Shim Chang-min (Hangul: 심창민; hanja: 沈昌珉; born February 18, 1988), also known by his stage name Max Changmin (최강창민; Choikang Changmin) or simply MAX, is a South Korean singer, actor, and a member of the pop duo TVXQ. Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, Changmin was scouted by an S.M. Entertainment talent agent when he was fourteen years old. He made his debut as TVXQ's youngest member in December 2003.
Fluent in both Korean and Japanese, Changmin has achieved commercial success throughout Asia as a member of TVXQ. Known as "Asia's Stars" and the "Kings of K-Pop", TVXQ have released fifteen studio albums and performed on record-breaking concert tours; their sixth Japan-wide tour, the Time Tour, was the highest-grossing concert tour ever held by a foreign music act in Japan. TVXQ are the first non-Japanese music act to hold a concert in the Nissan Stadium, Japan's largest outdoor stadium. According to the Oricon, TVXQ records the most number-one singles for a foreign music act in Japan. They have since sold over 10 million albums there, making them one of Japan's best-selling foreign artists.
Changmin was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea to a Buddhist family. He has two younger sisters, and both of his parents are teachers. When he was fourteen years old, a talent scout from S.M. Entertainment spotted Changmin while he was singing and playing badminton at the same time during gym class. Attracted to his voice, the scout suggested him to audition for S.M., but Changmin had no interest in becoming a singer. His mother, wanting for a chance to meet BoA, urged Changmin to attend the casting auditions anyway. Three days after auditioning, S.M. called in Changmin for a second audition, which he passed successfully. At the time, Changmin had auditioned without his father's knowledge. After winning the Best Singer and Best Artist award at S.M.'s 6th Annual Youth Competition, Changmin signed with the company.
2003–09: Debut and international success with TVXQ
In 2003, Changmin was put in a boy band with four other members, which included U-Know Yunho, Hero Jaejoong, Micky Yoochun, and Xiah Junsu. At fifteen years old, Changmin was the youngest member. The band, TVXQ, debuted on December 26, 2003 at a SBS showcase for BoA and Britney Spears. The band performed their debut single "Hug" and an a capella rendition of "O Holy Night." On January 14, 2004, "Hug" was officially released, peaking at #4 on South Korea's monthly music charts. In October 2004, the group released their first studio album Tri-Angle, which was their first number-one record.
In late 2004, TVXQ signed with the Avex sub-label, Rhythm Zone. Under the name Tohoshinki, TVXQ debuted in Japan with their first Japanese single "Stay with Me Tonight" in April 2005, but it achieved lukewarm results on the Oricon Singles Chart, selling only 10,000 copies during its 5-week charting. After releasing their second Japanese single "Somebody to Love" in July 2005, TVXQ returned to South Korea to release their second studio Rising Sun in September 2005. The album was a commercial success, debuting atop South Korea's monthly album chart and finished the year as the fourth best-selling Korean album of 2005.
TVXQ released their first Japanese studio album Heart, Mind and Seoul in March 2006, but it struggled in Japan's charts, selling only 20,000 copies in the first month of release. However, TVXQ's third Korean album "O"-Jung.Ban.Hap., released in September 2006, was a financial success, selling over 458,000 copies and topped the year-end charts as South Korea's best-selling album of 2006.
On January 16, 2008, a week before the release of TVXQ's third Japanese studio album T, the group released their first number-one song in Japan, "Purple Line". Their following singles "Beautiful You / Sennen Koi Uta" and "Dōshite Kimi o Suki ni Natte Shimattandarō?" also debuted at number one on the weekly Oricon, and TVXQ became the first foreign artist to achieve three consecutive number-one singles in Japan.
The group's fourth Korean album Mirotic was released on September 26, 2008 to record-breaking success. It was the best-selling Korean album of 2008 and sold over 110,000 records in three days, setting the record for one-week sales in South Korea. TVXQ still holds this record today. The album's lead single, "Mirotic" is the group's most successful single, being touted by critics as a staple song of K-pop. The album itself became the best-selling album among Korea's second-generation idols, earning the name "Album of the Decade." As of July 2012, the album has sold over 600,000 records. The album itself won Album of the Year at the 2008 Mnet KM Music Festival and the Disk Daesang at the 23rd Golden Disk Awards.
2009–10: TVXQ split and indefinite hiatus
In July 2009, members Jaejoong, Yoochun, and Junsu attempted to split with their agency S.M. Entertainment. TVXQ's activities in Korea immediately ceased after October 2009, but the band continued to release Japanese singles under Rhythm Zone until March 2010. The three members formally left TVXQ in April 2010 and formed their own band, JYJ. The trio and S.M. Entertainment then entered a lawsuit, a move that forced Changmin, and his remaining TVXQ bandmate Yunho, into an indefinite hiatus. During this time, Changmin considered retiring from music.
From August to September 2010, Changmin and Yunho performed in Seoul, Los Angeles and Shanghai as part of the SMTown Live '10 World Tour. Their future still uncertain at the time, Changmin performed a solo, "Big Time", and joined Yunho to perform a new song, "Maximum." Their two-piece performances were warmly-received by fans, prompting Changmin and Yunho's decision to continue TVXQ as a duo.
2011–15: TVXQ's return as a duo
Changmin and Yunho finally returned as a duo in January 2011, and released TVXQ's fifth Korean album Keep Your Head Down, selling over 320,000 copies. Changmin helmed the lyrics for his solo track "Confession", which is featured in the album. Preparing for their return to Japan, Yunho and Changmin renewed their contracts with Avex, switching their record label from Rhythm Zone to Avex Trax. In September 2011, the duo released TVXQ's fifth Japanese album Tone, the band's first original album to release number one in Japan. Tone went to become TVXQ's second best-selling studio album in Japan, selling over 330,000 copies and certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of Japan. The duo embarked on their first Japan-wide tour, the Tone Tour, from January to April 2012, attracting 550,000 people and grossing US$74 million. Meanwhile, Changmin and Yunho starred in the SM documentary I AM., a documentary film that chronicles TVXQ's and other S.M. artists milestone to be the first Asian artists to perform at Madison Square Garden. The film features Yunho and Changmin's journey to that point, including archival footage, reflection interviews, and rehearsals.
In September 2012, TVXQ released their sixth Korean album Catch Me. Throughout most of 2013, TVXQ stayed in Japan to embark on their Japan-wide tour, the Time Tour to promote their sixth Japanese album Time. One of the highest-grossing tours of the year, the Time Tour broke numerous attendance records, having mobilized over 850,000 live audiences and being credited as the largest and highest-grossing concert tour ever held by a foreign act in Japan. In addition to those achievements, the duo are also known for being the first foreign act to headline a concert at Japan's largest outdoor stadium, the Nissan Stadium, the last stop of the tour. The tour ultimatelly grossed US$93 million from 18 shows. At the same time, TVXQ embarked on their Catch Me World Tour to promote their Korean releases.
TVXQ celebrated their tenth debut anniversary with a two-day residency called "Time Slip" at the Korea International Exhibition Center, which was part of the SMTOWN Week music festival. On January 6, 2014, the duo released TVXQ's seventh Korean album Tense. The album's repackaged version Spellbound includes "November With Love", a solo track performed and co-written by Yunho. A month after the release of Spellbound, TVXQ released their seventh Japanese album Tree and embarked on their seventh Japan-wide tour to promote the album. In December 2014, TVXQ released their eighth Japanese album With and toured Japan the following year with the With Tour, the duo's second concert tour to perform in all five of Japan's concert domes. At the same time, TVXQ embarked on their tenth anniversary tour, Tistory: Special Live Tour, for their Korean releases. At the final stop of their With tour in April 2015, the duo announced that they would be taking a two-year hiatus to fulfill their mandatory military service for the Republic of Korea Armed Forces.
2015–present: Second hiatus, "Rise as One" and Close to You
In light of the duo's impending enlistments, TVXQ held two final encore concerts for Tistory from June 13–14, 2015. In July 2015, S.M. Entertainment officially announced that Changmin had passed the national conscripted policeman exam and would be enlisting at the end of the year. On July 20, 2015, SM entertainment released TVXQ's 8th Full-length album, Rise as God. Both Changmin and Yunho had separate solo title tracks. Changmin's title track was "Rise as One" an EDM song, while Yunho's was "Champagne" a pop-dance song. In September 2015, S.M. confirmed that Changmin's enlistment date would be on November 19, 2015.
A month later, it was announced by Avex Trax that Changmin would release his first Japanese solo mini album Close to You. Among the seven tracks, "Rock with U" and "Gold Dust" were songs Changmin performed at TVXQ music events. The mini album's lead single is "Into the Water", a ballad. Bundled with a DVD that includes a music video and behind-the-scenes footage, Close to You was a limited release. It was only made available for purchase to members of TVXQ's Japanese fanclub, Bigeast. The album was released on November 18, 2015, one day before his enlistment.
Television and acting career
In 2006, Changmin starred with TVXQ in the miniseries Vacation which had a special premiere and screening at the main auditorium of Yonsei University. He appeared in the episode beside Xiah. They also participated in a number of episodes of Banjun Drama, a popular minidrama series aired on SBS network. He was also the first choice in the drama Snow Flower, but was replaced by Kim Ki Bum due his hectic TVXQ schedule.
In 2010, Changmin guest-starred in Athena: Goddess of War for four episodes—starting from episode 16, as NIS explosives specialist Choi Taehyun.
In 2012, Changmin, along with bandmate Yunho, starred in the SM documentary I AM. The film chronicles TVXQ's and other SM artists milestone to be the first Asian artists to perform at Madison Square Garden and Changmin and Yunho's journey to that point, including archival footage, reflection interviews, and rehearsals.
SM Entertainment revealed on February 2, 2012 that Changmin was cast in one of the leading roles in his first Japanese and film role in the Japanese film Fly With the Gold based on the novel by Takamura Kaoru. He plays Momo, a North Korean spy disguised as an engineering student. He has been praised for his Osaka dialect, which though easily understood is extremely difficult to speak, in the film, especially by director Izutsu Kazuyuki. Changmin was nominated for the Newcomer Award at the prestigious 37th annual Hochi Film Awards in Japan, and first Korean artist to be nominated. On January 21, 2013 it was announced that Changmin had won the 36th Japanese Academy Award for Newcomer of the Year, for his role in Fly With the Gold.
It was announced on December 24, 2012 that Changmin would be co-hosting a new KBS variety show with Kang Ho Dong. Known for his wit and quick remarks, the show marks Changmin's first experience as a fixed MC and Kang's official comeback to KBS. To be directed by Lee Ye Ji, the director for KBS’ Hello, and written by Moon Eun Ae of Knee Drop Guru, it is slated to be released mid-January. On January 4, 2013 it was revealed by KBS that the title had changed from its working title "I Like You, Night of Meeting" to Moonlight Prince. The first episode aired on January 22, 2013 and ended its eight episode run on March 12, 2013.
It was announced on March 25, 2013 by a staff member at KBS’s entertainment division that Kang Ho Dong, Lee Soo Geun, and Kim Byung Man would star as the MC's for a new sports variety show that would replace Moonlight Prince called Cool Kiz On The Block. He also said that they were hoping to add a few more cast members and the same PD and writer from "Moonlight Prince" would be with the show. KBS said that the show would record in early April and the first episode would air on April 9. On March 27, 2013 it was announced that Changmin had been selected as one of the MC's for the program. It premiered on April 9, 2013 and debuted number one in its timeslot, beating SBS's Hwasin – Controller of the Heart.
Changmin, along with U-Know Yunho, had appeared in Running Man as guests.
In 2015 he acted in the periodic drama Scholar Who Walks The Night as Crown Prince Lee Yoon.
Changmin is known for his high tenor register, particularly his screams and high notes. He is also a lyricist, and has written lyrics for several of the band's music, including 2007's "Evergreen" (Only Love), the Korean version of "Love in the Ice" (Mirotic), "Confession" (Keep Your Head Down), and "I Swear" (Catch Me). He also co-wrote the lyrics of "Sleepless Night", a track in SHINee's third album Chapter 2. Why So Serious? – The Misconceptions of Me.
As of 2014, Changmin has written the lyrics for "Rise..." from TVXQ's 7th album Tense and his solo song "Heaven's Day" in Spellbound, TVXQ's repackage album for Tense. He has also written lyrics for other artists such as "Ace", the title track of Taemin (SHINee)'s 1st solo album, Ace, as well as "My Thoughts, Your Memories", a track on Kyuhyun (Super Junior)'s 1st solo album, At Gwanghwamun.
Besides his native Korean, Changmin is fluent in Japanese. Changmin graduated from Gaepo High School in 2006 and was accepted into Kyung Hee University in 2009, majoring in postmodern music. In 2011, he pursued a second degree in Film and Arts at Konkuk University. He went on to pursue a master's degree at Inha University. He also has an interest in becoming a professional photographer, and is a student of photographer Kim Young-joon.
In January 2008, Changmin volunteered with his father in the cleanup of the beaches in Taean, South Korea following the nation's worst oil spill in history. His trip to Taean was intended to be done in secrecy during a short break from his activities with TVXQ during the new year and was only made known to the media and public when another volunteer posted his sighting on a fan site. The incident was later confirmed by TVXQ's agent.
On July 7, 2015, Changmin applied for the Military Police to fulfill his compulsory national service. He was inducted into the Republic of Korea Armed Forces as a conscripted policeman on November 19, 2015. Changmin received five weeks of basic training at the Chungnam Nonsan Military Training Camp, and was the leader of his squad. He will be discharged from service on August 18, 2017.
|Title||Album details||Track listing|
|Close To You|
|2008||"Wild Soul"||Two Hearts/Wild Soul|
|2010||"Big Time"||N/A||Performed at SM Town Live '10 World Tour|
|2011||"고백 (Confession)"||Keep Your Head Down|
|2012||"눈물 같은 사람 (A Person Like Tears)"||Jeon Woo-chi Original Soundtrack|
|2013||"Rock With U"||N/A||Performed at Time: Live Tour 2013|
|"Gold Dust"||Performed at The Mission II tour|
|2014||"Breath" (Japanese version)||SM the Ballad Vol. 2 – Breath||duet with Krystal of f(x)|
|"슬픔 속에 그댈 지워야만 해 (Because I Love You) – Acoustic version"||Mimi Original Soundtrack|
|"Over"||N/A||Performed at Tree: Live Tour 2014|
|"사랑한다 그 말을 못해서 (Because I couldn't say the words "I Love You")"||The Night Watchman's Journal Original Soundtrack|
|2007||"Evergreen"||TVXQ||2007 Winter SMTown – Only Love|
|2008||"Love In the Ice"||Mirotic||Korean version of "Love In the Ice"|
|2009||"12시 34분 (Nothing Better)"||2009 Summer SMTown – We are Shining|
|2011||"고백 (Confession)"||Max Changmin||Keep Your Head Down||Also recorded in the original soundtrack for Paradise Ranch|
|2012||"I Swear"||TVXQ||Catch Me|
|2013||"떠나지 못해 (Sleepless Night)"||Shinee||Why So Serious? – The Misconceptions of Me|
|"Heaven's Day"||Max Changmin||Spellbound|
|"기억을 따라서 (Everlasting)"||TVXQ||Live World Tour: Catch Me in Seoul||Korean version of "Toki o Tomete"|
|" 나의 생각, 너의 기억 (My Thoughts, Your Memories)"||Kyuhyun||At Gwanghwamun|
|Dating on Earth||2009||Changmin||Direct-to-video|
|I AM.||2012||Himself||Documentary film|
|Fly with the Gold||Momo||Japanese film debut|
Japanese Academy Award for Newcomer of the Year
Japan Film Critics Award for Best New Artist
Nominated—Hochi Film Award for Newcomer Award
|SMTOWN The Stage||2015||Himself||Documentary film|
|Banjun Theater||2005||Max Changmin||Main role (7 episodes)|
|Vacation||2006||Max Changmin||Theatrical drama|
Episode: "Beautiful Life"
|Athena: Goddess of War||2010||Choi Tae-hyun||Recurring role (4 episodes)|
|Paradise Ranch||2011||Han Dong-joo||Main role (16 episodes)|
|Welcome to the Show||2011||Himself||Cameo (Episode 1)|
|Saki||2013||Cafe customer||Cameo (Episode 11)|
|Mimi||2014||Han Min-woo||Main role (4 episodes)|
|Scholar Who Walks the Night||2015||Crown Prince Lee Yoon||Main role (19 episodes)|
|Hologram Musical: School Oz||2015||Oscar||Main role|
|Running Man||2011||Himself in Jae-Suk team||27|
|Running Man||2012||Himself in Offence Team||115|
|Moonlight Prince||2013||Himself||Variety show (8 episodes)|
Nominated—KBS Entertainment Award for Best Newcomer
|Cool Kiz On The Block||2013–14||Himself||Variety show (42 episodes)|
KBS Entertainment Award for Best Entertainer
|Fluttering India||2015||Himself||Variety show (2 episodes)|
|2012||Hochi Film Awards||Best New Artist||Fly with the Gold||Nominated|
|2013||Japan Academy Awards||Newcomer of the Year||Fly with the Gold||Won|
|2013||Japan Film Critics Awards||Best New Artist||Fly with the Gold||Won|
|2013||KBS Entertainment Awards||Best Entertainer (Variety)||Cool Kiz On The Block||Won|
|2013||KBS Entertainment Awards||Best Newcomer||Moonlight Prince||Nominated|