These days, 25-year-old Hannah Jang is a budding independent soloist on the South Korean hip hop scene. However, before she made her debut with “Runn Away” last May, she was a trainee under YG Entertainment. In a new interview with KPOP IDOL OLYMPIC on YouTube, Hannah Jang revealed all about what the company was like, how she feels about leaving, and what’s changed for her since.
Back in 2013, high school senior Hannah Jang became a contestant on SBS‘s K-Pop Star 3, one of the most popular survival shows of the decade. Though she made it in the top 10 finalists ranking, she was sadly eliminated in the second live show, while Bernard Park became the eventual winner.
Afterward, Hannah Jang decided to focus on her education, gaining acceptance to a good school, and studying hard. Then, she revealed in the interview, she received a call from YG Entertainment out of the blue. They asked her to meet with them, and right away, she decided to sign a trainee contract.
Hannah Jang revealed she was “so grateful” to join the company as a trainee because she got to do a lot of things under YG Entertainment. For example, in 2015 the company gave 19-year-old Hannah the opportunity to feature on a Jinusean song (“Tell Me One More Time”) and perform with him on stage.
It happened so suddenly. The song was produced within such a short amount of time, as were Jinusean’s promotions.
— Hannah Jang
Of course, despite how grateful she was for the opportunity, it wasn’t easy. Hannah Jang shared with KPOP IDOL OLYMPIC that YG Entertainment’s scheduling meant she “had to lose weight in a short amount of time“. On top of that, she had to deal with the difficulties of her first official music show performances.
Since she was still a trainee at the time, Hannah Jang explained that she faced a lot of scrutiny from her seniors. On one occasion during a shoot, Hannah says she was told “you should do it like this and that“. The pressure was so high, she burst into tears in the middle of filming. Thankfully, she was able to control her feelings, but she revealed she still remembers that very moment.
A lot of people [at the company] were like, “Let’s see how good of a trainee you really are”. Since I was a trainee, I wasn’t very confident.
— Hannah Jang
Ultimately, after a few years on a training contract, the now-soloist left the agency in 2017. When the interviewer asked whether Hannah Jang was sorry to leave such a big company like YG Entertainment, Hannah explained that she gets asked the same question often. However, she says she’s “not sorry at all“.
In fact, she’s “really happy right now” after leaving the company. At the time, Hannah Jang lamented, she was just growing out of her teenage years then, so she “didn’t get to experience what others were experiencing“.
It’s true, I’m really happy… 20 years old is when you get to have fun and do all sorts of things but I didn’t get to…
And since then, her musical style has grown a lot. In the past, Hannah Jang says her voice was “very explosive“. Since leaving YG Entertainment, however, she makes music “that is completely R&B style“. On top of that, she described her melodies as “sophisticated” and revealed that she writes her own lyrics. In short, she says her voice is very different from her earlier days as a trainee and K-Pop Star competitor.
Instead of joining another agency after leaving YG Entertainment, Hannah Jang decided to go it alone as an independent artist. But, while she says “it is tough in many ways” (for example, difficulty in promoting and appearing on shows), she still has plans to release more albums in 2021 and create more relaxing songs for her listeners.