SHINee's Taemin starts 'new journey' as he leaves SM Entertainment

Taemin of boy band SHINee poses for photos at a press conference held in October. [YONHAP]

Singer Taemin asked fans for support on his "new journey" as he leaves SM Entertainment this month.

“I will be embarking on a new journey soon,” Taemin said in a message uploaded to fan community app bubble on Wednesday, addressing his departure from his agency of 16 years.

“I made the decision to leave the company last year. I’ve also talked with the other members."

Reports broke out on Tuesday that SHINee members Taemin and Onew were leaving their agency.

SM Entertainment said SHINee's activities will continue through the company and that the members will decide their own contracts for solo artist activities on Wednesday.

“I wanted to break the news carefully to not cause any unnecessary concern, but things turned out like this.”

“I am thankful to everyone who has helped me so far. I thank those who have faith in my decision and support me."

"I have always been Lee Tae-min and always will be. We've been together for a long time. I believe better things are coming and I will make sure they do. I ask for your continued support in the future, both as a member of SHINee and as Taemin,” he said.

The singer did not confirm if he was signing to agency Big Planet Made, which had been reported on Tuesday.

Taemin debuted as a member of SHINee, SM Entertainment’s sixth male act, in May 2008. The band saw a blowout debut with "Replay" (2008) and released some of the biggest hits in K-pop including "Ring Ding Dong" (2009), "LUCIFER" (2010), "Sherlock" (2012) and "Dream Girl" (2013).

Taemin was the band’s first member to release music as a solo artist. He dropped his first EP “Ace” with the lead track “Danger” in August 2014 and has subsequently released hits including “Move” (2017), “Criminal” (2020) and “Guilty” (2023).

He is also a member of SM Entertainment’s male project boy band SuperM, which launched in 2019. The band's last activity as a unit was in 2021.

Members Key, Onew and Minho launched their solo musician careers in November 2018, December 2018 and December 2021, respectively.

SM Entertainment said Key and Minho were in "positive discussions" with the agency for both group and solo activities, and that Onew was looking into a wide array of possibilities.

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