Five years after competing on Mnet’s SIXTEEN (the survival show which formed TWICE) and three years after leaving JYP Entertainment, Natty finally made her debut this May. However, her road to becoming an idol certainly wasn’t easy. In a new interview with The Korea Herald, Natty revealed the truth about the hardships of being a K-Pop trainee for so long.
Now 19 years old, (which explains the title of her debut single, “Nineteen”), Natty first arrived in South Korea at the age of 13. She was originally born in Thailand, and only joined JYP Entertainment because she loved singing and dancing so much.
At the time, I innocently thought I was just going to learn and grow a lot and had no idea how complicated the training process would be.
For many foreign idols, the hardest part about becoming a K-Pop trainee is leaving the home and family you’ve known your whole life and transitioning to a whole new culture. Moving to Korea was definitely an adjustment for Natty, but it wasn’t the toughest part of her journey.
When I first came to Korea, I didn’t know the language at all except for ‘Hello’ and had to cram learning Korean as much as possible, as quickly as possible to join conversations and express what I wanted and thought, to survive.
For Natty, the hardest thing of all was the uncertainty of being a trainee. After she failed to make the final cut for TWICE, Natty joined Idol School in 2017. Though she showed a lot of promise, she ultimately ranked #13, so she didn’t make it into fromis_9 either.
This left Natty in a position where she had no idea when she was going to debut, each day facing her with the same repetitive training. Thankfully, she was able to come up with a few ways to relieve her stress and anxiety.
I relieved my stress by turning off all the lights in the practice room and dancing however I liked or running outside by the river. That helped me to start over again with regained energy.
Natty finally got her lucky break when she joined Swing Entertainment. The company saw her perform at KCON Thailand last year and was overwhelmed by her talent.
It was on that stage that the company saw some potential in me, and suggested debuting as a solo artist.
Natty says her parents likely would’ve stopped her from making the journey to Korea if they’d known they’d be apart from her for so long. So, it’s no surprise that they were overjoyed to hear she’d be debuting this year.
My parents were also there to see my [KCON Thailand] performance and were incredibly happy, much happier than I was actually, when they heard the news of my debut.
After joining Swing Entertainment, Natty was finally able to put her unwavering determination and optimism into music. The company allowed her to imbue her debut album with authenticity, the lyrics of “Nineteen” focusing on starting all over again when you feel like giving up.
Now she’s finally standing proud on the stage, Natty says her ultimate goal is to keep being a positive, happy influence on people.
Through my music, whatever genre it may be, R&B or hip-hop or even jazz, I’d like to give energy to people and make them happy.