Ida Simmons, stage name “Isak,” began as an SM Entertainment trainee some 13 years ago. Signing onto the label that would eventually churn out some of the most popular forerunners of today’s Hallyu Wave, Isak joined the duo Isak N Jiyeon. Thirteen years, and an extensive singing/VJ/DJ career later, and Isak’s contract with SM Entertainment has finally run its course. And yet, while her time with SM Entertainment is done, this is thankfully is not the end of her career.
Isak was just 14 years old when she went to SM Entertainment’s first-ever audition. As a half-Korean half-American army brat growing up in South Korea with her mother, she idolized the Korean pop artists of the ’90s, especially SM’s popular boy band at the time, H.O.T. Oddly enough, after succeeding in the audition, she got a shot with H.O.T’s agency, SM Entertainment, and began a long career in the Korean music industry.
For two years, her participation in the duo, Isak N Jiyeon, showcased her talents as a singer, until the group unfortunately disbanded in 2004. Airang Television followed, where she was a VJ and most known as the face that brought K-pop to the mainstream. It’s something Isak believes was an “amazing” and “huge honor,” according to her interview with halfKorean.com. Of course, her work as a DJ on popular Korean radio shows, as well as her recent debut as a musical actress in the Korean version of Spring Awakening, has widely influenced contemporary Korean music culture even more than her lengthy resume already has.
She told halfkorean.com in 2009, “Honestly I have contemplated leaving [SM Entertainment] for many different reasons, but I only have a few years left on my contract, so I’m just planning on working on my skills and not resign if they ask.”
She has stuck to this plan, and finally, the end of her journey with SM has come. She writes on her Facebook page, “Today marks 10 years since I debuted, but also I come to the end of a long chapter. No hard feelings and no arguments, just an agreement on me moving on with my career. Thank you again to everyone.” She then finished the note by dropping the hint, “For my fans, please stay tuned, I’ve got some very exciting [news] coming soon!!!^^”
Read Isak’s full message and acknowledgements, here.