Despite being only 20 years old, Baek A Yeon was still proud and bold. This personality especially shone when she was competing on the SBS audition program K-Pop Star to become a singer. She worked hard to deliver to her audience more than they expected, and showed off all her talents, from keyboarding to dancing.
Park Jin Young of JYP Entertainment, who was a judge for the show, signed in Baek A Yeon after seeing the potential she held. Baek A Yeon thus managed to mount the professional stage after four months of training, and seemed now to burn with a confidence that she could do well.
No one knew you would make your debut so fast.
“I didn′t know either. One day producer Park Jin Young asked me to sing the guide version of Sad Song. I thought it was merely a guide, but the next day I visited the office and the staff told me I only had 100 days left until my debut. I heard later that at the time my company was already preparing for my debut.”
Were you taught in person by Park Jin Young himself?
“He kept teaching me the half-air, half-sound method he emphasized on K-Pop Star (Laugh). He also emphasized I should sing as if I′m talking and how I should use the hit-and-run method. You have to loosen up to be able to hit-and-run, but I had always been so tense whenever I sang, it was hard to reach that point.”
You must be burdened by the fact that you′re the first one [out of ′K-Pop Star′] to make your debut.
“I actually feel good that since I′m the first I can get more attention (Laugh). I′m happy and I′m looking forward to it. Of course I feel the pressure too. I′m the first debut from K-Pop Star, and I need to do well so that the ones who will follow can benefit from my activities. The show will also soon start its second season, which puts more burdens and responsibility on me.”
Do many people recognize you since you′ve been in an audition program?
“More people really do recognize me. When I was still on K-Pop Star people would cautiously ask, ′Is that Baek A Yeon?′ but now they approach me saying, ′You′re Baek A Yeon, right?′ and get my autograph. I came to care more for my looks now that more people recognize me (Laugh). Though I′m not always fully made-up, I rarely go outside without any makeup on. I feel more comfortable when I′m somewhat covered up (Laugh).”
Did you know JYP would choose you after you came in third place [on ′K-Pop Star′]?
“I really didn′t know. I had to wait to be chosen so I was jealous of [Park] Ji Min, who could choose among the three agencies. JYP called me first, so I signed with that company.”
Did you think you fit JYP more?
“I didn′t know before I signed the contract, but producer Park Jin Young also liked voices that sing as if they′re speaking. If I had to choose my favorite songs, most of them are also songs that have [such voices].”
What is Baek A Yeon′s album like?
“Some may say the four months before my debut were short, but I wanted to show some change. That′s why I chose the ballad genre, which I′m the most confident in, to include in my album.”
How have you changed compared to how you were before?
“First, my vocalization methods have changed. There′s a part in Sad Song where I have to pull out a high note from one long breath, and it′s a style I′ve never tried before. I wanted to make the ballad sound powerful.”
Why didn′t you choose a song that producer Park Jin Young wrote?
“I chose the songs that fit me the most, so I happened to choose songs by other composers (Laugh). I wanted to include ballads that are powerful and fresh with electric guitar sounds and drum beats.”
′Always′ was written by 2PM′s Junsu. Did you get along well with him?
“Junsu sunbaenim (senior) tried to help me understand by even giving his own examples and explaining what the song is about. Thanks to that I could go on recording more easily. He praised me a lot, and supported me by saying we could try it one more time. I could′ve become exhausted, but I was more energized so I had fun while recording.”
Being in ′K-Pop Star′ and in JYP must feel different.
“In auditions, my song and my performance are the things that are most important, but now that I′m signed with a company I′ve noticed the most important thing isn′t me, but ′us′. There′s a big difference between making a mistake on K-Pop Star and making a mistake as a JYP singer. I have to think of my company now also.”
You would′ve met your JYP seniors; which sunbae was the most attractive?
“I met Sohee sunbae on the stairs, and she was beautiful. She had a great aura.”
Which sunbae supported you and praised you the most?
“That was Yenny unni (big sister). She first saw me when I was still in K-Pop Star so as soon as she saw me she was like, ′You′re in our company now, right, A Yeon? You should work hard.′ Miss A′s Suzy also cheered for me by sending me a text message when I was shooting my music video. She′s younger than me but she′s still a senior, and she was very mature.”
The professional world isn′t going to be an easy place to live in. What are your thoughts on this?
“I′ve performed live before, so my biggest strength is that I won′t get nervous onstage. I will be nervous before, but I believe I′ll feel more comfortable once I′m on the stage. I hope you look forward to it (Laugh).”