“Is the work going well?”
A question flew at KangYoon, who was handing in the interim report to Chairman Won JinMoon.
“Yes. It is going well. We’re selecting the song right now. We have also decided on the album name: ‘Girls on Best.’ It represents a proud and aloof girl shining at the top.”
“The attracting audience should not be men then. Are you aiming for a female fanbase? The JooAh I know is easier to attract a male fanbase. This may be dangerous.”
Chairman Won JinMoon pondered while going over each page of the report. However, KangYoon confidently said his argument.
“Instead, it has possibility. Currently, it cannot be considered that there is a wide variety of musical media choices for Japanese women. At best, it’s at the level that they are buying albums or magazines. The aim of this album is for JooAh to attract admiration from there.”
“Wouldn’t it instead attract jealousy? We’re foreigners, and Koreans to boot.”
“If it’s JooAh, then she can shine at a higher position. There are already magnificent stages to support JooAh.”
Chairman Won JinMoon seemed worried while listening to the interim report. However, the concepts and fanbases he never heard of until now also sparked his interest.
“Anyway, you have all the power. I will believe you. I will wait for the next report, and I will receive the next report in the directors’ meeting. This report is fine, but prepare a presentation for then as well.”
KangYoon headed to his office after exiting the chairman’s office. His office was already in a mess due to the scattered resources, various paperwork, many monitors, and even clothes since he didn’t go home recently.
“It’s no surprise that he’s worried. However, it will be accepted.”
Putting down the transacted paperwork, KangYoon muttered.
In KangYoon’s ‘past’, JooAh debuted in Japan while aiming at the teen fanbase. However, she attracted female supporters in their 20’s and 30’s rather than teens. Cute, great, and even cool – for these kinds of reasons… There were lots of reasons for people to like JooAh. And she achieved success by placing in the top 10 in Japan.
However, KangYoon was now aiming for the top 5. If he set the target right this time, then the possibility was high.
‘But the problem is the song. Even if we use the ‘original’ one, it’s obvious that it will only get in the top 10. This adventure I started, I will take it to the end.’
Whether he becomes minus or midas, it all started here. If he used the same song as the past, then he would just repeat history. Of course, a Korean singer placing in the top 10 is a great achievement in itself, but KangYoon had ambition. He started this, so he couldn’t be satisfied with just the same level as before.
KangYoon opened the budget draft. He had more than 30 songs until now, and requesting for these songs had costed him a huge amount of money. Moreover, the money for making the album cover, JooAh’s activity costs, and other miscellaneous costs… The album production costs this time was incomparable to JooAh’s previous albums.
‘I’m using money like water. The scale is different alright, haha.”
KangYoon thought back to his ‘past’ for a moment. In his ‘past’, it hurt him to even use 1 million Won (≈870 USD). But now, 1 million Won wasn’t even enough to request for one song. The number increased at a frightening speed and this came back to him as responsibility. Like the huge budget, the responsibility he felt was big too.
-Team Leader, Miss JooAh’s here.
“Please let her in.”
When he was focusing on his work, he was contacted from the lobby that JooAh had come here. Normally, JooAh would barge in, but today, she even contacted him before coming. It was a kind of consideration for KangYoon.
Soon, JooAh and Manager Kang JinSung came into the office. After a brief greeting, the three sat down and started the conversation.
“Is the practice going well?”
“The main song isn’t even out yet, do you think I can practice? When is it coming out?”
“I told you that the guided version will come out tonight. Why are you here so early?”
“I wanted to listen to it earlier. How many are there?”
“… Oppa’s great, alright. You made him do guided versions for 30 of them? JiWan-oppa must be dying.”
JooAh was really surprised. Normally, they would settle on a main song and make 1~2 guided versions. However, KangYoon had made guided versions for all 30 songs.
“It’s because selecting songs for the album is an important task. All the members, including Producer Oh JiWan, will be gathering. You need to get a grip on yourself, alright?”
“Oh, leave it to me.”
A guided version referred to the records of melodies sung by another person, before the actual recording. All the singer, that was recording the melody, had to do was to follow the song. Normally, it’s done by trainees for practice, but sometimes singer friends of the actual singer did it too.
“Is JooAh’s condition alright?”
KangYoon’s gaze turned to the manager this time.
“It’s good. Your words of not restricting so much on diet was very effective. Since then, she managed herself well.”
“I think oppa knows me better. Thank you for believing in me.”
“Don’t mention it.”
There are people who do better when you leave them alone. JooAh was one such person. Due to this freedom, Manager Kang JinSung had an easy time and JooAh could comfortably concentrate on practice and rest. Thanks to that, the two were at their best conditions.
“But when is the song coming out? My throat’s getting all itchy.”
“Then shall we wait there? And not here?”
“Let’s do that. I’m no good with meetings.”
JooAh stood up as soon as she said that and headed towards the underground studio. KangYoon and Kang JinSung shrugged their shoulders while watching her activeness. An active girl’s charm would make men smile.
When the three went to the underground studio, there was a great crowd that included Producer Oh JiWan and his team members, Chairman Won JinMoon, and even a woman in a suit.
“We met at the interview, right? Nice to meet you. I’m Lee HyunJi.”
“So it’s the President. I’m Lee KangYoon.”
The woman in the suit, who sat next to Chairman Won JinMoon in the interview, offered her hand to KangYoon. It was a woman who looked like she was in her mid to late 30s. She had a short height and had a bit of wrinkles around her eyes, but she still boasted of beauty. It was the victory from management.
“President Lee came since she was also interested in JooAh’s song selection, and that includes me, too. We will just watch from the back so don’t mind us.”
That phrase was the most scary one of them all. KangYoon said that he understood and started working right away.
“Producer, are the songs ready?”
“Yes. Shall we start straight away?”
“JooAh, shall we start?”
As soon as he said that, JooAh headed into the booth. Inside the booth, the thick scores, headsets, and microphones were done being set. Even the microphone was set to match her height, so further adjustments were not necessary.
“Then let’s start. Please put on the first song.”
From the studio, JooAh’s voice started flowing out. Everybody quietly listened to her singing.
The melody without lyrics were coming, it was resounding throughout the studio through JooAh’s voice.
‘I see it. Hmm… It’s just white.’
It was white light. But it was just white. It had no sense of being delicate and it was something like a white from a crayon. KangYoon looked at the people around him. They had no big reactions either.
After the first verse ended, the next started. However…
KangYoon looked to JooAh just in case, but she was singing with all her might. However, to think it’s grey… This meant that JooAh and the song didn’t match each other.
“Stop. I don’t think this is right.”
KangYoon stopped the song. Then JooAh, who was inside the booth, also nodded.
“Yes, I don’t like this one either.”
“Good. Let’s go on to the next one.”
Continuing on, the third song started. However, this time…
“I don’t think this is right either.”
KangYoon stopped it again. Then, it was Producer Oh JiWan who chimed in.
“How about we listen a bit more?”
“That isn’t necessary. The song doesn’t match with JooAh. I think continuing is useless.”
“But the first verse hasn’t even finished yet…”
At that moment, JooAh, who was inside the booth, spoke.
“I don’t like this song either. I want to do another one.”
When it became like this, people were surprised at KangYoon. Wasn’t it as if he was listening in JooAh’s point of view? – Like this.
‘This time, it’s white.’
The first verse ended. However, KangYoon proceeded on with the song. It was because there was a climax point at the end of the second verse. However…
‘Hmm… To think the climax part is grey. I think I need to request for a rearrangement.”
After the song ended, KangYoon picked up a microphone.
“JooAh, let’s try this again after requesting for a rearrangement.”
“Yes. It’s a good song but it’s lacking something.”
KangYoon was choosing the song as if his heart was connected with JooAh’s. However, the more surprising thing was that there seemed to be no flaw in his selection. He was pinpointing good songs and bad songs for JooAh, whether it was a ballad or a fast song. Moreover, his opinion matched with JooAh’s, so nobody could refute what he was saying.
Contrary to everyone’s expectations, the song selection didn’t last that long. They only went through each song once to narrow down 30 songs into 12, so the process ended in just two hours.
“Team Leader Lee, I’m surprised at your ability to see songs.”
“Thank you, President.”
“Let’s eat together some time. Then, see you later.”
President Lee HyunJi bade farewell and exited.
“Ayy, to think, HyunJi, that girl would say something like that. She seems to like you a lot. Is the old lady trying to marry this time?”
“Chairman, what do you…”
“Hahaha, it’s just a joke, a joke. Me too, today’s song selection was a surprise in itself. I thought god had descended. To think that you made everyone accept the songs by just going through them once… I look forward to the future.”
Chairman Won JinMoon, who was amused at KangYoon’s awkwardness, tapped KangYoon’s shoulder once and exited. After that, the employees who followed him in left in a straight line. The only ones left were Producer Oh JiWan, JooAh, and the manager.
“Thank you for your work. Now we have to make the lyrics, record it, and wait for the choreography.”
At KangYoon’s words, everybody nodded.
“Thank you for your work, Team Leader. Today left a deep impression on me.”
Producer Oh JiWan spoke a line too.
“Oppa, that was great! Did we get through to each other today?”
“What do you mean? Get through? That’s just your point of view.”
“This album. I have a great feeling. I think it will turn out really good.”
“Isn’t that obvious?”
KangYoon spoke with the remaining people for a while before going up to his office. When he finished doing the remaining work in his office, it was already 10:30 PM. It was very late for leaving work.
KangYoon took the train and the bus back home even though it was late. When he arrived, it was already the next day.
“HeeYoon, you didn’t go to sleep yet?”
“Oppa wasn’t home yet though.”
When he stepped past the tattered door, HeeYoon heard it and came to meet him barefoot. At that figure, KangYoon was so surprised and he waved his hand.
“Get in quickly. Did today’s dialysis go well?”
“Don’t worry. Of course I did it.”
He washed his face with cold water in the courtyard and changed his clothes. He was tired, so he laid out the futon and lied there immediately, but HeeYoon opened the door.
“Yes? HeeYoon, what is it?”
“My brother’s face I haven’t seen for three days. I want to have a look.”
Thinking back on it, he hadn’t left work for three days. He called whenever he had the time, but seeing face to face was different. KangYoon thought ‘dear me!’
“Oh, my dear sister, did you miss me so much?”
“Yes. What are you gonna do about it?”
HeeYoon’s white face looked whiter than ever today. However, she was KangYoon’s most precious and most pretty little sister. KangYoon sat up and hugged her.
“Oppa’s work is going very well this time. If it goes well, let me fix your illness, and buy a good house and everything, alright?”
“I’m alright. I’m happy with just oppa by my side.”
“I’m happy with just you too. So let’s get happier.”
She had a tall height, but she was very skinny. And when KangYoon saw her, his heart ached. However, he was happy that he could embrace her now. He wanted to protect this happiness and make it grow more.
That night, KangYoon resolved while hugging his sister. To make this small happiness grow larger and larger.
To do that, first,
He needed to sweep Japan.
 Next day meaning past midnight, not the next morning
Chapters will be out until 8
Thank you for reading!
Editors: Nahct (from Path of Translations, thank you, and sorry T-T)