Upki Girl Chapter 3

Humming SOUND

    ༺ Humming SOUND ༻   

 

MUSIC & VOCAL PRODUCING
Yeom Dae-soo, CEO of Humming Sound.

 

   “That’s quite an interesting company name. Humming SOUND.”
   He seemed rather embarrassed after I said that, then shyly stuttered while explaining.
   “Well, Its meaning is making music with both fun1 and spirit2.”3They both make ‘흥얼’ which means humming.
   “Ahaha, that was witty.”
   Hyundong then chimed in with a proud expression on his face.
   “I thought of it.”
   “Great job.”
   “Hyundong said that you were his senior in the army.”
   “Yes, I was deployed 3 months before him.”
   “Then that means you’ve known each other for almost ten years. It’s not easy to stay in touch with someone from the army.”
   “He gets annoying if we don’t see each other. That’s just how Hyundong is, isn’t he?”
   He played into it with me when I joked a little.
   “Hahaha, I could definitely do without that too. And please speak comfortably, brother.”

   I thought it would be all right from the impression he gave me, and well, he was Hyundong’s junior and I wasn’t one to be very keen on keeping formality in a private setting to begin with.
   And that’s how our drinking session started.
   Hyundong led the conservation by bringing up my ability.

   “Rosemary debuted when we were caporals, right?”
   “Yeah, we were in the 4th tier.”
   He then filled my glass, pointed his chin toward me, and continued talking to Yeom Daesoo.
   “He said there was only one top-class talent among them, any guess?”
   “Lee Jori? Somi?”
   “Nope, Rayena.”
   “Hmm? Rayena was a complete rookie at the time. Though she did explode after going solo…”
   “I know. But he already knew before it even happened.”

   From his tone, Hyundong seemed to be trying to prove the validity of my ability to Yeom Daesoo.
   Hyundong managed to remember all the celebrities I said would float and all those I said would crash and burn. I also told him everything I knew without exaggerating or skipping over anything.
   I had no particular reason to hide it, and I was more than willing to help if I could.
   I obviously skipped over the supernatural part of my ability and the whole light halos that were only visible to me schtick.

   “How should I put it? It’s like a talent that lets me feel the aura of a celebrity by just looking at them. I wish someone made a betting game out of this, guessing who will make it and who won’t.”

   “Hahahaha.”
   Yeom heartily laughed and tilted his soju bottle toward me.
   He then reiterated Hyundong’s previous vague request half-jokingly, half-seriously.
   “Then please come take a look at our audition. This project is really important to us.”
   “I don’t really mind but I’ve never done something like this before so… As I said earlier to Hyundong, I have no knowledge about music. I’m just an ordinary office worker.”
   “You don’t need to feel pressured as we’re gonna do the main judging anyway. You’re gonna be something like a consultant.”
   Yeom Daesoo chimed in as Hyundong added.
   “Yeah, just think of it as visiting your brother Hyundong’s studio and be at ease.”
   “Though I’m confident in my ability… I don’t know if it’ll really be helpful… This isn’t about judging their current skill, but looking at their talents and star potential…”
   “That’s exactly what we want. You can teach someone how to sing and dance, but talent is something you can only be born with.”

   ***

   I got off at Hakdong station on the 7th line of the subway, then walked for about 5 minutes following the map Hyundong had given me.
   As I turned into the alley behind the residential area, I could see a long queue of people stretching out from the entrance.

   “Wow…”

   They were all participants who came for the audition.
   Most of them looked like middle or high school students, the oldest in their mid-20s at most.
   There were even some elementary school children who came with their moms.
   I could see young people of various styles, from those who put a lot of effort into their fashion to those dressed in comfortable training clothes, humming along to songs or rehearsing dance moves with serious expressions.
   One girl was grumbling to her friend while checking her face on her selfie camera.

   “Ah, damn it, what should I do? My eyes are still so swollen. So annoying, fuck.”

   Her strong language and tongue-clicking sounds left quite the impression.
   She had a pretty face and quite a foul mouth.
   Don’t worry girl, you were failing anyways. Not because of your swollen eyes, but because your body isn’t emitting even the lightest speck of light.
   It’s not too late, so focus on your studies from now on.

   Hmm?

   After glancing around a little more, I came to the realization that this damned girl wasn’t the only one who needed to study a little more.
   There were, surprisingly, very few contestants with the Aura of a Star.
   There were at least none in sight.
   Let alone the Aura of a Star, I couldn’t even see people with ordinary light.
   This audition where aspiring singers were supposedly meant to gather seemed worse than the streets of Itaewon or Gangnam on a weekend.

   How are you guys supposed to earn a living like this?
   Stop dreaming and go study already.

   As I entered the alley, a few sharp gazes looked me up and down.
   What’s an old man like me doing here?
   Yeah. I’m your judge.
   Prostrate yourselves, bastards.
   Oi, I even had a drink with the organizer last week! Even went to karaoke with him, huh? I did!

   Entering the building like this under their burdensome gazes would be a little awkward.
   So with no aim in particular, I called Hyundong after turning to face the coffee shop next to the office on the 1st floor of the building. As if trying to show off who I was to the watchful participants.

   “I’m in front of the office, should I get you a coffee?”
   “We already got some, don’t worry, just get one for yourself.”
   “Yo, there are so many people here. The line at the entrance is super long.”
   “Hehe, that’s only 100.”
   “Oh, really? It looked like there were way more than 100 people.”
   “We had a lot of applications, around 1500. So we just divided them into multiple sessions.”
   “1500? That’s insane.”
   “Well, it doesn’t mean that many will necessarily show up.”

   Even with an attendance rate of 50%, that was still 750 participants.
   I thought that those 100 were the only applicants, but it seems like I underestimated their company.

   The office was located on the basement floor of the villa.
   “Excuse me, I’m going in.”
   So, I bought my coffee, apologized to the students who were waiting in front of the entrance, and went down the stairs.
   I could smell the sweet scent of air freshener.
   I was expecting a shabby practice room where associates would gather, like the garage where Steve Jobs and Wozniak created Apple.
   But what the hell is this?
   The interior was clean and had beige accents, like a coffee shop. While it couldn’t be considered spacious, it was still just like one of those recording studios with all kinds of equipment that you’d see on TV. I could then see four rooms at the end of the corridor.

   TRAINING ROOM
   CEO ROOM
   MIDI ROOM
   RECORDING ROOM

   On the shelves above the shoe rack, there were autographed CDs from a lot of singers. Probably those that started here.
   Wow.
   Was it because it was my first time in such a place? But I found everything here amazing.

 

[To. Teach Luju! Thank you so much for all your help! I’ll continue to work hard!]
[For Teach Juhyung. Thank you for teaching me wonderful songs ^^]
[For Teach Juhyung. Thank you for teaching me wonderful songs ^^]

   Lee Chanwoo? The Actor?

   Wasn’t he quite the big shot?
   I know this guy.
   While he was still a little bit shy of being a top-grade actor, this twenty-year-old was gaining a lot of traction after being cast in a drama that was running on a popular channel.
   Looks like he released an album too. I didn’t know about that.
   Besides him, I could see about 20-something autographed CDs from people who either started here or had some connection to the establishment, from idol groups to mid-sized hip-hop groups.
   After staring at them for a while, I finally spotted Yeom Daesoo coming out of the bathroom.
   He then greeted me in his characteristic low and deep voice.

   “You’re here brother.”
   “Oh, CEO Yeom.”
   We both raised our hands and casually greeted each other.
   We went for drinks after our first meeting and even took turns paying and even went to a karaoke so we became quite close.
   “You look as handsome as ever today.”
   “Don’t even mention that, I stayed up drinking until 5 A.M. Here, change into these slippers.”
   “Gracias. Aren’t there way too many people? I heard there were 1500 applicants?”
   “Yeah, we were surprised. It’s probably because it’s holiday time for the youngsters.”
   Daesoo awkwardly smiled and led me to the left room with the ‘TRAINING ROOM” sign.
   I could see mirrors covering every wall of the room.
   This room would normally be used for dance practice and was exclusively used today for the audition.
   I could see five or six employees including Hyundong inside. I could also see two women.

   “Hello everyone.”

   I politely greeted them.
   I bowed my head first after plainly greeting them, they quickly followed suit.

   “Yes, hello.”
   “Hello.”

   Hyundong then introduced me and the meeting could finally begin.
   I couldn’t have imagined attending a meeting about the audition. It seemed like something beyond my expectations and took me by surprise.
   Since I was only there as a consultant, I sat at the far end of the table and just listened.
   The discussion began with the matter of the unexpected number of participants, prompting the decision to switch to a two-round qualification system. The first round would span today and tomorrow, while the second round was scheduled for the following weekend.
   Interestingly, the second round would be held right here in this office. However, the final screening would take place at a small theater in a university in Seoul, attended by representatives from the entertainment company.
   Considering the circumstances, I decided to observe only the first round, which would conclude tomorrow.

   After 10 minutes, everyone’s role had been settled down.
   “Let’s go for a cig.”
   CEO Yeom and I stood up at Hyundong’s gesture.
   In addition to the entrance to the first floor was another door. It led to the smoking area and the parking lot of the building. I heard this back entrance was also where high-profile celebrities entered and exited from.
   There was a single parked car in the near-empty parking lot. It was a BMW 5 belonging to Yeom Daesoo.

   “Oh, looks like you’ve made it quite far, CEO Yeom.”

   “No, no.”

   CEO Yeom timidly shook his head.
   I heard he used to ride a medium-sized domestic car, but had to change it to fit the image of CEO as appearance was valued a lot in this field of work.
   I got a chance to know more about the agency while we were smoking.

   They had set it up three years ago with like-minded acquaintances.
   7 men and 2 women.
   They had different roles but all had the same title, that of a Producer (PD).
   Some of them, like Hyundong, even had multiple functions.
   Only two of them were older than him, and the rest were all his juniors.
   While they all could get nice deals, Yeom tended to bring the big ones.
   They had been battling bankruptcy for the past two years, and only lately have they been able to work with small and medium-sized entertainment agencies.
   This audition was a project in collaboration with 10 other entertainment agencies. Among them, was the company that was producing ‘Flanelle’ a girl group that had lately been topping the charts earning themselves the “Chart Destroyers” nickname.

   “Flanelle’s songs are quite good. We actually wrote the song they performed at the year-end awards ceremony.”
   “We’ve worked with them a lot.
   “Woah, really? Did you get to see them in person?”
   Hyundong immediately began boasting as I asked Yeom Desoo.
   “He was their vocal trainer. Suhyun and Jihee were your students, right??”
   “They were.”
   “We also did a lot of guide recordings at our office.”
   “Ooh, is Jaehee as pretty in person?”

   Although all four members of the group were talented and had amazing voices, only two of the four members were considered to have a stunning appearance.
   One of them was Jaehee. I didn’t remember the name of the other one because she didn’t fit my style as much as Jaehee.

   “Oh, she’s really pretty. The other girls also look much prettier in real life.”
   When Hyundong raised his thumb, Daesoo responded by showing a photo on his phone taken with the members of Flanelle. It was just as Hyundong had said. Looking at the photo, I couldn’t help but think that they truly looked like a girl group.
   “Look at their small faces. Hey, why did you never tell me that you knew celebrities?”
   Hyundong smiled like a child when I jokingly reprimanded him.
   “No need to talk to me like that, I don’t even know them that well, I only ran into them once when we were recording. Daesoo is the one close to them.”
   CEO Yeom added with a hint of pride in his voice.
   “The girls love drinking, so we have a glass of soju together every now and then.”
   “Me too. I want to drink with Jaehee too.”
   I said it jokingly but CEO Yeom took it seriously.
   “They’re not doing anything these days so they should be free. Should I call them?”
   “Yeom, you’re such a great guy. I love you.”
   Hyundong also excitedly chimed in.
   “That sounds great, go ahead and contact them.”
   CEO sent a Kakao message which was immediately answered. Looks like they’re really close.
   “Jaehee and Suhyeon are working out together at the moment and should be free tonight, sounds good?”
   “That goes without saying.”

   #Saturday #Flanelle #Successful



Note from Painter:
Hello everyone, hope you enjoyed this chapter, we’re gonna go for a rhythm of 2-3 chapters per week until we get enough to do a mass release and formally release the novel.
On the menawhile, I thought I’d ask do you guys have any preference between using bro, brother, sister, sis and hyeong, hyeongnim, oppa etc?
Might as well ask since we’re still early in the translation. I’d love to get some feedback on this, thanks in advance.

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Footnotes:

  • 1
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  • 3
    They both make ‘흥얼’ which means humming.
Upki Girl

Upki Girl

업어 키운 걸그룹
Score 8.3
Status: Ongoing Author: Released: 2021 Native Language: Korean
The Aura of a star, I can see it. Let’s foster a proper Girl Group!

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