K-pop idols do not only entertain people through music and performance, but they also inspire people to be like them. If you’re an avid K-pop fan, you probably won’t deny dreaming of becoming a K-pop idol. And you’ve probably tried auditioning on some Korean agencies before even reading this article!
Unfortunately, becoming a K-pop idol is not a walk in the park, and you’ll have to go through a step-by-step process to get to your dream.
How To Become a K-Pop Idol – The Complete Step-by-Step Guide
Every successful K-pop idol got the looks, talents, and a strong mindset. If you think you’ve got what it takes to become a Korean star, here’s how to become a K-pop idol:
- Enroll in Talent Workshops/K-Pop Academies
- Research on K-Pop Entertainment Companies
- Study the Basic and Hone Skills
- Contract Signing
- Training Phase
- Image Maintenance
- Member/Solo Artist Picking
- The K-Pop Idol Life
1. Enroll in Talent Workshops/K-Pop Academies
Participating in talent workshops and enrolling in an academy or special school for young K-pop idol wannabes is a great starting point. Although it’s not really required, two years or at least a few months of experience in dance and voice training is a huge plus when auditioning.
Some academies have partnered with Korean entertainment companies to recommend talented students to the agency. Meanwhile, some agencies even run their own K-pop academy where they can choose excellent students to transform into K-pop idols!
2. Research on K-Pop Entertainment Companies
The K-pop industry is powered by music production houses or talent agencies where you have to audition to become an idol. SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment, and YG Entertainment are the biggest agencies behind successful Korean stars.
Apart from these well-known labels, you can also give other companies a shot but remember to choose an agency where you think you’ll do well. To determine which Korean entertainment company is the right fit for you, look into the agency you wish to join and gather as much information as you can.
For example, SM Entertainment tends to look for potentially talented good-looking trainees, while JYP Entertainment prioritizes talent over looks. However, not every agency is as good and safe as these big labels. In fact, a few companies had scandals and shortcomings in management. So, it’s really important to know where you’re getting yourself into!
3. Study the Basic and Hone Skills
If you have no experience in training, work on your singing, dancing, and rapping skills primarily. Then, determine your main skill and invest in a coach to help you master it. Showing off your special skills can also increase your odds of getting noticed and considered. So, hone your skills as best as you can to be confident in your audition!
Even though it’s not necessary to be fluent in Korean, it’s better to know basic phrases to show that you came prepared. Once you’re a trainee, they’ll provide a tutor to teach you the Korean language, culture, and norms.
Korean entertainment companies usually conduct periodic and ongoing auditions. There are also global audition tours and online auditions for aspiring artists around the world. Meanwhile, some agencies even do street castings by distributing talent scouts in public places and recruiting based on appearance.
Typically, there are three steps to a K-pop audition. First, you’ll have to introduce yourself, sing, dance, and show other skills such as rapping and acting.
Then, you have to wait for the agency’s callback. Once they call you back, it means they’re interested, and you must attend the final audition, where they might make you sing and dance again before you get accepted.
5. Contract Signing
To officially join the company, you need to sign a contract — not as an idol but as a trainee. Usually, trainees sign a 3-year contract, and it’s the trainee’s choice whether to renew for another term when the initial period expires.
K-pop trainee contracts contain strict rules such as a dating ban and weight maintenance. And you can get in trouble or have penalties for breaking the rules.
Also, as a warning, fake K-pop agencies scam people by asking a trainee to pay for training expenses. Unfortunately, desperate idol wannabes fall for this kind of scam. So, carefully read and understand the conditions before you sign a contract!
Read More: How Much K-pop Idols Earn Per Month
6. Training Phase
The training phase is where the trainees are molded into K-pop stars through high-intensity training. In this phase, trainees’ talents are evaluated, and their capability to withstand hardships is tested.
Every day, they train for years while living in dorms with other trainees. At this point, you might doubt and question yourself. You might even lose faith during hard times, but if you stay positive with a strong mindset, you’ll surely get through it!
In fact, Bigbang’s most loved member, G-Dragon, went through a total of 11 years of training before debuting with his group! If you do a great job, you might even get a chance to star in TV commercials or music videos, model for brands, and do cameos on K-dramas!
7. Image Maintenance
Aside from mastering skills, you’ll have to maintain your image even when you’re still a trainee. You must have good manners, behave properly, refrain from engaging in illegal drug activities, and avoid posting irresponsible things on social media to prevent scandals.
You can also keep your image by maintaining a certain weight for a good figure and fitting into the Korean beauty standards to be appreciated by the Korean audience.
You May Also Like: Korean Female Beauty Standards
8. Member/Solo Artist Picking
When an entertainment company plans on launching a new group or solo artist, they evaluate their trainees’ skills to see who has what it takes to debut as a K-pop idol.
Another way to select trainees is through TV shows where participants need to compete for spots in the planned new group. For instance, JYP Entertainment’s TWICE was formed on the reality show, Sixteen!
Once you’re ready to be a K-pop idol, you’ll debut eventually! Whether you debut as a group or a solo artist, you’ll have to release your first official track and promote it to the audience by performing live and participating in music shows.
However, debuting doesn’t mean success, as not every K-pop group or idol maintains a good reputation afterward. Your group might get disbanded if you don’t maintain a good spot in the K-pop industry. So, you’ll have to be consistently creative and talented in releasing songs to slay music charts and captivate fans.
10. The K-Pop Idol Life
Once you become a K-pop idol, you’ll receive lots of love and recognition from the public, especially if you’re talented and a ‘Korean beauty.’ However, this means that all eyes will be on you to the point that you’ll lose your privacy because of paparazzi and sasaeng fans!
Also, you’ll have to train more for upcoming comebacks while maintaining a good connection with your fans. But no matter how hard it is to be a K-pop idol, there are still many things or activities you’ll be able to enjoy while living your life in the spotlight!
Becoming a K-pop fan is never easy. Before you succeed, you’ll have to go through a long, tiring process, and it might be a bumpy ride. But as the saying goes, “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” So, if you want to live the K-pop idol life, be strong and do everything to achieve that dream!
We hope you enjoyed reading this article!