“Isn’t this Suan-hyung’s voice?”
Had I recorded the guide for our debut song?
The members all looked at me as Oh Rion remarked. I was deep in thought and didn’t notice their gazes. Instead, I tilted my head and stared hard at the phone that was playing the music.
“You have good ears, Rion. Suan was the one who sang this.”
Producer-hyung, seemingly amazed, praised Oh Rion.
“Really? Suan-hyung, your voice is so nice!”
“Ah, it was Suan. I was wondering because I thought I had heard that voice somewhere. I think your voice is really nice.”
“What? When did you record this by yourself? You always go off on your own, so we have no way of knowing. I only learned today that you were watching us… Ah, Christ. I’m saying that I’m s-sorry for not even recognising your voice.”
“Your voice is nice to listen to.”
I recorded so many guides that I didn’t even remember that this had happened. However, Park Jitae’s apology that I had never even once heard while I was living with him for 7 years choked me up.
This is what it feels like to be apologised to.
“May I change the lyrics?”
I asked for Producer-hyung’s permission as he was the one who composed the song and wrote the lyrics. If I didn’t have the original creator’s permission, I wouldn’t be able to change it even if I wanted to.
“Doesn’t matter to me, but are you planning to write it yourself?”
Producer-hyung gave his approval right away. He didn’t particularly seem to mind that his own creation would be touched.
“Yes. Since you let me be the supporting vocal, I’ll write the lyrics. Is everyone okay with that?”
I asked the members as I replied to Producer-hyung. The members from the past would definitely have hated it.
“I think it would be amazing if you wrote the lyrics for us, Suan.”
“It doesn’t matter to me.”
“I’m all in! Hyung, hyung, do you want me to help?”
Unlike my expectations, the members agreed without showing signs of dissatisfaction. I tilted my head in confusion. Didn’t they hate me even when we were young? The actions of the members were anything but easily comprehensible.
“No, you don’t need to help.”
If you keep sneaking about beside me, I’ll be even more distracted.
I expressed my denial to Ryu Sunho with a purplexed look and picked up the pen that was placed next to Producer-hyung. I flipped over the paper that had the original lyrics written on it and began to write the new lyrics on the blank, white surface.
Unlike the other members who were staring at me in anticipation, I was the only one who wished to have no presence. Rather, one half of me wanted to receive no attention while the other half of me wanted the other members to be in the spotlight. With that in mind, I wrote the lyrics. The white paper was filled with black letters in no time, and the song was completed.
“I tried writing it, but I’ll write it again if you don’t like it.”
Anxious that he might not approve of it, I said as I handed the lyrics sheet to Producer-hyung.
“Looks pretty good to me. Let’s leave it just as it is.”
Producer-hyung nodded. A smile settled into his face, showing his satisfaction.
“I should change the theme while you guys memorise these lyrics. I think I’ll have to report this first and hold another meeting. You can all leave for today. Good work, all of you.”
Producer-hyung copied the lyrics down on a separate sheet of A4 paper and slid the paper into his folder before leaving the meeting room.
“Your memorisation is complete, right?”
“Let’s have Rion go in first to record the introductory verse. It’s Sunho after Rion, so be ready.”
Sitting on the sofa in the recording studio, I glanced at Oh Rion as he put on the headphones.
“Rion, can you hear me?”
“Yes, I can.”
“Let’s treat this as a light practice and get right into it, yeah?”
It must be his very first time recording. How is he not nervous at all?
I was certain that his heart was made of steel.
「Inside the darkness
Where everybody’s gone
Did you call me?
Above the bright star, Orion」
Oh Rion sang lazily, as if he were starting a casual conversation, in his signature low register.
“Whoa, I guess Rion doesn’t even get nervous.”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
Park Jitae and Seo Yoon-hyung were practising seperately in the dance studio as their recording times would be longer. Oh Rion, Ryu Sunho and I were the only ones in the recording studio.
“That was great just now. Could you try one more time as if you’re whispering?”
“Let’s go again.”
“You can come out, Rion. Are you ready, Sunho?”
“Me? I’ll take a quick sip of water and get right in!”
Holding a bottle of water in his hand, Sunho stood stiffly in nervousness as he replied to Producer-hyung.
“Sure, sure. Don’t be too nervous!”
I watched Sunho as he held the headphones in his hands, his neck tense with unease.
“Hyung, you included my name in the lyrics on purpose, right?”
Oh Rion, who was sitting quietly beside me, asked.
That’s right! You have to shine so that I can be invisible.
I swallowed the comment, unable to bring myself to actually say it out loud, leaving a short reply to Oh Rion’s question.
“Thank you. I think I’ve been misunderstanding you until now, Hyung. I’m sorry for my past behaviour.”
It’s wasn’t just Park Jitae, but also Oh Rion who was acting strangely. His sudden apology and words of gratitude was hard to accept with ease of mine, especially coming from Oh Rion who was always silent.
“Ready to go, Sunho?”
Producer-hyung pressed the button that connected him to the recording booth and asked Sunho, who now had the headphones on.
“Yep yep, I’m ready!”
“Let’s take it easy, then.”
「Will you tell me
What your name is?
A contract of promise
Below unsightly desire, a daimon」
“That was really great just now! Let’s use this. Come out, Sunho.”
Producer-hyung once again said in a pleased tone towards Sunho, who was still inside the recording booth.
“Ooh, really? You’re giving me the ok at the first try?”
Surprised at Producer-hyung’s comment, Sunho’s face brightened up as he asked back.
“Yeah! Come out now.”
When the recording started, Sunho sang his part in one go in a seductive voice, as if he was never nervous. He exited the recording booth and walked towards the sofa.
“Suan-hyung, he said I was super good! Did you see? You gotta have…”
Ryu Sunho reminded me of a puppy, wagging its tail at me and huffing with its tongue out. I could picture its ears drooping if I were to reply that I hadn’t. I replied after a moment of thought.
I saw you very well as you walked into that recording booth with your neck all tense in nervousness.
“Hyunggg, you see, I think I like you the best after all.”
“Mmhmm. I see.”
Was it from the practising candidate days until around a month after debut that this kid called me hyunggg… while wagging his invisible tail? It was difficult to get accustomed to since it had been 7 years.
“Seems like your recordings would be done earlier than I had thought. Is it because you’re all feeling great today or because you’re just that skilled? I believe that the next part is Yoon’s. Go fetch him, Sunho.”
Producer-hyung said with an expression of surprise and proudness.
“Suan, your solo part is only 23 seconds long. You have so much pride… What are you gonna do if you let them have everything?”
When Ryu Sunho left the recording room to get Seo Yoon-hyung, Producer-hyung glanced at Oh Rion, who was quietly staring at his phone with his earbuds in, and spoke to me.
“I don’t particularly mind. The other members are a better fit than I am. Even after the debut, I hope that the members get more attention than me. Everyone tries hard, and they’re good, too.”
I’d like to be treated as invisible. It’s not like I earn more money for singing more parts.
I faced Producer-hyung and answered without revealing my inner thoughts.
“Well, if that’s what you think, I’ve got nothing to say. Still, you’ll only be able to survive in this field if you chase your ambitions.”
Producer-hyung continued to give me more advice full of concern, as if it was bothering him.
I know very well. It was a problem because I survived by myself.
“Yeah. I trust you to do fine on your own.”
It seemed like the door of the recording booth wasn’t fully shut. I noticed a pair of sneakers through the crack of the door.
“What are you guys doing in there?”
Oh Rion, who was quitely staring down at his phone, said as he glanced towards the door.
“What, did you hear everything, Rion?”
“Geez, how are you so young, yet so not cute? At times like this, you’re supposed to say no.”
Producer-hyung gently scolded Oh Rion.
Even then, Oh Rion only gave a short reply without making any excuses.
“Don’t let your answer be the only thing you’re good at. Hey! You guys, hurry up and get in here.”
Seo Yoon-hyung and Park Jitae sluggishly entered the recording studio upon Producer-hyung’s command.
“Where’s Sunho? Why are you guys the only ones here? He was sent to fetch you two, and now he’s slipping out on his own?”
Shaking my head, I said as I saw Park Jitae and Seo Yoon-hyung coming in.