Sunday, 21 November 2010

MKR II: Chapter 1

“S-Cube!” the emcee announced and confetti exploded all over the stage and everyone was cheering.

We looked around us, at Brown Eyed Girls and T-ara who had been on the stage with us. They were all clapping and we were simply too shocked to react. We had won 'Song of the Week' on Inkigayo.

“Chukahamnida!” the emcees congratulated us as they walked forward with flowers and the trophy.

Skye was the first to react and walked forward to intercept the trophy on behalf of our group. Shoei was next to move, and he walked forward to intercept the flowers and passed it on to me.

“Sierra-shi, how do you feel?” the emcee asked me.

“I’m speechless,” I replied, and a smile started spreading on my face.

“Fan-deul… kamsahamnida!” Skye finished up the sentence for me.

“Ne,” I replied. “Neomu kamsahamnida.”

“Without the support of our fans, S-Cube would not be able to make this come back such a success. Kamsahamnida!” Shoei said.

We are S-Cube. Sierra. Skye. Shoei. Together, we are the power of 3, which gave our band its name. We were once artistes under the label of SM Entertainment or simply known as SM. Tonight was our comeback with a new album label after our contracts had expired with SM. It was a long and painful journey since we’d left our big label to start up our own label and to be able to win today’s prize, but it was worth every blood, sweat and tear that was shed along the way.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Sierra. I’m 27 this year, and I hail from Malaysia. One would wonder how a Malaysian got to be in a Korean band. I would say that it was nothing short of a miracle that I was selected the first year SM decided to hold auditions in my country.

When I arrived in Seoul, I was immediately designated to a band that already consisted of 2 guys aged 3 years younger than I was. One South Korean, and one Japanese. You guessed it; Skye and Shoei. Both were fluent in English and in Korean, and Shoei of course spoke Japanese. Other than English, I brought a few more languages to the table; Malay and Chinese, and I had to learn my Korean from scratch in the 9 months before my debut.

Skye and Shoei’s contracts had expired about a year ago. They spent the year building our new label and waiting for my contract to expire so that I could join them. Rather than go through what Shinhwa did, all we asked for was our band’s name. We’d decided that we would never sing the songs we sang in the past 5 years. We would sing our own songs now. The songs we wanted to share with the world.

“That was awesome!” Skye exclaimed as we walked off the stage.

It’s been so many years and he never fails to get psyched up after a good show. He has never had stage fright either. Skye was a born performer. Shoei was a born performer too, but he exuded a different aura. While Skye bounced all over the stage and hypes up the crowd, Shoei mesmerized them with his soothing voice and powerful presence. Me? I still feel ordinary after being a part of the band all these years.

When they first left SM. The company didn’t know what to do with me. My solo album had done fairly well and left me in pretty good demand for collaboration projects. Because of that, I was thrown from one project group to another, collaborating with every single SM artiste that was available; from Super Junior to Shinee, and Girls’ Generation to f(x). Then there were a few other collaborations with artistes from other labels; TOP from Big Bang, Nassun and one of the highlights of my career, Outsider. I felt like a boomerang being thrown from every which way and still coming back to SM, until my contract expired, and I was allowed to pursue my own career with another label.

Technically, Skye owned the majority stocks in our new label, simply known as S. S for sound, serenade, whatever S-word to do with music you could think of. Shoei and I were foreigners, so by law, we couldn’t own that much stock. In fact, our label currently employs us both as performers and sponsors our work permits in South Korea.

“You should just get married,” Skye once joked. “Then you could apply for citizenship.”

“Why would I want to be a citizen of your country?” I scoffed.

“You’d have to be if you married a local,” he pointed out.

“I can always just apply to be a permanent resident. I have no need to be a citizen. Besides… my country doesn’t allow dual citizenship,” I said.

“Why would anyone pass up being a Korean?” he asked.

“Cos unlike the idolizers, I have some integrity?” I laughed.

“I pity your husband-to-be,” he said, and I rewarded him with a thump on his arm.

My husband-to-be… I had one, sometime ago. You’re probably thinking if I were a celebrity, naturally I would have dated one too. You’re right! In my craziest dream had I never imagined that I could have my cake and eat it too. Not only did I fulfill my dream of being a singer in South Korea, I was dating one of the most eligible bachelors in K-Pop. No prizes for guessing… Kim Jae Joong of the former TVXQ, and currently of JYJ.

The same year Skye and Shoei’s contracts ended, Jae Joong, Jun Su and Yoo Chun filed a lawsuit to have their contracts with SM terminated. But that’s their story, so let’s not get into that. The pressure of the lawsuits and the attention he was getting from the press during that time overwhelmed us, and we decided to take a temporary break. It’s been more than 6 months.

Jae Joong and I kept in contact via Twitter and emails. Since he started preparing for his English album and I was preparing for S-Cube’s new album, we hardly had time to keep in contact at all. His last few communications went something like this:

@sierraS3 I’m in Malaysia!!!
@sierraS3 I’m in Singapore!!! Chilli crabs!!!
@sierraS3 In NYC. Missed the last time we were here together.

S-Cube and TVXQ had performed at Madison Square Garden a few years back. It was S-Cube’s first sold-out concert, thanks to TVXQ. It was one of those performances that we’d never forget, and the time we spent there were equally unforgettable too. Those were the best days of our lives as singers with SM.

Today had been eventful. We’d won ‘Song of the Week’ on Inkigayo. Sure, our comeback had been anticipated. Pre-sales figures of our album was promising, but we didn’t think it would guarantee us a spot in the Top 3 so easily. We’d initially expected to have to promote our new album for a good 2 weeks before we saw a significant climb. But we made it!

“Good job guys,” I said as I hugged Skye and Shoei backstage.

“It’s great to be performing together again,” Shoei smiled. “I really missed this for the past year.”

“Me too,” I laughed. “I can’t believe the turn out today. Our fans have really proven their loyalty.”

“Thanks to me,” Skye joked, and we all laughed indulgently.

If you thought the night for us ended after the Inkigayo performance, it didn’t. We had to rush off to a radio show and then back to our offices to tie up some loose ends before wrapping up for the night. Times like this made me miss Shi Kyung hyung, our manager when we were with SM. When our contracts ended, he’d decided to end his employment with SM. He has since gotten married and started a small business with his new wife. Life as an artiste manager was super tough. For that, we fully understood why he had turned us down when we’d offered him a position at our new label.

We got home a little after 1am that day. Skye and Shoei had found us a new apartment before my contract ended. I had been living alone until my contract with SM ended, and I’ve only moved into this new place 4 months ago. I loved what they had done to the place, partly because I had a little input this time. We’d decided to go for a minimalist design. Monochrome colors for the living areas and simple furniture like a comfy black leather sofa, black chairs with leather upholstered seats, glass topped coffee and dining tables and some cool lamps and lights we picked up whenever we spotted any interesting ones.

It was a mad rush for me for the past 4 months, to record all the missing pieces. I gave Skye and Shoei feedback for the songs on this album even when I was still with SM, but I was unable to be part of the song writing process. Because of the situation we were in, this album was more or less Skye and Shoei’s style, and less of mine. They promised me at least 2 songs that were wholly written by me in our next album. I just hope I will do the next album justice.

I walked into my new room. It was still in the same minimalist design, but I couldn’t resist adding in my favorite color, blue. My bed frame was white, and it had extended edges beyond the mattress that were very useful when Skye or Shoei needed a place to perch while talking to me if they hadn’t showered yet. I absolutely hated it when they rolled around in my bed in clothes they had been wearing out the entire day. I invested in lots of dark blue sheets and white pillows to match. Even my blankets were dark blue.

“I can take a swim in your bed,” Shoei said when I first made it up, and he dived onto it. “I feel like I’m in the sea,” Shoei said as he started doing the backstroke.

The rest of my furniture was white and silver, the last touch of blue was on the walls. I had my room painted sky blue with swirly white patterns that somewhat looked like clouds. I also made sure that my ceiling matched, which prompted Shoei’s last statement. In the center of the room was a ceiling fan cum chandelier of lights with a mini lampshade attached onto each bulb. Coming home each day felt good these days. It felt like I was returning to my very own sanctuary.

To top it all off, the guys had very thoughtfully given me the master bedroom which had an attached bathroom since I was the only girl in the house. No prizes for guessing that I’d also done up the bathroom to fit my style. I couldn’t do much about the shower area, but we managed to bring in an antique bathtub and changed the sink and vanity area to match it a little.

I showered slowly, enjoying the hot water in a way we were never able to in the past. We’d recently invested in better heater, which meant more hot water for everyone at any time of the day. After showering, I went through my usual face and body care routine before putting on my pajamas.

After all that necessary routine, I walked into my room, ready to knock myself out for the night, and there he was, sitting on my bed.


xing said...

Who's sitting on your bed? Skye? Shoei? If it's gonna be Jae then I'll really freak out aight. :P

Do you know? I actually went to check out your character's twitter account thinking it may be valid. Puhahahahahah!

Please, post up the next chapter soon? ^^

wanyuan said...

i think he might be jae, even tho the possibility of him being skye and shoei is actually higher...
BUTTTTTTT, i think he's jae... <3
my jaeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee... =P

nonex said...

u are finally back.... :D

steeeph said...

omg a new guy????
but yay for coming back! thought you'd never!
post soon pretty please :3

시에라 (Sierra) said...

It's great to see everyone again! :)

Please give your most honest opinions. One of the reasons for coming back is to improve my writing. So do keep the comments coming! <3