[BIRTHDAY BIOS] Vanner doubles the celebration for Taehwan, Hyesung's birthdays

Members Taehwan, left, and Hyesung of boy band Vanner, winners of Celeb Confirmed's January birthday vote [CELEB CONFIRMED]

In a galaxy of talented stars that shine in K-pop, birthdays are one of the biggest festivities for fans to get together and remember just how much they love their dearest artists. To add to the celebration, the Korea JoongAng Daily’s entertainment brand Celeb Confirmed will take votes from fans on their favorites from stars born in the respective month and dive into their careers, achievements and more in the newest series Birthday Bios.

This month’s Celeb Confirmed’s K-pop birthday vote welcomes two winners from Vanner — Taehwan and Hyesung, who have both received the exact same number of votes, 37.8 percent, from K-pop fans.

It’s a double festivity for boy band Vanner as two of its talented members Taehwan and Hyesung celebrate their birthdays this week.

Taehwan, the eldest and trusted leader of Vanner, is an only child and was born on Jan. 15, 1994, in Dangjin, South Chungcheong. His full name is Lee Tae-hwan.

Taehwan of Vanner [KLAP ENTERTAINMENT]

Taehwan started singing as early as he took his first baby steps and then “never stopped,” according to local newspaper Dangjin News. His dreams of becoming a singer were fiercely opposed by his parents at first, so much so that his mother starved herself for three days to show her defiance — which was conquered by Taehwan’s even stronger will that he showed when he knelt down in front of his parents in tears.

He passed an audition at the age of 19 and spent seven years training until he debuted with Vanner in 2019. Taehwan is known as the father figure of the band, who led the group through hardships by taking care of the management work when the company had to let go of staff due to a financial crunch.

He is also known for most frequently engaging with fans through online posts, livestreams and web content — which he is known to produce on his own.

Hyesung of Vanner [KLAP ENTERTAINMENT]

Hyesung’s story of joining Vanner is quite similar.

Park Hye-sung was born in Daejeon on Jan. 17, 1996, as the youngest of two brothers. Hyesung spent his younger years studying hard as a diligent son to parents who both worked in the education sector. So when he was accepted into a university but didn’t enroll because he wanted to become an idol, as K-pop groups are referred to in Korea, it’s no surprise that his parents “flipped” at the notion, according to a livestream Hyesung held for fans in November 2022.

Still, he came to Seoul to pursue his dream and worked his way through part-time jobs to make ends meet.

His part-time jobs didn’t stop there, however.


Vanner endured four years with no more than lukewarm reactions from a K-pop market that was hit with the Covid-19 pandemic soon after the group’s debut. Even the biggest bands struggled through the global unrest, let alone a newly-debuted band from a small company.

All the employees from their agency, VT Entertainment, left, leaving just the chief and the band's five members to take care of their own management. The members took part-time jobs to make ends meet and took care of their managerial work such as updating their website, simply because there was no one else to do it.

Finally, in 2023 the members had the opportunity to be featured on cable channel JTBC’s reboot program for underrecognized boy bands in a show named “Peak Time.” The series aired from February to April and highlighted boy bands who had already debuted but were less well-known.

Vanner won the show for its excellence in all aspects throughout the series and took home a cash prize of 300 million won ($226,000) and the opportunity to release a new album and showcase it with JTBC's help.

Members Taehwan, right, and Hyesung of boy band Vanner [KLAP ENTERTAINMENT]

“We held over 200 live performances in Japan a year before our official debut, which really helped us grow our performance skills and confidence,” Hyesung said last August in a showcase.

“Just a few months back, we were all doing part-time jobs just to keep our dream alive,” Taehwan said. “We can’t believe we’re here right now. It’s so overwhelming. We will do everything we can to make the most of our newly-found opportunity.”

The band’s latest album “Veni, Vidi, Vici” dropped on Aug. 21 with the upbeat funky dance track “Performer” and five other tracks, including a new version of the band's 2020 single “Form.” The band won the Next Generation Hallyu Star Award at the fifth Newsis K-Expo and the Rising Star Award at the 2023 Asia Model Awards.

Taehwan, left, and Hyesung of boy band Vanner [KLAP ENTERTAINMENT]

“I am going to have such a wonderful birthday thanks to VVS,” Taehwan told the Korea JoongAng Daily. VVS is the name of Vanner’s fandom. “I love you, I really do.”

Hyesung added, “Thank you so much for all the love you've sent us.”

Vanner is set to drop its second EP “Capture The Flag” on Jan. 30. "Capture The Flag" will showcase the band's identity connecting with the band's name, which is the combination of "Victory" and "Banner," according to the band’s agency KLAP Entertainment.