K-Pop Training Directors Reveal Which Idols They Knew Were Destined For Greatness From Day 1
Together, chief director Stella and director Yoon Jin Hee have been helping to train idols in dance and vocals at MU:Academy for years. Over the years, they’ve trained some of the biggest stars of today, including members of WINNER, Stray Kids, MONSTA X, OH MY GIRL, MOMOLAND, fromis_9, and more. While many strived hard to become the skilled stars they are today, these stars had the director pair thinking, “Oh, this kid will be great,” as soon as they saw them.
1. Mino (WINNER)
WINNER’s Mino was one of the stars Yoon Jin Hee knew was destined for greatness from the first time they met. “From the moment I first saw him, he was already skilled,” the director explained.
Mino began training to become a star in his teenage years, and Yoon Jin Hee says he was always very skilled and talented for his age. The director revealed that his thoughts at the time where, “This guy is going to be great,” and “He can make it.”
Stella agreed that Mino was “already so talented” back then, noting that he’d been making music with Zico, P.O, and others from a young age. “I think they were a lot more skilled than their peers,” says the chief director.
2. Changbin (Stray Kids)
Alongside Mino, Yoon Jin Hee also named Changbin of Stray Kids as a trainee he would be great all along—partly due to his range of talents. While Changbin is primarily a rapper in the group, Yoon says he could rap well and dance well as a MU:Academy student. When he was auditioning for JYP Entertainment, Changbin shocked Stella by preparing an incredible vocal number.
I thought, “Wow, he is a rapper, but he can sing this well?” I was really surprised at the time. I was like, “This kid had been well-prepared on his own.” He was a good singer from the start.
On top of that, the director says Changbin was always crazy about music to an extent far beyond normal for his age, making beats and writing raps at home in his youth. “It’s rare for a kid that age to be so crazily into music,” Yoon recalled.
The director went on to reveal that after Changbin joined JYP Entertainment, he called them to find out how the young trainee was doing—and the company revealed he’d already been nicknamed “rap genius.”
I think Changbin was definitely a kid who could do something great in music.
— Yoon Jin Hee