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NCT’s Mark Lee Isn’t Too Busy to Dream

Talk about dreamy ✨☁️@NCTsmtown_DREAM

5/12/2021 12:05:00 AM

Talk about dreamy ✨☁️ NCT smtown_DREAM

Mark has a lot going on — but he’s making time for poetry, introspection, and, of course, the members of NCT Dream.

Harry Potter, and James Patterson, Mark dreamt of becoming an author, long before he was recruited by SM at a global audition in Canada in 2012. “When I was in school, I was always the kind of guy who would write more than expected, and that became a thing that clicked for me,” he says. “I was like, ‘Maybe it’s something that I naturally do?’ But then that kind of turned into rap writing too, so I guess they kind of clicked together.” It explains his prolific career as a lyricist; since debuting, he’s amassed over 30 songwriting credits across his various groups, contributing to songs as iconic as NCT U’s “Boss,” NCT 127’s “Cherry Bomb,” and NCT Dream’s “Chewing Gum.”

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Even with such an extensive body of work, however, penning lyrics hasn’t satiated his appetite for literary expression. In anwith Japanese magazineMen’s Non-No, he revealed that he still hopes one day to write a book, whether that be a novel, autobiography, or something more philosophical.

In the meantime, he’s taken to writing what are basically short poems on hisInstagram, which he created just a few months ago. He’s gathered over 4.5 million followers since then, but having such a large audience hasn’t deterred him from being endearingly vulnerable with the way he writes. When I refer to them as poems, he laughs and looks embarrassed, but when I ask him to tell me the stories behind them, he’s enthusiastic again. They’re short, but offer brief glimpses into Mark the writer — sharp, inquisitive, and thoughtful. As pieces of literature, they’re a little rough around the edges, but the sincerity he’s known for shines through, illuminating the introspective, philosophical side that may not be so obvious in person. headtopics.com

His first poem, loosely titled “Late Night Scribbling,” put into words his musings about sleep, thoughts, feelings, and writing. It meanders from topic to topic, hovering between feelings of hope and hopelessness, before ending with a comically awkward “haha.”

“I actually wrote that by imagining how I wanted to organize my Instagram page,” he explains. “I was thinking of creating an Instagram, then I realized that, well, I’m not really a picture kind of guy, I’m not really a travelling kind of guy… I kind of studied who I am first, and I [asked myself], ‘What’s something that I can really portray in an intimate way?’ and it turned out to be writing.”

“I started to brainstorm what kind of topics I could write about, and then from there on, I started to write a little each and every night, and that turned into Late Night Scribbling,” he continues. “That kind of gave me courage to start Instagram in the first place, that piece of writing.”

Two weeks later, he followed it up with “Black Socks,” a whimsical ode to, well, black socks — complete with accompanying photos of him wearing said socks. Immediately, it feels more confident and cohesive than its predecessor. Using the neat and tidy look of black socks as a metaphor, he describes his own mindset for living life: “Pleasure from perfect alignment; That also goes for my ability to be parallel with my thoughts and actions; I try to live out what’s in my mind, and keep it consistent even when forgotten like a working habit.” headtopics.com

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Comments on the posts praise his writing and encourage him to continue sharing these small pieces of himself. On the stage, Mark takes on a confident, larger-than-life persona, while in vlogs and spoken interviews, he’s a bubbly character full of laughter and boyish charm. What the poems show is that, beneath these outer appearances, there’s another layer of complexity that is yet to be fully explored, and it’s not surprising that fans want to know more.

His day job as a K-pop idol doesn’t allow a lot of time for hobbies, though, and he confesses to not having written much lately. Despite that, he’s determined to stay in the industry for as long as possible. “Longevity is something that I’ve always been aiming for,” he says. “I’m willing to do this for a long time, and that requires a lot of work. I’m willing to take that as a challenge and I’m trying to stay as long as I can, but with quality.”

Related:NCT Dream Talk New Album “Hot Sauce” and Mark’s Triumphant ReturnThat focus on quality informs his preparations for the upcoming promotions with NCT Dream. In both their fictional world and ours, NCT Dream are a central component of NCT by virtue of their unique focus on growth — the seven members were aged between 14 and 17 when the group first debuted in 2016. Fast-forward five years, and the members are now 19 to 21, having reached a milestone in January when the youngest, Jisung, finally became a legal adult in Korea. When asked if

hefeels like an adult yet, though, Mark gives an extremely relatable answer with zero hesitation.“I still feel like I’m in middle school, I’m gonna be totally honest. I swear to God, I feel like I’m… All right, I’ll put it up — I feel like I’m in high school!” He laughs. “I even had this talk with Jisung, ‘cos he’s the latest that turned into an adult. He said that he still feels like he’s a student, he doesn’t feel like he’s 20 [19 in international age] right now.” headtopics.com

Courtesy of SM EntertainmentIt’s been a long time since all seven Dream members — Mark, Renjun, Jeno, Haechan, Jaemin, Chenle, and Jisung — have released an album together, and as the first full-length album since their debut, the fan anticipation is palpably intense. Mark himself has mentioned in various

vlogshow important he believes this comeback to be, and that conviction becomes obvious whenever he talks about it.“We had a talk all together, the seven of us, without any cameras or anything. I brought all the guys together and we talked before the whole momentum started, and I said that I’m willing to put my everything on this one. Like, I always had, but I feel like… the whole universe, or like— ” He pauses, trying to figure out how to articulate himself, and his next line is the most emphatic of our whole conversation. “There are things that are out of our control, but we can

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seeandfeelwhen the pieces match together sometimes, and I feel like this specific moment, this particular album, kind of had those essential parts.”He’s thinking about all of the context surrounding this comeback: the group’s coming of age, the reunion of all seven members, the scale of the album, the fact that Jisung has only just recovered from a

leg injurythat meant he couldn’t dance for months — even the fact that 2020 was, against all odds, the best year yet for NCT, with release after release bringing them unprecedented success and momentum.“I felt that coming and I explained all of that [to the group],” he continues. “This whole period of time has a lot of meaning to it, and we’re not taking that for granted, we’re working hard.” With everything that’s happened,

Hot Sauce Read more: Teen Vogue »

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