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I took in deep breaths after I sang the last lyrics. My chest was heavy and there was sweat all over my body. The bright stage lights shone brightly above us and the loud cheering from the crowd was deafening. I still had the microphone in my hand and I was ready to drop it on stage and head out. But the loud cheering from the fans was leading me on to sing one more song.
I looked to my side and there stood my best friend, Zoey and my cousin, Christine. They were also breathing heavily and they looked really tired. But with the look on their faces, they seemed ready to perform one more time.
I looked to my other side and there stood my two brothers, Mike and Daniel. They too were tired, but I could see in their eyes that they were ready just like me and the other girls.
I looked further behind me and standing backstage was our manager, Collins. He beckoned to me to get off stage. We had already done two encores and we should have ended the show minutes ago. But with the fans being so supportive, it was difficult not to give them what they want.
Collins kept beckoning and I could tell he was getting frustrated. The others followed my eyes, then went on to look at me, waiting for my signal. I am the leader after all, and they were ready to go with what I thought best. I looked at them and then at Collins. The noise from the fans became louder that I could even feel the stage below my feet shaking. I still felt the adrenaline rushing through me. I had to make a decision, fast.
I made up my mind. I mouthed out to Collins "sorry" and then turned to the drummer on stage and gave him a signal to give us a beat. The drummer did likewise and just by the sound of the drums, the fans went roaring like crazy. Collins looked annoyed, but he could lay out his anger on me later. We had fans to please.
The others looked at me and smiled. They also wanted this. Looks like I made the right call after all. The beating of the drums was soon followed by the tune from the pianist and the whole instrumental music band behind us gave out a beautiful pop tune. My left foot automatically tapped on the stage floor, following the beat and my whole team also followed suit. The fans kept roaring like crazy. I put the microphone to my lips and I could feel the adrenaline taking its course. I had always liked this feeling.
"ARE YOU READY TO DO THIS ONE MORE TIME?" I screamed out to the fans, and in response the fans screamed back. I smiled, because I also wanted this too.
"LET'S DO THIS!!"
"OMG, I have never felt this tired in my life," said Zoey as she sat on the couch after we all came off stage and rushed to one of the dressing rooms.
Mike and Daniel took the opposite couch taking up the whole space. Christine jumped in on the other couch with Zoey and since I was the last one in the room, I took the stool instead.
"Today was just awesome," said Mike. "Did you see how the girls were crying out to me when I did my killer move? I totally rocked it tonight."
"Ya, ya, ya, we know," muttered Daniel. "But I'm the youngest and the cutest, so they were obviously screaming out to me."
"Want to check out the social media and read the comments?" Mike challenged Daniel.
"You're on. If I win you get to clean my bedroom for a week."
"Deal." Mike and Daniel shook hands while the rest of us just groaned.
"Seriously? You're doing that again? I think we all know who's going to win," said Christine.
"Hey, we've only been solidly famous for a few years and people change their opinions all the time," said Mike. "Just because Daniel won last time doesn't mean I can't too."
"Whatever," I said. Sometimes it's hard to talk these boys out of anything. I just rolled my eyes at them like I normally do.
"Wasn't Collins supposed to meet us here? He's the one holding on to our phones, right?" Daniel asked.
"If I'm right, he's probably mad at us for not listening to him," I said. "He's going to punish us in one way or another."
"You're darn right I will!" came a voice from the door.
The five of us turned to the open door and there stood our manager, Collins. The look on his red face was quite frightening and it was even harder to look away. He stepped into the room and there came a sudden change in the atmosphere. It was as if Collins was going to burst into a ball of lightning and zap us dead like a bug zapper. We continued to stare at him as he came to stand right beside me.
"Why didn't you guys listen to me when I told you to get off stage?" Collins asked. "Our time was up and instead you went on to perform three more songs."
"That's my fault, Collins," I said. "If you have to blame anyone, then you should blame me."
"No, I better blame myself. I should have disciplined you guys a little more."
"Awww, don't beat yourself up," said Zoey. "We all wanted to be there a little longer. And besides, we did put up one hell of a show, didn't we?"
Collins let out a sigh as he continued to stare at each and everyone of us. It was obvious with the look on his face that Zoey was right.
"Okay, you guys really killed it out there," said Collins with a tired smile on his face. "I'm just waiting for Lee to get here with the ratings."
"YES!!!!" The five of us cheered and we all gave each other a high five, including Collins.
"But that doesn't mean I'm not mad at you," said Collins a little too sternly, but even that didn't seem to spoil our mood. We laughed and all Collins did was smile.
I looked up at Collins then went on to stare at the rest of my group. I couldn't help but feel glad when I looked at their happy faces. We really came a long way to reach where we are now. Climbing up to stardom had been a pretty tough road.
Collins first noticed our talent two years ago at a talent show back in high school. I bought in my childhood best friend, Zoey, my cousin, Christine, who is more like a blood sister to me, and my two adorable, yet annoying brothers. We had signed up for the talent show as a singing-dance group. We called ourselves "The Toxins."
We really killed it that day. With our amazing talent of singing, rapping and dancing, we rocked the entire school. Everyone was up on their feet and cheering like we were already celebrities. In the end we won the talent show. Our parents were there to show their support and they were so proud. It was really the happiest day of our lives. It got even more exciting when at the end of the show, Collins came up to congratulate us and told us he's a record producer. He also complimented about how talented we were that he even thought of signing us in with the record company he works for. And did we even hesitate to say no? We were all really excited, and our parents, after a long discussion, agreed to it. Everyone else continued to give us their support.
The first year with the record label was hard, and competitive. At first, we never got the chance to participate in writing our own lyrics for any song. The first debut single we released wasn't that great and it was hard to produce another because the first felt like a failure.
When I realised that our careers might as well go down the drain, I suggested to Collins that we, The Toxins, should participate in writing our own songs with other song writers. He was up for the idea, but not the board because of their contract with us. But when I challenged them, they gave me a lifeline: Create a better song and take it to the top of the charts, if it doesn't, we lose our record deal.
I got to work right away. I always had a thing for writing poetry, so writing lyrics wasn't difficult. With the help of my group and a few songwriters we worked with, we produced a pretty good track. When Collins and the board got to listen, they loved it. But then came the part where we had to produce a music video. The first one wasn't so great, so I decided that I should come up with the ideas. The board alongside Collins trusted me to do a good job. And I did.
Making the music video wasn't as easy as I thought. When it came to the choreography, we had to practise day and night. We had to bring up new dance moves and we had to make sure that it was on point and going with the flow. Our choreographer, Jimmy was very supportive and if it wasn't for him, I don't know where we would be by now.
I had to work extra hard. I made sure that the location for our music video was perfect, and the film director, Collins and Lee were helping me out with all the arrangements. I even had to organise our wardrobe with Zoey's help. At that time, things were going just right.
When the day came to shoot the video, I couldn't help but feel a little nervous. The preparations took over a month and I was scared that things weren't going to turn out right. But Collins gave me the encouragement I needed and told me how much of a good leader I was. He also told me he had never met someone who was determined enough to try and set up their own music video. That lifted my spirits a little. When the time came to settle ourselves on set, with the camera rolling and the music playing in the background, I got my confidence back and I soon started to dance to the song just like we had done during practice and the whole group followed my lead. It was awesome.
After shooting and editing the music video, it was released on YouTube, and within a few hours it already had 100,000 views, and in the next two days, it soon reached over 10 million views. Our song topped the billboard charts and it had stayed number one and in the top ten for almost two months.
We soon became famous and the board kept their word; we began to participate in writing our own songs. And the most surprising thing was, we had so many fashion labels calling out for our attention. It turns out the music video we released not only attracted music lovers, but the fashion industry too. Our wardrobe for the video was completely insane. And by insane, I mean it completely blew people's minds away. It was then that our record company decided to promote their own fashion line. And in honour of my hard work, they decided to give it the name "The Black Kitty Clothesline." Black Kitty is a nickname I adopted when I was a little kid, simply because I've always loved kittens. My family always called me a cat because no one ever heard me whenever I walked into a room. As for "black", well, because I am simply African American. And also, I just love black cats, though they are believed to bring bad luck.
My stage name simply became Black Kitty, the initials: B.K. Everyone would call me that, including my lovable fans.
Enough about the past, it was simply time to look on to the future and what lies ahead. As if the universe had just read my mind, Lee, our assistant manager, came rushing into the room as if she were being chased by angry squirrels. She came running in in her high heels. I was surprised that none of them had broken off yet. She took in deep breaths as Collins tried to hold her steady.
"Lee, what's wrong?" Collins asked. "Did something bad happen?"
The Toxins and I quickly stood up. I gave Lee the stool to sit on. Christine went to the dressing table where there was a jug of water and a glass. She quickly poured the water and gave the glass to Lee. Lee quickly drank it and her body relaxed a little.
"Thanks, Christine," said Lee, "I really needed that."
"Now, will you please tell me why you came running in like that?" Collins asked. "I hope nothing bad has happened."
"On the contrary, Collins, you guys better be seated or else you will faint by this good news," said Lee with a bright smile on her face.
"What? What is it?" Zoey asked impatiently.
"I was checking up on my email after the show and I came across something that completely blew my mind," said Lee.
"What email?" I asked. "Like some fan-mail or something?"
"No, I got an email from South Korea. Has any one of you ever heard of YG Entertainment?"
"Yes, I have," I said. My brothers, Zoey, and Christine nodded their heads. "That's a music and entertainment company, right?"
"You're right," this time Lee was getting really excited. "They sent me an email asking if you guys, The Toxins, would want to collaborate with one of their k-pop groups."
"Wow, are you serious?" Collins asked. There was a sudden wave of excitement from all of us in the room. "And which group is that?"
"Wait for it...," said Lee with a smile as she paused for a while. "It's BigBang!"
Christine, Zoey and I shrieked as if a celebrity had just walked into the room. Collins and the boys blocked their ears with their fingers. Lee also joined in as she stood up and the four of us held hands and we jumped up and down like little high school girls.
"OMG! This can't be happening right now!" said Zoey as she was almost on the verge of crying her eyes out.
"Did I hear you right, Lee?" I asked. I still couldn't believe the news. The whole world seemed to be spinning that I felt like I could just faint right there onto the floor.
"I'm telling you the truth," said Lee as she held her Mac tablet and showed us the email. "You can check it yourselves."
I took the tablet from her and everyone surrounded me so as to read the email. The first thing that caught my eye was the YG logo above the letter. It was definitely them, alright. I had seen it a couple of times before. I still couldn't believe they had asked us to collaborate with one of their own. And with BigBang for that matter.
"Wow, this is awesome," said Daniel. "I have heard some of their songs before, they are awesome."
"And the fact that we are collaborating with them, is giving me goosebumps," said Zoey, with a smile on her face. "We finally get to go to Korea!"
"I know," I said. "That has been my dream destination for a long time now."
"Does that mean I get to dye my hair into any colour I want?" Mike asked. "K-pop superstars love doing that."
"I would dye my hair pink," said Christine.
"No way, girlfriend," said Zoey. "Pink is my colour."
"I would go for green," said Mike.
"I would go for blue as long as my hair stands out in spikes," said Daniel.
"I think I will stick with black, thanks," I said as I laughed out loud.
"Hey, hold on a minute," said Collins, raising his hands so as to calm us down. "No one is dying any of their hair, well, not yet at least. Second of all, the board and I haven't agreed to all of this yet."
"Awww!" we muttered out loud in frustration. If there's any one who knew how to spoil a happy moment, it's Collins.
"But we all want this," I said. "They would probably think it's a good idea."
"I know how this must feel for you," said Collins. "But we can't just get on a plane and leave. We need to talk to the board first and if they agree, we can make preparations and tell YG that we're coming."
"I already arranged a meeting with the board and we will meet them first thing tomorrow morning," said Lee as she stared at Collins, looking all professional as though she hadn't gone crazy minutes ago.
"Good, so we wait until tomorrow," said Collins. "For now I suggest we head back home to get a good night's sleep. We've had too much to take in for one day, don't you think?"
We all agreed and as soon as we changed, we headed for the Chevrolet SUV waiting for us outside. As usual, there were fans waiting. The security had to make way and try to keep the fans under control. As we got into the car, we couldn't stop talking about YG's offer.
This is going to be a huge turn around for all of us and we knew it. It looked like we weren't even tired from the performance at the concert with us being so excited in the car. When we got home, we were all still running about and blabbering with excitement. Mike and Daniel even forgot about their little deal.
How we ended falling asleep before midnight, only God knows.ns22.214.171.124da2