Nayeon is officially the first member of beloved nine-piece K-pop group Twice to drop a solo release, unveiling the eponymous “Im Nayeon” EP on June 24. The music video for catchy lead single Pop! amassed 16.6 million views in 24 hours, and had passed 57 million views on YouTube at the time of writing. But she didn’t do it alone – many K-pop celebrities are taking part in the #PopPopPop challenge on Instagram to promote her song. The drop has made history, with “Im Nayeon” named on July 3 as the first K-pop solo release to enter the top 10 on the US Billboard 200 album chart after clocking record sales in its first days of release. Among K-pop fans, Nayeon is referred to as a “hexagonal idol”, a term for a group member who exceeds in six aspects including their appearance and personal characteristics, as well as the core performance scores of singing, dancing, rapping and acting. But while her remarkable abilities have been well noted, her role in Twice may have held her back from opportunities that could have boosted her fame. What happens to failed K-pop stars? 4 former idols who changed careers Here are five challenges the 26-year-old idol had to go through before she finally made it to her solo debut. 1. Did JYP ban Twice members from going solo? “We do individual photo shoots, but other than that, there’s no other individual projects,” Twice member Sana once said during a showcase interview promoting the group’s eighth EP “Feel Special”. “[Our fans] love being together with the nine of us, and we do too. We get along better as we become more supportive of each other,” bandmate Momo added. When asked about the lack of solo debuts, the girls avoided the question by responding that they love the “bonds” and “synergy” generated as a group. Nonetheless, there’s another rumoured reason that no one in Twice branched out into solo work until now. And that has to do with former JYP Entertainment girl group, Miss A – an earlier K-pop band that disbanded in 2017 . Among the band’s members was Bae Suzy, an idol’s whose popularity skyrocketed from individual projects like the K-drama series Dream High , creating apparent resentment among the group’s three other members. Miss A’s members refused to follow Suzy on social media, and none of them showed up to support her during the test screening of a movie in which she played a major role. Despite the group’s publicity, Suzy’s individual popularity led to an internal conflict that ultimately contributed in its disbandment. To prevent this from happening again, JYP Entertainment reportedly refused to permit solo projects by Twice members for a crucial seven years – the length of time a typical K-pop trainee’s first contract lasts after publicly debuting. Will these groups survive K-pop’s ‘seven year curse’? Crucially, Twice debuted in 2015 – which may mean the time limit is finally up. “Our producer (JYP) emphasised that, from now on, what the Twice members achieve through individual projects will never be a personal achievement, but will be a positive impact for the group as a whole,” Nayeon said in the press conference for her solo EP “Im Nayeon”. 2. No personal Instagram accounts for seven years … View this post on Instagram A post shared by TWICE (@twicetagram) Twice’s official Instagram page (@twicetagram), which has been running since 2015, has 2.5 million followers, with all the nine members sharing the account. Nayeon’s posts have always attracted an ecstatic response from fans, who’ve publicly implored her to start her own IG account. Now, after a seven-year wait, @nayeonyny is finally here. Coincidence, much? It took longer for Twice members to start their personal social media accounts than many other recognised girl groups – five years for Red Velvet and just two years for Blackpink. The reason behind this may be unknown, but we think it might have something to do with the seven-year contract, too. 5 times Blackpink’s Lisa proved she’s Thailand’s unofficial princess 3. Was Nayeon forced to take the highest vocal lines? For the past few years, Twice members have been called out by fans for their poor singing. The criticisms were highlighted when the group sang their ninth EP “More & More” for an encore on live music programme Show Champion . During the performance, Twice members seemed embarrassed by their voices and some even refused to sing, instead repeatedly saying “thank you” into the microphone. Nayeon was exception, soldiering on with the song and attracting praise for her vocal approach. Thanks to her natural ability and training, Nayeon eventually became the band’s “high-note singer” tasked with tackling all the higher-register vocal lines. She revealed on VLive that her strategy to hit all the high notes when recording is to sing them lying down – but this method clearly cannot work on live stages. In an encore of the song “I Can’t Stop Me”, Nayeon’s voice was heard cracking as she tried to hit the high notes. The video of this embarrassing moment went viral, but rather than provoking outrage, her efforts only moved netizens, prompting an outpouring of appreciation for Nayeon’s diligent attitude – and sparking criticisms of JYP Entertainment for putting her vocal cords at risk. 4. The bullying scandal In the early days of Twice’s fame, Nayeon’s careless attitude was caught on camera. Leaked footage appeared to show her frowning at bandmate Dahyun, sparking rumours she was trying to alienate her bandmate and ultimately erupting into a bullying scandal . In the show Idol Star Athletics Championships , Nayeon also interrupted Dahyun’s conversation with another idol, then walked away as if she didn’t even acknowledge Dahyun’s existence. However, the scandal eventually died down as social media was conveniently flooded with friendly images of the pair instead. 6 K-pop idols who are ‘human luxury brands’, from V to Jennie 5. Caught using illegal streaming? In 2016, Nayeon posted a screenshot on Twice’s Instagram page of her listening to the song “Secret” by Taeyeon of Girls’ Generation on SoundCloud. Apparently, she was unaware that streaming Taeyeon’s songs on the music sharing website was a violation of copyright. Soon after, she deleted the post and apologised for her action on Instagram. View this post on Instagram A post shared by TWICE (@twicetagram) “Hello, this is Nayeon. Firstly, I would like to apologise for the post. I was too frivolous. As a singer, I should have paid more attention to my musical knowledge and the way of expressing it,” she wrote. “I apologise for causing concern to many people. In the future, I will only use the services that are officially certified for distributing music. I will always pay attention so that this never happens again. Sorry.” Her public apology and the instant acknowledgement of wrongdoing allowed her to regain the public’s trust. As fickle fans and boycotts against scandal-ridden idols are common in the K-pop scene, Nayeon’s swift damage management was a wise action for her career. Want more stories like this? Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .