BTS‘s Jungkook has performed for thousands of adoring fans, but like most artists, he started off with much smaller audiences.
Jungkook was in his early teens when he began his journey to become a professional singer. At age 14, he auditioned for Mnet‘s talent program, Superstar K in Daegu, Suga and V‘s hometown. In the audition video, Jungkook quietly walks into the frame and follows the staff’s instructions.
Jungkook sang “Lost Child,” a song by one of his favorite artists, IU. His voice was as angelic then as it is now, but he lacks the confidence and charisma we see in today’s performances.
Young Jungkook’s focus seems to be entirely on his vocal technique and delivering a strong vocal performance, whereas today’s Jungkook would also conveying the mood of the song with his gestures and facial expressions, keeping eye contact with the camera.
In a 2020 interview, Jungkook revealed that he became a much shyer person after going through auditions.
But when I arrived at the audition hall, I became intimidated by the large crowd. I started to shrink after being surrounded by so many strangers. This might be the time that I began being shy around people I didn’t know.
Although Jungkook was not chosen to compete on the show, he did receive love calls from several agencies, including Big Hit Music (then Big Hit Entertainment). As a trainee, Jungkook learned quickly, improving in all areas of performance. He seems much more confident and stage-ready in this clip, released just a few months before BTS’s debut.
In 2014, a year after BTS’s debut, Jungkook participated in another audition, to enroll in the School of Performing Arts Seoul (SOPA). As he sang “Two Melodies,” by Zion.T, he swayed to the music, using his whole body to tell the song’s story, rather than standing in place like he had for his Superstar K audition.
The moral of this story? Practice makes perfect, and perseverance turns dreams into reality. As Jungkook himself once said:
— Full Sail University (@FullSail) September 1, 2021
Watch Jungkook’s auditions below: