Nowadays, most people know Kang So Yeon from Single’s Inferno, Neflix‘s first Korean dating-reality show. She is not, however, new to the entertainment industry.
Eleven years ago, in 2011, So Yeon debuted in a co-ed K-Pop group called WE. Back then, So Yeon went by the stage name Rosie. She was the group’s only female member.
Historically, many co-ed K-Pop groups have struggled to find success, and unfortunately, WE was no exception. WE released their first digital single “Biga” on November 1, 2011, followed by their mini-album, WE the Party, on February 21, 2012.
In a new Q&A video, So Yeon spoke candidly about her idol days and the struggles her group faced. “I was a trainee for five years, and then we debuted,” she said. “One mini-album and one regular album.”
She mentioned two of the group’s songs, “비가 (Rainy)” and “Party.”
WE called their fans WE-gookin (“WE-foreigners”) because, according to So Yeon, all their fans were foreigners. “We debuted in Korea, targeting Korean fans,” she said. “But 100% of our fans were foreigners. When we’d perform on a music show, those who were holding our placard were foreigners.”
Sadly, WE-gookin couldn’t save the group from disbandment. “We did have fun while it lasted,” So Yeon said. “But the company wasn’t in a situation where we could continue to make albums.”
Stone Music Entertainment (formerly CJ E&M Music) has been home to dozens of artists over the years, including WE, Lee Hyori, I.O.I, Wanna One, IZ*ONE, X1, and Heize.
“I’m really thankful that we are being mentioned again,” So Yeon said. Single’s Inferno renewed fans’ interest in WE. “It made me realize that all of those [times] weren’t for nothing, because I was constantly told that my life had failed.”
“‘You weren’t a real singer,’ ‘That wasn’t even real music,’ ‘Anybody can say that they were musicians,’ Those are the things I was told,” So Yeon said. “Some people may not remember our songs, but I saw comments on Instagram; ‘I liked that song,’ ‘That’s my workout jam!’ ‘I used to love that song!’ I even had Korean fans saying that.”
So Yeon overcame struggles not only as an idol but also as an aspiring actress who was told she didn’t fit the industry’s beauty standard. Now, in 2022, So Yeon is moving on to bigger and better things. What a queen!