Saturday, 25 October 2008

Chapter 145: SHINE

I am soooo sorry I took so long to post this. I just realised the first version of Sierra's solo 'Crazy' was so sloppy. So I took a longer time to jazz up 'Crazy (Version II)' for her duet with T.O.P. Hopefully it sounds better this time :P

I'll be writing songs again for the next few chapters. So I hope you're looking forward to them. There will be at least 3-4 new songs written for Sierra's solo ^_^


Shoei and I stared at Skye, boggled.

“Waegeurae?” I asked him.

“You never stop with the self-depreciating. You know damn well you can do it, and yet you keep whining about how you can’t,” he said.

“Oh sure… I can do it,” I said. “But how successful will I be?”

“The producers will do everything to make sure you’re successful. Whoever’s idea this was… his ass will be on the line if your album is a flop,” Skye said. “You need to buck up and make sure you don’t screw up.”

This was one of the very rare occasions Skye had ever exploded. I guess I’d been a little too vocal with my concerns of my own ability. But this was my solo debut. Everything was on the line.

“Skye’s right,” Shoei said. “And you know that no matter what happens, you have us to fall back on. It’s better than you going solo only after we’ve disbanded.”

I blinked at the both of them. This was them giving me their moral support, just as Jae Joong had, not too long ago. I felt the world weighing on my shoulders, and yet the men in my life are making sure that I know that I could shoulder this burden and that they were not far behind when things get too tough.

“Mian…” I smiled at them both. “I’ll stop with the complaints from now.”

“Good,” Shoei smiled. “Supper anyone?”

“What? Didn’t you come back from dinner with your new wife,” Skye teased.

“Yea… she pulled a 180 on me during dinner,” he said. “I was a little afraid of eating her cooking by then.”

“What do you mean?” I asked him.

“She couldn’t cook. From yesterday, till breakfast today,” he said. “And finally tonight… her food suddenly became edible.”

“Huh?” Skye said.

“Damn right,” he laughed. “I think she was pretending not to know how to cook.”

“Why would she do that?” I asked him.

“I don’t know. And I intend to find out. She’s a sweet girl… but there’s definitely something going on.”

“Something going on?” Skye said.

“Yea…” Shoei said, and took another sip of his tea.

“I’ll get supper,” I said as I got up and went to the kitchen.

[Su Bin’s POV]

I waited patiently for Darren oppa to arrive. He said he’d pick me up after my filming of We Got Married. I had to walk a safe distance from the apartment Shoei and I shared and called him to tell him where I was. He arrived 15 minutes later.

“Hey there,” he smiled as I got into the car.

I leant over to kiss him on the cheek, and he kissed me back.

“So? How’s the plan coming?” he asked me.

I’d dreaded the entire day because I wasn’t ready to tell him that the plan was failing.

“Oppa… uri keumanhaja?” I said.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“He’s a nice guy,” I said.

“Nice guy?”

“Everything I did to him, he just took it in and smile,” I explained. “There’s no way I could get him to misbehave.”

“Did you do what I told you to?”

“I couldn’t do everything you asked me to. I have my own reputation to worry about,” I said.

“Then what did you manage to do?”

“I screwed up every meal I cooked, and I brought up some uncomfortable subjects, hoping he would slip up when responding to me.”

“And he still behaved like an angel?” Darren oppa asked.

“He was a little distant throughout the whole shoot, but otherwise, he was perfect.”

“These SM kids sure know how to put on a good show,” he muttered.

“I can’t do anything to him without hurting myself, oppa. I can’t do this anymore,” I explained.

“You can’t or you won’t,” he asked.

“I want to help you, oppa. But you have to think of my career too,” I said.

“Araso…” he conceded. “Then we’ll just have to find another way then,” he said, grimly. “Let’s get you home, then.”

I watched as he put the car into gear and drove onto the road. The wheels in his head were turning… and I was afraid of what he was planning next.

[Sierra’s POV]

I’m going crazy…

I’ve been running all over Seoul just to meet my schedules this week. The management had arranged for some of my ‘Girls on Top’ scenes to be brought forward so that we could make a little room for the recording sessions with T.O.P and G-Dragon that will today. They’ve wrapped up the recording for S-Cube’s 4th album, which was simply titled ‘S3 - 4eva’.

I rushed into the recording studios where everyone was already waiting for me.

“Sierra…” the producer said, disapprovingly.

“Mian..” I said. “I just got off filming the drama.”

“This is G-Dragon, and T.O.P,” he introduced, ignoring my excuse.

I turned to find the 2 famed Big Bang members sitting right in front of me. I’d been so concerned about getting in on time that I hadn’t noticed them.

“Hi,” G-Dragon stood up and extended his hand. “You can call me Ji Yong.”

“And you can call me Seung Hyun,” T.O.P said, extending his hand as well.

“Pangapseumnida,” I said as I shook both their hands. “You can call me Sierra.”

They laughed at my lame attempt at a joke, but oddly enough, I’m already beginning to feel at ease with them.

T.O.P or Seung Hyun, as I now know him as, was tall, serious and exuded masculinity. But beneath that exterior was someone who seemed to enjoy whatever it is he did. G-Dragon or Ji Yong, was small and slim, probably slimmer than me, and he was flamboyant and adorable. It was obvious how much he loved producing as much as he loved singing. Both were talented and professional. I felt that I had a long way to go in terms of becoming on par with them.

“Ready to roll?” Seung Hyun asked me.

“Yea,” I smiled.

“Here…” he said, handing me a sheet of the new lyrics that had his lines in them now.

“I can never get over how good your English is,” I said to him.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“You can sing and rap without a hint of Korean accent,” I said.

“You should see the number of hours we put into fixing the accent,” he laughed.

“Yes… especially when you’ve never lived abroad,” I smiled as we both got up and went into the recording booth.

“If it makes you feel better… I’m at awe of your command in English and other languages. How many do you speak? 5?” he asked.

“You read up on me?” I asked, a little shocked.

“I never had, but when I found out that I was going to work with you, I thought I should at least know a thing or two about you,” he laughed.

“Oh… you mean you were never interested in knowing about me till now,” I said, pretending to be a little offended.

“Of course I like your work, if that’s what you’re getting at,” he laughed. “I listen to your songs, but that doesn’t mean I have to memorize your biography.”

“Right,” I smiled. “But you’re a little off the mark.”


“I speak 7 languages,” I grinned.

“7?” he exclaimed.

“English, Malay, Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese, Korean and German.”

“You’re scaring me,” he laughed as we put on our headphones.

“Are we ready?” the producer interrupted us.

“Ne,” the both of us answered.

“Crazy…” Ji Yong drawled into the talkback microphone, “take 1.”

The music played, and it was a different beat from my solo version. This time, there was a more Hip Hop vibe, to complement Seung Hyung’s rap input.

-Start Dialogue-
T.O.P: Hey baby…
Sierra: Hey T.O.P…
T.O.P: You look so fine today
Sierra: Do I?
T.O.P: You’re driving me crazy, y’know
Sierra: Guess what?
T.O.P: Wut?
Sierra: So are you…
-End Dialogue-

T.O.P: Yo so wicked girl
Girl you look so fine
There ain’t ever been a female so divine
I could go on all day, if I had my way
But I’d much rather listen to that sexy voice
So, holler at me lady…

Sierra: Let me look in your eyes
Let me see through your mind~
Won’t you hold my hand
Make me feel alright~

It’s just not gonna work
If you’re not gonna tell me~
It’s just not gonna work
If you can’t be a man about it~

T.O.P: You’re asking me to be a man
I’m telling you, baby, I am that man
But you don’t seem to be listening girl
What I gotta do to get some attention girl
Seems like we’re going round in circles
But you know that we’re so good together
Close your eyes now and gimme your hand
I’ll make you go, go crazy again…

Sierra: Baby, baby, it’s the words that you say
They just kill me, kill me, kill me… oh yeah
Baby, baby, it’s that smile on your face
You drive me crazy…

T.O.P: Crazy…

Sierra: Let me open your eyes
Let me open your mind, mind~
T.O.P: My mind it’s going wild, so wild,
And my heart, it’s beating like, beating like…
Sierra: I have your hand in mine
Don’t you feel alright, alright~
T.O.P: I just gotta ask you something...
Is this what heaven feels like

Sierra: This has got to work
And you’re so gonna tell me, tell me~
T.O.P: I’ll tell you one thing, baby girl, so listen up
Sierra: This is so gonna work
Baby now that you love me, love me~
T.O.P: I love you foxy lady, you’re my one and only
Sierra: Now that you love me!

T.O.P: So now you’re listening to my every word
We’ve come so far now, it’s getting good
You’re into me, I’m into you
Don’t ever leave me baby, whatever you do
I’m feeling so hot, just thinking of you
You’re taking me apart with that look of yours
You’re mine, you’re fine, yeah, so sublime
I’m going crazy, Sierra… baby…

Sierra: Baby, baby, it’s the words that you say
They just kill me, kill me, kill me… oh yeah
Baby, baby, it’s that smile on your face
You drive me crazy…

Sierra: Yeah… forevermore
As corny as it may sound
T.O.P: What corny? Never heard of it
Sierra: Yeah… there’ll be no other
As long as you’re around
T.O.P: I’ll always be around…
Sierra: Oh yeah… baby

Sierra: Baby, baby, it’s the words that you say
They just kill me, kill me, kill me… oh yeah
Baby, baby, it’s that smile on your face
You drive me crazy…
T.O.P: Crazy, baby…

As soon as the song ended, everyone in the recording booth started clapping. Seung Hyung and I bowed to them and gave each other a quick hug.

“Good job for a first take,” the producer said as we walked into the control room.

“I think they have good chemistry,” Ji Yong said. “That’s always the case when the first take is good.”

“Or it could’ve been the fact that we both spent hours practicing with the demo?” Seung Hyung said.

“I’ll say both,” I laughed.

“This is a good start,” the producer said as they started playing back the recording.

I sounded decent, Seung Hyun sounded awesome. Is this really going to be a moneymaker for SM, and a start of a new career for me?

Friday, 3 October 2008

Chapter 144: HEY! (Don't Bring Me Down)

[Sierra’s POV]

I’m back in the studios, and from the look on hyung’s face… I can see he has something planned for me, but he wasn’t going to tell me yet.

“Where’s Skye?” I asked hyung.

“He went for a last minute radio show,” he said. “We’d better start recording.”

I went into the booth and spent the next 3 hours there until the producers were satisfied. When the session ended, I was asked to sit down at the table. The 2 producers and hyung were about to deliver me the news they’d been holding back all day.

“We’d just fixed a deal with YG,” the producer said. “We’ve decided to bring forward your mini album.”

“What?” I exclaimed.

“Calm down, Sierra,” hyung said.

“Am I even ready for a solo career?” I asked.

“It’s been 3 years, almost 4. We should think you’re ready,” the other producer said.

“Part of your album, including another version of ‘Crazy’, will be produced by YG,” the producer continued. “And YG has picked one of their artistes to collaborate with you on the mini album version of ‘Crazy’.”

“Who is it?” I asked.

“T.O.P,” the producer said.

I sank back in my chair. This was getting more and more surreal by the minute. The whole idea of me having my own mini album was still hard to digest, and now they’re adding to it by telling me that not only is it being brought forward, it was going to get a huge amount of exposure by featuring T.O.P from Big Bang. That little appearance he had made for Uhm Jung Hwa’s D.I.S.C.O had already made it phenomenal overnight. I wondered if I could hold my own next to him.

“We’re going to start recording concurrently with your existing schedule. You’re going to be extra busy, so you’ll need to try to cope,” hyung said.

“You’ll continue to shoot ‘Girls On Top’, and we will try to fit in these recording sessions in the night, and you may miss some of your days off. You’d better be prepared,” the producer pointed out.

“Are you people really sure?” I asked them, looking from one face to the other.

“It’s decided,” the other producer said, matter-of-factly. “You just need to follow your schedule.”

“I’ll work out your new schedule soon. We may need to shift some of your events around since we’ll need to synchronize with T.O.P and G-Dragon.”

“G-Dragon?” I stammered.

The name dropping was driving me crazy. I’m going to be working with all these talented people on my solo debut, and I don’t even feel ready.

“He’ll be producing a few of your songs. T.O.P will record ‘Crazy’ with you and help out with the producing of the tracks too,” hyung explained.

“Gawd…” I exclaimed, as soon as the 2 producers had left.

“You really need to relax, Sierra. You stressing is not going to help produce a quality album,” hyung said.

“You people are really just springing everything on me,” I said. “It’s driving me nuts.”

“Get used to it,” hyung said. “At least they’re not putting you on ice…”

“S-Cube isn’t dying,” I said. “They have no reason to do that to me. I only expected them to try and boost Skye and Shoei’s popularity, since guys are easier to market. I never thought they’d push me up first.”

“They’re making their investments worth it… so you’d better not disappoint them.”

“When will our first session be?” I asked hyung.

“Next week,” he said. “It’s a good thing this 4th album is taking less time than the last one. We’ll have it on the market in time before the awards, and hope for at least a win.”

“Is that why you’re rushing the mini album as well? So that I can try to get a nomination?”

“Something like that…” he said. “If we can’t get the album out on time, we’ll release a single instead.”

“The management really is going for the kill this year,” I said.

“There are too many new acts in the market this year… just like every year, and we need you kids to exert some dominance in the market.”

“Sure…” I sighed. “Whatever you big shots want.”

That night, I called Jae Joong and whined.

“I think you can cancel your plans to come back,” I said.

“Wae? What happened?” he exclaimed.

“Remember what I told you about my mini album yesterday?”


“Plans have changed…” I said.

“To what?”

“They’re bringing forward my mini album, and we’re collaborating with YG.”


“If we can’t make a mini album on time, then we’ll just release a single.”

“They’re rushing to get you in the running for the awards season?” he said.

“Bingo…” I drawled.

“Are you sure you can handle it?”

“Why not? Filming a drama, making an album with my own band, and making another with artistes from a rival company. All in a day’s work,” I said.

“Now you’ve got me worried,” he said.

“Don’t be,” I said. “I’ll be fine. I’m just worried that I won’t be on par with T.O.P,” I said.

“T.O.P’s been hauled in?” he asked.

“And G-Dragon is producing. So, yea… I’m really nervous now,” I said.

“Well, he’s a rapper,” Jae Joong pointed out.

“He can actually sing,” I said. “And he has this unbelievable stage presence. How am I going to top that?”

“Erm… he is T.O.P,” Jae Joong laughed. “You can forget about topping that.”

“So you agree that I’m gonna fade next to him?”

“No… it was a joke. You’ll be fine,” he said. “You can sing, you can dance… there are things that you probably do better than him.”


“You can speak Chinese?” he said, lamely.

“Gee… that makes me feel superior now,” I said.

“You’re as good as he is,” Jae Joong said.

“Then why don’t I feel that way?”

“You need to start believing in yourself, Sierra. You’re going solo now. You need to exude confidence,” he said. “I’ve seen that side of you. You need to show it to the world now.”

“And what if they decide I’m being cocky?”

“There will always be lovers and haters. You know that. We just take it in stride.”

I kept quiet for awhile… I realized I was just beating myself up for nothing. I’ve been convincing myself that I wasn’t ready to go out alone all this while. If the management thinks I am ready, who am I to argue? They obviously see something I don’t. Or at least they are just ready to take a gamble and see if I could produce some results. This was my chance to move up.

“Araso…” I sighed.

“Good girl,” Jae Joong said, and I could picture him smiling.

“So what did you have for dinner?” I asked him, and he started yakking to me about his day.

Shoei finally got home that night. He dropped his bag on the floor and immediately slumped onto the sofa.

“So how does it feel to be married?” Skye asked him.

“Don’t ask,” he groaned.

“What did you do today? Pump iron? Do sit ups with Su Bin sitting on you?” I laughed.

He looked so beat up; you’d think he spent the day doing hard physical labour.

“We cooked dinner,” he said.

“And that wiped you out?” Skye cackled. “You’re really losing your touch, aren’t you?”

“Leave me alone,” he grumbled, and covered his face with a pillow.

“I’ll make you some tea,” I laughed, and walked off to the kitchen while Skye continued to aggravate him.

[Shoei’s POV]

I shut my eyes as Skye continued to attack me with questions.

“Here…” nuna said, and I opened my eyes to look up at her. “Have some tea.”

I sat up and took the cup of Chinese tea from her hands.

“Thanks,” I said, and took a sip. “What’s this?”

“Pu er,” she said.

“Okay…” I said, and took another sip.

“So?” she asked as she sat down beside me with her cup of tea.

“So?” I answered her question with a question.

“How’s the wife?” she smiled cheekily.

“She’s fine,” I said.

“You’re not gonna dish?” she asked.

“What’s there to dish?” I said.

“How’s your first day as a married man?” she probed.

“I kinda realized that you’re not such a pain to live with,” I said to her, and that earned me a smack on the arm.

“What did she do to you?” she laughed.

“She can’t cook. Her mood changes every other minute,” I said.

“That’s all?”

“She’s kinda weird. I just have a feeling that the way she’s acting is not the real her,” I said.

“Why do you say that?” she asked.

“Her eyes… she hardly ever meets my eyes.”

“Maybe she’s shy?” Skye piped in.

“Oh… believe me, she’s far from shy,” I said.

“But did the filming go well?” nuna asked.

“It’s fine. I think it lacked a little chemistry in the beginning, but we’re building on it.”

“Good,” she smiled.

“So anything happened while I was gone?” I asked.

“Someone’s getting her own mini album,” Skye tattled. “And just in time for the awards season.”

“What?” I exclaimed, and looked at nuna.

“I start recording next week,” she grumbled.

“I thought it was supposed to be out next year?”

“They’d decided to make the best of what’s left of this season. But that’s not the biggest issue here.”

“There’s more?” I asked.

“Big Bang’s on the album too,” she said.


“Yea… I had that same reaction,” Skye laughed.

“Just 2 of them though,” she added. “T.O.P and G-Dragon.”

“Just? These 2 are enough to shoot your album to the top of the charts,” I said.

I’d just gone for a day and it felt as if the whole road map for our careers have changed drastically.

“I told hyung I wasn’t ready,” she complained. “But he and the management didn’t give me any choice.”

“You are ready,” I said to her. “If you wait any longer, you’d be past your prime.”

“Gee… thanks for reminding me,” she said sarcastically.

“You think they’d fund a project that’s going to be D.O.A?” I said.

“I know… but it’s just freaking me out,” she said.

“Just do what you’re supposed to do,” I said.

“I’m just worried about the live performances that would come. I don’t feel ready to perform on my own.”

“Nuna… you’ve had collaborations with Brian and Hwan Hee, with Hae Rin… with so many others. Why would you be nervous now?”

“Cos this is my album? My first real solo project,” she said.

“Nuna… sometimes you make me feel like strangling you,” Skye said, his voice was serious and hard.