It all started as a niche genre until the Wonder Girls’ hit “Nobody” penetrated the Billboard 100 chart at least eight times in 2009. A few years later, “Gangnam Style” reigned as the most watched video on Youtube with over 3 billion views for five consecutive years. Today, K-pop is a global phenomenon with a price tag of over 5 billion dollars.
For those who still do not know, K-pop is short for Korean pop music. It is characterised by a group of young individuals with gorgeous members in their colourful outfits singing catchy melodies mostly in Korean but sometimes mixed with other languages like English or Japanese while doing their highly synchronised dance moves that are almost robotic yet energetic accompanied by elaborate pyrotechnics.
Here is the TV guesting on The Ellen Show of BTS, arguably, the most popular Kpop group nowadays.
Some Kpop members soared in fame and fortune that some had been named by Forbes in their list of the wealthiest and most influential persons in Asia in recent years.
Because of their success, many dream of following their footsteps. However, it is easily said than done. Looks and talents are not enough. To become a Kpop star, one needs to undergo years and years of training. What people see is the finished product. Just like any other successful people, behind their success are their blood, sweat, tears.
Before they can even audition, many already spent years of training even as young children. Despite years of training, it is not guaranteed that they will be accepted. The audition process alone is quite competitive. Many had to audition several times to be casted. It was said that on average, they had to audition at least 30 times before being accepted as a trainee. Famous idol Lee Ji-eun, famously known as IU got rejected several times before she was accepted by an agency.
Once accepted, they will now begin their training as a contract trainee. Being a contract trainee is simply that – a trainee. An individual will be trained for a period of time, usually from 4 to 7 years or until they are ready to debut. Jo Kwon, leader of 2AM, is known as the “legendary trainee” after having been a trainee for ten years before debuting.
As trainees, they will undergo rigorous training on singing, dancing, acting and even language. An average trainee practices for about 14-15 hours a day. It is also during that time that they will be subjected to extreme diet, mandatory exercise and for most of them, even plastic surgery. Despite all that, it is not a guarantee that they will be able to debut as an artist.
After years of preparation, a small percentage of trainees will get a chance to debut. However, a debut does not necessarily mean instant fame. It is actually another form of audition but this time with airtime exposure. Every year, dozens of groups debut but only one or two will stand out and rise to fame. The rest will have to go back to training and if lucky, will be given another chance to debut. Some idols used to be part of another group before achieving fame in their new group.
Out of thousands of aspirants, only a few will get to achieve fame. They may not be the most talented nor the best but they were the ones who endured the intense training and competition. They were the ones who persevered despite the odds. They were the ones who never gave up. They were the ones who understood that failure is part of success.
Do you have the same determination to achieve your dreams? Up to what extend are you willing to pursue your goals and not give up?