[Kang Seung Yoon] Part 1: The secret story of a YG trainee for 1000 days ‘Went to YG because they were like “Don’t come if you don’t want to”.’
#Editor: ‘It Rains‘ by Kang Seungyoon is continuing the Success Mythology of the new singers who originally are from TV audition programs. He achieved an all-kill in major music charts with his debut song ‘It Rains’, released at midday on the 16th (of July), and he made the fans wet to the skin like a monsoon pouring over. ‘It Rains’ is a rock-ballad which describes the heart of a man who is facing a farewell and it is appraised as a song that Kang Seung Yoon absorbed well with his mournful voice. Kang Seung Yoon, who made a successful first step as a singer, is planning to return to the public with fierce rock music ‘Wild and Young‘. And he will tell us about his training period of endurance as a YG trainee for the last 1000 days after he became a surprising star from SuperStarK2, for the readers of Naver Star Column. The secret story of him as a YG trainee for 1000 days, from day 1 to day 1000 until his debut as a singer, which is sent by KSY, will be published serially for 2 episodes in Star Column. I hope the readers have a lot of interest in this.
#KSY from Top 4 of Superstar K2 goes to be a YG trainee
Hello!! I’m Kang Seung Yoon. I thank all of you who loved my song ‘It Rains’. As I’m given the opportunity to write my column for the first time since I was born, I will try hard to write well so that I don’t fall short of your expectations. Even if it is a poor writing, please enjoy reading it.
It was at the end of 2010 when I had the first meeting with YG. And the day I started practicing as a YG trainee was on the 9th of March 2011. In fact, before that I also got offers from many other companies other than YG, and I measured quite a lot to decide which company I should go to. ㅋㅋ Among those, the company that I had the first meeting with was YG.
CEO Yang Hyun Suk and Psy were there together and I said ‘I will think well about this’ in the meeting. At that time, my performance fee wasn’t cheap and I performed at a lot of events so, from what I think now, I guess I was so pretentious.
YG told me that if I went into YG, I would be learning my weak points such as dancing, spending time with other YG male trainees. Of course I wanted to go into YG as YG was the best entertainment management company but I also puffed up and had a mind that ‘I’m in this situation and I will be a trainee?’ inside me.
Of course I never thought of something like an immediate debut. I had a so called victim mentality because I thought my skills (talents) are not good enough compared to other candidates in Superstar K2. ㅠ.ㅠ. I did think that I needed time to polish my skills. But when I thought of me being a trainee, I felt like I had a long way to go. G-dragon hyung and Taeyang hyung also spent a lot of time as trainees on similar occasions. At the time I wasn’t that old but I even worried that spending a lot of time (as a trainee) will make it hard for me to have a young image like an idol.
But I had more and more offers from other companies from then on. I had meetings with various companies. There was a company which called for a really high amount of down payment, and a company that told me that they will consider of me as the first start of the stars who belonged to them. There was a company that already had many great stars. But they all said they will offer me an environment where I could work with great artists in the way that I wanted my music to be. There even was an offer that they would have me in the best session, band and also that they would make me the star of Asia.
But I don’t think the value as an artist would become higher by receiving a high amount of down payment. Like that, I filtered one, two and more companies and finally I was left with YG and one or two other companies.
It was the time when I was agonizing between two companies. At that moment my phone number was widely known so I didn’t answer a call from an unknown number. And because of that I didn’t answer YG’s calls either. Because it was a phone number that I didn’t know, I kept on pressing the refuse button. I guess YG was angry with it. In the end I got a text message saying that ‘If you are not going to come, then don’t come.’ and I thought that was really cool of them. That was stuck in my head.
I thought of the time, at the beginning, when YG said to me, ‘Throw away those thoughts that you are a celebrity. You are the same trainee as others.’ I could say he has a charm of a bad boy ^^. Other companies said that they really wanted me to come but here (in YG) they were so cold to me. It didn’t matter to them that whether I came or not.
And that was YG’s charm. At that moment I was ‘hot’(as in popular) and YG didn’t need any of that, they were just looking for my talents only. I thought that they wouldn’t use my fame because the company had a pride. I thought this company would be the true company that would make me become huge.
#YG trainee start! Overcome being stiff and enjoy dancing
That was a moment when my mother stopped her business in a shop. It was a moment when I told her to live with what I earned because she was old. But if I become a trainee I would not be able to earn money for at least about 1 to 2 years. My mother told me not to worry about money but I was most worried about that part. The money that I earned till that moment by performing at an event and shooting advertisements would disappear if we just spent them without doing anything. I organized those remaining money well so that my mother can live well and finally I went to the practice room. Now it’s the start!!
When I first said hi to other trainees, I felt like they were looking at me with cold eyes. To be honest if I suddenly went into the company as a special treatment because I was from an audition program, I would only be a rock that just rolled in. (T/N: In Korea they use the phrase that the rock that just rolled in takes out one of the rocks that was there before.) I thought it was usual for them to think of me as bad. That’s why I decided to approach them first and show them that I work hard. First, I greeted the trainees by bowing at 90 degrees, saying ‘Hello. I’m Kang Seung Yoon. Please teach me a lot of things.’
When I greeted them like that they changed 180 degrees. I guess they had a prejudice against me through my image in the broadcasts. They said they thought about dampening my spirits because my image in Superstar K2 was a daring high school student and a student who played around. But because I went in lowering my head, gladly they saw me as good. I started without any territorial imperative.
But as soon as I started practicing I hit a wall. A wall called dance. The stress was too much that I even cried looking up the sky in the veranda of my dorm alone. Because it didn’t work well for me and I never learned dancing before. Before I learned a dance to prepare for the audition but I had no understanding of dancing so it was obvious that it would be hard for me.
The teacher also wanted a fast development from me so he scolded me. After I got scolded like that, it was everyday life to go up to my dorm and cry alone. By looking at the teacher dance, my head understood it but my body didn’t follow that. Watching me dance was like a stick man figure. Hehehe ^^ It was a panic itself.
My pride had been hurt so much and I became shabby so it was so hard. I really wanted to hear compliments like other friends. At that time I clenched my teeth (worked so hard) just to get at least one compliment from my teacher. It did work when I did it like that. I thought it would never work for me but surprisingly I had a good result. After I came in as a trainee, in 5 months, I improved my skills even just below the first place in the team that I practiced together in YG.
And then after that the teacher admitted my dance. Compliments like ‘Seung Yoon dances the best for this choreography.’ From then on I became to really like dancing. Thinking that dancing was fun like this.
#Casted in ‘High kick 3’ when he auditioned for it as a trainee
Like that I was into practicing in the practice room and I got an audition offer from ‘High Kick: The Revenge of the Short-legged’. At the time a few trainees from YG trainees did the audition and I was one of them. A lot of people think that I’m casted for HighKick just because they offered me a place for it, but I got the place through an audition. It was an official audition that hundreds of people lined up, waiting for their turns. At that time I had no greed about acting and I just thought it would be good if I did do it. It wasn’t like ‘I’m just going to do music’ and they allowed me to audition so I tried hard.
At the place for audition I acted looking at the scripts, and I didn’t want to do it bad. I never learned it before and I never tried it before but I felt like that. Now that I actually went there, the script didn’t have much explanation. Because acting depends on the actor. I interpreted it in my own way and I acted. There was nothing on the stage and the director and the writer were sitting in the front.
But because my face is known, they said ‘Aren’t you from Busan? Why don’t you try doing it in dialect?’ so I said ‘I will do my best’. I didn’t think that my dialect was funny but everyone laughed. I acted really seriously though ㅋㅋ. They asked me ‘Is there anything more that you prepared for?’ and I thought of doing everything that I could even though I might not be casted so I acted as a musical that I have never tried before. I sang ‘This is the moment’ by Jekyll & Hyde because I liked it. I said ‘I don’t know if I will be casted but if I do I will do my best’ and bowed them, and then I left.
After I left the place for audition, there were no words about it so I thought I didn’t make it and continued my life as a trainee and then I got a call. I had a meeting with the writer and she said ‘Your role wasn’t actually a part of the roles that we prepared for this season of HighKick. In fact there was no place for someone like you to go for.’ But she felt that my dialect was an advantage and that I was assertive as I acted bravely even if I had not done it before. So the director told me that he would make a new role that I would be taking. I have a memory that I talked to the writer-noona about my stories for hours and hours. The stories like how I lived, how I became to dream about this and became a trainee, about my personality and things that I like and hate. I guess I talked about everything about me.
There was a hard time when I started filming for HighKick. Before filming for it, I could focus on my practice as there were no schedules, but then I couldn’t practice whenever I had to film for HighKick so it was like my flow being interrupted. At the beginning of the broadcast when my broadcasting quantity was not much, there was filming for at most 2 or 3 times a month. But as the number of filming days increased, my practicing flow was more and more interrupted. It was so hard.
After I finish filming and came back, other friends’ skills had been improved so to catch up with them I had to spend twice as much time to practice by myself. At the time there was a dance class just starting a new part so I had to learn from the beginning or else I couldn’t catch up later. Like that, the classes that I couldn’t attend piled up and later I was too behind.
It wasn’t the level that I could catch up by not sleeping. I had too much stress from that. Before my broadcasting quantity increased, I learned the part that I missed separately. To be honest it was a situation where the only possibility for me was to practice twice as much compared to my given time. Me going out to film was envious for other trainees but my pride was hurt by the fact that I was behind. So I couldn’t say that I was tired and I had to show that I was doing hard and this was so hard for me.
It was hard but during the filming I felt good. I had always practiced everyday for half of a year and when I could go out due to a schedule, it was so fun. I endured all just because of that ‘fun’. After trying so hard like that, I started to become interested in acting too. I started to desire for it and when I did it I really did my best. The moment I went into the waiting room, I became Kang Seung Yoon of HighKick, not a YG trainee.
It was also amazing to see celebrities beside me. It was just so good to have a meal with them and laugh together. I liked both having a close identity with actors, and acting in front of a camera. It was a moment when I was just happy. After doing like that, I guess my acting skills had improved. From one moment, when they gave me the script my parts had increased more and more and even I had more episodes for which I was the main character.
Inside me I thought ‘Wow, look at this.’ The good thing as my broadcasting quantity increased was that I had to film everyday so I could just stop practicing that I had been doing by halves. It was the situation when I was really having a hard time and it cleared those parts so I could focus on acting. Then I got more confident and I could act more naturally.
The director, Kim Byoung Ook, thought that that part of me was good and I had a synergy. At the beginning of HighKick all I did was something like sitting beside (Lee) Jong Suk in his house during his own scene. But as I had more lines, I just kept on staying in that house. I was in almost every episode and in the end I appeared in 100 episodes out of all 123 episodes.
The director and senior actors advised me to do acting while I proceed as a singer. They told me not to try to learn acting and as time passes my young and fresh acting would surely become more natural. That if I learn and practice I would be acting inside a box.
As I wrote it and checked, it became too long. After filming for Highkick the first half of my life as a trainee is almost over. Was it fun? Then I will see you in the 2nd episode. Thank you ^^