For Kpop fans, CL of 2NE1 might be the fiercest girl in Korean girl group history. Not only is she famous for being the leader of 2NE1, CL is also famous for her musical talent along with her high fashion taste. However CL has gone through a long journey to achieve those recognitions.
Born in Seoul with her real name Lee Caerin, CL grew up in a family of academics. Her grandfather is a physicist, her uncle is an economist, her aunt runs an art gallery and her father is a physics professor.
Little Caerin spent her childhood in three different cities, Paris, Tsukuba, and Tokyo, which gave her a good command of English, France, and Japanese.
Her dream of becoming a singer started when she was 10 when she saw Teddy from YG singing on TV. However, her path to YG was not smooth as people may think. Although CL had sent demo tapes to YG Entertainment since her elementary school years, she did not get any replies.
Finally, when she was 15, she came to YG entertainment and waited for YG CEO, Yang Hyun-Suk to give her demo tape to him.
“I told myself I should do this now or never,” she said in her interview with Naver.
Having waited for a long time, CL began to worry if she can’t give her tape to Yang Hyun-Suk. However, she finally met him and passed her audition along with another 30 hopefuls.
Like the other trainees, CL spent her day practicing her dancing and singing.
“I finished school around 3 p.m. and continued my training till 3 or 4 a.m. in the morning then go to school right after,” she explained.
However, she thought that she couldn’t do a double life so she quit her high school on her second year and focused on her career.
Luckily for CL, her parents had always supported her decision. Without saying much, they supported her through their actions. As they lived abroad, CL’s parents came only once to the company to sign her contract with YG Entertainment.
“Sometimes I feel sad as I can’t be with my parents. However they always told me this is all my decision, so whenever there’s a problem , I need to resolve it myself,” she said.
“Their words give me strength and determination which makes me always think: This is all for myself because this will become my footstep” she added.
Her hard work bore fruit, as she got her first big break featuring in BIGBANG’s song “Hot Issue” in 2007. She also shows her rapping skills in Uhm Jung Hwa’s DJ song in 2008.
Finally, on May 17, 2009, CL debuted with her group 2NE1 with their digital single “Fire”.
Although the public mocked them for being different with cute and pretty image of a girlband, 2NE1’s mini album hit no. 3 at Hanteo’s “Best-selling album of 2009” with over 100.000 sold. Since then, 2NE1 along with CL’s solo activity has continuously been a huge success with their singles and albums, earning her the reputation of her the baddest female artist in Korea.