Read JR's reflection of NU'EST's past hardships and hard-earned feats, below.
Q: When did you have to become more calloused as a leader?
A: "When the members were having a hard time. There was a time when we struggled as a group, and we had a hard time mentally. In 2016, we released our albums 'Overcome' and 'Love Paint' as a series after a lot of preparation and production cost; however, the albums did not do well. It was a time when we thought, 'The end must be near for us'. I was also so worried about the future, that I couldn't do my part as the leader. Eventually, I picked myself up and told myself to become stronger, and reached out to the members to keep working harder together."
Q: How did you endure those times of struggle?
A: "When I look back now, I have no idea how we dealt with it either. Sometimes I asked, 'What should I do if I can't be a singer anymore?' and it scared me. We could only get through it by relying on one another. We just kept on saying, 'Let's try it one last time' with each album."
Q: The decision to audition for 'Produce 101' season 2 must also have been hard.
A: "We debated on the decision for a very long time. In the end the members and I said to one another, 'Even if we have to give up when the time comes, we need to try everything we can first. We'll regret what we have to regret later'. But after that, Aron hyung sustained a leg injury and could not participate with us, and so we auditioned as 4. We took away so much from 'Produce 101' season 2, and I learned that if you keep going without giving up, you'll eventually see results."
Q: Last year, NU'EST earned the group's first ever music program win, 2,611 days after debut. How did you feel?
A: "After that win, I teared up thinking, 'We finally made it here... how did this happen?'. It was such a happy moment. I was also strangely proud of the fact that it was the longest time for any idol group to win 1st place. The members and I also celebrated, going, 'We did it!'. After the music program broadcast, I got a call from my father while we were heading to another radio schedule. But he didn't want to talk to me, he asked me to put the members on, and said to each of them, 'Congratulations'. I can't ever forget that day."
Q: Which member do you rely on the most during hard times, or when you need advice?
A: "I can't just name one member. I rely on Aron hyung a lot without even realizing it, since he is older after all. In big decisions about our group, I talk with Baekho. Ren is good at making people feel comfortable while opening up. I usually talk to Ren about my own problems as Kim Jong Hyun. In more practical situations, I talk with Minhyun. I really rely on each of them a lot. If I didn't have them, it would have been too hard."
Q: NU'EST will be making a comeback with 8th mini album 'The Nocturne'. What do fans need to look forward to?
A: "This comeback can be described as 'change'. It will deliver a very different experience from our previous albums. This will mark a turning point in NU'EST's career. It announces NU'EST's new beginning."