Korea’s newest girl group Rania has been in the works for over four years. They started as a casual idea exchanged between DR Music CEO Yoon and producer Teddy Riley, as the two discussed the idea of introducing an Asian pop group to the States.
Teddy Riley had asked Yoon, “In the American music scene, there still exists a stereotype and a sort of restriction against colored artists. Wouldn’t it be amazing if an Asian girl group were to break that wall?”
Struck by the statement, Yoon (who’s also one of the most influential figures behind K-Pop’s first Hallyu wave generation) readily agreed, and together, the two ran auditions in Korea, Thailand, and China over the course of four years.
Rania began with Thai member Joy, but there were Chinese candidates as well. Teddy Riley had even suggested adding a black member to the group, but it was decided that they would stick with just Asian members. Once the final line-up was chosen, the girls spent four years being trained in vocals, choreography, and languages – all of which demanded $900,000 USD in expenses.
It wasn’t just Yoon and Teddy Riley pouring their blood and sweat into this project; the trainees had to devote everything they possessed into mastering repetitive lessons that strained them both physically and mentally. Not to mention that they were forced to watch their fellow trainees come and go, with a few even debuting into some of the top girl groups in the market today.
But the day finally came when the girls could officially debut, and they did so with strong energy and charisma.
Unfortunately, while they debuted with much buzz over their powerful performance and traditional pop style, the girls were also faced with a controversy over their provocatively sexy concept.
Responding to accusations of ‘noise marketing’, Yoon stated, “Those thinking that we’re merely pushing for their fame with a sexy concept are being biased. Korean girl groups made the Hallyu wave successful in the Asian market because of their strong and well-planned performance style. This is what must be pushed for, but it makes me so angry that Koreans are swearing and scolding them.”
He continued, “One TV program told us that they would cut down our four minute track into two minutes and a half while others said no to the ’spread leg’ dance and even put restrictions on their outfits. We spent four years creating their debut album title track, how can they just cut it as they wish?”
It’s understandable that Yoon is unfamiliar with the way Korean broadcast programs work, as most of his work was focused overseas. Baby V.O.X., one of the first leaders of the Hallyu wave, was created under his vision and spent most of their time overseas. Yoon also spent the past four years working almost exclusively on Rania and his vision with Teddy Riley. In an industry so restricted, there was no way that he could have known that one must cut, wear, and dance exactly what the broadcast networks say in order to receive an appearance opportunity.
Yoon concluded his interview by thanking the members of Rania for holding in their sorrow and dancing and singing amidst the restrictions. But as if his anger could not be repressed, his eyes remained red.
akp, osen via nate
smh. poor girls will never catch a break.