"LUXIA?" A charming cat-eyed girl with a characteristic high ponytail softly exclaimed as she peered behind her.
"Heeyyyy~~" Cheered Ahreum as she bounced in and greeted Yeji and some other ITZY and TWICE members by the entrance door. The rest of the LUXIA girls followed and expressed their merriment at seeing everyone.
Truly it felt like ages since they had last seen one another in a casual setting. JYP was like a godsend to all the idols present for the friendship gathering.
Although the New Years had passed, the theme of the night was music, friends, and the 2022 year ahead. While 2020 was big for being the turn of a new decade, the double or triple twos of the numerical year was also a significant one. People considered pairs like this to be lucky.
This was mere superstition caused by humans naturally finding patterns to be satisfying, but indeed 2022 was a big year for more concrete matters. For one, this was TWICE's seventh year together, and two, GOT7 had re-signed last year as a group for another seven years starting in 2022.
JYP's senior girl and boy group were respectively still going strong, but now 2022 hallmarked the storm of new contenders as leaders of music and enter.
As ITZY's third year, they couldn't quite be considered rookies anymore. And Stray Kids already had an established fanbase in their fifth year as a group.
Lastly, the Japanese girl group made from the NIZI audition and survival was also a high-potential rookie going into the new year. And all of these groups were from JYP alone, not even counting the idols from other companies here at the gathering.
"I can't believe you girls almost went Gold with 'Welcome Home,'" remarked Jackson as he chomped on some delicious appetizers from the array of food displayed on the long tables behind him. "You all are monsters," he joked dryly in his usual Jackson manner, making the LUXIA girls and his members laugh.
"Ahahaha, we were surprised too. I never expected it would be such as a hit." Iris giggled lightly. "But we didn't get Gold in the end."
"Yeah, but it was the end of the year, so you technically would've made it if you had more time."
"True, but it makes us work harder for next time." Iris grinned at Jackson who only smiled and shook his head.
"Crazy, not even a year rookie and chasing after certifications already."
Their winter ballad with pop and even some R&B flairs had indeed taken the Korean and international public by unexpected storm. LUXIA had inserted themselves squarely into the spotlight, marking them as a worthy sister group of the worldwide famous BTS. Everyone anticipated their next comeback in 2022.
"Do you think you'll be able to do that with your collaboration?" BamBam nudged his GOT7 Chinese member with a smirk and shining eyes.
"Hey! Don't put pressure on me! What if it's because of me we don't get Gold?" Jackson raised his hand with the fork as if to whack BamBam with his forearm before lowering it to eat again and address the snickering girl in front of him. "Sorry Iris, please don't hit me if we don't get your certification this spring."
"PFT! Such a joker you are always, as if that will ever be true. If anything we might hit Platinum or Gold in three countries." She stuck out her tongue playfully, making Jackson chuckle.
They both knew they were kidding around. Neither of them would hold the other back in their Mandarin pop and hip-hop collaboration planned in a few months. But it was still unlikely they'd go Gold in China, South Korea, and the United States where their biggest markets were.
As for Platinum, that was still a far cry. It wasn't so easy going Platinum. For South Korean albums alone which only need half the sales as Single songs do to earn certifications, only forty had ever been certified by the Korea Music Content Association (KMCA).
However, certifications were foreseeable in LUXIA's future based on the multi-Platinum certifications that BTS earned. Talent, hard work, and success truly was sure to run strong in the Big Hit family.
"You guys are joking about Gold in three countries, and here we are still looking for a first win." Vicky Wei from YG's Baby Monsters joked lightheartedly. She was also Chinese and had participated in a similar show like Iris in Produce 48, but in China.
"Oof~" Jackson knew she referred to how LUXIA dominated the charts and took all of the music show wins with their winter single. He smiled. "Don't worry, you'll get it soon. You have devoted fans already, and that's what matters the most in the end."
"Aww, such sweet words from our Jackson," snickered BamBam playfully, slinging a lazy arm around Jackson's shoulder.
"Hey hey hey! My food! Careful dude!" He chastised BamBam who laughed merrily. While those two "bickered" lovingly as GOT7 brothers, Iris turned to Vicky.
"I'm sorry to hear that Treasure couldn't make it today." Iris was referring to YG's newest boy group that debuted before Baby Monsters.
"Yeah, their end of the year promotions unfortunately overlapped with today. Bang Yedam especially wanted to meet you since he never got to say much to you during music shows."
"Haha, that's cute!" Iris spoke like a doting noona. But indeed, she was born in 1998, so she was four solid years older than Bang Yedam born in 2022. "Ah, I feel so old suddenly even though I'm still just a rookie technically." She laughed, thinking nostalgically about how she'd already be 24 this year, or 25 by Korean age.
"You? A rookie! Please!" Vicky snorted. "You're sunbae to many of us since first debuting in 2018 as IZ*ONE, even more before that as a composer for BTS even. I still don't know how you do it." She shook her head in wry amusement and admiration.
"Eeep, please~!" Iris shook her head and waved her hands. "Don't flatter me so, I still have so much more to do and accomplish in LUXIA now. It's so exciting really, even more than all the previous times to be honest. However, each stage in my musical career is special and led me to where I am today."
"Wise, humble words, laoshi*." Vicky chuckled and took a sip of her beverage. (*laoshi is the Pinyin pronunciation of the Chinese word for 'teacher' similar to Korean romanization for 'seonsaengnim' for teacher or Japanese's 'sensei')
The two girls chatted for a bit more before others joined them and then they departed separate ways, mingling with others. Iris met back with her group mate Jiyeon, and together, they struck up conversation with Red Velvet's Yeri and Joy.
Meanwhile, Cindy had stumbled across Jennie and Jisoo of Black Pink who had all arrived late due to conflicting schedules. These two members were greeting their close friend Nayeon of TWICE since trainee days.
Like a blushing kitten, Cindy was ecstatic to be able to speak to her long-time idols. This whole get together was like a dream.
Even BTS had joined a little later but earlier than Black Pink where Thai member Lisa had flown overseas and Rosé on her solo album work and activities. Currently, BTS were mingling with some best buddies from Seventeen, EXO, NCT, and GOT7.
What a fest of a night it was. Any k-pop fan would have died a thousand times over to have been in this industry-wide yet private event. Well, if they didn't die a hundred times more by merely being in the presence of their idols much less being able to interact with them.
And certainly, the reporters were out roaming and sniffing about the streets outside the JYP building. But only a few selected and vetted reporters and photographers were allowed to interview and snap pictures of idols.
For the most part though, according to their given assignment, they left the guests alone to their own devices so that they felt more comfortable to enjoy the good atmosphere rather than be "be present" in their professional idol persona.
Leisurely, the event drew to a peak when everyone settled down to eat the main course and watch the special stage which was set up for casual, fun variety entertainment from the idol attendees themselves.
Tonight, LUXIA was on the list last minute to perform a song skit.
A slightly longer chapter than usual~ Thank you again for your continued patience and support! :3
I have just finished my first exam in one of my summer courses. So I’ll be reworking a schedule where I can better fit in more weekly updates and get back to daily ones. See you soon!
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