CL - 130613 Star Naver Column (Part 1)!
#1 Grandmother’s House in Mut-gol
Throughout my school life I never attended a school that had more than a hundred students. At the time, regardless of age or gender, we were all friends. I think I was rather boyish. We’d run around in packs. I think I was kind of like a happy fool.
I followed my dad to Japan when I was young. I came back to Korea and stayed with my grandmother for a month or two during the breaks. Amazingly those memories really stayed with me very clearly. I think I was about 4 or 5 years old. I was visiting from Japan and was going to a summer primary school course in Korea. My grandmother tells me stories of back then.
(CL with her one and only younger sister, Harin)
The place is Jagok-dong now. But actually it changed so much. It used to be called Mut-gol town with only one primary school and supermarket, houses, and mountains. They say that I used to go to the mountains alone. These days everything has become so developed that I can barely find my way. I feel sad about that.Although I went to the primary school alone, I somehow rounded up all the girls in town and shared stickers. You know what stickers girls collect, right? I would play in playgrounds, run around with the boys. I got along well with everyone in town. I heard that on my birthday, I wrote ‘Birthday’ on front of my front doors and invited so many people that my grandmother was put in a difficult position. I would round up kids and go on to collect trash. I still remember doing that.
#2 Primary School in Tsukuba, Japan.
I stayed in Japan until 12. My father studied in University of Tsukuba and then became exchange professor.
I went to the primary school I went as I was shooting ‘2NE1 TV’ but it felt unfamiliar. Only one window in a classroom brought out old memories. Even more than primary school I remember playing with ladybugs and frogs. Because Tsukuba has wonderful nature environment, there were lots of ladybugs. My father used to tell me that ladybugs were my friends and that they are just lady bugs in polka dot dress. There were also round bugs that would round itself up into a circle if you poked at it. I used to run around and play a lot.
My father was always busy so we were not together all the time. However, the time that we did spend together was always special. I grew up in a very open environment. Although my dad’ is a professor, he always stuck to jeans and t-shirts and we did not have TV nor a sofa. Only when I went to another friend’s house did I realize that I was in a very unique environment. My father showed how he wanted me to see the world not by words but by actions.
#3 A Great Father, A Greater Mother
My mom is really amazing. She adjusted to someone as free and artsy as my dad. I realized how difficult that could be after I grew up.
(CL with dance crew, LOLK!DZ)
She was young when she met my dad and had me. That’s probably why we are like best friends. We call each other every day. My sister, mother and I get on like friends. That’s why I really did not feel the need for a friend when I was young.When I look at the old pictures, my mom wore a lot of unique clothing when she was young. But then she met my dad and started to wear jeans and white t-shirt. That’s how much she accepted dad.
#4 Taking Three General Educational Development Tests In A Row
Because I stayed abroad for a long time, I never got proper education on Korean language. It was after I entered YG that I felt the need to learn Korean. I got all three GEDs, elementary, middle and high school, with six months gap in between the exams, before my debut. At the time people looked at me questioningly. They could not understand why I’d take such tests and wondered if I wanted to go to a university even though it was unnecessary. I took the tests because I didn’t want to be embarrassed of myself and because I wanted to.
My parents taught Korean in a very free environment. They only spoke Korean at home and at times, they drew pictures as they taught us Korean language.
In Japan, there was a big international school but the elementary school I went to had 20 students in total. I was really fortunate because at the time, I met all kinds of different races including Indian, African, and Latino. I was able to meet people with different backgrounds and thanks to that I did not come to have any prejudice against other races. When I’d go to birthday parties or go to a friend’s house, I was able to get a hint of the heritages of different backgrounds. There was no such thing as outcasts or bullies in that school. Even the handicapped were not an outcast at all. There were too few people for those kinds of things and none of us thought that way.I attended primary school in Japan and from elementary school I attended American school. After that I went to French middle school for a while and then changed again to American high school.
#5 Living In Homestay At France
I briefly came back to Korea. At the time I went to American school for a year or two before I transferred to a French school. I changed places a lot. My mother knew English language and Japanese culture so she suggested I take on new challenges, so I went to France.
I was really lucky. My homestay family was really an average family. When I look at my friends, at times there are instances where you had to move. I was fortunate to have met such nice people and I had a great time.I went to France alone. I stayed in homestay for approximately two years when I was in Paris. As a result I got to know what Paris was really like rapidly. A lot of international students weren’t able to learn English. I’ve seen a lot of students who goes to a large school, just hang out with other Asians and never speak a word of English. I was in a homestay so that really was not an option for me. It was great because I got to experience the local food and living styles.
My sister speaks Chinese instead of Japanese (CL knew Japanese & English at that time). When we reached adolescence we were quite confused. Even when we were in Korea, we did not share the Korean culture, and when we were abroad, we were viewed simply as Asians. Between my sister and I, we called ourselves aliens. A lot of people could be jealous, but from my standpoint, that caused a many worries for me. On the onset, it might seem nice to be able to speak many languages but it could actually feel unstable.
Like how I used to go to primary school on my own, starting from elementary school I got allowances and went to learn dancing. At the time the dance school used to invite famous foreign dancers and I volunteered to translate out of good heart. I was so thrilled to hear about how they viewed dancing and listened to music, so I followed them around, interpreting for them.
#6 Becoming YG Trainee Without A Clue
That’s how I learned to dance, and I also started to practice singing because I liked it so much.
Also, the only celebrity that I liked as young was Teddy of 1TYM. I never liked a movie star or a singer yet I really fell for Teddy. That’s how I came to know YG and then I saw YG on TV. I just had to dance and sing at YG. I’ve tried to figure out ways to send in demo tapes since an elementary kid, yet I never got a reply.
When I was 17, I told myself that I would no longer send in tapes after this once. It seems odd, but at the time I had this vague confidence. I thought the reason why I didn’t get a reply was because they did not get my video, so I was not stressed out about it at all.
At the time YG building was divided into two. I found my way, following the address. The fans that were there said, ‘You don’t look like a fan. Why are you here?’ So I said, ‘I came to see the CEO.’ Then they told me that the CEO was in another building and despite the cold winter weather, led me there.
At first I had a friend who waited with me, but as time went by my friend left ahead. Somehow it felt as if I would be able to see the CEO if I just waited a while longer. When my butt was starting to hurt due to the chilly weather, I seriously considered leaving but then Mr. Yang came out. When I gave him my demo tape he looked at me bemused. An hour later, a phone call came telling me to show up on Friday. On Friday, Mr. Yang brought about 30 people consisting of camera team and song writers and had me sing in front of them.
#7 Demo Tape Holding CL’s Dreams
It contained a little more than 10 minutes of dancing and singing. I liked hip-hop so I danced hip-hop moves. I rapped Teddy’s only single song and sang Alicia Keys’ song. I had attached the video camera so that it wouldn’t wobble and filmed it myself.
It was winter break so I stayed at YG for a while. By February, I felt the need for a change so I moved to an American (international) school. At first I was eager about studying. When the school ended approximately at three (pm), I would practice until 3 or 4 in the morning and then go back to school. I kept that up for couple of months. But I just could not continue to do so because I was burnt out physically. So I had to make a decision. From then on, I did not go to school often and focused on the agency entirely. I continued to do so until my sophomore year in high school.At the audition, Mr. Yang had left without a word. From what I recall, everyone left smiling. And then another manager came to me and told me to start practicing from Monday.
Because my parents were overseas I stayed by myself. My parents do not really express their opinions on anything. They trust me and believe that I have made the right decision. They never told me that I could do whatever I want but just helped me act on my dreams. They never intervened with the business going on at the agency, and the only one time they were there was to sign the contract. They were there on my behalf because I was underage. Even then, they thought it was really a hassle.
I could’ve felt bad because of their attitude but even when I was young, my parents tried to install within me sense of responsibility. When I got bad grades at school, my parents used to tell me that it was my records that I will need regardless of what I do in the future. So I realized the significance of being responsible for my actions and that my parents did not have much to do with it. That’s why I started to want more. It was my footsteps, it was my life.
I felt really thankful towards Mr. Yang that day because I was always alone.
#8 Beginning of New Year, Chinese Black Bean Sauce Noodles that Mr. Yang Ordered For Me
To be honest, at the time I was a trainee within YG for shortest amount of period. I was training for less than 2 and a half years and I was at the agency every day. Even in the holidays, because I had nowhere else to go. My family was abroad and although they did visit Korea, I was so immersed into practicing that I did not meet them. I was not doing anything major but was just getting to know and learning new music. But it was so exciting beyond words. I would stay in the practice the rooms all day and would go back home only to sleep.
Mr. Yang was always at the company. The most memorable event was when I came to the agency on New Year because I had not much else to do. He called me and asked me what I was doing. I answered that I was just listening to music. Mr. Yang told me to get down to the studio, and when I did he ordered me Chinese noodles. (Laugh) Mr. Yang always spends his new year in a club (*NOTE: YG owns 3 clubs: NB1,NB2 & Harlem) and he had ordered Chinese noodles for me before he took off.
I don’t know how I even swallowed those noodles and that’s how I welcomed New Year.
That’s how CL grew up and became YG family. See you in Part 2 then.
Source: Naver written by CL
Editor : OSEN Editor in chief Sohn Nam-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Photograph : Provided by CL, YG
Reposted w/minor edits by email@example.com