Until the stage becomes a playground.
Though she had been looking forward to it for so long, Sandara says she was transfixed with the pressure and anxiety on her first performance.
Because she’d never even considered becoming anything other than a singer, Sandara felt so much pressure thinking it was her one chance to make a good first impression on the public, and show how much effort she’d put in.
”Our first performance was on SBS ‘Inkigayo’. I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was so nervous, you see. We were getting ready until 3 in the morning at the hair salon and we didn’t get any sleep. I think it was too much. Over a thousand fans came too.”
Sandara was so nervous during her first performance that she made a mistake. She could have let it go since she’s a rookie and all, but she and the other 2NE1 members were very disappointed at their own performance.
“To be honest, we were criticised a lot after our first broadcast. We were inexperienced and didn’t even know how to use the mic properly. I wasn’t able to convey my voice to the audience. I practised with President Yang day and night for a week. I think I practised even harder than before our debut.”
Afterwards, it was a much smoother journey for 2NE1. Sandara gained popularity by the day. People started following her hairstyle and it became a ‘fashion icon’. Recently on the nation’s favourite variety show ‘1 Night 2 Days’, Kim C made many laugh by transforming into Santina Kim, copying Sandara’s fashion and so-called palm tree hair style.
“I usually discuss my hairstyles with our stylist. Our stylist suggested the palm tree hair so I tried it. I didn’t think hair would be able to stand up like that, but it did. I loved it! So I performed on stage with that hair in ‘Lollipop’ and ‘Fire’.”
In the first year of their debut, 2NE1 swept the awards in four different categories at the 2009 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA): Best Song of the Year, Music Portal Mnet Award, Best Female Rookie, Music Video Award etc.
Hundreds of singers debut each year, but every single one of them has to practise hard for it. It’s now the era where if a management agency announces they’re taking auditions for singers, thousands of people try out. Trainees are the one in several hundreds of singer-wannabes to make it through, so not a single one of them lacks passion or talent.
One reason Sandara and 2NE1 were able to do so well in their first year was that the mistakes they made on their first performance helped them grow. Everyone has stage fright to some degree. Seeing that even Yoo Jae Seok, ‘The Nation’s MC’ says he’s nervous in front of the camera, being a celebrity is no exception.
But the plucky idol Sandara chose to accept her mistakes and try harder to enjoy her time on stage.
When she wanted to become a singer as a child, it wasn’t because she wanted to earn money and become popular. It was simply because she liked singing, and music itself.
After a while, Sandara finally found herself enjoying the stage. Rather than thinking of it as showing the results of her hard work to her fans, she thought of it as more of a place she can sing her heart out. The stage was becoming 2NE1’s playground.
“We still have a long way to go. I want to ‘play’ with the audience for the rest of my life. If I play and play, over and over again I’m bound to get better, right?”
Now that she doesn’t feel any pressure towards her performances and her fans are starting to accept her as a singer, Sandara is preparing herself for another challenge. She entered the entertainment industry at an early age in the Philippines so she hasn’t been to university.
“I really wanna go to university. I had a chance once, but I don’t think it was really the right time. If I get to go to university, I would like to study something outside of the entertainment industry. I want to study business and experience campus life.”
Translation Credits: sjay.x @ YGLadies.com