These days, 16-year-old Dohyon is known as the incredible rapper and maknae of BAE173—but he didn’t always dream of being on stage. In fact, he originally wanted to work behind the scenes as a music producer. In a new interview with KPOP IDOL OLYMPIC, Dohyon revealed the full story of how he went from an aspiring songwriter to one of the most popular rookie idols.
Dohyon explained that it all started when he learned to play the piano as a young child. When he was around 11 years old, he learned about MIDI—the art of making music electronically. First, Dohyon played around with game-like MIDI apps on his iPad, but he had so much fun that he decided to learn music production properly.
So, in his first year of middle school, when he was around 12 years old, Dohyon bought a laptop and installed music production software. All of his friends were more interested in gaming than his compositions, but that didn’t deter him from his creative goals.
I don’t play games. I [composed music] because it was so fun, but since all the kids around me talked mostly about games and stuff, we didn’t share common interests. After we’d become friends, I’d ask, ‘Hey, I made this! Wanna hear it?’, but they wouldn’t be interested.
Given how composing and producing capture his heart from such a young age, it should come as little surprise that Dohyon thought, “I was gonna be the best producer rather than being an idol or a singer.” Instead of singing songs, Dohyon explained he aimed to be the one producing songs for artists. However, while working hard on his goal, he found out about the MBC survival show Under Nineteen.
Since I’d be on TV and I was curious, I thought it’d be a good experience and signed up.
At the time, Dohyon was just 14 years old, but he managed to make it into the show’s lineup as a member of the rap group. While he competed valiantly, he was sadly eliminated relatively early in the competition, ranking in 42nd place overall. But even though becoming an idol had never been his dream before, Dohyon says he found himself feeling disappointed when he was eliminated.
When I got eliminated, I didn’t think, ‘I’ll go back to studying.’ I was disappointed to have been eliminated.
Luckily for fans, that wasn’t the end of the road for Dohyon. He soon heard of a new survival show: Produce X 101. “I thought this would be a good experience,” Dohyon told KPOP IDOL OLYMPIC, “And since I did want to be in the music industry, I thought if I learned how to dance and sing, it would be useful for me.”
This was another chance for me.
Dohyon revealed he “knew nothing” in terms of performance skill when he joined Produce X 101, but as fans now know, that didn’t stop him from winning the nations’ hearts. Ultimately, Dohyon reached 8th place in the show’s finale, making it into the lineup of X1.
Honestly, it wasn’t like I was finally being recognized after years of hard work because I was like, ‘Should I give it a try?’ and went on the show with little preparation. I think I worked hard because it seemed to suit me.
Now, since X1’s disbandment, Dohyon has re-debuted twice—once in duo H&D with fellow X1 member Hangyul, and now in BAE173. Plus, he still gets to live out his music production dreams. Since 2020, Dohyon has participated in songwriting and composing for four H&D songs and three BAE173 songs.
While Dohyon may have decided to become an idol on a whim, his incredible performances show just how much he loves it, and fans can all agree that he truly belongs on a stage. In fact, even Dohyon’s parents agree. “When I told [my parents] I was going on an idol competition show,” Dohyon explained, “They were very surprised.” Now, he says, “They’re very happy.”