When I opened my eyes I was a Superstar – Chapter 16: Sonata: Ring Out (3)

Yong Soo Chul’s song was good, of course. It would have been close to perfect for other people.

However, to Do Wook who has heard the song that would be released later on, it kind of felt like it wasn’t complete.

Furthermore, as someone who lived in the future and came back to the past, Do Wook became ambitious. He had an ambition to create a song that would be successful regardless of generation or time period.

‘A classic isn’t a classic for no reason.’

Do Wook figured that if you vary the melody in the beginning well, you would be able to grab more of the audience than starting with a fast beat right away.

Even in reality, around the time KK debuted, there were songs that became very popular using classic song sampling. Thanks to that, a few songs a year would use classic song sampling even later on and was consistently popular.

Among that, the most explosively popular song was a song that had a similar beat as Yong Soo Chul and used musical sampling in the intro. That song became a tremendous hit and was more popular than ‘Sorry but I love you’.

It was because it even compensated for the shortcomings of Yong Soo Chul’s style beats that have simple repetition.

Therefore, Do Wook thought of Yong Soo Chul’s song as soon as he heard the sonata ringtone.

‘We’ll make the song feel more complete by giving it a beginning, middle, and an end. If Yong Soo Chul listens to it, he will also know immediately that it’ll be a way to supplement his song.’

Yong Soo Chul, who had been preoccupied for a moment, stood up from his seat and headed toward the equipment.

Once he manipulated the buttons, a strong bass beat soon started to flow out. Various melodies were placed on top of that beat and formed the current ‘Sorry (working title)’.

They only turned on the beat but their heads subconsciously started nodding. Yong Soo Chul manipulated a few more buttons and programmed the keyboard next to him to ‘basic piano’.

Yong Soo Chul lightly played with his fingers.

“The original sound is this······.”

“Yes. I think it’d be good to use the melody from that part.”

Yong Soo Chul simply played the melody as it was in the original song, but he got a feeling that made him go ‘huh?’. Yong Soo Chul briefly stopped his fingers, then started playing again.

This time he changed it from about 60 BPM to 80, playing it faster and faster.

The only thing they changed was making it faster, but it felt like something was building.

Yong So Chul couldn’t help but be surprised. It was a way of arrangement he hadn’t even thought of, and he questioned it even after listening to Do Wook. But once he tried playing it, he immediately got a feel for it.

‘Like Do Wook said, if we put a little more variation and start the intro with piano…And organize the song to gradually lead into the beat and next sound…It’ll be amazing!’

Yong Soo Chul dove into working on the arrangement. He changed the sound little by little, and it started to harmonize with the melody towards the end.

“If I do this…hmm…what do you think?”

“It’s good!”

Do Wook exclaimed. Yong Soo Chul got more excited by Do Wook’s exclamation.

Since he only worked on songs alone, it wasn’t bad for Yong Soo Chul to discuss his song with someone else. On the contrary, he was having fun.

***

Yong Soo Chul planned on contacting Team Leader Shim once the arrangement was about half done and doing the arrangement in two different versions.

One version with Do Wook’s suggestion in the intro, and one version without. If he sent both versions there can be a clearer comparison between the two.

After discussing that with Yong Soo Chul, Do Wook returned to the rehearsal hall.

In the rehearsal hall, they had ordered dinner and were just about to eat. The members were gathered, sitting on newspapers laid out on the floor. Today, as usual, there was kimchi fried rice and spicy stir-fried pork with rice delivered from Worldwide Kimbap next to the office.

“Do Wook, what are you so busy with? Hurry up and come eat~!”

Jung Yoon Ki yelled. Do Wook started to feel hungry once he smelled the food.

He was about to go where the members were gathered, but he saw Ahn Hyung Seo, who was sitting alone with his back against the wall pillar. Seeing Do Wook looking at Ahn Hyung Seo, Park Tae Hyung quietly whispered to Do Wook.

“Hyung Seo….Said he’s not going to eat…”

“Why?”

“I don’t know. He’s been saying he has no energy since earlier…”

Park Tae Hyung muttered, concerned. The other members were also concerned about Ahn Hyung Seo, who was crouched over. Do Wook scowled.

“Sigh…”

He could see Ahn Hyung Seo let out a sigh.

Ahn Hyung Seo, who was still not that old, had become a trainee around the time he started middle school. His mother was the reason he became a trainee from a young age. Ahn Hyung Seo’s mother was one of the typical aggressive parents commonly seen in the entertainment world.

As soon as she recognized her only son’s potential, she went to the agency that same day and made him audition.

Ahn Hyung Seo, who was a natural born talent and had shown talent in dancing and singing since his kindergarten talent show, was able to pass the audition easily.

It was a field Ahn Hyung Seo himself was interested in, and people around him praising him that he’s good fueled the ambition he already had. It wasn’t a bad ambition. He had optimistic ambitions of wanting to sing even better and debuting as an idol and becoming the best.

But, perhaps solely focusing on debuting from such a young age was the problem? He even suffered from depression at 16 years old when his debut with his previous agency was canceled.

Then he got another chance with HIT Entertainment. Ahn Hyung Seo was extremely anxious as he faced a situation where he might not be the best singer in the group.

Even his claim as a self-appointed mood maker was gone. Do Wook looked like a rival, and he was a little frustrated.

‘There’s such a huge difference in how long we’ve been training…Plus, he’s one year younger. What the hell have I been doing until now?’

It was entirely the agency’s fault that his previous debut was canceled, but Ahn Hyung Seo’s mentality, which had been broken down once before, was easily shaken.

‘If I lose to Do Wook, who has only been training for a few months now…Can I even survive in the music industry…?’

Those self-destructive thoughts were destroying Ahn Hyung Seo.

A black stormcloud seemed to rise by the pillar. The other members couldn’t focus on their meal because of Ahn Hyung Seo, who suddenly became depressed.

If it were another team, someone would have been angry at the member acting out, but there were no members like that in KK. Everyone was just worried.

Everyone had a general idea of the reason Ahn Hyung Seo was depressed.

“I’ll try talking to him later.”

Seeing how concerned everyone was, Suk Ji Hoon, who didn’t talk much because he was blunt, spoke up. Suk Ji Hoon was the youngest in the team, but he was one of the people who understood Ahn Hyung Seo’s perspective the best.

It was because he was a child actor. Suk Ji Hoon’s mother was the same as Ahn Hyung Seo’s mother, if not worse.

Even before entering elementary school, Suk Ji Hoon went around the broadcast station and experienced society early. Therefore, he couldn’t help but become a deliberately precocious child.

‘Someone who had only looked toward one thing from an early age doesn’t look at anything else, like a racehorse, and just looks at the finish line and keeps running. There’s a constant fear that if it’s not this path, they won’t be able to do anything as an adult.’

Suk Ji Hoon, who learned early on that it doesn’t help to say unnecessary words, always kept his thoughts to himself rather than say them out loud.

Jung Yoon Ki felt relieved that Suk Ji Hoon, who was mentally very mature despite being the youngest, said he’ll talk to him and turned his focus to taking care of the other members.

“Oh, anyways, we shouldn’t spend Christmas Eve in the rehearsal hall like this!”

Kim Won replied to Jung Yoon Ki’s attempt to lighten the mood.

“Christmasss…It was fun in Canada because it snowed a lot. White~ Christmas~!”

“It can be fun in Korea too. It’s not fun because we’ve been stuck in the rehearsal hall.”

“Then should we get out of the rehearsal hall? I’ll drive. I can drive! Let’s go! Go Go~ Go~”

Kim Won raised both hands like he was going to jump up any minute and yelled ‘Let’s Go’ like it was a song.

“With what car?”

“Ummm…Rental?”

“With what money?”

“Wow, in brother Yoon Ki’s pocket?”

“Just eat your food.”

“Cold blooded…”

The members finished their meals as they shared stories about how gloomy Christmas as trainees is. After putting their dishes away and letting the food digest, the evening practice resumed.

Right before evening practice started, Suk Ji Hoon and Ahn Hyung Suh briefly went up to the roof of the building together and talked.

Their faces were frozen from the winter wind. Even though Suk Ji Hoon would have undoubtedly done a good job talking to him, Ahn Hyung Seo’s expression was still not bright.

Even when they had practice on the actual stage, where Ahn Hyung Seo stood out the most, he got critiques from the instructor a few times.

“Cheer up Hyung Seo hyung*. Things won’t get better by you being like this.”
(TL note: hyung is how males refer to older males. It happens to be written the same as the first character of Hyung Seo’s name.)

It sounds cold initially, but it was Suk Ji Hoon’s sincere advice. Ahn Hyung Seo weakly nodded his head.

***

Christmas went by without anything happening in particular. There was no practice on the day of, but for the most part, the members went to the rehearsal room voluntarily and did some light individual practice.

Kim Won went to his relative’s house, and Jung Yoon Ki relieved his exhaustion at the dormitory.

KK members thankfully didn’t think about anything else and worked hard on preparing for the debut during the hustle and bustle of the end of the year.

Of course, Manager Oh Baek Ho had a big part in making that possible. He was on high alert, monitoring in case the members went out to drink.

If there was a problem, it was of course Ahn Hyung Seo. He dug himself into a hole and he absolutely had no plans to come out of it.

Oh Baek Ho had not grasped all the details of the members yet. It was obvious that things would get out of hand if he acted hastily.

“Hyung Seo…We can’t leave him like that.”

So he called Jung Yoon Ki, who was acting like the leader. He will probably get nominated as the leader soon, and Jung Yoon Ki also agreed with it.

“He’s usually bright, but Hyung Seo is a very sensitive kid…”

Jung Yoon Ki didn’t exactly have the answers either. He stood by him and was boosting his confidence, but this was Ahn Hyung Seo’s own problem.

At the same time, they couldn’t tell Do Wook not to sing well because that’s the only way Hyung Seo will get the lead vocal position and feel secure.

Do Wook witnessed Oh Baek Ho calling Jung Yoon Ki out of the rehearsal hall and talking privately.

“…Ahn Hyung Seo…”

Do Wook had also been silently observing him.

“Something needs to be done.”

Do Wook let out a sigh then messaged Ahn Hyung Suh.

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