WINNER Story #1 : Newbies rank #1… Not surprising because they’re from YG?

What is the quickest shortcut to become a K-Pop Star?

It’s probably belonging to giant agencies like YG and SM. That applies to a new group showcased by YG for the first time in 8 years: WINNER. Immediately after their debut, they swept across all charts and topped music programs, already gearing to become the top idol group.

Is their success entirely credited to YG? That’s not true. Because becoming “YG’s Idol” is that much competitive, fierce, and even brutal. Becoming a trainee at YG is as hard as entering South Korea’s top university. Even after you become a trainee, there is a long and tough way to go until the agency actually sees the potential. Even then, it doesn’t mean a trainee can become a professional artist. It takes a load of sweat and tears to even make a debut.

The five members went through them all. Before the debut, they were on a survival program to compete against members who were 3 years younger than them, going through all of the fierce fights to make a debut. At such young ages, the members tasted the bitterness of the society. There is no #1 that is just handed to them. Only those who fought against themselves and overcame the hardship can taste the sweetness of becoming the top. The name WINNER itself is their pride, while it also is the fruit borne after much hard work.

▶Being #1 isn’t surprising, just because they are from YG?

– Because it is summer, we expected a more upbeat track. The lyrical side of “EMPTY” was quite a surprise.

(KANG SEUNGYOON) “We are setting ourselves apart by targeting the niche market. It’s natural that people think upbeat for summer and lyrical for autumn. We didn’t want to follow that set trend. We know we can do good performances, but we didn’t want to make a debut with a predictable dance music.”

– Did Executive Producer YANG HYUN SUK choose the track?

(SONG MINHO) “When he first heard the song, he suggested we sing it since it seemed like the track suited us well. He ‘kept’ the song aside first, and later decided to go with this one.”

– Why don’t you introduce us to the album?

(KANG SEUNGYOON) “We wanted to produce music that involves the emotions we feel on daily basis. We didn’t want something predictable, like dancing to the song. Fast-paced song and dances weren’t something we were aiming for. From the album, you would see that every song carries different emotions.”

(LEE SEUNGHOON) “We talked amongst ourselves a lot. When we discussed the lyrics, our main topics were music and women. That’s the reason this album carries a lot of the members’ own emotions.”

-“I’m Him” seems to be a track that is quite difficult to do for an idol group.

(SONG MINHO) “Boss gave us a chance to produce solo songs. I was really eager and came up with a few hip-hop tracks. Boss thought it was too hip-hop. So I had to cut down on my enthusiasm and that’s how ‘I’m Him’ was created. The title may seem provocative, but I wanted to show my passion. I am new, but I wanted to show people how strong I am. The more you focus on the lyrics, the more interesting the song will sound.”

-You ranked #1 as soon as you made a debut. There must be a lot of pressure of being part of YG.

(KANG SEUNGYOON) “People may think that us ranking #1 isn’t so surprising because we belong to YG. But that is not true. It was so unexpected. We thought we are off to a good start if our name is listed on the chart. I was happy but at the same time puzzled. Now we feel the pressure for our next album.”

-The fact that you are the first boy group in 8 years since BIGBANG would have been pressure for you.

(KIM JINWOO) “It is great pressure, but at the same time, it helps us not fall in complacency. We feel the weight of it, but it helps us be on our toes. It keeps us from being complacent.”

– Did the survival program “WIN” help you improve your song-composing and writing skills?

(KANG SEUNGYOON) “We saw our skills improve. But we became more eager as we were on the show. We did a lot of covers, but started adding our own melodies to them. I think we improved by a lot since being on ‘WIN’.”

– What would the greatest value lie in this album?

(KANG SEUNGYOON) “Out of the ten, there would be at least one that the listener can relate to. As the songs carry various emotions, there would be one that the general public can relate to. That is the interesting aspect of this album.”

Credits : YG Life

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