During I Will Channel You, WINNER‘s Mino revealed the story of how much he suffered under the agency he first debuted under before debuting again with YG Entertainment.
Mino was actually getting ready to debut as a member of BLOCK B, but things fell through during his contract signing.
“I was originally supposed to debut with BLOCK B, so my dad came to sign the contract for me since I was a minor. But things fell through, and I had to leave the company.”
After failing to debut with BLOCK B, he signed under a small agency that debuted him as the rapper of a ballad group, called BOM. That’s where he suffered the most.
“The next company that I went to was a new company, so I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. I suffered a lot. I was with them for two years, as a trainee and after debut.”
Mino actually wrote the lyrics for five of BOM’s songs but the agency scammed him of his credit. They listed another person’s name as the writer and gave not even a cent to Mino.
“Mino wrote lyrics for the group’s songs but the agency gave credit to a different person.
In my time with the agency, I didn’t even earn 1 penny. I wrote the lyrics to five songs but my name wasn’t even credited on the song, so I couldn’t file for royalties.
They told me, ‘This is common when you’re just starting off. We’ll give you credit next time.’”
It was one of the most difficult times in Mino’s life. Penniless, he struggled to even see a little spotlight with the rest of the group. They would celebrate for even being allowed to perform on a music show.
“At that time, we couldn’t even dream of winning 1st on a music show. We were so thankful even to be able to perform on a music show. Whenever we were given the chance to perform on the show, we had a party.
But if the guest list was too long, we were cut, and we’d be sad the whole day.”
All the while, Mino was depressed because he couldn’t pursue what he truly wanted to do. His blood ran hip hop but the agency told him to do ballad.
“My passion was hip hop, but I had to do ballad… Even though I didn’t like the genre, performing on stage was such a precious moment for me during those two years.”
BLOCK B’s P.O recalled the time when his group ran into Mino at a music show filming. It was the day of Mino’s debut stage, which also happened to be BLOCK B’s first win.
“When Mino debuted, [the BLOCK B members and I] ran into him. There’s a video recording of it. It’s really funny.”
The BLOCK B members cheered Mino on as they monitored his stage. The members couldn’t hold back their tears as they saw how Mino was caged from doing what he truly wanted to do.
“The BLOCK B members all monitored my debut stage. Zico rarely ever cries but he cried that day.”
“Everyone cried. We had to perform but all of our eyes were puffy because we cried so much. We couldn’t perform.”
Mino also mentioned the hard times he faced under his first agency in the song, ‘Fear’ with BIGBANG‘s Taeyang.
“I give thanks to everything,
aside from my religion
Even the evil CEO
who tried to use me
when I was a kid, 6 years ago
Even my company that saved me right now
All the participants who gave me this stage”
— Mino on ‘Fear’
Needless to say, BOM soon disbanded and Mino landed on the steps of YG. Mino went onto compete in the survival show, WIN, where he debuted as a member of WINNER. The rest is history!