It’s a rocky road to K-Pop Stardom

World Today

Korean Pop, or K-Pop, is big business in the Republic of Korea. Numerous teenagers chase pipe dreams of becoming the next singing sensation. CCTV’s Shane Hahm reported the story from Seoul.

It's a rocky road to K-Pop Stardom

Korean Pop, or K-Pop, is big business in the Republic of Korea. Numerous teenagers chase pipe dreams of becoming the next singing sensation. CCTV's Shane Hahm reported the story from Seoul.

“Girlfriend” (or G-FRIEND) is a six-member Korean pop band. The group might be the next big K-pop sensation.  They got to this point after five years of intensive training. All the hard work paid off, and the band made its public debut this month.

“I want our song to be played everywhere. I am willing to perform anytime, anywhere, even if I can’t sleep or I am tired,” band member Sowon said.

Making it to the big stage is the ultimate goal and dream for K-pop hopefuls. It’s the culmination of years of practice and hard work. For many, that dream begins at a very young age.

One hopeful is nine-year old Kim Si-yoon. She heads straight to dance practice after school. While her peers study science and math, Kim is setting her sights on becoming a pop star and hopes to catch the eyes of big-name talent agencies.

“Practicing is tough, but I try to have fun because I am pursuing my dream. The harder I work, the better the results, so it’s fun,” Si-yoon said.

Recent surveys showed that one in five pre-teen children in South Korea want to become a pop star or athlete, rather than choosing more traditional jobs.

However, selecting a career path at such a young age has its drawbacks. Jang Ha-jin is a former K-Pop trainee. She practiced alongside members of legendary pop group Girls’ Generation but quit under the stress and pressure of training. Now a university student, she said the rigors of preparing for K-pop glory have their limitations.

“The toughest part of training is seeing myself fail to develop and mature as a person,” Ha-jin said.

Jang’s advice to youngsters dreaming of becoming the next K-pop idol was to pursue their goals, but always have something to fall back on just in case the music stops.