standing for] ‘All Doors One Room,’ represents my dreams and determination in that regard.”
NewJeans is ADOR’s first group and HYBE’s second girl group. They made headlines with their unconventional debut which lacked teaser promotions, had music videos for each single, followed a youthful vintage concept, and which dropped the physical album only after all music videos were revealed. The girl group topped digital charts and bagged several music show wins soon after.