Idols Rewind – Chapter 6: Daft Punk?

I was monitoring community posts on the streaming platform called ‘Twitty.’ 

“There’s already an edited video?”

It wasn’t Yoon-jung’s account. Instead, it was a viewer who had edited and uploaded clips from Yoon-jung’s first stream. The test run attracted a decent number of views and comments.

– Huh? Lolol the girl group celebrity was actually a pro?! pew pew

– what a twist

– rofl

Since then, Blue Sherbet’s name started appearing little by little. Eventually, Yoon-jung’s fancams and music videos were added to the post. 

“…As the saying goes, ‘You can tell a good tree from its budding leaves.’”

It wasn’t a phrase that applied only to me. Everyone was acknowledging her potential.

“Boss, there’s nothing else to see here. Let’s create a YouTube channel and hire an editor,” said Jung-han. 

“Go ahead.”

That’s right. There was nothing else to see. She was all set for smooth sailing. The only thing left to improve was her dancing skills. 

However, it wouldn’t be good to rush it. Her dancing was already outstanding, but it would take more training to garner fans from overseas. 

After all, most of her 10 million subscribers came to watch her dancing and original choreography. 

For her to get that many followers, she would need to be good enough to make people’s jaws drop. It had to be good enough for normal people who don’t understand how hard the dances were or how well someone danced would go: Wow.

And to get there, she still needed some more training.

While I was monitoring reactions on the internet, I received a message from LOAN.

[President Kang, I’ve emailed you the music track. Can you review it and let me know if there is anything you would like changed?]

My heart raced as I opened his email. The attached email came with the music track and included the song’s concept and refined content – which were both discussed during our last meeting.

I skimmed through the contents and downloaded the music before playing it. 

“…He said he was going to give it his best, but it sounds like he burned up his entire soul.”

Although LOAN’s voice guided the song, it was easy to make out the melody. It was slightly different from the melody Hee-yeon sang back then, and it was definitely an upgrade.

“Let me know if there’s anything you would like changed? There’s nothing to change here,” I muttered to myself. 

To begin with, this song was tailored to Hee-yeon’s singing. Since it was already tailored to be the best it could be, what else was there to change?

If I put my hands on it, it would only ruin the song. The song was that perfect, and my special intuition was telling me that this song would make it big.

I wrote a reply to LOAN.

[It’s perfect, LOAN. I’ll add the lyrics and start training with the song. I’ll keep you updated. Can you prepare to record?]

[Thank you. I will never forget the kindness you have shown me.]

A smile tugged at my lips.

[I’ll be helping to ensure your freelance career goes smoothly, so please don’t go anywhere else.]

I waited for a while, but no reply came.

***

I made an appointment with the top vocal coach in the industry and made my way there with Hee-yeon. The singing needed to be refined to fit the song.

The vocal teacher listened to the song and seemed to get a feel for it before immediately starting the lesson. I observed.

“…Her singing seems to fit the song perfectly already. Frankly, there’s nothing for me to improve on here,” the teacher said with a flustered expression.

“Is that so?” I couldn’t help but say with a proud smile. It felt like she was praising my child.

On the other hand, Hee-yeon looked dissatisfied. 

“It’s not you, President Kang. I’m still lacking. Coach, help me refine my singing a little more.”

What a go-getter. She sometimes talked as if she would fail but still aimed to be perfect like this. I wanted to help her with her ambition. It was commendable, after all.

“Coach, is there anything more you can do to make it the best it can be?”

The vocal teacher pondered for a moment and slowly shook her head. 

“The story may be different if we had the lyrics, but without it, the best I can do is slightly improve her skills. That would also be separate from recording.”

Even established singers practiced every day to improve and maintain their skills. It certainly wouldn’t be something that could be done in just a day or two.

In reality, Hee-yeon didn’t need separate training just for this song.

“Is that so? Then, I think we can visit again once the lyrics are ready.”

“Yes, that sounds good. It would be better that way. By the way, your intuition is very spot on. I see the rumors weren’t exaggerated. The synergy between the singer and the song is good. I’m looking forward to how it turns out,” the teacher smiled.

For some reason, I had a good feeling about this person. 

Before my regression, I had her take lessons with a vocal coach I worked with while I was still at HS Entertainment. Back then, the teacher disclosed a lot of details about the songs to HS Entertainment. 

No harm was done, but it completely shattered my trust in them. So, I looked into this person and felt like they’re a great find.

When the company situation improved later, I wanted to bring this person to our company too.

My ambitions were becoming bigger by the day, and I had no intention of holding them back. For now, though, I wanted to focus on our company’s current situation and make plans for the future.

‘We need more artists, too.’

There were countless talents that I had seen in the future. Those who became superstars, and even those who had the potential to become superstars but hadn’t had the chance to bloom due to bad matchups.

I’m going to take them all under my wing.

It hadn’t even been 30 minutes but we came back out and I took her to the practice facility.

After returning to the office, I commissioned a composer for a song. With nothing else to do, I reviewed my plans again before heading to the dorms around the time the girls came back from practice.

It was after Jin-ah returned to the dorms last, having been practicing according to the practice schedule I had made for her.

“President Kang, you’re here?”

“Hi, Jin-ah. It hasn’t been long since I was last here, has it?”

“…What are you doing, President Kang? Are you smelling me?”

Jin-ah looked at me like I was a pervert. It felt like a conditioned reflex for me to check whether she had showered or not. You couldn’t tell just by looking, after all.

“Are you all here?” I deflected her question.

“Yes, they’re all here. But how did I smell?”

“…Hm?”

For whatever reason, she looked expectant. Even though she treated me like a pervert a moment ago. Just what was she expecting?

“Well, I see you’ve showered.”

“I said I showered every day!”

“Yeah, I got it.”

“I changed the hand cream I use. It smells good, doesn’t it?” Jin-ah held out her palm to my face, and her entire palm came into view.

“It smells sweet, like a cookie.”

“…Don’t smell my fingers. What about the back?! Doesn’t the back of my hand smell nice?!”

“Yes, it’s nice,” I answered flatly. Soon after, I knocked on Yoon-jung and Yumi’s door. The door opened, and Yumi came into view.

“Oh, President Kang, you’re here? Yoon-jung’s streaming right now.”

“Really?”

I slipped through the door quietly and watched from a spot where the camera didn’t reach.

She was wearing a headset and was focused on the monitor. The chat window was filled with the viewers’ messages. Despite it being only the second day, she didn’t seem nervous at all. 

“It looks like the AWM is out. This is one of my favorite guns.”

The previously busy chat window was exploding with messages now. This was much more than yesterday.

– Huh? she’s fully kitted out!

– Huh? if it’s a double barrel or AWM, she’s fully kitted out lolol

– Huh? take a seat! The pro has appeared!

– rofl

The viewer count was around 700.

In addition to the viewers from yesterday, some had seen the community posts and came out of curiosity. 

The attention could be temporary due to her pretty looks, being a girl group member, and being active yesterday. Still, no one knew how many of them would become regulars.

‘But somehow, I don’t think it’s going to decrease much.’

I watched Yoon-jung stream for a little while longer before slipping out of the room with a satisfied smile. As I left, Jin-ah caught me smiling and looked at me suspiciously.

“What?” I asked.

“Nothing.”

Moving on from her bland response, I turned to Yumi and asked, “Yumi, are you working on composing?”

“It’s a bit difficult since I’m not limiting myself to a specific genre. But I’m working hard!”

“Can I listen to it sometime?”

“I-I guess? I-It’s not that good yet!”

“It’s okay. I just want to listen once.”

She looked hesitant for a moment, then finally nodded.

I knew that Yumi hadn’t been arranging music for long and that her skills couldn’t be great. However, there was something she said to me in the future. After tirelessly arranging songs from no specific genre, she started to get a feel for it. Eventually, she could compose music and lyrics the way she wanted to.

But right now, I needed to check her progress. Who knows? She might have already been highly skilled. As she had mentioned in the future, although she might not have had a feel for it yet, her arrangement could be top-notch.

It was like that for Yoon-jung too.

Yumi handed me her earphones that were connected to her phone. After putting them in, I played the music.

Yumi could not see my expression. In fact, she lacked confidence and kept her gaze elsewhere. On the other hand, I was utterly surprised by the music I heard.

“…Daft Punk?!”

I did say to not limit herself to a specific genre, but I never expected her to arrange an EDM classic. It was a mega-hit that produced many arrangements.

‘Technologic.’

Yumi seemed to be making excuses, but the earphones were still in my ears. I focused on the music.

Every time I caught something new in the arrangement, my smile widened. When the music finally finished, I pulled out the earphones. 

“Job well done. But how did you arrange this? I thought you would just record while playing the guitar.”

“When you asked me to try arranging it, I placed an order right then. There’s equipment in the room.”

“…What?” My expression hardened.

“With what money.”

“Well… Um.”

“If you needed something like that, you should have told me!”

“…I’m sorry.”

I was so focused on Hee-yeon that I neglected to check up on Yumi. Thinking about it, I couldn’t believe myself. Telling her to arrange a song with no equipment. What was I thinking, asking her that?

Record while playing the guitar? What bullsh*t. My face scrunched into a grimace from my feelings of guilt and anger at myself. Yumi lowered her head.

I sighed deeply and said, “I’ll reimburse you, so you can bring me the receipt. And if you need equipment, tell me.  Also, don’t worry about the company’s situation. That’s not something you should be concerned about… and… huh…?”

As I spoke, I suddenly realized something shocking.

“Wait.”

“…Yes?”

“When did the equipment get here?”

“Last night,” she told me apologetically. 

“So… you arranged this last night?”

“Yes.”

“…!”

My mouth hung open, and I couldn’t hide my shock. While at HS Entertainment, she naturally learned how to handle equipment and compose songs. 

Although she didn’t need to take time to learn how to use the equipment, it was impressive how she arranged a song like this in such a short time span.

“Have you ever tried arranging EDM before?”

“No. Yesterday was my first time…”

I had no words. How did this kind of group even come to exist? The more I thought about it, the more I was at a loss for words.

“Yumi… Is there anything else you need?”

“…”

Yumi’s head was still lowered, as if she had committed a crime. 

“Why are you so down? Hm? You did well. I’m complimenting you, so there’s no need to feel intimidated.”

I spent some time soothing Yumi, and eventually, I was able to get a list of necessary equipment from her. It might have been because she realized my compliments were genuine, but she was smiling happily now.

What a cute kid.

At that time, I heard Jin-ah’s voice from the entrance. 

“President Kang! I’m going to practice! You don’t need to take me!” Jin-ah shouted energetically.

I made my way to the entrance. 

“What? Why? You already practiced until late today. It hasn’t been long since you came back, has it?”

“Hey! Don’t you know I have super stamina? Seriously, President Kang, you underestimated me. I actually took it easy during practice today.”

“Don’t overdo it, though.”

“You worry too much,” she said confidently and smiled brightly. 

I remembered that I hadn’t paid much attention to Yumi, and also asked Jin-ah in case there was something I missed.

“Jin-ah, do you need anything?”

“I’m always practicing the same thing. Why bother asking again? I don’t have anything I need.”

“Really? Um… Don’t push yourself during practice, okay? You’ve been training for a few years now, so you know that, right?”

“Yes, yes. I understand.”

“Actually, I’ll just take you there.”

“President Kang! Don’t you think I’ll feel bothered going to practice if you do? It’s fine, so focus on your work. I’ll go on my own! I’m not a kid, and no one will recognize me anyway.”

I chuckled and patted her head.

“Alright. It’s nice to see you working hard. But seriously, practice in moderation. If you overdo it, you know that’s as bad as not doing enough, right?”

“Yep, got it!” Jin-ah opened the door and left. As she descended the stairs, she muttered something.

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