Did you know that the ‘Rising Gods of The East’ were the most photographed celebrity in the world in 2009? No? No worries, as neither did I back then. But ever since I stumbled into their realm of dwelling, I felt a shout out is a must. So hang on and start picking the bread crumbs. You are in for a ride!
In today’s’ westernized world, the pinnacle of all musical events is the Grammy Awards. Even to be invited alone measures the global recognition of a musician’s contribution. It is understandable how much honoured Tablo of Epik High was as he flashed his invitation to the 59th Grammy Awards on his Instagram a few days ago. The top 10 most talked about Music artistes in Twitter of 2016 as listed by Times.com did not see Zayn Malik as the #1 contender, but EXO, who was closely followed by Jimin of BTS as runner-up. With over 2.45 Billion views, the world’s most watched Youtube video was not a music video by One Direction. NO. It was by Park Jae-Sung . Wait, you might know him. PSY. Gangnam Style. Savvy?
Yes. I have been beating around a bush of achievements achieved by the South Korean Popular Music, universally known as K-Pop. As much as it has been inspired by Western Pop music, this culture shock due to its unique genre is popularizing at an accelerating pace globally making the ‘Hallyu wave’ one giant Tsunami. Remember the spoiled, puppy–eyed Lee Young Jae of Full House, the first national introduction of the uprising Hallyu wave to Sri Lanka? That was Jung Ji Hoon, a.k.a Rain (Bi), one of Hallyu’s best dancer-solo singer- entertainer artists up to date. Ninja Assassin anyone?
After years of Experimentations, draw backs and failures, Seo Taiji and the Boys managed to bring the earliest of K-pop concepts into play in the early 90s. As of February, 2017 the girls of Red Velvet celebrates #1 in World Album Rankings in World Billboard Charts, while EXO-Ls and Armys proudly await their ‘Oppas’ comeback, vowing to soar unit Album sales past the millionth mark.
Is the reason behind this boom the Youtube phenomena of 2012? In March 2012 the world saw most extensive world tour by a Kpop group even penetrating the Latin Americas. The rest of the ignorant world was definitely awakened by the timely alarm set by PSY. Didn’t we all love to see cricketers celebrate victory on the ground dancing that iconic dance? ‘Oppa Gangnam Sytle!’ is yet to be replaced in our own DJ listings.
K-pop videos, the source of this frenzy, range from emotional to nonsensical, humorous to glamorous, sexy to nerdy and Bravo! To what did I just watch? Abundant with more colourful vibe and arranged for a broader viewership they address many aspects of individual entertainment tastes. From the funkiest to latest fashion blasts, wacky dance moves, pretty faces and extravagant visual scopes, catchy polyphonic beats, unforgettable choruses and tunes plus that English phrasings here and there keep the non Korean audience glued screaming for more.
Just as the legendary Back Street Boys, Spice Girls and Westlife rocked and hushed us in the 90s, these youngsters fill up group void since early 2000. Casually being a group of 4-7 or even surpassing 13, consistent of mainly Koreans but also the talent of other nationalities, these members are titled with trendy stage names, group names, fandom name and colours.
As the number of members increase, so does the exposure factor, since the main group can be divided into subunits dedicated to regional performances and promotional activities and more soloist acts can be expected. South Korea’s Entertainment industry has one of the hardest training regimes for a trainee entertainer. This is where pure talent itself will not be sufficient. Once you are chosen as a trainee, dedication, humility and hard work, in extensive training will be the key factors that will chance upon a successful debut.
Once a group debuts, their entertainment company, which has already planned for many years to come, will break in to the South East Asian and Asia- Pacific markets aiming international collaborations as soon as possible. Having a faithful fandom and many artistic concepts in the drawing board is important as new groups emerge seasonally in Korea, challenging the existent with new performances and trends. It’s a challenge to the fans as they try hard not to succumb to the oncoming fresh waves of idols in the Hallyu Wave. Hence idols do various fan services, take roles in Dramas, Musicals, films or participate in variety shows apart from their musical career to keep their Aura unforgotten among the audience while the industry continues to evolve on this complicated yet dynamic showbiz.
The Hallyu wave keeps on rolling, recruiting new audiences worldwide through music and drama, inventing interesting concepts in its unlimited fairy tale happenings. Keep your tabs on folks, ‘coz mysteries of this dwelling are just starting to unravel!