When it comes to the K-Pop industry, sometimes it can be seen through rose-tinted glasses. Below all of the glitz and glamor that is seen on the screen, the life of an idol is tough, and the difficulties and pressures start from being a trainee.
One of those groups that has been through it all is BIGBANG. BIGBANG has been around for years after debuting with YG Entertainment in 2006, the group has still witnessed the harsh realities of being an idol and the pressures that come with it.
One person who has recently been vocal about the industry is BIGBANG‘s T.O.P.
Recently, T.O.P sat down for an interview with PrestigeOnline, where he spoke honestly about the hardships in his life, the impact of art, and the future of BIGBANG.
The musician also spoke about the issues within the K-Pop industry, and many believe it might have been the reason for him leaving YG Entertainment earlier this year.
During the interview, T.O.P explained that the K-Pop system is something that needs a closer examination. Although he admitted he was lucky because he was only a trainee for a year, he explained that it is a harsh place for those wanting to make it in K-Pop.
I myself am fortunate that I only spent less than a year as a trainee before I debuted, a relatively short time. But after, I saw all the trainees, the boys and girls, they’re under a very harsh system.
In particular, he was very critical of the system idols have to go through. Although the companies might rocket the trainees to fame, for T.O.P, it comes at an extreme cost to their welfare and mental health, even comparing them to “robots.”
They’re told what to do and trained just like robots. They might get popular, they might get bigger, but in their heart and in ways we can’t see, they’re being isolated, and feel lonely inside.
Yet, unlike many who have criticized the system, T.O.P said that he wanted to do something about it. In particular, although he didn’t confirm his future plans aside from BIGBANG’s comeback, he added that he wanted to create some sort of record label to change how things are done in K-Pop.
For T.O.P, he didn’t want to be a “Robot maker.” He believed that the best way to create true artists was to completely change the current training system.
I want to make a real artist and help real artists. I’m positive about making a group that’s completely different from BIGBANG in the future.
With 16 years of experience, nobody is more suited to the job of helping to prepare trainees for the harsh reality of K-Pop than T.O.P.
After suffering his own hardships in K-Pop, he would be perfect at giving them advice on how to be musicians and ways to cope with an industry that can be brutal and impact the mental health of idols.
You can read more from the interview below.