For over a decade, vocal trainer Sol Lee has been teaching aspiring stars at companies like CJ E&M, YG Entertainment, Kakao Entertainment, and more. Together with well-known former K-Pop trainee Gina Maeng on her YouTube channel, Sol Lee revealed the secrets of idol vocal training—including why trainees and trainers form such close bonds.
Recalling her days training at companies like JYP Entertainment, Gina Maeng remembered that she used to cry “all the time” when she had lessons with Sol Lee—but not because the vocal trainer was harsh. Instead, Gina cried about her concerns because she felt comfortable in her bond with Sol Lee. According to the pair, strong bonds between vocal trainers and trainees are actually very common.
Gina Maeng says this phenomenon only happens with vocal trainers because trainee singing lessons tend to be one-on-one, while dance training happens in a big group. But what exactly makes trainees open up to singing teachers so much? According to Gina, it’s all down to vulnerability. “You’re just showing this person the worst part of your talent,” she explained, “[so it] makes you vulnerable emotionally.”
Gina went on to recall that when she first met Sol Lee, she was “at a really bad state” after training for nearly a decade without debuting. Sometimes, she’d begin crying as soon as she arrived at her singing lesson, and Sol Lee would decide to postpone to training to talk things out. Talking to Gina on her YouTube channel, the vocal trainer revealed that she’s always formed great bonds with her students because she knows they’ll feel lonely.
Sol Lee went on to explain that while trainees are friends with each other, they’re also competitors all striving for one of the limited positions in a debut lineup. On top of this, even though there are adults around in the company, Gina Maeng and Sol Lee say that trainees often don’t feel comfortable talking to them because they feel the need to impress them. As such, trainees turn to vocal teachers instead for comfort. The veteran singing teacher even confessed that certain trainees who she works with several times a week begin to feel like family to her after a while.
| Gina Everywhere/YouTube
Sadly, the pair went on to discuss how trainees are sometimes cut unexpectedly from the company before they can say goodbye to the vocal teachers they’ve bonded with, with some agencies actually forbidding staff and trainees from sharing contact information. Thankfully, Sol Lee says former trainees can find her through Instagram these days, but in the past, their relationship would often be cut short with no closure.