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“I want [us] to be more than just idols. I want each and every member of the group to be an artist of their own,” said co-leader Choi Hyun Suk, sharing his vision with The CNBC Conversation.
His dream has always been to perform at the US Superbowl halftime show, said the 24-year-old artist, the oldest member of the band.
“I know it’s really hard, but that kind of dream, even if I just reach the brink of that dream, I really want us to hold on to that dream and not let it fade away — just like how I envision our group, Treasure.”
Treasure made its debut in 2020 while Covid-19 was spreading wildly around the world. It started out as a 12-member band but two of them left in November last year, leaving the boy band with just 10 members.
Three of its members — Choi and his co-leader Park Jihoon (who goes by the stage name Jihoon), as well as rapper Yoshinori Kanemoto, better known as Yoshi — spoke to CNBC about the humble beginnings of the group.
The boy band was formed through a reality-survival program called YG Treasure Box, where trainees competed for a spot on what would become the boy band now called Treasure.
Each of the contestants trained with YG for a different number of years — with the longest being 6 years, before they competed in YG’s Treasure Box.
Other South Korean entertainment companies, such as SM Entertainment and Hybe, also conduct K-pop training programmes.
YG’s performance review for the trainees “tests our personal ability to perform,” Jihoon said, adding that they typically look for people who match the company’s vision for an artist.
“It seems simple but it’s also quite a difficult process,” the 23-year-old said.
The show ended in January 2019 and Treasure debuted one year later, releasing their first debut single album in August 2020.
The debut happened as the Covid pandemic was still raging around the world and live concerts were not allowed. It forced the group to rely on promoting their music online — an experience that was new to the band.
“I think as artists, it’s a ‘human-to-human’ job, which is why broadcasts and stage performances are different when there aren’t fans standing in front of us, and instead we have to upload videos,” Jihoon said.
“There were some moments where it felt that interaction was lacking a bit.”
Asked about some of the biggest lessons learned so far, they said spending more time to practice is paramount.
In the past, we definitely regret not having spent our time [wisely.] But as time went by, we are [learning] how to better spend our time and use our time more wisely,” Jihoon said, adding that they’ve realized how important skills like rapping, dancing and singing are for performing artists.
The senior artists [told] us that when we debuted, we’re going to regret not having practiced more,” Hyun Suk added. “I think we’ve definitely felt that directly. And that’s what’s getting us to practice more.”
What will they say to aspiring artists who want to be like them? Overcome your failures.
“Just because you failed, don’t beat yourself up over it. I’ve really failed a lot, I think,” Jihoon said. “Every time I went through that failure, I feel like I’ve learned how to get up and move on, and that’s why I’m where I’m at today.”
Yoshi, the group’s 23-year-old Japanese-Korean rapper, added that time spent with loved ones will be sacrificed on the journey.
“If you started this journey because you wanted to achieve this dream that much, you have to enjoy it to make it worth it — no matter how difficult it is.”
Earlier this month, YG announced Treasure’s second full album will be released July 28. Their last full album was in 2021.
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