K-Pop, otherwise known as Korean Pop, is a phenomenon that took Korea by storm and gave birth to some of the biggest celebrities of South Korea and China. The power of K-Pop didn’t stop there. Lately, K-Pop has sunk its unyielding grip into younger generations all over the world, including America.
Music is different everywhere in the world. It isn’t just the difference in languages that set them all apart. It can be hard to imagine musicians, solo artists or musical groups become popular in any other way than what we’re used to. In America that means discovering talent over the web, through popular television series, talent shows, or simply by knowing the right people.
In comparison, international talent recruitment may as well be an entirely different planet. Children can be scouted for entertainment agencies like SM Entertainment and YG Entertainment as young as ten years old. Once signing with these entertainment groups, all schooling, social activities, and many aspects of life are controlled by the company. All the while, members must practice constantly in hopes of securing a spot in a group that debuts. That’s right, signing doesn’t guarantee you a place within company.
For those who successfully make it into the spotlight, the result creates a pop force to be reckoned with.
I was doubtful at first. Like with most new things, its best to dip your feet in the water before diving head first. Until this point, there were a handful of foreign songs I’d heard in passing. I hadn’t paid them much mind. After all, what is the point if you can’t understand the lyrics? Such is not the case with K-Pop.
Imagine the talent, popularity and allure of NSYNC and the Back Street Boys combine. Then, pick a really large number to multiply it by. Now, you have a good idea of how large the dedicated and overzealous fan base of K-Pop is. If you thought Justin Bieber created a ripple in the water of mainstream music, K-Pop groups create a wave. One that is slowly and steadily crossing borders.
One of the first things to notice about K-Pop as its on its rise, is that not all of the songs are foreign in language. Therefore, not completely impossible for non-speakers of Korean to understand. Most members of K-Pop groups are actually bilingual. It’s a pretty impressive feat for an entire group to sing multiple languages. (And even more so when that group can easily reach ten or more members.)
So what is it about K-Pop that sparked its appeal in America and what is keeping their rise in popularity at such a slow pace? Interestingly enough, the same aspect that is helping them break into America’s pop culture is also forcing them to stay under that radar:
It is as if each song is a rarity- one that cannot be copied. The members, the song, and the lyrics have a personality that set them apart from the rest. Each song in the playlist is vastly different than the next in style, sound and character. Yet, each song appeals to the same audience. If anything, the stark differences only make K-Pop that more tempting for their winning creativity. Nowadays, finding truly unique music is hard to come by, especially on the radio.
But, that very same uniqueness is also something of a downside. Culturally, K-Pop and Pop music in America are on opposite sides of the spectrum. For one, K-Pop groups or bands are gaining popularity, while in America Pop music, making headway as a musical group is a lot more difficult than making it as a solo artist. In many ways, American “boy bands” are a thing of the past, and female groups (with the exception of few) aren’t much better off.
Somehow, despite all the factors fighting against K-Pop’s popularity in America, its managed to plant its seeds in U.S. soil. But, will the love for the ever-growing genre progress and flourish, or will the expectations and demand of American’s mainstream music industry prove to be too picky for K-Pops distinct style?
Glamorous People< have you been ahead of the trend and have some K-Pop hits that you love? If so comment the youtube link, or simply song/group name below! Or tweet at us @GlamorousPaper! We love to be in the loop with all you fabulous trendsetters!