“I had never thought about leaving the team, but a lot of things are simply beyond ones’ imagination.”
Huang Zitao (Z.Tao), a former EXO-M member who left the group on the 22nd of April after his father posted a message on his personal Weibo account that Tao is negotiating with SME. The negotiations never worked out, and on August 24th 2015, Tao followed the steps of Wu Yifan and Luhan, as he filed the lawsuit for termination of exclusive contract with SM Entertainment.
Since then, Tao received lot of hate from fans, saying he betrayed EXO and them, that he’s selfish and two-faced, which is far from truth.
So why did the fans support the leaving of Luhan and Kris, but when Tao did it he was proclaimed a traitor?
On November 7th 2015, Tao, now going by his stage name, Z.Tao opens up for the very first time since he left the group about everything at People In News, half an hour-long interview.
This is his story:
How are you these days, with your schedule all filled up?
I want to rest a bit, even if it’s only for one day.
How long has it been since your last break?
About half a year.
Comparing your pace of life now with your time in Korea, wich do you think it’s more tiring?
It’s quite tiring now, but actually I’ve been pretty happy, because you know, only by doing this can you go further and actually see your future, if you don’t work hard, then maybe someday people will forget you.
How are you experiencing everything now on your own, filming and getting used to the camera?
This is actually a kind of personal growth for me. There will be people who like you and it’s only natural that there are people who don’t like you. I couldn’t really take it at the beginning, now, slowly I can.
This growth took place in this year?
It’s pretty fast, perhaps one day is enough to change the person. Yes, sometimes one day and one of your choices and your new decision can change your life.
The decision that you are leaving EXO, it was yours right? You said it?
I said it.
I called my dad and said I wanted to go home, I wanted to return home.
Where were you then? What happened before you made the call?
I can’t talk about it, after winning the lawsuit, I will. Actually before that my dad had already asked me, the first day when I injured my leg, he asked me to return home, at that time I said no.
What were your injuries, can you tell us about it?
It was a bone fracture, and a part of the bone broke off from there into the ligament, it can only recover from itself.
I recall that you performed with your leg still in bandages?
Yes, after returning from hospital I had to go for shooting video for the concert, also recorded MV still injured. So, actually at that point… Couldn’t take it.
Did you wanted to go by yourself or is it because the work has already been scheduled earlier?
I had never thought about leaving the team, but a lot of things are simply beyond ones’ imagination. Be it your manager, or your own legs. Thing all turn out rather differently from what you think. At the moment, perhaps in that instant, I didn’t want to be like that anymore. I wanted to go home.
Beside you, two other member left the team, can you tell us something about that?
I can’t comment on others, I can only say that they had their own reasons that can only be remained in one’s heart and keep it to themselves. There is definitely a reason for returning home.
Being unable to reveal that reason must be rather frustrating right?
But I know that for myself, whatever I’m holding back right now I will definitely tell everyone in the future. You were all wrong now, this is the truth, before you. Just that moment alone. You can only have that after holding it for so long. You have that moment. Only then will you feel happy
Are you actually looking forward to the lawsuit?
I am actually looking forward to it, because I think I will definitely win the lawsuit.
Can you tell us something about yourself, did you always wanted to be a singer?
No, I wanted to be a police officer. When I was learning martial arts as a kid I had a dream of becoming a policeman. But actually since I was young I always loved music, I love to listen to it, sing. I also never thought that I would become a star then.
How did you end up being an SM trainee?
I participated in lot of auditions for Korean variety shows, then SME scouted me. Before that it was really stressful time in my life because I was turned down so many times. And then one day a friend called me and go to go for it. I said “If you want to go, you go”, because I wasn’t in a good mood because it was raining so I said, forget it and he asked me to just accompany him so I went, and the rest is history.
Can you tell us you journey in Korea when you first came?
That was the first time I was on the plane. I was definitely really nervous because you are in a new place, you don’t know what will happen, and you don’t how are the people around you. You have to fit into a new life, a new environment. I was still quite young then.
I didn’t know the language, so I couldn’t go buy food for myself. You want to tell something to others but you can’t, including when you are learning to dance, or when you are with your members. Overall it’s a suffocating surrounding where you are bound to be but you don’t know how to express yourself. All the hardships I went thorough I didn’t have anyone to tell about it.
How long did that situation last?
About 3-4 months, because I, in that environment, it’s impossible for you to not to learn the language. Actually to be honest I worked really hard to learn Korean. Everyday I took a book and a pen and I noted everything down what I didn’t know. I could only use my notebook and pen.
Every day I was at company, singing and dancing, than learn for a while then dance again.. I slept 5-6 hours a day.
You didn’t have your own personal time?
I didn’t really think about that at that time. At that point in life music and dancing were everything to me. As a trainee I was always tipped to debut on the first day that I arrived. I was under extreme stress then, so I practiced in the underground practice room the day I arrived.
Can you tell us about your debut preparations? You debuted only year after entering the company?
At that time actually I told the company that I didn’t want to debut. I wanted to practice more for a year or two. The company said no.
You felt that you weren’t prepared?
I actually debuted without being well prepared. Afterall it was a very short period of time, but because that was a group where everyone had their good points, with all of them fitting in together, that was the thing that made the group. So, actually at that time I also slowly grew through learning.
If you are given a time machine to travel back, would you have chosen to treat this matter differently?
I wouldn’t go back in the past. What you did at point in time…, it’s like you are putting a nail into the tree. After you take it out, there will still be a hole. Let’s just move forward.
When Kris left you unfollowed him on your Wiebo, and wrote harsh comments towards him, can you say something about it?
I am very straightforward and frank. If I’m not happy that means I’m not. I will always say what is on my mind at certain period of my life, because for one simple reason, it’s mine.
If I were to describe you, I would really think that you are awesome and someone who has been pierced through the heart million times.
My heart has been pierced ten million times already.
How did it feel?
I just wanted to get stronger as soon as possible and in that way protect myself. You can’t control others, if they want to attack you, they will.
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You can watch the whole interview here.
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Edited by: KareBare
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