In the K-pop (Korean pop) industry, it is a well-known component of an idol’s life to be signed under a contract with an agency that would be responsible for the trajectory of their careers. K-idols undergo the rigorous process of being trainees with an uncertain future ahead of them. They have to attend dance, vocal and even language workshops and go through weekly evaluations before they are officially debuted by their agency. Choosing an agency could very well make or break an idol’s career.
Renowned Korean boy group GOT7 has been under JYP Entertainment for seven long years until the group decided to leave together in January of 2021. “Ahgases” (GOT7’s fandom) have long associated the group’s departure from the agency with the mistreatment they have faced over the years such as stunted pre-order periods, low-budget promotions and overall just prohibiting the members to pursue solo endeavors while being in the group.
When they left the agency on Jan. 10, 2021, a lot of K-pop fans thought they had seen the end of GOT7 because that was the only reasonable conclusion after their departure from the “Big Three” agency’s management.
However, the septet was able to prove the world wrong after they released “Encore” just a month after leaving JYP Entertainment. The song is a heartfelt ballad about keeping their promise to the fans: “We will sing for you for the rest of our days.” The song depicts their undying devotion not just to their fandom but to each other as well.
Fast forward to 2022, after a year of focusing on their solo works under different agencies, GOT7 reunites for a long-awaited comeback with their self-titled EP, “GOT7” featuring the lead single “NANANA” released last May 23. They are among the few K-pop acts to ever stage a comeback despite not being under one agency and after such a short while, too. The group’s leader, Jay B expressed how difficult it was for them to match up to their individual jam-packed schedules but they still managed to pull through for the love of music and each other. Of course, they also wanted to thank their fans for sticking by their side, may it be for group or solo endeavors.
Jackson Wang, who runs his own label, “Team Wang Productions,” shares in an interview how different it was to promote his solo music without the members by his side. He was the first among the seven of them to promote as a solo act back in 2017 while still in JYP Entertainment. He shares how he is still not used to having no one to goof around with. Jackson shares how coming back with GOT7 feels like being on a playground: “It feels like Everland.”
Everland is the name of South Korea’s largest theme park.
GOT7 is able to prove not just to the K-pop industry but to the whole world that idols shouldn’t be held back by their agencies. They are a testament that a group could still succeed outside of an agency’s exploitative rein. GOT7 is able to redefine the career path idols are obliged to take just to stay in one group. They are proof that their love for music and their bond as brothers is enough to keep the group going.
May 31, 2022
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