K-Pop band BTS: A global phenomenon explained

South Korean boy group BTS may seem like most other K-pop groups with multi-coloured hair, flawless complexion, colour-coordinated fashion and charismatic visuals.

However, underneath the perfectly-packaged group of seven is a rising act breaking the mold in the highly manufactured K-pop industry, turning them into household names.

Much to the surprise of many, BTS, an acronym for Bangtan Sonyeondan, which loosely translates to Bulletproof Boy Scouts or their rebranded English name Beyond The Scene, made history by becoming the first K-pop boy group to perform at the 2017 American Music Awards, where they slayed with a mind-blowing performance of their popular Korean track DNA from their fifth record-breaking and award-winning EP, Love Yourself: Her

Their collaboration with rapper Desiigner and DJ and producer Steve Aoki for a remix version of BTS’s song Mic Drop jumped to No. 1 on the World Digital Song Sales chart and debuted at No. 28 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for nine weeks, making them the highest-charting K-pop group.

Last week, the group announced their Love Yourself world tour and shared dates for shows in 11 cities throughout Asia, North America, and Europe. More dates and cities are expected to be announced. The group will become the first-ever K-Pop group to perform at the Billboard Music Awards on May 20 in Las Vegas, where they are nominated again for the Top Social Artist award (they won last year).

BTS is not only making K-pop history by recently becoming the first K-pop group to have both tracks Mic Drop (remix) and DNA certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), but also their first-time appearances on popular American TV shows such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Late Late Show with James Corden, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve 2018 with Ryan Seacrest and historic rankings on the Billboard charts may prove that they’re arguably the hottest K-pop act around the world.

Unlike Psy’s 2012 mega-hit song Gangnam Style, Admin Kim, head admin of UAE’s main BTS fandom account, BTS UAE, believes that the chart-topping K-pop group is “not a viral artist that had one catchy song that trended worldwide”.

“People might easily dub them as just a trending topic that’ll pass by or some hyped up boy band but I think that is not the case,” she adds.

BTS didn’t emerge under the three big agencies that dominate the industry — SM Entertainment, JYP Entertainment and YG Entertainment — from which the most successful, perfectly-groomed idols have emerged. They debuted under a relatively small record label and management agency, Big Hit Entertainment.

Before being recruited by the agency, rappers Suga and RM and dancer J-Hope were all part of the underground scene, while Jimin was a top student in modern dance. V wasn’t thinking of auditioning until he was encouraged by one of Big Hit’s rookie groups.

Jin, who is the oldest member of BTS, was talent-spotted while attending university. The last of the seven band members, Jungkook, had failed to advance in a popular singing competition, Superstar K3.He subsequently rejected offers from seven major music labels to become BTS’s youngest member, because he thought RM was “so cool”.

When they officially debuted in 2013, they were called “dirt-poor idols”, reflecting their non-traditional pathway, but quickly proved their worth through their music by tackling head-on controversial and personal topics, which makes the group a standout among the genre.

“They’ve surpassed the language barrier and the usual love concept in the music industry and went for topics we all relate to,” says Fadhela Manar Mezmaz, a dentistry college student and admin of Algeria’s main BTS Twitter fan base, BTS Algeria.

Twenty-year-old university student, Erij Raach, who is the creator of Tunisian-based BTS fan account, BTS Tunisia, says that their socially conscious lyrics is “the most important factor” that made her a huge fan.

“They are that band that makes you find the real ‘you’ through their music”, Raach adds.

For some fans, BTS’s music changed their lives and healed them on a deeper level.

“I went through a hard time a year ago,” says Belhadef Nora, Algerian-based primary school teacher and an admin of BTS Algeria. “I lost hope in life and almost fell in darkness but their music saved me and made me a strong person. Thanks to them I can now face the world without any fear. They just taught me how to be true to myself how to love myself.”

Twenty-two-year-old Maha Rkhissi, a college student and admin for Morocco-based fan Twitter account, BTS Morocco, said that BTS’ music has also helped her through depression, especially their Most Beautiful Moment in Life album, as it deals with “mental health and a lot of other youth issues”.

“I feel like their music has a purpose, it is not just bubbly pop to jam to,” says Ms Rkhissi.

Each of the seven members, in particular Suga, J-Hope and RM, are more creatively involved in composing lyrics and producing their perfectly distinct dance, hip-hop and EDM-infused sound that goes along with their synchronised, elaborate choreography on stage and in music videos.

INTIMATE ACCESS

Part of the septet’s appeal is that they give fans an intimate access of them entertaining themselves backstage, reacting to their own music videos, opening up about their worries and thoughts and much more, through their V Live channel and their Bangtan Bomb web videos.

They are also known for their proactive presence on social media ever since their pre-debut days. Twitter unveiled its 2017 year-end roundup, revealing that BTS is the most tweeted-about music artist in the US and the most tweeted celebrity globally. They even earned a spot in the Guinness World Records 2018 edition for most Twitter engagements for a male music group.

Up against popular American artists at last year’s Billboard awards, where they were crowned Top Social Artist in the fan-voted category, dedicated fans, who go by Army — Adorable Representative MC for Youth — supported and proved their admiration for BTS by tweeting #BTSBBMAS more than 300 million times.

“We create accounts and do mass votes together with our fellow Army around the world with our blood sweat and tears because we consider them as friends more than artists we are fan of,” says Walaa Abd Elatti Mohammad Nour, twenty-eight-year-old Sudanese Army member from S. O. A, Sudan’s main BTS Twitter fan account.

It’s a devotion that the band is patently aware of, never forgetting to thank ARMY when collecting their awards.

“They know exactly how to interact with fans and make us feel like a close family,” says twenty-one-year-old Tunisian university student Amel Kadri from BTS Tunisia.

They might be conquering the US music charts but BTS has also reached fans’ hearts in the Middle East. UAE iTunes store and Anghami both released the rising superstars’ best-selling album Love Yourself: Her and MIC Drop remix online, which in return has made them the first and only K-pop group to surpass over 14 million plays on Mena’s largest music platform.

Not only has their hit single DNA been played on Virgin Radio Dubai and Radio 1 UAE after mass request by fans but also their Mic Dropremix track “has been charting daily on Virgin Radio Dubai’s top hits in the whole country”.

“Their company Big Hit Entertainment also shared the news which mentioned that UAE is one of the 10 countries around the world with their new track ‘Crystal Snow’ as the No. 1 song on the iTunes chart,” says Admin Kim from BTS UAE.

Because BTS helped their fans one way or another, Armys are always eager to repay them for their love and constant hard work.

“The simplest thing we can do to give back is by making them top the charts and help their goals and dreams become a reality,” says Admin Ren from BTS UAE.

“Seeing them happy and go far is what makes all the ARMYs happy.”

After the release of their album, BTS entered a two-year partnership with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on a campaign called LOVE MYSELF to #ENDViolence against children and teenagers.

BTS went on to win Artist of the Year at the 2017 Mnet Asian Music Awards for the second-year in a row as well as Daesang or Grand Prize awards at this year’s Seoul Music Awards and Golden Disc Awards and many more awards.

With all their accomplishments and philanthropic work, twenty-one-year-old Heba Emad, who solely runs a fan account, Egyptian ARMY, in Egypt, says that this is only the start.

“BTS still have a lot to show, more awards to win, more records to break, more hearts to steal, and more concerts to hold,” she says.

Please note: The above article was originally published on Gulf News tabloid! and written by the owner of this site. 

Interview with …. Arab Sones

Girls’ Generation, aka SNSD, is undeniably one of the highly recognized and best-selling K-Pop girl groups in South Korea. Their 2009 hit bubblegum song Gee, gained them attraction in their homeland and beyond. They continued to sweep up the charts, win awards and release hit songs like Genie, Mr.Mr., Hoot, The Boys, Run Devil Run, and many more, with the help of their loyal fans, who go by Sones.

Meet the Arab Sones and admins behind the official Twitter Arab fan account @ArabSone9.

They share with me why they like the superstar girl group, what they worked on for SMTown concert, the gifts they sent to them and many more.

Hello! Tell me more about yourself and the admins as well as the @ArabSone9 Twitter account? Why did you decide to create an Arab Girls’ Generation fan account?

Hi^^ we’re 10 admins from different countries

Admin Nourah: Hello👋

I’m Nourah from Kuwait and I’m 18 years old. I became a sone in 2008 and that was the best thing I ever did in my life💓.

Admin Fajer: Hello 💕

I’m Fajer from Kuwait and I’m 25 years old. I became a sone in 2011 and I’m still a sone till the end of my life. I really love this group so much and I really enjoy their music

Admin Rahaf Als: Hello ♥️!

I’m Rahaf/راهف  from Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦 i’m 21 years old. I became a sone in 2009 and I’ll always be a sone. SNSD is the source of my happiness and I’m so blessed that i knew them and i loved them because they are THE BEST.

Admin Rahaf Alj: Hello!

I’m Rahaf and I’m from Kuwait. I’m 18 years old. I became a sone in 2012. My bias is Sooyoung and I really love Girls Generation.

@Arabsone9 was created in July 8th 2014.

The reason why we created this account is that we wanted to communicate with all of Arab sones easily and translate SNSD’s news for them.

Since there’s a lot of Arab sones and a lot of people who love Girls’ Generation, we decided to create this account to let many people know more about them, to post every single new & update about the members and to support them of course!

@Arabsone9 is not just an account for us , can we say it’s our daily routine? we spend all the day long in the account. Even from this account the admins became so close to each other.

We even communicate with each other daily ! Like calling and chatting. Last but not least we hope to keep running this account for along time.

We want to make many people know this great girl group which is Girls’ Generation and enjoy their music just like we do!

Who are mostly your followers? (Nationality, gender, age groups etc…)

Admin Fajer: There are many followers from so many different countries

But the most are from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and about the gender mostly are females without a specific ages because they are divided from teenagers to adults

What made you become interested in Girls’ Generation and when would you say you first became a Sone?

Admin Nourah: I saw SNSD for the first time in 2008 on korea tv channel , the channel was airing their songs so I liked them a lot and their singing abilities amazed me , so I started searching about them on YouTube I watched their first reality show called ( girls go to school ) and because of it I liked their personalities then officially I became a sone , SNSD is the first kpop group that I liked until now.

Admin Rahaf Alj: I knew SNSD in 2009, but I wasn’t interested in Korean pop. After three years my friend told me about the korean pop and she showed me a video of korean band. Then I searched about korean pop in general. Then SNSD attracted me , so that’s how I became a Sone, and I really can’t wait to see them.

Admin Fajer: I’m a sone since 2011 , I was enjoying my time on YouTube watching random videos then suddenly I noticed their song gee I was curious about it but after I watched the music video I found myself searching more and more about them until I decided officially to become a sone !

Admin Rahaf Als: I became a sone after listening and watching to their song gee. When I watched it for the first time my love for them growing a lot since that moment and I’ll be a sone forever.

Although some members have left SM Entertainment to pursue other activities, you still share all the members’ news and updates with your followers. Why is that?

Admin Nourah: We became sone when SNSD used to have 9 members, we stayed with them days and years! We loved each member in special way.

We can’t hate any member for any reason!

Wether if one of them left the group to focus in her own life or to make her own solo we will still support her and we will update the all members news

And about the members who left SM recently they’re still in Girls’ Generation

What do you like most about Girls’ Generation?

We like everything about them , their performances , songs , fashions and personalities.

As a group they are perfect in many ways like their voices , their perfect vocals and the things that makes SNSD always special is their different concepts and their unique songs!

What we like the most is their strong relationship between them, especially when they gathered together to celebrate Sooyoung’s birthday together at Tiffany’s apartment even though the three members left the company.

What songs would you recommend for those who are new to the K-pop girl group?

Admin Nourah: Into the new world and All night

Admin Fajer: Lion Heart and Genie

Admin Rahaf Alj: Love is bitter and The boys

 

Any projects (posters, fan chants etc…) you worked on for the SM Town concert in Dubai that you can share with us?

Admin Nourah: Yes of course! We worked on a lot of projects for the SMTown concert in Dubai. Here are the projects that we prepared:
We gave 1 thousand small banners for the Sones, and of course we gave it to the other fans!
And we already gave 3 banners to Hyoyeon,Yoona and Taeyeon.
What was written on the small banners is
“Thank you for coming and making our dream come true“
We also made one huge banner , we wrote on it
“Stay together sailing into the new world, with you who made our life complete“.
The second project is the gifts for all the 8 members, we’ve already bought the gifts for each member from swarovski and the gifts contain Sone’s letters, and we are so happy that we gave them our gifts😭💓.

What did you think of the SMTown concert and seeing the members live? How were you all feeling at the moment? 

Admin Nourah: The concert was really great and even SM Artists were so great on the stage, but we hoped for a group stage for SNSD. However, their solo stages were great too !
Their voices can’t be described so amazing and they’re so beautiful !
Before the concert day I met hyoyeon accidentally and I was able to give her our gifts and she smiled at me a lot, I really wanted to speak with her more but I was so nervous and shocked but just seeing her made me so happy , honestly I feel like its a dream I can’t believe that I was able to see and meet our girls , and its my second time seeing taeyeon but this time she was so close !😭💞
Our girls are really pretty and it can’t be described in words

Have you worked on any other projects for Girls’ Generation? Do you collaborate with other Girl’s Generation accounts around the world and send gifts, display posters etc…?

Yes! Back on time when Taeyeon came to the UAE, we gave her a necklace made out of gold, but we couldn’t give her while she was in UAE, so we sent it to Korea, so we are not sure if she received it or not!

The second gift was for Taeyeon too. We made a food support for her comeback “Why” for her and her team.

We actually planned for a lot of projects for the whole members and the soloist members but we couldn’t do them for some reasons. Wait for us in future for a lot and bigger projects.

Is there anything that you’d like to add or share with readers?

Admin Rahaf Alj: First of all thank you for giving us the chance for being a part of this interview! Secondly, we would like to share our experience with you guys, seeing our favorite idols in real life was like a dream! We still can’t believe that we saw Girls Generation members in real life we were so happy to had that amazing experience!
Finally, we hope to see our favorite idols again in different Arab countries in future.
At the end we hope you enjoyed reading our interview and thank you so much for reading it!

Interview with …. Arab Cassiopeia

Dubbed as “Asia’s Stars” and “Kings of K-pop”, TVXQ!, short for Tong Vfang Xien Qi, are a K-pop duo that consists of U-Know Yunho and Max Changmin. Originally debuted as a five-member in 2003, TVXQ! have been actively promoting as a duo since 2011 and continue to top the charts in Korea and Japan. They have a hugely loyal fanbase, Cassiopeias, around the world and in the MENA region.

NorahSaharJumanah and Norah are the four Saudi Arabian girls, ranging from 24 to 26 year-olds, handling a dedicated TVXQ! Arab fan account @TVXQArabFans on Twitter. The majority of their followers are Saudi Arabian females in their late tens to early thirties.

“The reason behind us deciding to create this account and build a support platform 4 years ago is to contribute in helping TVXQ’s art reach as many Arabs as possible and to introduce the duo to their Arabic fanbase,” they add. “Thus, we have allocated a certain amount of time to translate the duo’s song lyrics, interviews, and other activities on a daily basis.”

What about TVXQ first caught your attention?

Uniqueness. We have all grown up with all types of arts and entertainment surrounding us but the kind TVXQ are providing is different. They put their own magic into simple songs turning them into master pieces. Adding to that the attractiveness of their polite and funny personalities.

What has been your favorite memory of TVXQ throughout their career?

Stumbling upon TVXQ for the first time has always been a favourite and precious memory. However, a new favorite memory shall be created once we actually meet them for the first time in SMTown Concert in Dubai.

“They are so passionate and determined about singing, performing, touching people’s heart with music, and spreading hope and happiness.”

What do you like most about the K-pop duo?

Their passion; they are so passionate and determined about singing, performing, touching people’s heart with music, and spreading hope and happiness. They have never given up on their musical dreams no matter how many times they were turned down and pushed back to the starting point.

What songs would you recommend for those who are new to TVXQ?

With the kind of art TVXQ create, it’s really hard to choose a few songs, but if we have to do so then we would recommend:

– Catch Me
– Spellbound
– Something
– I Swear
– Before you Go
– Off-road
– She
– Rising Sun
– Why ~ Keep Your Head Down

Please keep in mind that this list might change once TVXQ make their most annticipated comeback in the 28th of March with their 9th full-length album.

Is there anything in particular that you would like people to know about them?

We would like people to get to know their personalities. They have two opposite personalities that complement each other so well. Therefore, we recommend watching their interviews on different variety shows.

“They have never given up on their musical dreams no matter how many times they were turned down and pushed back to the starting point.”

Any projects (posters, banners, fan chants etc…) you’ll be working on for the SM Town concert in Dubai that you can share with us?

Yes, our project consists of all the examples you have mentioned; banners, fanchants, balloons, and lightsticks. We are also planning to send the duo a special welcoming gift from thier Arab fans.

What are you looking forward to mostly from their performance?

Their way of dominating the stage with their singing, dancing, and interaction with the fans. We are also looking forward to TVXQ talk-segment to see if they have learned any Arabic words/phrases to communicate with us more intimately.

Do you collaborate with other TVXQ accounts around the world on projects such as send gifts, create banners, display posters outdoors etc…?

Yes, we have done several projects for TVXQ before with the help and collaboration of different fans from all around the globe. For example, we are part of a world-wide project for TVXQ upcomimg record-breaking performance on Nissan Stadium.

If you had a chance to sit down with them, what would you like to ask them or tell them?

We would tell them about how much they are loved and looked up to by the Middle Eastern fans and they are the reason behind the happiness many of us are feeling.

Lastly, is there anything you’d like to share that I haven’t asked?

Not really. Thank you for your time. We really appreciate you reaching out to us and providing us this opportunity to voice out our opinion about and emotions toward TVXQ.

K-Pop Group EXO in Dubai

It was a big day for Arab EXO-Ls and all K-pop fans in Dubai. Not only was it EXO‘s first visit to the Emirates but also they’re the first K-pop group to have their upbeat Korean-hit song Power to be played for the first time at the world’s largest choreographed fountain, The Dubai Fountain.

Hundreds of fans of all ages and cultures gathered at venue, eagerly waited till 5:30pm and armed with the group’s official lightsticks and banners along with mobile phones to capture the historic moment and to celebrate EXO’s achievement.

The video consists of interviews with EXO-L’s and some footage from EXO’s private press conference.

Read the related article on Gulf News’s tabloid! here.

BTS Take Over Anghami

BTS has done it again! The global K-pop sensation has surpassed 10 million plays on Anghami.

The seven-piece boy band is the first and only K-pop group to achieve this on MENA’s largest music streaming service.

Fans never fail to show support of their favorite artists. Their loyal fans, ARMY, which stands for Adorable Representative M.C for Youth, in particular Arab ARMYS took to Twitter, hashtagging #ArabArmyWithBTS and #BTS_10_Million_Arab_listeners in celebration of BTS’s achievement.

Arab ARMYs across the MENA region have also created Twitter accounts dedicated to everything BTS with their followers, from sharing the band’s latest news to organizing fan projects.

The Emirates is no stranger to the record-breaking group. BTS’s songs, especially DNA and Mic Drop have been played on Dubai-based radio stations such as Virgin Radio Dubai and Radio 1 UAE.

BTS may have made their breakthrough presence in the American music market but it’s seems they have attracted fans locally and around the MENA region.

2018 may be a big year for K-pop in the Middle East.

Image source: BTS’s official Facebook account. 

EXO Fan Art You Need to See Pt.2

Only four days till the arrival of K-pop boy band EXO! Here are some EXO fan art I happen to stumble on on Instagram:

 

 

A post shared by ☆ Melissa ☆ (@smallish.kae) on

Note: All above images are from the users’s respective Instagram accounts.

BTS Count The Days for ‘Mic Drop’ Remix Release On Spotify

ARMYs, did you miss this?! The remix may be around the corner, but that didn’t stop the Korean act to pick up more excitement.

BTS have been counting the days for the release of their ‘MIC Drop’ remix on their personalized Spotify playlist.

Each member has been updating their profile picture by holding an alphabet from ‘MIC DROP’ as well as dropping new tracks on their newly curated playlist till Nov. 24, the release date of the group’s remix song, produced by DJ and producer Steve Aoki and featuring rapper Desiigner.

RM is the latest member to have done so by holding the letter ‘R’ and recently adding a variety of new songs on ‘RM’s Heavy Rotations‘ via the streaming music site.

While the other members have revealed their curated playlist to their fans, AMRYs are still waiting for J-hope’ and V’s personal Spotify playlist to be shared before the official release of the remix tomorrow.

BTS performed their MIC Drop remix on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Tuesday (Nov. 21) and will be aired on Nov. 27.

“I love these guys. These guys are the geniuses,” Steve Aoki told Billboard. “They’re so creative on every level — on their dance, on their sound, on their style, their flow, creatively musically, creatively on the fashion tip. They’re brand developers. They developed their own brand, and they’re global. It’s incredible working with artists like that.”​

This is not their first collaboration with the biggest artists in the American music industry. They previously teamed up with The Chainsmokers’ Andrew Taggart on ‘Best of Me’ song for the group’s record-breaking album Love Yourself: Her earlier this year.

South Korean boy group made their first U.S. television debut performance at the 2017 American Music Awards on Nov. 19, grabbing international attention with their perfectly distinct vocal skills and eye-catching, synchronized dance moves of their title track DNA.

They are currently nominated for Best Male Group, Best Dance, Best Music Video, Song of the Year and Album of the Year at the 2017 Mnet Asian Music Awards.

Here’s a one-minute long MV teaser of their ‘MIC Drop’ remix:

Who’s ready for the ‘MIC Drop’ remix?

BTS’s DNA Hits Australian Radio Airwaves

It’s official! BTS’s hit new track “DNA” aired on Australian radio stations, 2Day FM and Fox FM.

Upon the release of the seven-member K-pop boy band’s fifth album, Love Yourself 承 ‘Her’ on September 18, “DNA” made it’s way into Australians hearts, proving that music has no language barrier.

With it’s whistle-led hook, “DNA” is a bright EDM-pop and soft hip-hop, inspired by “young, passionate love”.

“It’s very different from our previous music, technically and musically. I believe it’s going to be the starting point of a second chapter of our career; the beginning of our Chapter Two,” BTS’s leader Rap Monster says in an interview with Billboard.

With Rap Monster, Suga and J-Hope’s rap style, V and Jin’s soulful, smooth voices and Jungkook and Jimin’s impressive dancing skills, the group never seize to disappoint their dedicated fans, also known as ARMY’s, an acronym for Adorable Representative M.C for Youth, by channeling sensitive yet controversial topics that other K-pop groups usually avoid covering. They seem to know their ARMYs and make sure to compose and produce music that listeners can relate to on a deeper level.

BTS’s mini-album, Love Yourself 承 ‘Her’, consists of nine tracks, with a surprise collaboration with New York’s The Chainsmokers‘s Andrew Taggart, who co-wrote and produced the ‘Best of Me’ track, as well as two hidden tracks that are only available in the physical album.

“I think this album will be a type of turning point for us,” says Rap Monster at a press conference.

“It is also about the love of boys who grow up, but it’s also about a message of reconciliation and integration that we want to convey to the society.”

In return for the group’s hard work and captivating highlight reels (that keep fans on their toes), ARMYs around the world joined forces to make the DNA music video hit 20 million views, making it YouTube’s 11th most viewed video of all-time in the first 24 hours and knocking down American artists such as Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and Rihanna.

According to the group’s agency, Big Hit Entertainment, the album is the top selling album chart on iTunes in 73 countries, making it the largest debut number for any South Korean artist.

They also became the first K-pop group to enter Spotify’s Global Top 50, making their new hit “DNA” number 45 in the playlist as of September 22nd.

This is not the first time BTS – who also go by Beyond The Scene – beat out top-charting artists. They also took the award for Top Social Artist at this year’s Billboard Award’s, beating out the likes of Selena Gomez, Justine Bieber, Shawn Mendes and Ariana Grande.

Check out their record-breaking MV “DNA”:

Congrats once again to BTS!

5 Journalism and TV-Themed Korean Dramas

Wanting to change up your series list, opting for dramas that revolve around journalism and media? Look no further! Let me introduce you to Korean dramas, aka South Korean dramas. K-dramas are very popular in Asia and usually consists of one season, with 16 up to 20 episodes. They mainly include elements such as comedies, drama, romance from love triangles to one-sided love. To make your life a lot easier, I compiled a few suggested TV dramas you might want to consider watching if you want a journalism, media-themed show:

1. Healer

Korean title: 힐러, Heelreo

Cast: Ji Chang-wook, Park Min-young, Yoo Ji-tae, Kim Mi-Kyung 

Genre: Action, Thriller, Romance

Network: KBS2

Airing Date: December 8, 2014 – February 10, 2015

No. of episodes: 20

 

2. The Greatest Love

Korean title: 최고의 사랑, Choigowei Sarang

Cast: Cha Seung-won, Gong Hyo-jin, Yoon Kye-sang, Yoo In-na

Genre: Comedy, Romance

Network: MBC

Airing Date: May 4, 2011 – June 23, 2011

No. of episodes: 16

 

3. Pinocchio

Korean title: 피노키오, Pinokio

Cast: Lee Jong-suk, Park Shin-hye, Kim Young-kwang, Lee Yu-bi, Lee Pil-mo

Genre: Romance, Family, Comedy, Drama

Network: SBS

Airing Date: November 12, 2014 – January 15, 2015

No. of episodes: 20

 

4. Jealousy Incarnate

Korean title: 질투의 화신,  Jiltooui Hwashin

Cast: Gong Hyo-jin, Jo Jung-suk, Go Kyung-pyo, Lee Mi-sook, Park Ji-young, Lee Sung-jae, Seo Ji-hye

Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama

Network: SBS

Airing Date: August 24, 2016 – November 10, 2016

No. of episodes: 24

 

5. The Producers

Korean title: 프로듀사, Peurodyusa

Cast: Cha Tae-hyun, Gong Hyo-jin, Kim Soo-hyun, IU

Genre: Variety, Drama, Romance, Comedy

Network: KBS2

Airing Date: May 15, 2015 – June 20, 2015

No. of episodes: 12

Note: All above images are screenshots of the dramas.

Australia develops a taste for K-pop

(BTS, the first K-pop band to win big at the Billboard Music Awards, appears for one night only in Sydney on Friday. PIC: Supplied)

When the boy band GOT7 held a fan meeting in Australia late last month, Twitter lit up with a series of hashtags that revealed a growing Australian appetite for catchy K-pop – the music genre originating in South Korea that is a heady mix of catchy tunes, synchronised dancing and eye-catching fashion.

#GOT7inMelbourne, #GOT7inAustralia and #GOT7 were soon trending in anticipation of news of the multi-talented Korean idols.

And that buzz is set to intensify with Friday night’s one-off appearance in Sydney of fellow K-pop stars BTS and planned visits to Australia in coming months by G-Dragon and Jay Park.

Jeff Benjamin, Billboard.com’s K-pop columnist, told The Citizen that the “music itself is a true, full package of pop.”

“I think listeners find it so appealing because it isn’t just the music they become interested in; they become interested in the whole K-pop culture.”

Australians were first introduced to K-pop in 2012, when Korean artist Psy released the hit song Gangnam Style, which has drawn around 2 billion views on YouTube and was instrumental in spreading the Korean sound to a new audience.

Benjamin, who writes Billboard’s online column K-Town, senses that “K-pop has a strong and passionate underground following in Australia and the Korean promoters are starting to notice the continent a lot more.”

“I feel like we’re seeing more tours include Australia in their tour dates and bigger acts are visiting,” he adds. “I think that’s a great move on K-pop’s part  since I would say the global music industry sees Australia (and New Zealand) as being early adopters of a lot of new pop music.”

One of the biggest acts to catch the eye of locals is Friday’s appearance in Sydney of Korea’s most popular seven-member boy band, BTS – Bangtan Sonyeondan, or “Bulletproof Boy Scouts”.

In response to Australian demand, concert organiser IME AU decided to divert the band for one night only on their 2017 BTS Live Trilogy Episode III: The Wings Tour. Tickets to the Sydney gig sold out almost immediately they went online.

In fact, Sydney will be the group’s first stop after making history by becoming the first K-pop band to win Top Social Artist at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards, after receiving more than 300 million votes from fans to beat Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande and Shawn Mendes.

Some Aussie fans appear so infatuated with the Korean brand of pop that they have created Facebook pages dedicated solely to their favourite K-pop groups. Thirty-three-year old financial consultant Anne Lu is one of the administrators of AusArmyProject, a community of BTS fans in Australia and New Zealand, ranging in age from 13 to 40.

Ms Lu believes that the band’s popularity in Australia, and the reason they stand apart from other K-pop groups, is because their music addresses relatable topics and sensitive issues such as bullying, mental health, politics and adolescence, while incorporating some of the style elements of mainstream US artists, something uncommon for most K-pop idols.

“When they first came to Australia in 2015, their concert was filled with 2000 fans . . . It was the first K-pop concert to sell out in Australia,” Ms Lu adds.

Being an avid fan of the global music phenomenon for more than 15 years, and considered a part of the ARMY, the group’s official fan club name, Ms Lu says that the first K-pop concert in Australia – held in Sydney in 2011 and featuring some of the hottest K-pop groups of the time – pre-dated the K-pop craze.

Two years ago, promoters tested the market again and brought BTS and the better-known Big Bang, which played to sell-out concerts.

“After that, we’ve seen a steady stream of K-pop bands coming,” says Ms Lu. “And it [has] really surprised a lot of promoters, so they have started bringing more bands down [from Korea].”

Increasingly, Aussie fans are taking their love of K-pop to a new level by uploading dance covers to YouTube of their favourite bands, such as the Melbourne-based dance group AO Crew, and by entering K-pop music “boot camps” where they can test their talents.

Unlike Western artists, South Korean K-pop wannabes go through a rigorous and “robotic” system of training at entertainment agencies where they join classes and spend long hours learning dance routines, music and language in a highly organised and frenetic environment, before they officially debut.

Some trainees at Korea’s top agencies spend years working to become idols. But most either drop out or simply fail to make the grade in an extremely competitive industry.

Aussie fans wanting a taste of K-pop training are turning to The Academy, a Sydney-based agency that runs experiential K-pop boot camps, choreography and other tailored programs and reality TV-style workshops.  Those attending also get the chance to work with professional trainers and consultants from top entertainment agencies across Asia.

“We picked K-pop because there is a demand for it on two fronts – from agencies searching for new talent, and young talent searching for a breakthrough in the entertainment industry besides Hollywood,” says Angela Lee, the director of The Academy.

“With the boot camp, it also provides talent scouts a better opportunity to observe the boot camp trainees over a few days so that they can have a better understanding of the trainee’s talent, personality and culture, [and] fit for Korea.”

Ms Lee says that one of the main reasons why fans want to experience the rigorous training is curiosity. Although it’s not widely publicised, or even documented, a lot of applicants want to challenge themselves and see whether they have what it takes to make it to the top.

“We picked K-pop because there is a demand for it on two fronts – from agencies searching for new talent, and young talent searching for a breakthrough in the entertainment industry besides Hollywood.” — Angela Lee, director, The Academy

Much like Korea’s idol trainees, applicants are young teenagers and come with multicultural backgrounds – seven out of 10 are Asian Australians. But interest is starting to grow among other young Australians, too.

“We have seen an increase in interest from an international audience and an increase in the number of auditions by younger talents than in 2016,” adds Ms Lee.

Some Asian Australians, including JJCC’s Prince Mak, Jang Han-byul and Black Pink’s Roseanne Park, to name a few, have gone on to pass rigorous auditions in Korea and to debut at well-known entertainment agencies.

AusArmyProject’s Ms Lu believes that K-pop has boomed in Australia because of the global revolution in sharing – through YouTube and music streaming, as well as via content-sharing sites such as Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

“This has helped fans come together and share their love for their idols via fan-created content such as memes, gifs, fan art and fan fiction, and creates a perceived greater connection between fans and idols,” she adds.

Much to the delight of K-pop fans, it has been announced that KCON, an annual Korean pop music and cultural convention based in the US, will be extended for the first time to Australia in September, making it the seventh host country since its launch in 2012.

K-pop writer Jeff Benjamin has high hopes for the future of the genre.

“Just like how the current generation of stars utilised and built off the accomplishments of the past generation, the future of K-pop seems to be growing in healthy ways,” he says.

Please note: the above article was originally published on The Citizen and written by the owner of this site.