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The harsh reality of k-pop trainee life


It seems like many would be singers look on only the bright side of k-pop idols. Yeah, they look very gorgeous on the stage, and they’re loved by so many fans too. However, it’s never easy to become a k-pop idol because you have to endure all the hardships when you are a trainee. And the reality could be harsher than you imagine. So, here’s an interview with a former k-pop trainee. She was trained by one of the most famous k-pop agencies for years, but she decided to quit for various reasons.


Q. How long were you trained? And what made you decide to quit your life as a k-pop trainee?
A. I was trained for about 6 years. I really want to become a singer when I was young. However, I later found out that I should do lots of things other than singing and dancing to become a singer. I couldn’t allow myself in such a course of life.

Q. What kind of things did you have to do other than singing and dancing?
A. I could not date, and I could not drink. When I go away for the weekend, I had to take picture of me and send it to my agency because I had to prove that I was not at a dangerous place such as a nightclub. I couldn’t even go to the place where there are many people. And I suffered from anorexia because I always had to be on a diet.


Q. How were your lessons?
A. It was hard, but I did my best to realize my dream. And I was not lonely because there were so many friends. However, what made me really irritated was the fact that I had to compete to survive. When I finished my daily lessons late at night, I couldn’t go home and had to do personal practices because I felt uncomfortable. I even slept at my practicing room. I didn’t want to look like a last trainee because I really wanted to make a debut.

Q. What percentage of k-pop trainees can make a debut?
A. I’m not sure, but I think only 1 percent of k-pop trainees can debut. There are so many trainees, and the competition is very strong.


Q. What do you think is the key to their success?
A. It seems like many would be singers think they will be able to debut if they’re better than the other trainees. It’s only partially true, though. It’s a game of chance, and trainees who are very lucky can get a chance to make a debut. When I was a trainee, a male trainee was fully ready to debut. He recorded his debut song and he even filmed a music video. However, he couldn’t debut because a member of his team got a girl with child. And another trainee, who never dreamed of debuting so early could release his debut album because his family were rich and his father promised to invest money in the album. There are many variables, and trainees need some luck to make a debut.

Q. Anything you want to talk to would be singers?
A. I think it’s a great thing to work hard to make one’s dream happen. However, they should be ready for anything. It’s never easy to become a k-pop idol. And one more thing I want to tell them is that they need to sign with a reliable agency. Not a few of my friends were swindled. If they ask you for money, never sign with them.

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