We are now in the last stage of our search for the next rising legend, with only nine out of thousands of contestants making it final round. It’s been a long journey for these nine finalists of “Rising Legends: Season 2,” showcasing their skills in singing, dancing, or rapping to the world through three grueling rounds and proving why they deserve to have the chance to be the next K-pop star. But so far we’ve only seen their performances, so before the competition ends, we interviewed the finalists to learn more about the person behind all the hard work – what inspires them, their struggles, and their dreams for the future. Here they are, the next “Rising Legends.”
How did you get into K-pop? My cousin introduced K-pop to me in 2009 so we could dance the choreographies together.
When did you start covering K-pop dances? I was re-introduced to K-pop in 2013 when I saw a performance practice video from BTS, who then became my inspiration. After that, I took hip hop dance classes and met a friend who made dance cover videos on YouTube. From then on, I’ve been learning dance covers on the reg.
Which choreography do you remember being really hard to learn? “Danger” by BTS was really difficult and frustrating for me at the time I learned it. It was my first time learning a K-pop dance as well as the first time dancing out of my element (I started dancing with contemporary/modern).
What was your favorite song to cover? My favorite song to cover was “Blood, Sweat & Tears” by BTS because it mixed different elements of dance and the movements just molded so well together. Even though it was hard and I had to pay attention to the little details, it was so fun. I could dance it a million times.
How do your friends and family react to you covering K-pop? In the beginning, it was weird for my friends. Not a lot of them were exposed to K-pop, but now they’ve accepted it and have given me a lot of support. My family wasn’t too sure about it first, either, but they eventually realized how much I love dancing and now fully support me. (Thanks fam!)
Who is your K-pop role model and why? My K-pop role model is BTS because I can relate to how much frustration and sacrifices they went through to be able to get to where they are. Despite all the hardships they went through, they still remain hard-working, passionate, and humble.
Pick three different Korean artists/idols and tell us why: one to have dinner with, one to get a private lesson from, and one to perform with. I want to have dinner with BIGBANG to learn about their success and experiences, both as a group and solo artists. I’d like to get a private lesson from BoA because she’s such an incredible performer and knows and understands the industry. I’d like to perform with Taemin from SHINee because his stage presence is out of this world.
Describe one moment when you were dancing/singing/rapping that you will never forget. Last year, I performed with my crew, Yours Truly, at the K-Pop World Festival U.S. Finals in L.A. It was a meaningful performance to me, as our group had been rehearsing non-stop and giving it our all in that 5-minute performance. It just felt amazing to let it out on stage and hear the crowd sing and dance along with us.
Who would you invite to your K-pop debut stage? My mom, sisters, and Yours Truly.
Any remarks for your fans out there? Thank you so much for the continuous love and support, stay litty!
How did you get into K-pop? In my 7th grade Chinese class, my best friend and I did a project about Henry from Super Junior. It’s all been a rapid incline since then.
When did you start covering K-pop dances? I started covering K-pop dances my senior year of high school.
Which choreography do you remember being really hard to learn? The hardest choreography I’ve ever tried teaching myself was “Danger” by Taemin. Key word: TRIED.
What was your favorite song to cover? My favorite song that I have ever covered is definitely “Shake It” by SISTAR. It was my cover debut at KCON LA 2015.
How do your friends and family react to you covering K-pop? They are incredibly supportive and push me to do my best. My parents love to share my dances on Facebook with their friends.
Who is your K-pop role model and why? My K-pop role model is HyunA. She’s so charismatic and enchanting on stage. She’s so capable. She is hyper aware of being an independent person aside from her stage persona. People fail to realize that dances and clothes don’t define you as a person, and HyunA stands up for that statement. I adore her. Her talent is something that I aspire to achieve.
Pick three different Korean artists/idols and tell us why: one to have dinner with, one to get a private lesson from, and one to perform with. I would love to have dinner with Min from miss A. She has an incredible story behind achieving her dreams, and I would love to hear everything about it. I would sell a kidney to get private lessons from Taemin from SHINee. He is one of my biggest dance role models. He’s become one of the best solo artists in K-pop because of his dancing and growth as a vocalist. Performing with HyunA would be an absolute dream! She is all I aspire to be and one of my major role models, within and outside of the K-pop world.
Describe one moment when you were dancing/singing/rapping that you will never forget. When I performed at KCON LA in 2015. It was my first public performance and I was received so well. It was an unforgettable experience, and I wish that I could relive it every day.
Who would you invite to your K-pop debut stage? I would invite my parents and friends to my debut stage. They’re my support system. I would also invite my high school theatre & choir teachers, my college theatre professor, and all of my past dance teachers, because they’ve helped shape me into the performer that I am today.
Any remarks for your fans out there? Thank you so much for you love, support, and kind words, Beasties. I’m proud to be your internet mom, and I am so genuinely blessed to have all of you to lift me up. You all are irreplaceable.
How did you get into K-pop? I got into K-pop around mid-2009 when I heard the group called SS501 from the “Boys Over Flowers” drama. I started to search up more groups like Super Junior, TVXQ, etc.
When did you start covering K-pop dances? I did my first K-pop dance cover in late 2010 or early 2011.
Which choreography do you remember being really hard to learn? I was more into boy dance groups before, so I was more used to boys’ choreography. Since I had a girl K-pop dance group during high school, they liked to do girly movements. The first girl’s dance I learned was Girls’ Generation’s “Oh!” I didn’t know how to be cute. It was a tough time for me to get into the moves and how to perform it.
What was your favorite song to cover? BLACKPINK – “As If It’s Your Last”
How do your friends and family react to you covering K-pop? My friends and family feel like that’s another “Anson” when they watch my K-pop covers. They feel like it is a hidden me and they really like how I perform and show my personality/skills through the videos.
Who is your K-pop role model and why? Taemin (SHINee) is my K-pop role model. I appreciate his hard work to become a better artist. He improved all the way in his career. No matter in dance or vocal covers, he does an excellent job!
Pick three different Korean artists/idols and tell us why: one to have dinner with, one to get a private lesson from, and one to perform with.
Dinner with – G-Dragon
Private lesson – JYP
Perform with — HyunA
Describe one moment when you were dancing/singing/rapping that you will never forget. I did with a cover with my K-pop dance crew friend when she visited Vancouver this June. It was a quick cover. We just learnt it for 3 hours, but the video turned out really good! I realized that dance depends on your determination and passion!
Who would you invite to your K-pop debut stage? I would invite my parents, MissG5 (my high school dance crew), and also my best friends!
Any remarks for your fans out there? Vote for me, Anson!