Lee Chan was in his final year of high school and was still not entirely sure of his plans for the future. Although he was decent at studying and could go to a prestigious university if he chose, he wasn't sure that was what he felt like would make him happy. Unfortunately, he didn't know what would.
So, it was the weekend, after a stressful school week of exams. Chan was sitting in his bed scrolling through pages of videos on the internet, not looking for a specific one in particular. Somehow, he found himself looking through original audio tracks people had created themselves after he had scrolled through all the new popular music.
It was interesting to hear the varying levels of skill in the song production. Some users Chan could tell had been doing it for only a short amount of time while others clearly had been producing their own tracks for quite a while. After hearing a string of low quality mixes in a row, Chan was yearning for a well produced track. As he peered at the side of the screen suggesting videos, he noticed a mix by the user Woozi. He decided to click on it out of curiosity.
The moment the video began playing, an enchanting sound filled Chan's headphones. A sharp beat pulsed for a few seconds, and then the music slightly softened, making way for the sweet sound of a voice. The person was obviously a skilled singer. Chan closed his eyes and just let the melody wash over him.
The song was absolutely incredible. He couldn't believe something like it was posted on a site for free; it didn't sound like an amateur's work at all, especially the singing. The vocals weren't too loud or too soft and transitioned smoothly between verses.
The song made Chan feel inspired. He suddenly felt the urge to dance, something he had not felt like doing in months because of his busy schedule.
Clicking the replay button, Chan started the track again. He stood for a few seconds, feeling the rhythm. Then, he began to move in time with the beat, improvising movements as he went along.
He felt elated. He felt free.
Chan continued to dance, beginning to actually choreograph some moves to certain sections of the song. The movement and the music were just the things he needed after the long and hard week of tests he had endured. His mind began to clear.
After a little while, Chan decided to visit Woozi's channel to see if there were any more videos posted. Clicking around, he found the uploads page and saw that there were only four other videos. Selecting the most recent one, Chan sat back and listened.
It was a slower song and more somber, but somehow it gave Chan the same feeling. A tugging in his chest. An itch. One that he didn't exactly know how to scratch.
Throughout the night, he played the five songs over and over, enjoying the composition and feeling of each. Chan even subscribed to the channel, already eager for the next song.
That night, as he fell asleep in his bed, he stared up at the ceiling suddenly feeling not as lost in his life as he had been earlier.
The next week, every day when Chan came home from school, even when it was late, he listened and choreographed dances to Woozi's songs. He sang occasionally too. Every afternoon, he hoped he would come home to a new song by Woozi. However, no videos had been posted in three months.
So life continued on for Chan, but it seemed just a little brighter.
One day, when he arrived home from school, his mother was waiting for him in the kitchen, a serious expression on her face. Chan wondered what could be wrong as he took a seat across from her.
"Chan, we need to talk about your plans for the future. In a few months you'll be graduating and it's beneficial to have some sort of idea of what you would like to have as a career," she said.
Chan let out a quiet sigh. "Mom, I agree with you. But, I just really don't know. It's hard for me. It feels like I would like everything but at the same time nothing appeals to me. I just don't know what's wrong with me."
"Nothing's wrong with you, sweetheart." She reached out to grasp his hand, trying to comfort him. "I know many people who felt the same way as you around this age. Just so you know, I don't really care what you do as a career as long as it makes you happy, Chan. So if you are worried about that, don't be."
Chan clutched at her hand, close to tears at her kind words. "Thank you, mom. I love you so so much." And then he sobbed.
As she pulled him into a tight hug, his thoughts drifted to Woozi's songs, singing, and dancing. Thinking about those things made his mind clear and made him feel warm inside. Like his mother. Like home.
A few months later, after weeks and weeks of listening to Wooz's voice every day, Chan was pretty sure he had fallen in love with it. As he began to hopelessly check for updates for the second time that day, he was surprised when he saw a new video by Woozi pop up. Quickly, he clicked the thumbnail, and the song began playing.
The beautiful sound of the voice filled his ears. This time it was a sad song, but somehow it made Chan feel happy. The high notes were hit perfectly and the backing track blended nicely with the vocals, as always. Chan's heart was nearly beating out of his chest as he listened to the song. And suddenly, it was over.
Chan just sat there staring at his computer, his mind processing what he had heard.
Scrolling down the page to the comment box, he began typing. Hi, Woozi. I discovered your songs a few months ago, and I thought they were all absolutely perfect. I can't believe you do this yourself. It's absolutely amazing. Thank you for making these, and if you haven't already, you should consider a career in music. By the way, this song was awesome as well!
Chan read over his message again and again and finally pressed send. He hoped he would get a reply.
Days later, there was no reply, and weeks later, there was still no reply. Chan was sad, but still glad that there was a chance that Woozi had read the comment, if nothing else. He was in the process of choreographing a dance to Woozi's most recent song and was thinking of performing it for his school's creative talents showcase at the end of the school year.
So, he practiced it every day, and finally, the day of the showcase rolled around. The drive to his school was nerve-wracking. He couldn't remember being so nervous any other time in his life.
Noticing his grimace, his mother spoke. "Breathe, Chan. I know you'll do well. Don't focus on anything about the audience. Just feel your music, and just dance."
Chan nodded shakily. Minutes later, they arrived and he hugged his mother and went backstage. As he waited nervously, he remembered his mother's encouragement. It made him feel better.
He heard the distant murmuring of the audience, and the loud voice of the announcer.
"Next, let's welcome to the stage Lee Chan, performing a self-choreographed dance!"
Chan stepped out onto the stage, walking purposefully to his beginning position. He stood with his head down, and Woozi's song began to play. With sharp, intense movements, he danced. Sweating, he conveyed the emotions of the song with his actions. Chan traveled across the stage, moving with precision. It was a rush, performing like he was. With a sharp spin on the ending notes of the song, he ended with his fist hitting the stage as he crouched, a final flourish on the last note.
Breathing heavily, Chan looked up to see cheers and clapping all around him. It was very loud and he smiled, bowing as he stood up.
Later, his mother hugged him and told him how proud she was. He just smiled.
Checking Woozi's channel that night, he noticed there was a new video. However, the thumbnail was a black background and it was titledAnnouncement. Nervously, Chan clicked on it. Hello, it began. This is Woozi. I have decided to announce that I will not be releasing any more music on this channel. I'm sorry to everyone who has followed me, but for personal reasons, I am not able to continue. Thank you for your support and I wish you the best. Goodbye.
Chan was stunned as the video ended. He couldn't believe that this person with such an amazing voice and music production skills would just stop. He was very puzzled. He thought and thought for a long while.
He decided he wanted to show Woozi, whoever he was, that he should come back to music. That he should sing. Chan decided he would use his talent for dancing and would work on his singing, in order to become an idol trainee. He knew if he succeeded, eventually he might be able to reach Woozi and inspire him. With these thoughts, his future finally looked clear to him. This was the most sure he had been of any decision in his life, all for the beautiful voice he fallen in love with.
Chan informed his mother of his decision and she supported him, saying she was happy as long as he was happy. They looked at auditions for weeks, finally settling on a smaller company called Pledis Entertainment. Chan practiced his dance he had performed for the showcase for the next weeks. Graduation came and went, but Chan was focused on the audition.
Finally, it was the day of the audition and Chan was vibrating out of his skin with nervousness. He stood in line, hundreds of others around him rapping, singing, and practicing dances.
As he felt someone bump into him, he turned around, seeing a boy with distinctive eyes, sporting a headband.
"Oh! I'm sorry; I didn't mean to bump into you. Are you auditioning too?" the boy asked.
"Yes, I'm dancing for my audition," Chan replied with a smile.
"Me too! Maybe we'll be in the same group then. My name's Soonyoung."
"Lee Chan. Nice to meet you."
Looking around the room, Soonyoung leaned forward just a bit. "So what made you want to become an idol? I really enjoy choreographing and performing dances, so I chose to try this out."
"Um...A few months ago, I heard this self-produced song, and the person who sang and composed it was amazing. Although, last month, he posted a video saying he wasn't going to be making songs for the channel anymore, out of the blue. I want to find him and reach out to him, and I figured this would be a great way to do that, so I'm here."
As Chan finished speaking, he noticed Soonyoung had an amazed expression on his face, his mouth hanging open slightly.
"That's amazing. It's a great reason!"
Chan laughed and they began to talk for a while as they waited in line.
Finally, they were put into a group of dancers and told they would be auditioning next. Chan picked at his fingernails nervously as they waited. Even Soonyoung who had been so excited looked a little scared.
The group was taken to a large room where a long table filled with judges lined the side of the room. A man dressed in a suit made his way over to them.
"Hello, everyone. In about one minute, we will begin playing music. You may freestyle for thirty seconds and then we will switch to another song. After two songs, you will each individually perform the dance you have prepared. Good luck to you all."
Chan clinched his fists in nervous anticipation and located a spot to stand in order to be able to be seen by all the judges. He stood there for a few seconds and then the music began playing. Feeling the rhythm, he allowed his body to relax and just move freely. He tried his best to really feel the music. The song cut off and nearly immediately, a new one started playing.
He glanced at Soonyoung. It seemed like he was doing well, and he looked to be a good dancer. Chan continued to dance, and then suddenly the freestyle section was over. Everyone stopped and lined up in front of the judges' table.
"We will call you in in alphabetical order. Lee Chan, stay here. You will be performing first," said a judge.
Chan nodded and walked to the center mark, taking his place. Woozi's song began playing from the speakers and Chan danced. He danced with all his heart, making his movements intense and sharp. Because he was so nervous, the performance felt like a blur but he felt like he tried his best, so he was happy. He thanked the judges with a broad smile and exited the room.
Noticing Soonyoung waiting next in line to perform for the judges, he stopped.
"Good luck! I know you'll do great and let's hope we see each other again soon," Chan said.
Soonyoung nodded and smiled.
Pledis had said they would inform everyone that had passed the audition within a week, and it was the last day and Chan had not received a call. He was perhaps more nervous than he had been when he actually auditioned.
Suddenly, his cell phone began to ring. He snatched it quickly off the table and answered the call.
"Hello, is this Lee Chan?" a voice said.
"Yes. This is him speaking," Chan replied.
"Hello. I am a representative of Pledis Entertainment and I'm calling to inform you that you have passed the audition. You are now an official trainee under Pledis Entertainment. Please come by the company in the next few days and we will sort out the details of your training arrangements. Good luck to you."
Chan dropped the phone in shock, not believing what he had just heard. He had done it. He was one step closer to reaching Woozi.