BLACKPINK: How Rose Transformed From A Church Choir Singer To A K-Pop Sensation

Much like America saw the British Invasion with such groups as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones in the '60s, K-Pop is using that same formula and taking it global. Even if you've never heard the infectious music coming out of South Korea, you've heard the name BTS — and before it's all over, BLACKPINK will be a household name, as well. Since their debut in 2016, band members Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa have broken numerous records and have collaborated with such industry heavy hitters like Cardi B, Lady Gaga, and Selena Gomez.

But being a well-oiled (and marketed) all-girl K-Pop group doesn't happen overnight. It takes years of rigorous training with YG Entertainment that's laser-focused on one thing: creating the perfect group. At the time of this writing, all the hard work and training have paid off for the women in BLACKPINK.

All of the members have their own unique stories, but how did a little girl born in Auckland, New Zealand with an angelic voice become one of K-Pop's biggest stars? Here's how BLACKPINK's Rosé transformed from a church choir singer to a K-Pop sensation.

Rosé had to leave Australia to become a star — and her father helped

Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Rosé of BLACKPINK (whose real name is Park Chae Young) was raised in Australia and attended Canterbury Girls' Secondary College, where she was a cheerleader and sang in her church choir (via South China Morning Post). She knew she had talent, but never imagined she would find success Down Under. 

"I always played music for more as a hobby," Rosé told The Sydney Morning Herald in 2017. "In Australia, I didn't think that there was much of a chance for me to become a singer — especially to become a K-pop star ... I was living so far from the country that it never really occurred to me as a possibility." Rosé studied law at the school, until her father, who understood his daughter's passion for music, flew her from her "rural neighborhood" to an audition for the South Korean media company YG Entertainment in Melbourne in 2012, per Korea Boo. "I stayed home playing the piano or the guitar and singing," she said. "My dad noticed that I like music, so he took me to audition."

Two months after the audition, a teenage Rosé was on a plane to South Korea to begin her training with YG Entertainment. Then the real work began...

BLACKPINK's Rosé on her time with YG Entertainment

BLACKPINK's Rosé landed in South Korea at the age of 16 and spent the next four years training at YG Entertainment. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, she took vocal, dance, and guitar lessons. She also had to learn Japanese and Korean since English was her first language. Her emails were also "vetted" by the company.

Rosé claimed that once a month that she and the other members of BLACKPINK would have to perform in front of YG Entertainment's founder, Yang Hyun-Suk (who goes by "YG"). "We would have these tests at the end of every month with YG and we would prepare a dance and song performance as a group and individually," she said about her experience. "Coming to YG entertainment as a trainee was one of the most challenging yet most life-changing periods of my life." Her time in South Korea left her homesick for Australia, where she hoped to return. "I'm just dreaming that one day I'll be able to come back to my home town and perform for everyone," Rosé explained.

During a 2019 interview with Billboard, it was revealed that the future BLACKPINK stars trained rigorously "12 hours a day, seven days a week," and the pace was sometimes too much for Rosé. "I'd call my parents crying," she admitted. "But as much as it was hard for me to cope with all of that, it made me more hungry."

Rosé of BLACKPINK credits Lady Gaga for influencing her career

In the spring of 2020, Lady Gaga and BLACKPINK dropped "Sour Candy" as part of the Mother Monster's album, Chromatica. Speaking to the Japanese television outlet TVGroove, Gaga said she wanted to collaborate with the group to "celebrate them" as "powerful women" (as translated by Rolling Stone). "I was excited to hear them interpret the song in Korean, and told them that the part was so creative and fun," Gaga explained, before joking that she was "proud to be the fifth member of" the group.

The members of BLACKPINK also discussed their work with Lady Gaga during an interview with Billboard, during which Rosé credited the "Bad Romance" megastar's career as inspiring a path for her own. "I grew up listening to Lady Gaga on the radio [and] used to hear her songs on my way to school and back," she said. "I think I was heavily influenced by the pop culture she was creating at that time, which was [about never being] afraid of stepping out of the boundaries and expressing yourself to the fullest."

As far as the group's appearance on "Sour Candy" goes, Lady Gaga made sure she and the ladies of BLACKPINK formed a connection throughout the collaboration, according to Rosé: "She called us just to pour her heart out to explain the whole song for us."

Rosé says BLACKPINK's different backgrounds are crucial to their success

To promote their October 2020 Netflix documentary, BLACKPINK: Light Up the Sky, the members of the popular K-Pop group spoke to People about their bond, which is crucial to their success. They refer to themselves as "sisters," and Rosé said their cultural differences are what makes the group unique. "[Our] different backgrounds are an important factor because every member puts in their little taste that makes BLACKPINK," she explained. "We're always learning from each other, and we're a great team."

Despite being strangers when they met, Rosé said the band "grew into something that we didn't even know was possible" in the trailer for the doc. She was also excited for their fans to see it. "Having cameras there is not something we're very used to," Rosé continued to People, "but we were very happy to be able to share this point in our careers because we do know that our fans are dying to see that part of us."

Going on to admit that "we always dreamed of people listening to our music in this way," Rosé told the outlet, "We're just four girls from Korea, and it's unbelievable how much support people are giving us. When we would go to all these different regions on tour, having people sing our songs in Korean is amazing. All these different parts of the world are giving us love, and we're very grateful for that."