From the survival show monster rapper and performer to the backbone of a leading 4th gen K-Pop girl group, Soyeon's
had quite the journey leading up to where and who she is today. Born in August 1998, Soyeon was homeschooled before attending elementary school. She studied ballet at that time and managed to win several competitions. However, she ended up quitting ballet and pursuing a career in music after being inspired by a Big Bang performance during her 3rd year in junior school. Fun fact:
Soyeon's audition piece at CUBE was G Dragon's 'This Love' (Source
)! Before auditioning and becoming a trainee at CUBE, however, Soyeon secretly attended over 20 other auditions, all of which she failed.
It was after that when Soyeon decided to pursue rapping. At that age, she even started writing her own lyrics but didn't show them to others (she has since said that ever since she started rapping, she started writing. She admitted that she doesn't like to rap what others have written but herself). After gathering up the courage, she started rapping at auditions, after which she started receiving calls back. However, her musical direction was different from those places. So, she let go of the singing dream and picked up street dancing. In 2014, at the age of 16, Soyeon saw a CUBE audition poster and decided to give it a shot. The rest, as we call it, is history.
In January of 2016, Soyeon was CUBE's representative trainee on Produce 101. Some highlight performances during her time on that show include a cover performance of 4Minute's 'Crazy'
as well as a performance of 'Turtle Ship'
. It was during that time when she faced a lot of negative comments about her looks which undoubtedly took a toll on her self esteem. But she kept at it and ended up ranking 20th in the final episode of the show. She failed to make it into I.O.I, however. Perhaps that was for the best.
In July of that year, Soyeon (17 years old) participated in the 3rd season of the survival show Unpretty Rapstar. During her time on that show, Soyeon proved her skills to everyone, and solidified her reputation as a very promising talent. Here are some of my favourite performances of hers on the show (with English subs where available): 'She's Coming' one-take MV
, her infamous 1v1 diss battle versus CoolKid
, her 2v2 diss battle with Nada versus Grace & AshB
, her 1v1 elimination battle versus JooYeon
, her song 'Smile' ft. DAVII
(imo this is Soyeon's most emotional rap song I've ever heard. She also performed this with Minnie
), her song 'Scary'
in which we get a taste of why Soyeon's a scary rapper, and 'Children's Day' (ft. Superbee)
. Fun fact
: Soyeon was so feared and respected on the show that despite being the youngest contestant, the others nicknamed her 'scary unnie' (Source
)! The show ended with Soyeon taking 3rd place.
After the survival shows, Soyeon solo debuted in 2017 with the self-composed and arranged song Jelly
(which featured cameos by Pentagon's Wooseok and Dawn, as well as Kuanlin and Woochan, and a certain CUBE trainee with a fox mask hmmm 🤔). She then followed up that release with another self-composed song called Idle Song
. Fun fact
: this song was inspired by SpongeBob (Source
)! The song itself is a triple entendre: the repeating melody and rhythm indicate a literal
idle song that goes nowhere. The lyrics also talk about an idle relationship that's going nowhere. ALSO, the song hints at the debut of (G)I-DLE, where the lyrics "maybe we need something fresh" doesn't only refer to the relationship but to the industry. The MV features scenes of a world map with 6 darts on them: 3 in Korea, 1 in China, 1 in Taiwan, and 1 in Thailand, each representing a member of (G)I-DLE. The mysterious fox lady also makes an appearance 🤔
On May 2nd, 2018, (G)I-DLE finally debuted as prophesied in Idle Song, with Soyeon as its leader and main rapper. However, the group wouldn't have debuted if it weren't for Soyeon. In an episode of Idol Room with (G)I-DLE and Pentagon, Soyeon describes that there was no title track for the group's debut. Pentagon's very own Hui (most underappreciated talent in the industry BTW) advised Soyeon to compose a song herself and pitch it to CUBE. After a blind selection, LATATA
came into this world (surprise surprise the fox lady is Soojin!). Exactly 20 days after debut, (G)I-DLE got their first music show win. Soyeon also contributed to the writing of 5 songs on their debut album I Am
. Soyeon went on to compose Hann
, which furthered the group's success in their first year. The group went on to receive 8 ROTY awards and 10 awards in total that year, and were labelled as Monster Rookies. They also performed at the 2018 MMA
, capturing even more attention.
In the same year, Soyeon was featured on SM Station's Wow Thing
alongside SinB, Seulgi, and ChungHa. This marks the first (annual lmao) SM collab, later followed by Key's 'I Wanna Be'
in 2019, and HYO's 'Dessert'
in 2020 (in all of which Soyeon took part in writing). Riot Games also approached Soyeon and Miyeon for a collaboration as part of the virtual group K/DA for Worlds 2018. POP/STARS
immediately became a revolutionary sensation, turning hundreds of thousands of people towards K-Pop, and Soyeon's part in playing Akali was one of its highlights. In 2019, Soyeon composed CLC's No
(as a gift which she refused to take royalties from), a lead single with which the group went on to receive their first music show win. Working with Bick Sancho and with the help of Brazilian TV personality Carlos Gorito, Soyeon composed Senorita
on their second mini album I Made
(as well as the rest of the songs). Soyeon also released the heartfelt song The Loveless
. Riot Games later collaborated with Soyeon yet again, this time for GIANTS
by True Damage for Worlds 2019. In the same year, (G)I-DLE was part of Queendom, where Soyeon yet again shone as a producer, composer, director, and performer. Here are my favourite performances: Opening Performance
(in which she claimed the title of fastest female idol rapper, as one does), a rearrangement of LATATA
, a Nightmare Version of Put It Straight
, and the holy grail that is LION
. Fun fact
: LION was, in part, inspired by The Lion King (Source
In 2020, following their Queendom success, (G)I-DLE released their I Trust
album, all of which's songs including the title track Oh My God
were composed by Soyeon and Bick Sancho from YummyTone, a long-time collaborator ever since (G)I-DLE's first mini album. Later in 2020, the group released DUMDi DUMDi
, written by Soyeon, their first ever song with a bright summer concept. Fun fact
: this song was, in part, inspired by Zootopia (Source
)! Soyeon was also approached by Apink's Namjoo, who asked her to produce her debut song Bird
. Fun Fact
: Namjoo saw Soyeon at a vending machine at a music show and decided to approach her about writing her debut song! (Source
). Later in 2020, Riot Games yet again collaborated with Soyeon and Miyeon for K/DA's The Baddest
and title track More
Soyeon's had an incredible journey filled with many ups and downs, many challenges and struggles throughout her career so far, and she has always overcome them. From being rejected tens of times to dealing with negativity and hatred from people about her looks, her voice, and literally everything she does, she still managed to rise above it all. Her growth from the shy 17 year old survival show contestant to the powerhouse of talent, charisma, and skill that she is today is truly inspiring. From street dancing to rapping, to a solo debut, then a debut with a group of like-minded talents, Soyeon has found her place in (G)I-DLE. She's lucky to have them just as they are lucky to have her. If you've made it this far, thank you for reading my (very) long post and I hope you've enjoyed it!
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