While the idol members get the spotlight, a lot of work is being done by staff behind the scenes to make sure their groups run smoothly. Many support staff are involved in the industry in other ways, whether it be managing more than one group, choreographing for different agencies, or even becoming idols themselves! Here are some surprising facts about K-Pop support staff you never knew.
1. TWICE’s vocal coach was also BLACKPINK’s vocal coach
You may know vocal trainer Kim Sang Eun from Produce 101, but she also trained TWICE and BLACKPINK has worked with members of BTS including Jungkook, Taehyung and Jin. She said that out of all the idols she’s trained, Jin was the most improved since he was scouted as a film student and had to practice a lot to improve his vocals.
2. BTS’s manager loves to do extra things for Jimin
One of BTS’s managers is known as Jimin‘s “Personal Manager” – but he’s officially not his personal manager anymore and works for all the boys. He just loves to do things for Jimin and is often seen giving him drinks and carrying bags – and they are very close!
3. BLACKPINK and Red Velvet have the same hair dressers
In Lisa TV, as the camera pans across you can see very briefly that Red Velvet‘s Wendy is sitting to the right, across from Lisa! YG Entertainment artists are known to frequent the same beauty salon, with some of the stylists there working with other artists as well, as stylists are not exclusive to a certain artist and aren’t on contract with companies. Red Velvet’s Yeri and AKMU’s Suhyun are also known to use the same hairdressers as that’s how they became good friends, and Hyoyeon and Irene also use the same stylists.
4. The founder and former CEO of Chrome Entertainment was originally a photographer
Hwang Hyun Chang had no music industry experience whatsoever, but was so impressed after seeing T-ara‘s “Roly Poly” on TV that he decided to found his own company and create his own girl group, Crayon Pop. The company has gone on to become a label under Sony Music Entertainment.
I was oblivious to [girl groups] in the past. Not only idols, I didn’t even pay attention to the popular songs. But I’m the type of person who can’t help himself once I get engrossed in something.
I saw T-ara’s “Roly Poly” and I said to my friends at the photo studio, ‘Should we try to create a girl group?’ Everyone was strongly against it. They said that even experienced management companies find it hard…. At that time, my stubborn pride was stirred up. But if I knew the structure of entertainment companies back then, I wouldn’t have begun.
While I was in this business, there were many times when I questioned myself, ‘Did I do the right choice entering this business?’ For one, I do not know anyone who worked in entertainment companies, and secondly, no one could give me information or advice. I just bit my tongue and charged forward
— Hwang Hyun Chang
5. Manager Oppa Hyunjoon managed f(x) and NCT
A young SM Entertainment manager affectionately referred to as “Manager oppa Hyunjoon” because of his good looks and kind personality, has gone from f(x) to NCT.
Fans affectionately call him “manager oppa” or “manager hyung” because he’s so close to the groups he manages and treats them well. He gained his own fans when he appeared on Amber‘s video with Peniel, where he wanted to join in on their whisper challenge game. He even has his own fansites!
6. Red Velvet’s manager was also Girl’s Generation’s manager
Kim Min Jin is one of the most well-known SM Entertainment managers, who started with Girls’ Generation and is now with Red Velvet.
7. EXO’s manager is a Seohyun fanboy
On a TV show, EXO-K‘s manager wrote “Seohyun = Goddess”, revealing his love of Girls’ Generation and his bias. It was also revealed that that EXO-M‘s manager is a SONE and his phone’s wallpaper is Seohyun, proving they were both hardcore fanboys!
8. 2NE1, Winner and iKon have all shared the same manager
Jjangmae managed all three of the groups, as well as Seven and often went along with the members’s antics, such as being dressed up by them, participating in games and doing aegyo.
9. TVXQ’s bodyguard has been with them for over 15 years
Hyun Myunghwan has been nicknamed “Papa Bear” by TVXQ fans because of how dependable he is and how long he has stayed with the boys, for over 15 years.
10. Managers make fun of their groups
Managers like to have fun too, and most of the time it results in them making fun of their charges. One time the managers from SHINee, EXO, Super Junior, Girls’ Generation and f(x) all got together to cover SHINee’s “Dream Girl” and it was hilariously amazing.
SHINee’s managers also dressed up as them for Halloween multiple times, including as Key from the “View” MV.
11. Pledis Entertainment CEO was BoA’s manager
Pledis Entertainment CEO Han Sung Soo was originally one of BoA‘s managers. That’s how he met Kahi, who was a backup dancer of BoA’s at the time and helped establish the company. Prior to this, Han Sung Soo was a professional ballerino. He has admitted that it was working for BoA that helped him learn about the domestic and international entertainment process.
12. Eric Nam’s manager is also his brother
Eddie Nam is responsible for Eric Nam‘s US activities, and he also acts as a bodyguard of sorts, as well as a big brother!
13. Apink’s manager stepped in for Eunji during a rehearsal
Managers do this a lot – they help groups when a member is sick or absent by filling in spots. An EXID stylist stood in for Solji for a rehearsal back in 2015 and two managers stepped in for D.O. and Lay during an EXO practice. This video of Apink‘s manager filling in for Eunji got attention thanks the manager’s ability to follow along well.
14. Choreographers cross over all the time
Kasper is EXO‘s choreographer and dance instructor, and has also choreographed and worked a lot with Girls’ Generation in the past. He’s one of the male dancers in their songs “Mr Mr” and TTS’ “Adrenaline”. On top of that, he’s Taeyeon‘s back up dancer and used to be known as Hyuna and 4minute‘s backup dancer, nicknamed “Kim Seobang” (husband) when no one knew his name. Other choreographers like Kyle Hanagami have also choreographed for SM Entertainment girl groups in general, including Red Velvet, f(x), Girls’ Generation and BLACKPINK, and Jonte Moaning is known for work T-ara and Miss A, Wondergirls, BLACKPINK and Beyonce.
15. Some staff become idols
DIA‘s Jooeun was an assistant manager for them before she joined the group and Solji from EXID and Boa from SPICA were vocal coaches before becoming members of their respective groups. Solji was actually EXID’s vocal coach prior to joining them as a member!