Being a K-Pop trainee comes with some conditions, including rigorous practice hours, many sacrifices at a young age, and living under highly restrictive environments. But depending on the agency, trainee life experience can vary quite a lot. Two former BIGHIT MUSIC trainees, Kim Jihoon and Hwang Jihwan, recently shared how the company’s environment differed from other places.
Though BIGHIT MUSIC had other artists active in the industry before BTS’s debut, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that BTS put them on the map of K-Pop and made it possible for the multi-label empire HYBE to emerge eventually. After them, the only group that has debuted under BIGHIT is TXT. Despite both the groups sharing interesting stories from their pre-debut era often, fans have seldom gotten a more comprehensive look at BIGHIT’s trainee system.
Kim and Hwang trained alongside the current BTS members at BIGHIT for a while. Kim left after a year, while Hwang trained for nearly two years before his departure. The two former trainees shared unheard stories from the time they were training together with BTS.
While talking about the past, Hwang mentioned that when he was a trainee, he also went to a famous art high school, where he got acquainted with trainees from other entertainment companies. He realized that trainees from the same company were often not very close because they would always have to compete against each other for a debuting chance. But in BIGHIT, they had quite the opposite dynamic among the trainees.
Hwang and Kim agreed that the BIGHIT trainees were very nice to each other and cared for one another. Instead of a competitive environment, they all considered their training period as a time of growing together toward their dreams.
Hwang explained that BIGHIT focused on teaching the trainees good manners, using the right honorifics, and developing relationships with friends and people older than them.
Kim added that when he heard other companies divide trainees into groups based on their place of origin or similar parameters, he realized his trainee life was much happier.
Hwang gave the lion’s share of the credit to BTS’s rapline, RM, J-Hope, and Suga, for creating a nurturing atmosphere where trainees could support one another.
Though both Hwang Jihwan and Kim Jihoon are now working in different fields, away from the young-age dreams of becoming an idol, they both agreed that the trainee experience at BIGHIT has positively influenced their lives!
In the same interview, Kim Jihoon and Hwang Jihwan also discussed BTS’s pre-debut personalities. You can read about it here.