This is going to be formatted a little differently since Hangeng is a solo singer, not part of a group. I’ll give you the discography first, then the bio and background stuff in case you are not already familiar.
Hangeng has only released one album so far. His album “Rebirth” features only songs he wants to sing. He has said that he does not wish to be told which styles he is to sing, he will sing whatever he chooses. This album therefore covers Pop, Hip Hop and Ballad among other styles.
The name of this album was specially chosen to reflect Hangeng’s “rebirth as an artist”. The Chinese word for “Rebirth” uses the “Geng” character from Hangeng’s name, also making it a very close and personal album. He created a team to help manage him and is not contracted to any Entertainment company (well, kind of, I’ll explain that later).
1) Moth to Flame (Fire)
2) Say No
4) Love Letter to a Stranger
6) because of Dream
7) Simple Man
8] Distressed Notebooks
9) The Wings of Love
~~This is a very special song to Hangeng. When he was suffering early on in Super Junior activities (I’ll explain later) his fans wrote and recorded this song for him. Since then he has kept it as a background song on his webpage and says it is his most favorite song in the world. Hangeng recorded this special version of the song with his fans~~
10) My Logo
Hangeng began training as a dancer at the Central University for Nationalities in Beijing where he was trained in ballet, martial arts, and the traditional cultural dances of the various ethnic tribes of China (Hangeng himself is Nanai, a rare ethnicity which has only 4000 members left).
In 2001 his friend asked him to accompany him to a talent scouting audition to be held in the area. Hangeng agreed to go to support his friend. They participated in SM Entertainment’s HOT China Audition Casting. Hangeng recognized the 3000:1 odds and said that after a shaky audition he had no hope of getting in. He worked odd jobs in low budget Chinese films to earn money before entering College where he hoped to work his way to the Shanghai Dance Troop.
A year after the audition Hangeng’s roommate delivered a message to him from a representative of SM Entertainment, which Hangeng dismissed as a joke. He eventually was contacted directly by the manager who offered him a contract with SM Entertainment in Korea. Hangeng agreed to go and flew to Korea with absolutely no money and, he later admitted, no clue as to if the man was telling the truth or conning him. Luckily he was telling the truth.
After a year Hangeng moved into dormitories with other Korean trainees. Most of those he lived with at the time later became co-members of Super Junior. He showed his skill in dancing with SM Entertainment after he passed through the three levels of dancers within the company, skipping one level entirely and completing the circuit after only a year and a half (the average trainee takes between 4 and 7 years to do this).
Hangeng made his debut in November of 2005 with Super Junior, then a project group. He was featured in the MV for “Twins (Knock Out)” heavily, and given the central positions in the dance, having been named the Lead Dancer for the 12-member group. After only a few performances, however, he faced serious dilemmas when the Korean Government heavily fined SM Entertainment. It turned out that Hangeng was the first foreigner to ever debut as a singer in Korea. His visa, a regular residence one, did not cover performances on more than 3 networks. Hangeng was to be pulled from Super Junior, but asked if he could still perform on stage so long as no one knew he was there.
For months Hangeng continued to perform live with Super Junior wearing an old mask and a hat to hide his hair. He was taken by fans as a backup dancer. During his solos in songs a member would lipsync for him, and eventually his part in the song was removed when fans began to suspect the group of lipsyncing to the original audio track of the song (They did not realize the performance was still live, it was just that Hangeng was being hidden from them).
In Chinese interviews Hangeng said this was a very hard time for him, as he felt he was almost wrong for trying to be a singer. He revealed that sometimes he would just look out the window in the group’s bus and cry to himself. Other Super Junior members attempted to cheer him up by having a special chant for him before they went on stage, but all felt pressure under his situation. Finally Hangeng’s closest friend in Super Junior and roommate Heechul pulled him to the center of the stage after a performance, whispered “It will be alright” and pulled his mask off, revealing to the fans that Hangeng was still part of the group and still performing.
Since then a new visa has been created by the Korean Government (under enormous pressure from fans) which allowed Hangeng and other foreign artists to perform and appear as much as anyone else. He is credited therefore with opening up the market to foreign singers.
Hangeng showed his filial side by saving up all of his Super Junior earning and eventually opened a small restaurant for his parents. This shop became wildly popular and since then three others have also opened, all featuring family pictures of Hangeng. The restaurant in Beijing is frequented by Super Junior M member and visiting Super Junior members.
After the disastrous 2008 earthquake in China Hangeng donated his entire yearly earnings (2 million dollars) to the relief fund privately. His fans also make large donations and do charity events yearly in celebration of his birthday (he requested they do this instead of sending him gifts).
Back in China Hangeng gained great popularity with his inspiring story of going from a poor boy to a singer in one of the most powerful companies. He frequently returned to China to renew his visa and visit his parents when possible. Before Super Junior’s debut fellow member Choi Siwon was sent to China for 3 months to learn about the culture and language (and to later film a movie). Hangeng grew close to Siwon and acted as tour guide to Beijing for him, even taking him home to meet his parents.
Hangeng became close friends with other SM Entertainment trainees from China, especially trainee ZhouMi, who also was from Beijing. When Super Junior member Heechul was severely injured in a car accident returning from member Donghae’s father’s funeral (bad week to say the least) Hangeng asked ZhouMi to take care of Heechul for him. The two became close friends and still are.
Hangeng and Siwon (Who gained great popularity in China because of his work in the film “A Battle of Wits”) were to appear on the program “Happy Camp”, hosted by Hangeng’s long-time friend Teacher He (Hangeng, Teacher He revealed, saved him from drowning in a river back before he was part of SM Entertainment). After the rehearsal they received word of a car accident involving two of Super Junior’s manager and members Shindong, Eunhyuk, Leeteuk and new member Kyuhyun. They were told that Leeteuk was severely injured and that member Kyuhyun was in a coma and would most likely die. Hangeng and Siwon canceled their appearance on the show and returned immediately to Korea.
Fans of Hangeng and Super Junior refused to stay away from the program’s filming site after hearing this news. They still came and filled the studio, with over 3000 fans lining the streets in case a fan left a seat open. The staff of the show all showed up as well, and they sat with the fans and encouraged them to pray. With only a 20% chance of surviving, Kyuhyun woke up after 4 days and began to recover faster than the doctors had anticipated. Hangeng and Siwon returned three months after the original broadcast filming date and completed the episode.
After Don’t Don promotions Hangeng was announced as the leader of a new Super Junior sub-group: Super Junior China (re-named Super Junior Mandarin before debut). He would be leading fellow members Siwon, Ryeowook, Donghae, and Kyuhyun to the Chinese market along with long-time friend ZhouMi and Don’t Don guest performer Henry. Great controversies arose from the addition of two new members to the Super Junior sub-group (other sub-groups contained only SJ members), but Hangeng addressed these by repeatedly asking the fans to support the two.
Super Junior M (Mandarin) swept the Chinese market and took every award they were nominated for. Hangeng’s speaking ability and stage presence grew, showing a very different side from the silent boy in Korean Super Junior promotions.
Hangeng’s popularity grew to such a level that his fans voted him the honor of being an Olympic Torch bearer during the Beijing Olympic games. Hangeng was only to run for a short period when the torch passed into Beijing, but he underwent rigorous training and interviews to do so. Hangeng has said this was the most rewarding experience of his life.
During promotions for Super Junior M’s mini album “SuperGirl” (a month before the full album was to be released) SJM was given a vacation. Hangeng went to stay on his own away from the group. During this time he filed a lawsuit to have his contract with SM Entertainment dissolved- shocking fans and other Super Junior members who learned of this through the news media along with the fans. Hangeng refused to answer any phone calls or e-mails from the members or SM Entertainment, shutting himself off from the rest of the world.
Through the lawsuit it was revealed that SM Entertainment had actually treated Hangeng differently than their other artists, and at one point threatened his life. During Super Junior concerts the members families were all seated in a special VIP section, but Hangeng learned his family was seated in the nosebleeds (bad seats at the back of the venue). Hangeng had to fight with his company to have them moved. SM Entertainment also insisted on paying Hangeng in Korean Won, which lost value as Hangeng had to convert it to Chinese currency. A part of his lawsuit was to recover the losses from this.
Hangeng suffered long-term from a stomach illness resulting from the stress and fatigue of promotions. SM Entertainment refused his rest time to recover. At one point Hangeng required IV medication before an awards program Super Junior was to be on (member Siwon was also in the hospital with him at this time). His manager, impatient and unable to be late with the singers, increased the speed of the IV to the highest possible level (this is dangerous and can cause heart failure or permanent illness) and eventually pulled the needle from Hangeng’s arm before treatment was finished to get him to the program.
After a month or so Hangeng finally reappeared in the media with an interview on Sohu, who had traditionally handled Super Junior and Super Junior- M promotions in China. The host of Sohu and crew were only told a special guest would be on the show, as Hangeng requested to keep the visit secret from fans. He spoke for the first time about the lawsuit and said he just wishes to take a break and recover from his illness. He said that he is in much better health and spirits as he began with only a small schedule studying English, keeping much of his free time to be spent with his mother and father. Hangeng also took a trip to the United States where he met with Michael Jackson’s choreographer and studied under him for a period of time (Hangeng is the only artist other than the late pop star who has been accepted to work with him).
Hangeng formed his own group of people to help manage his career and released a solo album. He still has final say in what shows he will and will not do and how busy his schedule can be. Hangeng revealed that he has returned to speaking with Super Junior members and that after explaining everything he is back on good terms with them. Super Junior has said repeatedly that they regret him not telling them sooner how he felt and have said that if he ever chooses to return to SM Entertainment (Who now is working to protect artist rights and provide better contracts) they will accept him back into Super Junior with no questions or comments. Hangeng has said though that he feels his relationship with the company can never be repaired and has no plans of returning. He invited all Super Junior members to his debut solo concert, but none were able to come due to commitments in a different concert around the same time.
The verdict of Hangeng’s case is due August 17. If Hangeng wins he is no longer contracted under SM Entertainment, and if the lawsuit goes in favor of SM Entertainment he has said he will pay the reparations to them without complaint. Since filing the lawsuit he has visited Korea only once (and only for a day or so) to meet with SM Entertainment.