It took more than four years, but K-pop group Vanner is finally making a name for themselves.
Over the last few years, the group struggled. The members had to work part-time jobs just to make ends meet, as becoming a K-pop artists only left them with debt. However, those days appear to have reached their end.
“Once, I met a fan when working at a store. I was really worried about what the fan would think of me after seeing me off stage. But the fan told me that she likes me for who I am, whether I am onstage or at a store. She said she was looking forward to seeing us back onstage. This kind of genuine support from our fans was the driving force that kept us going, and helped us to not give up on our career as K-pop idols,” said Hyesung of Vanner.
Taking part in JTBC’s K-pop idol competition TV program “Peak Time,” which featured debuted male K-pop stars who had already debuted, was the last glimmer of hope for Vanner.
It was the leader of the group, Taehwan, who suggested taking part in the show, as he thought it could be a chance for them to bring themselves into the spotlight.
"There was a moment when I was close to giving up on my career as an artist. That was when I saw my mom having a hard time financially, helping me out all by herself after my dad passed away. I felt that I was becoming more of a burden to her. But then, I thought I should rather not let go of all the time I’d spent as an artist so as not to disappoint her,” Taehwan said.
His choice proved to be the right one, as Vanner swiftly passed every round of the show, charming both the judges and the viewers with their outstanding live performance skills.
Although Vanner made its debut in 2019, they finally rose to stardom through winning the competition this year.
“Before starring in the show, our agency was not financially capable of having staff to help us out, so I had to do some additional business-related tasks. We also had to do makeup and styling by ourselves. But after the show, we have now joined a new agency that helps us focus on our job as K-pop artists,” said Taehwan.
“We are so grateful for all the love. The number of followers to our social media account doubled and the number of fans quadrupled,” added Yeonggwang.
The show gave them the opportunity to shine on stage by showing off their vocal, rapping and dancing skills.
“We cherished every moment of it. The show was a big gift for us that felt like a pat on our backs for the hard times we’ve gone through. The judges of the show helped us recognize that our strength is live performances and so we want to continue building on that,” said Taehwan.
“We were finally able to show our parents what we do during the final round of the show, which was aired live. It was the first time that we danced and sang in front of them, so we were really nervous, but also so happy that it brought tears to our eyes,” said Hyesung.
Vanner recently started living together as they have a lot coming up on their team schedule.
“We are happy that we get to live together again because it means that we have a lot of work. Everything is much more fun when we are all together. Thanks to our new agency, Klap Entertainment, we live in a good house with a private room for each of us,” said Gon.
Vanner was humble about the group's accomplishments, acknowledging the fact that winning the show does not mean the future will always be rosy.
“It would be a lie if I said we don’t feel the pressure to do better. But because we trust and support each other, we are not worried about what we have to offer to the public in the future,” said Gon.
“We will never forget the desperation we felt at the beginning of the show and will continue to do our best,” said Ashian.
To strike while the iron is hot, Vanner is set to drop a new album soon.
“We’ve mostly done bright and energetic singles before, so we are looking forward to presenting music of different genres with a different concept. We keep monitoring our performances for improvements. We really want to meet our fans soon,” said Yeonggwang.
“We hope to do music that can help people. It’s my personal goal to have a positive influence on others,” added Gon.
Vanner is currently on a national tour with the "Your Time" concert, alongside other “Peak Time” participants.
The concerts gave them the chance to catch up with their fans.
“It was the first time we performed on such a big stage to communicate with so many fans. It was so surreal and we were so happy that we tried to take in every moment of it. We hope to soon hold our own concert filled with our music,” said Taehwan.
“We really want to express our gratitude to our fans who have waited for us so long. They showed us what consistent love is. ... We are also grateful for the new fans that sympathized with our desperation and gave us so much love and support,” the members added.