Ch 1: Audition
I lie awake.
In my bed.
2,330.9 miles away from New York....
I slowly go over my plan in my head again. It’s foolproof. I’ve accounted for every variable, every possibility of failure. Leave my house quietly, use my car to drive to Sky Harbor airport, get on the nonstop flight from Phoenix to New York with the ticket I bought with my babysitting money, arrive with just enough time to audition for BigHit Entertainment and await my fate.
ok so maybe it isn’t so foolproof...
Throwing a glance at my alarm clock I see that its 2:30 am. Go time.
Deep breath and I sit up, another breath and I pull on my hoodie in the dark, one more and I stand up on shaky legs, two more breaths and I pick up my bag. I make my way quietly out of my room and pass my parents room, pausing only to put a short note on my dad’s nightstand
In New York. Don’t worry about me. Am fine. Following my dream....Love you always
It feels like I’ve been trying to breath underwater for the past hour waiting for my flight. Flying always makes me nervous and the added stress of sneaking away from my house and my family to fly to New York and audition for a talent agency is not helping me be calm right now. My stomach growls at me but I know that if I eat I’ll just throw up later. I slowly start to nod off only to be startled awake by some screaming kids and the staff of Sky Harbor announcing flight #467 is boarding. I board last because I couldn’t afford an expensive ticket....
Which means I’m in the back.....
Which means claustrophobia on top of my fear of flying.
I’ve never been able to sleep on flights so I pop a couple Dramamine and I’m down for the count. roughly 2 hours later the drug wear off and I’m left in cramped and uncomfortable confinement in the very last row of the plane...
Oh well, at least I’m close to the bathroom. Seriously being 5′10" on a plane sucks, they don’t make set big enough for people who are even 5′5". It’s ridiculous!
Felling sorry for myself is how spend the next 3 hours of my flight. All I can do is focus on the blood circulating in my legs and hope that they don’t go numb from the weird position that I was forced into. I put in my headphones and try to drown out the incessant roar of the plane with some calming music, instead what comes on is a hyped up mx of rap, singing, and EDM house music that is doing nothing to calm my nerves besides I can’t even understand the words. I look at my phone to change the music and glance at what the song is.... DNA by BTS....BTS? Don’t I know them from somewhere? That question bugs my mind until I realize that is till haven’t changed the station. Finally finding some chill music that I can sleep to I pass out again.
I’m jostled awake as the plane makes a rather messy landing and the nerves immediately start to set in again. I risk everything by coming here. I’m about to put my heart and soul on the line for a shot at my dream. For just one chance to become engraved in history as someone who influenced music and changed lives. It’s a long shot with very little chance of success....and I know that if I fail here, it will crush me.
As I struggle to push myself up from my seat my phone falls off my lap and starts to blast some song I don’t know in a foreign language. I scramble to grab my phone from the floor and hang my head in shame and embarrassment. Irritated people push their way around me trying to get their luggage from the overhead compartments. Some kid starts to cry. Awesome!
I finally get off the plane with my one carry on (more like a backpack) full of some clothes and other necessities. I’ve been packing for this trip for weeks, slowly putting clothes away after my mom washed them, accumulating little things that I knew I would need on my trip, just enough to get me through the one day I planned to spend in New York until my flight home.
I make my way for the airport to the side walk out front. Even though the weather is int he low seventies, which would be nice for most people, I’m an Arizona girl and I don’t do temps bellow mid eighties. I give myself a mental high five as I pull my favorite sweatshirt from my backpack and shrug it on over my T-shirt. I’ve never ridden in a taxi cab before but it seems to be the cheapest form of transport right now and if I want to eat tonight I need to keep things cheap. Somehow by some miracle I manage to hail a cab and hand him the well worn piece of paper with the address of the building BigHit is holding the auditions in.
We arrive rather quickly at the building and I pay the driver before getting out of the cab and momentarily questioning my existence. I fight back a bought of nausea and take a trembling step toward the sliding glass doors that mark the entrance. Another step, another, another one until I’m in line at the front desk. I patiently wait my turn until I’m handed a piece of paper and a pen and told to fill out this paperwork and bring it back when I was finished. The auditions would start at 9 am sharp. I check the time on my phone...8 am.
I stare at the piece of paper without really reading any of the questions. I have to make myself start over...
Last name: Walker
Weight: 145 lbs
Talents: Singing, Dancing, Acting, Piano, Guitar
What sets you apart from other contestants?.... I want to make a change in the world through music. Music is what I love, it’s rooted in my soul. It’s my constant companion through life. It never leaves, never judges, and understand me completely. I want to help others discover the wonders of music and spread messages about peace and healing in the world through my music.
I start at the sound of my name. A million thoughts run through my head as I leave the other contestants sitting in the conference room they filed us into half an hour ago. Some people (especially girls) have come out bawling their eyes out, other simply in shock. Again: This does not help my nerves.
I walk into a much smaller room with a table set up toward the back wall in the middle. There sit three people, one of which I know. The owner CEO of BigHit, Bang Si-Hyuk, the man who holds my future in his hands. Oh boy. Confidence. Confidence.
“Um, ya, that’s me” I almost whisper into the mic I’m handed.
“You can start whenever” he sighs, it looks like he’s pretty done with these auditions, which doesn’t look good for me.
“o-ok” I stutter.
I start singing one of my original songs that I wrote in my room when I was 16 right after a breakup. the breakup isn’t important but the lyrics came form my soul and I sang them with as much emotion as I could. When I finished I blinked a couple tears out of my eyes and stared the judges straight in the face. All my nerves were gone and I became bold by the expression of my soul. Not to be super dramatic or anything but hey, I put myself out there for the first time and it was raw and real.
Bang Si-Hyuk cleared his throat and looked down. He picked up what looked like a napkin from the table and wiped his face.
“I have never been so moved by anyone in my entire life. You sing with your soul. It is so beautiful. You my dear, have something that no one outside has.”
I’m in shock.
“thank you.....I-I don’t know what to say” I mumble.
“Don’t say anything. Let me think” he turned to the woman sitting next to him and began to whisper to her.
I manage to catch what sound like my name several times as they whisper back and forth to each other. The man on the other side of Bang Si-Hyuk just stares at me critically.
“So, my dear...” he startles me out of my daydream...“we at BigHit Entertainment would like to offer you a position as a trainee, but a very special kind of trainee....we would like you to complete your training on tour with one of our most successful groups. They arrive in new York to kick off the American leg of their tour in about a week. I want you to join them and learn from them for the duration of their tour which will end in Korea. Then, when their tour is over and they arrive home in Korea, you will continue to learn from them and work with them on their next project while also working on your own debut material. By then you’ll be well established in the idol lifestyle and you’ll have the support of some of the greatest idols in the world. We can even give a pre-debut on their next album in order to really get the fans excited. They have an insane fan base.”
He finally stops talking and I’m at a loss for words. This is better than I ever could have hoped for it to be. A chance to get real experience and help from some of the world’s best in the industry! I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m awake.
“So Madeline....what’d you say?”
“I don’t know how I could say anything other than yes, sir” I know I’m talking quietly but I honestly don’t know what to do with myself at the moment.
I walk up in a trance to shake his hand. He grips my hand tightly in his stares me straight in the eye.
“I’m taking great risk with you my dear” he says softly, it feels like he and I are the only people in the entire world. “But I see the love and the soul in you and I don’t think you will let me down.”
“Thank you sir, I won’t let you down sir.”
He gives me a warm smile and shook my hand again.
A woman appears and begins to usher me out of the room to what I can see is a car waiting outside.
A thought suddenly strikes me.
“Sir!” I call out “who am I touring with?”
“BTS” he calls back.
BTS where have a heard that name before?