S'pore teen Joye Cai takes up K-pop trainee contract offer, Latest Music News - The New Paper

S'pore teen Joye Cai takes up K-pop trainee contract offer

Singaporean schoolgirl Joye Cai will be going to South Korea to train as a K-pop star.

The 15-year-old Secondary 4 student at St Joseph’s Institution International took part in a preliminary audition held here in February to find new members for K-pop girl group Fifty Fifty.

Fifty Fifty, formerly a quartet best known for their hit Cupid (2023), is now left with only member Keena, after three others left their management agency Attrakt over contractual disputes. 

To find new members for the group, Attrakt and one of its investors, Singapore-based company Evergreen Group Holdings, organised auditions in Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. The finalised line-up of Fifty Fifty is slated for a comeback in June 2024.

Joye was one of three Singaporeans out of 120 hopefuls who took part in the Singapore auditions to be selected for the next round. She flew to Bangkok for a final audition held on March 2. While Joye did not make the cut to join Fifty Fifty, she was offered a trainee contract from Evergreen.

She will train in singing, dancing and rapping in South Korea in the hope of one day debuting as a K-pop idol.

She tells The Straits Times over the telephone that she was anxious when she received the offer immediately after her Bangkok audition. 

“I wasn’t sure if my family would support me going over as a trainee since the future is undecided and no one knows what will happen. I told them (Evergreen) to give me a while to think about it,” she says.

She flew back to Singapore on March 3 to attend American pop star Taylor Swift’s concert at the National Stadium on March 7. While watching Swift perform, the teen made up her mind to chase her K-pop dream.

Joye says: “My mum was with me on the day of the concert, and I turned to her and I said, ‘You’ll see me on stage in five years.’ Watching Taylor Swift perform and seeing the crowd cheer for her just sparked something in me.”

The student will likely relocate to Seoul in June. Her mother, Ms Milona Xia, admits she initially did not want to let Joye accept the offer.

The 37-year-old, who is the patron of a law foundation, says: “But Joye told me this is her dream, and she feels like even if she got her International Baccalaureate diploma and enrolled in an Ivy League university, that doesn’t mean she will necessarily enjoy a better future than if she took the risk of going to South Korea and becoming a trainee.”

Still, Ms Xia wants Joye to continue her education in South Korea, preferably at the prestigious Hanlim Multi Art School, which many K-pop idols such as Astro’s Cha Eun-woo and Twice’s Tzuyu used to attend.