K-Pop — Dreamcatcher Series

Hidden Gems: Lesser-Known Live Performances From Dreamcatcher’s JiU

From IU to Flo Rida and more, Dreamcatcher’s leader has shown off plenty of range when singing for fans.

JiU sings at her birthday fanmeeting in 2018. Source: Happyface entertainment

In the course of covering Dreamcatcher over these past two years with these articles, I’ve come upon a ton of reference material to source when talking to them. Some of that material is frequently shown and displayed when I’ve been talking about the group, and many of the videos, in particular are ones that any well-traveled fan would know about.

But there’s a hidden treasure trove of little-known clips out there from Dreamcatcher’s vast media as a group — live songs in particular that people seem to forget or not even know existed. With Dreamcatcher’s 2022 World Tour upcoming, I thought I’d add to my plans to cover the group by sprinkling in some “hidden gems” — a few live clips that fans and the group have recorded from the group’s history that might sometimes be overlooked — and to focus on one member at a time while doing it.

Starting with Dreamcatcher’s leader JiU, who has shown a wide variety of vocal tones over the years despite being mostly known for her light and airy voice seemingly custom-made for ballads, let’s take a look at a few videos that could use a little more awareness.

JiU covers Tasha’s “Happy Me”. Source: jasmine (original UOOSEA app/KWAVE Pocket Star)

KWAVE U Pocket Star — Dreamcatcher JiU cover “Happy Me” (orig. by Tasha)
June 23, 2017

There were a few places during 2017 where Dreamcatcher spidered out (yes, pun intended) to show off individual vocal skill, and their collaboration with KWAVE U was one of these. JiU’s always known to have been a very strong ballad singer, and certainly that’s not something that is uncommon knowledge, but there are plenty of places where JiU has taken power ballads like Happy Me and showed off that she’s capable of singing with emotion and joy. It’s unfortunate the audio isn’t better or that we didn’t get a full cover, as this was solid.

JiU sings “Across the Universe” by Yerin Baek at her birthday fanmeet in 2018. Source: JIUROLEPIS REDRHODANTHE

JiU Birthday Fanmeeting 2018 — Dreamcatcher JiU cover “Across the Universe” (orig. by Yerin Baek).
May 17, 2018

Birthday fan meetings for Dreamcatcher members are always great places to find performances that you didn’t know about as a fan (or did and have long since forgotten). Because live singing was a part of pretty much every Dreamcatcher birthday fan meeting you often can find songs that were haven’t been covered or sang since then, and JiU’s have been no exception.

Yerin Baek’s “Across the Universe is one of those songs in K-Pop that you have to get just right in order to capture the sense of both forlorn waiting and heady anticipation that the song is talking about. It’s a bit quicker than a normal ballad but no less demanding for the range needed, and of course, JiU did the job here. This fan meeting has plenty of other performances as well, and the Dreamcatcher’s Note that came out for JiU’s birthday was full of JiU’s trademark kindness and care for her fans, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

JiU and Dami combine forces at Invitation to Nightmare Singapore to cover Flo Rida’s “I Don’t Like It, I Love It”. Source:

Invitation to Nightmare in Singapore 2019 — Dreamcatcher JiU and Dami — “I Don’t Like It, I Love It” Cover (orig. by Flo Rida ft. Robin Thicke and Verdine White)
March 22, 2019

Appropriately enough, I have to include a concert sub-unit stage in this list of hidden gems, and as such, 2019’s JiU/Dami collaboration to cover Flo Rida’s “I Don’t Like It, I Love It, a catchy summer bop with a fun atmosphere, is one of the best that isn’t immediately thought of. Some of the best subunit stages combine two Dreamcatcher members’ strengths into a cohesive and complementary performance that pleases crowds, and that’s exactly what this subunit does. Dami’s strong and head-bopping rap flow met JiU’s light and airy high vocal to re-create the collaboration Flo Rida had with Robin Thicke and Verdine White, Dreamcatcher style, and the fans ate it up.

Part of what makes subunit stages shine is stage presence as well as vocals, and having Dami and JiU bounce around the stage with their infectious energy as they sang was part of this stage’s appeal. JiU is at her best with these sorts of happy, fun tunes and it was only really the fact that the rest of the set was just as good that makes this subunit stage not something that most Dreamcatcher fans recall or seek out. Hopefully linking the stage here will help that a bit.

JiU, SuA, and Dami mess around and also show off vocal power with Ahn Junghwa’s “Invitation” on Idol Radio. Source: Tao

Idol Radio Singing Contest — Dreamcatcher JiU, SuA, and Dami — “Invitation” Cover (orig. by Ahn Junghwa)
April 4, 2020

Dreamcatcher’s been on MBC’s Idol Radio plenty of times, and when you think of performances JiU has been involved in, it’s mostly the cover of 2PM’s “My House, a precursor to the full group doing the same on KCON in 2021. But singing contests have been a staple on many Idol Radio episodes, especially when they involve a bit of clownery for the camera’s sake, and it isn’t always the better-known songs that bring out the most in Dreamcatcher.

JiU, along with SuA and Dami, did plenty of messing around in that vein covering Ahn Junghwa’s “Invitation, a song that carried a seductive and slow-moving beat and tone that’s made it a well-known tune in some K-Pop circles (though not nearly as famous as others). It was nice to see that JiU was able to blend the serious and smoldering vocal tone the song required with a little bit of hammed-up overacting for the camera and the segment’s sake, especially when SuA got involved to add her dancing to the mix. We’ve seen the group on Idol Radio recently, and hopefully during their next appearance we’ll get to see more of what JiU (and of course the rest of Dreamcatcher) can do from a fun-time cover/collab standpoint.

JiU covers IU’s “Through the Night” in 2018 in Taiwan. Source: K-Star HK

Invitation to Nightmare in Taiwan — Dreamcatcher JiU — “Through The Night” Cover (orig. by IU)
June 21, 2018

But for all the versatility we’ve seen throughout this article that JiU has exhibited, she is many times at her best in a wheelhouse with a well-known, traditional K-Pop ballad, and you don’t get more well-known or traditional than IU, an iconic figure in the industry. There are plenty of Dreamcatcher x IU covers (many of them done by youngest member Gahyeon, who’s certainly a fan of the discography), but there’s something to be said about a purely live, solo stage cover during a concert for fans, and that’s what we saw from JiU in 2018 (and other stops) when she pulled out “Through The Night”.

Perhaps the best part of hearing when JiU covers ballads is that she doesn’t rush the notes, singing them in a way that draws them out so the emotion hangs on them. Combine that with JiU’s habit of closing her eyes and seeming to feel the music as she sings it, and you get part of why JiU is much-beloved for her vocal talent among fans and her fellow members. Between this and her ever-improving and increase number of composed songs in the same vein, JiU has taken her ability to sing other artists’ ballads and make them part of her own when creating music for the group and the Dreamcatcher fandom. It’s nice to see the genesis of that in earlier, less-viewed content like this, and it is no less powerful and talented.

JiU makes macaroons for her fellow members for her birthday. Source: Dreamcatcher official

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed seeing some of the hidden live performance gems for JiU that might not be as well-known! I’ll be continuing this series throughout the group’s World Tour this month and next, so be on the lookout for more gems as we head into a set of concerts that will no doubt be filled with memories and many more great live performances from JiU and the rest of Dreamcatcher.

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Frank Sanchez

Frank Sanchez

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