SM Entertainment is the best pop music company. It must be why becoming a trainee there isn’t so easy. And after luckily becoming a trainee, it’s not the end. You can’t avoid the fierce competition between the candidates. You have to distinguish yourself, actually before debuting, a lot of tears are shed.
SM released a new group. Succeeding to ‘SHINee’, it’s the first boygroup after 4 years. They are ‘EXO-K’. It’s composed of 6 members, the leader Suho, D.O, Kai, Chanyeol, Sehun and Baekhyun, while dreaming of becoming the ‘new Hallyu stars’, they’re ambitiously challenging the pop music industry. The expectations for them are high as they’re the new group from the SM idol empire.
Of course, before debuting it was a rough journey. But the members clenched their teeth and overcame the extremely long training period. They were singing and dancing every day in the practice room. They spent like this for 7 years for some of them. They went through this tunnel of long-suffering and got to stand on the music program’s stage they wanted so much with the song ‘MAMA’ on April 8th.
“Of course, if we said that the training period wasn’t hard, we’d be lying. We were also really scared. Didn’t our SM seniors opened up well K-Pop’s path? What if we can’t follow it well? What if we fall short of the people’s expectations? We were very pressured. That’s why we clinged onto training even more, I think we could go on straight without deviating.” (Suho)
It’s been now a month since their debut. We’re here to hear about the whole process they went through before ‘EXO-K’ came out to the world. Right now they’re only rookies who are making their first step into the music industry but until it pays off, the efforts they put in it, their patience and passion is bigger than anyone else’s.◆ “We prepared 15h a day, for at most 7 years”
The average is 3 years and 6 months. This is the training time it took to EXO-K to debut. Each member lived a trainee life without any promises from 1 year to at most 7 years. There were a lot of hardships. Some trainees who joined after them debuted before, some failed at the verge of debuting. There were a lot of moments where they wanted to give up. But they didn’t stop and continued to dream.
“I trained for 7 years in SM. Of course it was a long wait. Sometimes I got envious of the friends who joined after me but debuted first too. But I had a dream and didn’t give up. Instead of these pains, looking back on myself helped me. As a result, it became an opportunity to improve my skills internally and externally” (Suho)
Until EXO-K debuted, they lived an even fiercer life than professional singers. Every day, as soon as the sun set, they were coming to the company and were coming back home when the dawn’s dew dropped. Aside from eating, they were practicing singing and dancing half of the day. The stage was for the one who noticed first that even before debut it was a ferocious competition.
“We were arriving at 11AM at the company and started to practice. We were generally ending at 3~4AM. First, we received our singing and dancing lessons at fixed times. The rest of the time we were practicing by ourselves. We were taking around one hour to eat our lunch and dinner so we were training for around 15 hours. Without even anyone forcing us, we did it like this” (Chanyeol)◆ “The nervous first performance, rather than being moved, disappointment”
Overcoming all these hardships, the 6 members became a group. And after practicing together during a year, they got the name ‘EXO-K’ and got to debut. At the end of the 100 days promotion, they made their debut with their brother group ‘EXO-M’ made out of Chinese members, they had a large showcase in Korea’s Olympic Park and in China’s School of International Business and Economics.
“During the 100 days’ promotions and during the showcase in the Olympic Park, we received a happiness so huge you can’t even imagine it, thinking it was really our rookie debut. It was such a happy debut we were even wondering if we could accept all of this. Dancing and singing in front of the fans supporting us…. We were really happy the reactions were as good as what we imagined, it was a touching moment” (D.O)
But even this joy doesn’t last. After having their official debut stage on April 8th at SBS-TV ‘Inkigayo’, ‘EXO-K’ went back to their main goal. Adjusting to the cameras, having to dance the 6 of them in sync, and showing a steady live weren’t easy. They practiced to improve as much as they were disappointed by their first performance.
“The first live broadcast wasn’t easy. At first we were searching our in-ear, we were also pressured for the live. Following the cameras was also difficult. We were disappointed that we couldn’t show the skills we practiced for. Starting from then we started to rage(?) practice. Aside from the times we had schedules, we took most of the time to practice and monitor” (Baekhyun)
‘DBSK”s U-Know Yunho and ‘Super Junior’s Leeteuk who are in the same company were the biggest help with their advices.
“After our first broadcast ended, U-Know Yunho senior checked it personally in Japan and called us. He told us to sing while running every morning. So we did that and our live skills totally improved. We felt his power to fill the Tokyo Dome. Leeteuk senior emphasized on the teamwork. He told us to talk a lot to each other and that the choreography will match naturally. These were really touching advices, it gave us strength” (Kai) ◆ “We want to have DBSK’s dignity+Super Junior’s talent”
They’re a group that didn’t neglect doing efforts before and after debuting. ‘EXO-K’ is slowly developping. Their group’s name ‘EXO’ comes from ‘EXOPLANET’ an unknown planet. Matching this, they’re dreaming of becoming an outstanding group with the singing skills and the performances. Until the day they become these all-rounded singers, they’re planning on focusing on their ‘singer”s activities only.
“‘DBSK”s charisma, ‘Super Junior”s talent, ‘SHINee”s uniqueness, we want to have it all. We hope we can become a group with that and outstanding live skills and unquestionable great performances. We’re trying to become a group so mysterious that the public will wonder ‘Are they really a group coming from an unknown planet?’” (Sehun·Suho)
With this meaning, their debut track ‘MAMA’ is a song that shows the best ‘EXO-K”s talents. It has a majestic sound, strong performance, and even lyrics that criticize the society, it wasn’t made easily by anyone. They were hoping for the fans to share their feelings when listening to the lyrics and seeing the special choreography.
“We’re not just reciting the lyrics, the role of a singer is to deliver a message. Our whole generation should be able to share our feelings with these lyrics criticizing this digital world. During the chorus, we have this dance step where we stop quickly, it’s the first time it’s used in Korea, it’s a trend coming from Chicago called dubstep. I hope the majestic sound will touch the fans’ hearts too” (Kai)
As the interview ended, the ‘EXO-K’ members said “It hasn’t been long since we got our first performance but we’re really thankful you’re already giving us a lot of interest and love. We will work even harder to repay you. We will work until ‘EXO’ is known not only in Korea but in the whole world. Look after us please” and did a fighting. We could feel their sincerity in their serious eyes. (omg leader feels)Not much we didn't know already, but love the pictures. And it's always humbling to be reminded of how hard they (And all idol trainees) had to work to earn this status.
|| EXOK-Trans @ Tumblr