K-Pop Special — Five Years Of Dreamcatcher

Five Years Of Dreamcatcher: Dami’s Calm, Yet Powerful Presence As Dreamcatcher’s Bedrock

Steady and consistent in both her noticeable musical/rapping talent and her quiet, practical care for other members, Dami’s reliability has underpinned much of Dreamcatcher’s work.

Dami from 2017–2021. Source: Dream Catcher Company

In an industry like K-Pop, where outsized personalities sometimes tend to draw attention to a group or an artist, and where being seen and visual are of high importance, it might seem a bit antithetical to have someone who doesn’t have huge reactions to things or who otherwise doesn’t fit into an archetype that puts them front and center constantly. But members of a group who play their role well, and who can be relied upon as those who are seemingly put-together on-camera and off have plenty of value, serving as solid foundations and rocks which K-Pop groups can depend upon.

Such is the perceived on-camera role that Dreamcatcher’s Main Rapper Dami has assumed throughout the lifetime of the group over the past five years. Cool and collected during even as others have boisterously loud communications, ensuring that things keep moving along as a professional would, Dami has provided a straightforward, yet stabilizing presence. Though one of Dreamcatcher’s younger members, Dami appears to possess a practical outlook on things that far exceeds her years.

Dreamcatcher covers Big Bang’s “Bang Bang Bang” live in 2018, with Dami providing an aggressive, eye-and-eat catching presence.

But make no mistake about it — just because Dami is calmer overall doesn’t mean she is by any means invisible in the group. Many Dreamcatcher fans, and Dami fans in particular, admit to being drawn into the group’s circle because of her aggressive stage presence and performance acumen. As far as Main Rappers go, Dami anchors the traditional role with an in-your-face flow to her parts of the song that makes them stand out to fans who are listening to them. If you’ve listened to a Dreamcatcher song, you likely have some part of the song that Dami raps or sings that immediately comes to mind, a testament to her skill as a performance artist.

“Not a Dream” by D.D.C, written and performed in part by Dami for the King’s Raid mobile game soundtrack. Source: King’s Raid Official

Combine that with a passion for songwriting that has resulted in both special clips and, more recently, with songs in Dreamcatcher’s ever-growing discography, along with a prominent visual look that grabs fans as hard as her raps, and Dami’s calm, off-stage demeanor seems an additional dimension, rather than a definition of, her overall personality. Such a reliable presence means that Dreamcatcher will always have a bedrock in Dami that will always serve as a reliable, stable force for the group, even as she exudes her own individuality. Here’s five thoughts on how Dami’s steady hand and even steadier, dependable performances have made her a core part of Dreamcatcher over the last five years.

Dami, along with the rest of Dreamcatcher, performs BOCA in full undead costume, a homage to Korean drama “Kingdom”. Source: Dreamcatcher official

Fans of Dreamcatcher, like those of any other group, can pick out the snippets and parts of their discography that they remember, stand out to them, or which they can repeat with relative ease. In many cases, these are Dami’s parts — in part because they are often in English, but also and more importantly because they are performed so unforgettably by Dami herself. As rapping has become more of a core portion of many K-Pop group performances, Dami has maintained and even at times exceeded the standard by which Main Rappers are judged by.

YouTube channel “Form of Therapy” reacts to PIRI, including Dami’s iconic rap line. Source: Form of Therapy

Whether it’s “I’ve had a gun for a while” (from 2019’s “PIRI”), “I’m a geek, the big paradox” (from 2020’s “BOCA”), or “It’s like a big black hole in my heart, I’m trapped in the dream (from 2017’s “Fly High”), Dami has created some of Dreamcatcher’s most repeatable and iconic lines in their songs, a direct result of how well she performs as the group’s Main Rapper. Oftentimes I will drop into YouTube to check out reactions to Dreamcatcher songs, and almost to a person, all of them will inevitably stop or react huge in some way to what Dami does on-camera. It’s a pretty consistent thing, but not unexpected given how aggressive Dami has been when in performance mode.

Dami fancam from Show! Music Core in 2018, performing “You and I”. Source: MBC World

And it isn’t just her lines that make Dami memorable in many Dreamcatcher performances, either — her dancing and choreography moments grab fans almost as hard. From her seemingly magic stick-wielding in 2018’s “You and I”, to shooting an arrow into the camera in “Full Moon”, to striking out so aggressively in “Scream” that she spins around, Dami shows you that it isn’t just her rapping that gets to fans, but the entire package of performance. Such moments anchor the visual experience of Dreamcatcher songs, and play right into Dami serving as a reliable bedrock for their stage work.

Dreamcatcher talks about Dami’s calm attitude on Weekly Idol in 2021. Source: ENOZI (translation) / ALL THE K-POP (original)

Part of Dreamcatcher’s appeal to many fans is the somewhat opposing duality of their on-stage and off-stage personality. The serious and darkly aggressive stage performances that typify their darker concept are balanced out with an off-stage presentation that is anything but, filled with smiling, laughing moments that can often get chaotic. But while Dami can sometimes participate in some of this chaos, most of the time she’s the one presenting a calm, practical front, moving things along quietly and also caring for other members. As was stated during their first Weekly Idol appearance in 2021, there are members in groups who are very well put-together and just get things done, and by all impressions and according to her fellow members, Dami does exactly that. After all, anyone who would remember to put a fire extinguisher close to a tabletop stove during a vLive would probably be classed as such.

Dami serves as a stable partner to Yoohyeon’s on-camera antics during their SHHcret mini-series with Yang Star TV. Source: Yang Star TV

This practicality and calm, of course, extends to caring for her fellow members as well. Whether it’s ensuring dogs can’t get too close to youngest member Gahyeon (who appears somewhat afraid of them), to appearing with fellow ‘97 birthday liner Yoohyeon and helping clean up after a couple of accidents, Dami has almost always given audiences the impression that she has her head on straight, and that even as things go a little wild or emotional around her that she’ll bring a bit of rationality to the table.

Dreamcatcher Mind episode 3, Haunted Hospital Part 1. Source: Dreamcatcher official

One of the most prominent examples of this combination of calm and care for Dami happened during Dreamcatcher’s filming of their first reality show in 2021. In one episode, Dreamcatcher members were tasked with retrieving items from a hospital set up by the production staff to have a “haunted house” feel, complete with props and jump scares. After trying to calm a screaming SuA while keeping her own fears under control in her own part of the show, Dami reassured a terrified Handong that she didn’t have to brave the haunted place alone (a result of Handong’s unlucky draw earlier in the show). A tight hug and some soothing words later, Dami, along with SuA, accompanied a nervous Handong to help finish her part of the mission.

Moments like these in Dreamcatcher’s reality show highlighted that while Dami is certainly a bit more calm in front of the camera she is by no means stony or uncaring. The intention, other than to showcase her professionalism, is for Dami to ensure that Dreamcatcher members have a safety net to fall back on, that there will always be someone around that knows what has to be done and to do it. It’s a welcome trait and one that has created a good foundations for Dreamcatcher’s many appearances over the years.

SuA and Dami collaborate on a cover of Camilla Cabello’s “Havana” in 2018. Source: Happyface Entertainment

When members collaborate with one another in a K-Pop group, there are a multitude of results that can happen, which is part of the point. The subunit is supposed to be shown in a different light, allowing each member of the collaboration to show off skills in a more focused performance. The interesting part about Dreamcatcher is that every member appears to approach collaborations in different ways in order to make everyone participating succeed.

SuA and Dami perform a cover and choreography of Taemin’s “Move” live during Dreamcatcher’s South American tour in 2018. Source: Kpidols

For Dami, who’s had her fair share of Dreamcatcher-related collaborations over the years, it appears that her philosophy is to bring her own distinct strengths to bear (rap and a sharp choreography discipline) while at the same time emphasizing the strengths of her collaborating members. The result is a nice balance and equality, where no one member outshines any of the others, and that each is able to combine the best of themselves into a new and refreshing performance.

Dami and Yoohyeon combine forces to cover MAMAMOO’s “Some Guys and Some Girls”. Source: Kpop idol HeyoTV

Whether it’s working with SuA to rap and do an original choreography that she’s created, or teaming up with frequent collaborator Yoohyeon to tag team a song with equal parts rap and vocals, Dami’s contrasting contribution to her collaboration partner(s) talents only serves to enhance everyone all at once. It’s just another way of Dami’s solid foundation of talent serving as a way to ground Dreamcatcher’s expanding collection of covers and performances, and is always welcome to see.

Siyeon and Dami team up to cover HyunA and Dawn’s “Ping Pong”. Source: Dreamcatcher official

Of course, the other consequence of such collaborations that play to all participants’ strengths is when there is a bit of bleedover of things that you’d normally not see, it’s a pleasant surprise. Collaborations like Dami and Yoohyeon’s “Mood and the above collaboration between Dami and Siyeon to cover HyunA and Dawn’s “Ping Pong” show off a side of Dami that, while still emphasizing her rapping skill, also allow her to play characters show off a bit of a side of her that isn’t just aggressive and serious all the time. Everyone on Dreamcatcher, to a certain extent, has exhibited a talent of being able to do most anything from an acting or character standpoint for their videos, but it’s an even bigger treat when it isn’t someone that you don’t get to see so often do so. In that sense, Dami’s collaborations have always been fun and engaging, even as they give you what you expect from her.

Dami, absent her traditional rapping, covers Clean Bandit’s “Rockabye”. Source: Dreamcatcher official
Dami and Siyeon sing “Shadow (Slow ver.)” for the Korean drama “Dark Hole”. Source: Dreamcatcher official

Playing off the point I just made, even though Dami is well-known for both her fierce rapping skill and her calm and cool personality under fire, she’s also a multi-talented performer as well as someone who can have her own soft moments. As a result, when she deviates into these areas, fans are pleasantly and unexpectedly surprised. We’ve seen this in a few moments throughout Dreamcatcher’s history, and it’s always been a treat to me.

Covering Clean Bandit’s “Rockabye”, which features a prominent rap but which Dami elects to avoid in favor of displaying her high, soft vocal tone is only one such instance, as is an all-vocal collaboration with Main Vocalist Siyeon on “Shadow”, a song off of the OST of Korean Drama “Dark Hole”. In both of these, the presence of Dami singing, as opposed to rapping, ensures that fans both new and old remember that Dami, despite being in the Main Rapper, is a good singer in her own right, completely capable of lending vocals to many songs. Discovering that Dami is singing, especially when it happens in Dreamcatcher’s actual discography, has always been a reminder of this fact.

Dami takes a turn into her maknae MINX past, along with many other fun personality moments, during a lie detector test on Tong Tong TV. Source: 연합뉴스 통통컬처
Dami loses her cool and has a fangirl moment during a show with a member of one of her favorite groups, Girls’ Generation/SNSD’s Sunny. Source: ALL THE K-POP

But these unexpected turns into other elements of Dami don’t just show up from a performance perspective — they also, at times, have manifested in her offstage personality and presentation as well. Other Dreamcatcher members have referred to Dami being essentially cute, humorous, and soft, and we see glimpses of this during vLives and in some performances (B-side performances such as Dreamcatcher’s self-made MV for “Sahara comes to mind), but perhaps some of the most obvious examples of shown up in the last year or so.

Whether it’s re-living her former role, vocal tone, and presentation as MINX’s maknae (youngest member), or in finally getting to be a successful 2nd generation SNSD fanclub member (and becoming emotional) over meeting and working with Sunny, Dami’s rare instances where we see the cool demeanor crack a bit to see her lighter side just add to her charms for fans And it’s even more apparent when Dami is paired with other members, most especially Handong and Yoohyeon, who she tends to have the most fun messing around with. Being seemingly ambushed from out of nowhere with these unexpected Dami moments is multiplied even more when more Dreamcatcher members get added, and leads me to believe that Dami is, perhaps, just as chaotic as the rest of the group — she’s just better at hiding it.

Escape the Era’s “Scar” , one of Dami’s first songwriting credits in Dreamcatcher’s discography. Source: Dreamcatcher official
Road to Utopia’s “New Days”, the latest entry in Dami’s writing for Dreamcatcher. Source: Dreamcatcher official

If there’s anything we can glean from Dami’s performance acumen, whether rapping or singing, it’s that she feels a high amount of passion for music and loves doing it. Only Siyeon, who I feel has a high degree of connection to her music such that it seems to resonate with her core identity, seems to outstrip Dami in this regard. The best example of this, of course, is the discovery many Dami fans make that she enjoys writing and producing music as much as she does performing it, with little-known and underappreciated B-side “Scar” from 2018’s “Escape The Era” and 2021’s “New Days” as the examples that come most prominently to mind. Both songs carry a distinct rock core and strike an optimistic tone that make them easy to listen to (for example, “New Days”, which is about overcoming adversity and looking towards a brighter future, has already become a staple encore song in Dreamcatcher’s live concert sets). Additionally, Dami has participated in writing lyrics for at least seven additional Dreamcatcher songs, per the Korean Music Copyright Association website, including familiar tracks such as “You And I”, “Break the Wall”, “Black or White”, “What” and more. If you’ve liked any of these tracks or a few others, Dami might have had a bit of a hand in making it as great as it is.

Dami’s original song “Butterfly” dedicated to the memory of her dog, Ddo Ddo. Source: Dreamcatcher official
“Once Upon a Time”, written and performed entirely by Dami. Source: Dreamcatcher official

But more personal work has made it out from Dami’s talented production and composition hands into the world at large as well. “Butterfly” was a track produced by Dami in honor of her dog Ddo Ddo, who was her constant companion since childhood and then passed away after a full life. And “Once Upon a Time” was a short special clip that told a haunting fairy tale about a doomed hero who went to try to slay a monster, and whose memory lives on in their empty house. Both put forth their own distinct, personal aura and mood, and both are expressions of what Dami was likely feeling about writing about at the time. Such creativity, along with frequent pictures of her in the studio (most recently with Yoohyeon for their collaboration on covering IU’s “Palette) belie a passion for music producing that will likely persist long into Dami’s future with Dreamcatcher and beyond. Fans already praise long-time Dreamcatcher producers LEEZ and Ollounder with essentially helping to create the musical identity of Dreamcatcher with their multiple compositions. Will Dami, who already has her hands with close to ten tracks, be given similar accolades one day? Time will tell, but given what we’ve seen from her so far, it seems decently likely.

Dami talks about the simple secret to dealing with being tired or with adversity. Source: Dreamcatcher official

For now, though, what we have in Dreamcatcher’s Main Rapper is a reliable and concrete core, someone who, with their consistent, reliable, and always high-quality rapping (and occasional singing) anchors much of Dreamcatcher’s discography. But as we’ve seen, this anchoring extends to the group’s relative emotional stability as well. When others are having trouble, Dami is seemingly there to catch them, something that, on those rare occasions when she might need the same, is most certainly mutual. Such members are rare gems, and with her multi-talented skills in composition, lyrics, rap, music, and overall approach with the sometimes volatile nature of K-Pop idol life, Dami is among one of the most treasured.

Stay tuned for more Five Years of Dreamcatcher content as we roll toward their 5th anniversary in January — clap, follow, and signal boost this content to your fellow fans so that more people can read about how and why Dreamcatcher remains one of K-Pop’s most interesting and sustainable groups with a great story in the industry!

Want to read the rest of the series? Check out the rest of the members in the Five Years of Dreamcatcher series of articles!

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Frank Sanchez

Frank Sanchez

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Lifetime geek dual-wielding in the tech and games industries for over a decade. Builder of walls of text. Shameless Asian pop lover.