Introducing ‘Interviews with K-pop Stars’ with BTS J-HOPE, HOSHI, LEO, CHUNG HA, AND CHAE YEON!
ABOUT THE BOOK: It is easier than ever to find fans from all over the world copying the performances of K-Pop idols.
More and more attention is given to K-Pop artists for their vigorous dancing and acting along to their lyrics on stage.
However, it has not been as easy to find out what they are thinking when preparing their performance or while they are on the stage.
After exploring the story behind the experts in the K-Pop industry and idols who create and produce their own music, journalist Park Hee A in her third book has turned her focus to idols who put on a unique performance based on the identity they each formed in their past.
Interested in purchasing the book? You can conveniently order directly from Amazon!
Big Hit Entertainment has confirmed that BTS will release a new album next month with Seoul playing an integral part in its concept.
According to Big Hit Entertainment, BTS is scheduled to return on April 12 with a completely new album in a surprise comeback. The album titled MAP OF THE SOUL: PERSONA is the first from the group in about eight months.
During the second half of 2018, the group released the last installment in their Love Yourself trilogy with LOVE YOURSELF 結 ‘Answer’ in August. The capstone to the trilogy saw BTS making impressive gains on Billboard’s album chart and streaming giant Spotify. Notably, it became the first Korean pop group to enter the top ten in Billboards Hot 100 chart with Fake Love, the title track from LOVE YOURSELF 轉 ‘Tear.’
Starting in May the group will embark on a world tour with stops in Sao Paulo, London, Paris, Osaka, and more in addition to several in the U.S.
Newly debuted K-pop boy group TXT expressed how they’re thankful of their senior group BTS.
The March 11 episode of “Section TV Entertainment News” is to feature the interview with BigHit Entertainment’s newly debuted group TXT.
TXT has garnered much attention even before the debut. As “BTS’ brother group,” TXT made their name known, which resulted in an impressive record of 10 million MV views in 13 hours.
In the interview, TXT members are to introduce themselves individually. Members are to share the signature choreography of their debut title song, “Crown,” as well as to show some “aegyo” for the fans.
TXT member Yeon-jun especially thanked the senior group, BTS, for mentioning TXT at the Grammys.
“It was such an honor and we’re always thankful of them for giving out thoughtful advice all the time,” said Yeon-jun.
“If the opportunity allows, we also want to go abroad to share show our efforts and performances to more people,” he added, sharing the group’s ambition.
BTS has confirmed to hold an additional event for fans after the huge success of “ARMYPEDIA” event.
On March 7, BTS released the poster for “ARMY UNITED in SEOUL,” the upcoming event for the fandom ARMY.
The newly announced event follows “RUN ARMY in ACTION,” which will be held on March 10. Tickets for the first event became sold out as soon as they opened.
On February 22, the teaser for ARMYPEDIA was released over seven cities including Seoul, Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, and Paris. Members of the official page soon surpassed 5 million and its social media followers went over 7.6 million.
ARMYPEDIA allocates QR codes all over the world, which direct to quizzes about BTS. Fans who find the QR codes gather their memories to find the answers, which give pieces for the jigsaw puzzle.
Out of 2080 pieces, 920 were found over 10 days. This is impressive, regarding the fact that each QR code is released one after another and that only 4 weeks are given for each quiz.
“ARMY UNITED in SEOUL” will take place on March 23 at Oil Tank Culture Park in Seoul. At the event, fans will watch BTS’ performance videos together and share the messages BTS members are trying to send.
ARMYPEDIA, which is the compound word of BTS fandom ARMY and Wikipedia, engages fans to gather memories and information about BTS. The digital archive will have records of 2080 days from BTS’ debut on June 13, 2013, to the foundation of ARMYPEDIA on February 21, 2019.
Kpop’s biggest boy group BTS, scheduled for a world tour ‘Love Yourself: Speak Yourself’ in May, added an another day in Chicago during one of their stops in the US. Initially BTS planned to perform only on May 11 but decided to stay an another day to perform on May 12 as well.
Ticketing for the additional day will begin on March 8 at 4 pm! Good luck ARMYs!
Big Hit Entertainment’s new boy group in 6 years, aka BTS’s brother group, Tomorrow x Together (TXT) are ready to enter the Kpop scene!
BTS’s agency, Big Hit Entertainment is ready to debut their new Kpop boy group in 6 years Tomorrow x Together (TXT) on March 4 through Mnet’s Debut Celebration Show.
According to OSEN, TXT has an advantage from the start of their Kpop career thanks to BTS’s global popularity and recognition as world stars. In addition, Big Hit Entertainment’s global reputation and resources will add to TXT’s advantage over other new idol groups.
OSEN speculates that while there are advantages, TXT also has more pressure to meet the expectations everyone has as BTS’s brother group. What do you think of Big Hit’s TXT?
As unbelievable as it may be, the 2010s will soon be over in just 10 short months! Kpop has had exponential growth in the last few years, which will also determine Kpop’s future for the following decade!
The hallyu wave aka Kpop wave has definitely become more globalized within the last couple years. There is no doubt that in 2019 there will be more Kpop fans as more Kpop idols (BTS, Monsta X, NCT, Oh My Girl, Red Velvet, Blackpink, Sunmi etc.) continue to promote abroad. Especially in the US, thanks mostly to BTS’s success paving the way for Kpop growth this year.
Hollywood is the Kpop market for this year
Based on previous patterns of Kpop idol groups like Wonder Girls, Girl’s Generation, Super Junior, TVXQ etc. many Kpop idols usually extend their fan base to other countries in Asia before pursuing Europe & the Americas. Kpop’s growth in other countries are indeed significant, but given US is home to global names like Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Ed Sherman, Chris Brown, Drake, Justin Timberlake etc. (as well as Kpoplove’s headquarters) Kpop’s future global outlook will focus on the US market for this article.
Kpop before BTS
BTS on American Music Awards (2017)
Just 5 to 10 years ago, prior to BTS’s historical invasion in the US, Kpop was just a new and upcoming genre in the US that originated from a small country in Asia. As a decades old Kpop fan, I can personally attest to instances in the past where people confused North and South Korea and probably couldn’t name any Kpop artist even if their life depended on it.
Other idols’ success in the US
However, this does not mean Kpop has never made its mark in the US. Examining only the idol groups who are no longer “active” meaning either disbanded or no longer actively promoting with all members, idol groups like Wonder Girls and Girl’s Generation have previously tried to break into the US market without as much success as BTS.
JYP’s Wonder Girls (2007-2017) released a single- ‘Nobody’ (2009)- that was No.76 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart as the 1st Kpop group on the Billboard charts. This provided the opening for the group to enter the US market and pursue international activities. Wonder Girls can be considered to have been at the peak of their career in Korea (and Asia) prior to moving to the US in 2009 to focus on US activities. However contrary to expectations, Wonder Girls was unable to continue their momentum and ended up with changing the line-up and regroup back in Korea.
Wonder Girls on Wendy Williams Show (2009)
SM’s Girl’s Generation (2007-present) released a single-’The Boys’ (2012)-officially debuting and promoting in the US a few years after Wonder Girls. Comparing various aspects like promotions, fanbase, hallyu wave’s influence and method, there are so many differences that can explain the different levels of success between the 2 girl groups.
Girl’s Generation on Late Show with David Letterman (2012)
Taking a closer look at how BTS did not need to promote in the US to have the biggest US debut stage of all in 2017 as the 1st Korean group to perform at AMAs, BTS clearly did something that sets them apart from others. Not to mention BTS performed in Korean while Wonder Girls and Girl’s Generation performed in English. Based on BTS’s sucess, BTS’s momentum can only be expected to grow further this year.
BTS’s significant role for Kpop mainstreamed in US
In 2019, there are very few individuals who wouldn’t know what the 3 letters “BTS” refers to in the US. Even if one is completely clueless about Kpop, there is a big chance someone’s family, friend or acquaintance is a BTS fan or BTS ARMY.
Similar to BTS’s predecessors (e.g. legendary Kpop idol groups Girls Generation, Super Junior, TVXQ), BTS became mainstream in Asia a few years ago and became more globally recognized as they made their mark on the Billboard charts in 2015. But unlike other Kpop groups, BTS didn’t make any special plans to promote in the US market soon after their first placement on the Billboard charts. Instead BTS continued to release more content and focused on their music letting time to gradually increase their popularity all over the world.
Why is BTS different?
BTS contributed to further spreading the hallyu wave rather than having to focus on establishing the Kpop wave. Currently in 2019, nearly everyone has a smartphone as opposed to 10 years ago. Internet is easily accessible to many age groups enabling the daily use of social media like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube etc. This has allowed Kpop idols, especially BTS, to focus on interacting with fans and growing their fanbase. BTS members are well known for being very active participants as singers-songwriters within the Kpop industry and renowned for sharing many of their content on SoundCloud or V Live which played a significant role for BTS’s success today.
BTS’s timing may have been what led to BTS’s breakthrough to becoming the biggest Kpop group in the world. Rather than jumping on the first signs of opportunity to pursue international activities, BTS bided their time to focus on their work and to further nurture their talents while waiting for their hard work to come to fruition.
The 7 membered boy group became recognized for their global popularity when selected by international corporations like Puma, LG Electronics, Hyundai Motors etc. as global ambassadors and made significant collaborations with Mattel, Medicome Toy, Netmarble Games, Line Webtoons, Line Friends x BT21 and more!
BTS World Tour & BT21
When BTS had their 3rd world tour last summer, Line Friends x BT21 also officially opened their pop-up store in LA situated amongst Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. As someone who has accompanied various people to this store in August, September, October and December of last year, I can personally affirm the lines were unbelievably long not only when the pop-up store first opened but also for the following months. Amazingly, the lines did not really decrease much every time I had to go.
Most of my experience at this store consisted of standing in line for hours while conversing with other people accompanying their niece or cousin to the store. As to why the lines didn’t decrease much even after BTS finished touring in the US would be since BT21 items were often sold out with limited quantities, unpredictable shipments of new items, new seasonal (Halloween, Christmas) items and such.
Initially the Line Friends store was announced to stay for 3 months. Later, due to high demand, the pop-up was extended to January 2019 with plans to locate permanently. Just the fact that BT21 became popular enough to become a permanent store in LA speaks volumes about BTS’s success in the US. Aside from BT21, BTS is renowned for increasing sales for many associated businesses leading to the birth of the term “BTS effect” from major news outlets as many profit from BTS’s influence. BTS has become symbolic as a guaranteed catalyst to enhance micro and macro economics.
Lots of Kpop events in 2019
Just within 2 months of this year, there have been so many appearances or scheduled appearances of Kpop idols and artists in the US. Just to name a few upcoming events- Girl’s Generation’s Tiffany will be having her first showcase as Tiffany Young in a few days, Sunmi will be having her first world tour next month, BLACKPINK will be at Coachella in April and BTS will be touring the US again in May. Additionally, Red Velvet, Oh My Girl, Hong Jin Young and Dean have already performed in the US within the last 2 months.
BLACKPINK made their official US debut on “Good Morning America” and announced their North American Tour during the interview just awhile back. With so many activities planned in the US for the first half of 2019, many are wondering whether BLACKPINK will be able to have success similar to BTS. There is definitely a lot of potential but as previous idol groups like Wonder Girls and Girl’s Generation have proven, it isn’t easy to accomplish.
As an avid Kpop fan whose biases are mostly the first generation of Kpop idols, I can’t help but feel happy and excited to see how well Kpop is doing in the US. There are many idol groups who have also contributed to Kpop’s success like Monsta X, EXO and annual events like KCON LA or KCON NY. But amongst everything I have read, seen and heard, I want to credit BTS for really opening the door wide open for Kpop to take on the US. There have been many attempts but no one has been as successful as BTS and thanks to that, I think Kpop fans are able to have more opportunities to see their favorite Kpop idols shine for Uncle Sam.
All I could hope for would be that BTS’s continuous momentum ushers in even more opportunities for other Kpop artists to enter the US market. Till the day Kpop can be heard on various iheart radio stations in the US, “Hwaiting” to all Kpop artists!
BTS has once again proven their global popularity by selling the most albums to foreigners on Ebay Korea for 2018!
On February 17, Ebay Korea reported their sales for albums and photobooks increased by 62% while idol related goods like t-shirts, mugs etc. went up by 55% in 2018.
BTS’s 3rd album Love Yourself 轉 Tear was reported to have sold the most for 2018. Even though the BTS album as a packaged set with 4 versions could be considered to be one of the most expensive Kpop albums at 65,000 won (~$65), the price did not deter the popularity of the album. It has been reported that 1 out of 5 shoppers on Ebay Korea (aka gmarket global website) purchased the packaged BTS album set that included a photobook, photocard, poster etc.
Unboxing video of BTS’s 3rd album Love Yourself 轉 Tear for the curious.
BTS’s 3rd album Love Yourself 轉 Tear, title track: Fake Love
Other boy groups responsible for increasing album sales by 62% includes Wanna One, EXO, GOT7, Super Junior and Shinee showing off the power of Kpop boy groups.
Congratulations to BTS for setting another record!
Kpop has come a long way over the years to become globally recognized in 2019. Looking back from the first generation of idols from the 1990s to now, Kpop idols have always had the burden of being adventurous and trend-setting icons.
With the current trend of older Kpop idol groups making a comeback to the Kpop scene, a lot has changed over the decades. In the 1990s when the first Kpop idol groups started emerging like H.O.T, Sechs Kies, Shinhwa and G.O.D, these idol groups experienced much criticism and love for their music while trying to solidify the upcoming genre, Kpop.
Taking a trip down memory lane towards one’s youth or childhood, there are some groups that can NOT be forgotten! The first generation of idol boy groups who not only created what is today’s Kpop fandom culture but also the foundation for the Hallyu wave! While there are many idols that deserve to be considered legends for each decade (1990s, 2000s, 2010s), these specific groups mentioned in this article were selected based on hours of research, personal memory, today’s popularity/activities and such! As a result, many may not agree with the listing or feel some idol groups should have been mentioned. Please note this is solely the opinion of the writer who may be biased with childhood memories of watching these groups in variety shows like SBS’s X-Men (2003-2007), SBS’s Love Letter (2004-2006) etc!
First generation of Kpop boy groups (1990s)
H.O.T (1996-2001, 2018-present)
Finding anyone who doesn’t know H.O.T would be rare in the Kpop scene. H.O.T is considered the first ever Kpop idol group that was formed by SM Entertainment. Even TVN’s hit drama series ‘Reply 1997’ (2012) has many references to H.O.T where the female lead is a die-hard fan of H.O.T’s Tony.
To signify how much importance H.O.T has in Korean culture, H.O.T had their reunion in 2018 through the famous variety show, MBC’s ‘Infinity Challenge’ (2005-2018).
After H.O.T made their comeback in 17 years on ‘Infinity Challenge’, H.O.T went on to hold their comeback concert in Seoul where fans and idols took a trip back to their youth in the 90s.
Secks Kies (1997-2000, 2016-present)
The second idol group in Kpop history, aka H.O.T’s rival, played an important role for shaping Kpop fandom. The power of Kpop fans gave rise to allowing artists to venture into other fields within the entertainment industry. Secks Kies was the first idol group to film their own movie, perform in a musical and perform at the Blue House for the president serving during that time.
Clip of H.O.T vs. Sech Kies fan war from Reply 1997 Kdrama
Secks Kiss also made their comeback in 2016 as guests on MBC’s ‘Infinity Challenge’ through a guerrilla concert. It was reported news of Secks Kies’s reunion was shared only 5 hours before the concert, which still managed to gather 6000 fans.
To really get an idea for what it was like in the 1990s during the reign of H.O.T and Sechs Kies, I HIGHLY recommend watching TVN’s Reply 1997. It is pretty accurate in depicting how severe or passionate Kpop fandom culture already was back then. Not to mention, this drama in addition to the rest of the Reply series (1997, 1994, 1988) are really great dramas to watch whether to understand Korean culture or to reminisce about your past.
The role model of many idols, the longest active boy group in Kpop history, Shinhwa is the idol group who showed versatility to be possible for Kpop idols. It is common for idol groups to keep to their “color” or “style” but Shinhwa has proven the key to longevity to be due to the constant rebranding and continuous creativity among other things. Shinhwa formed their own company Shinhwa Company with Minwoo and Eric as co-CEOs managing their activities as a group confirming the brotherhood among the members.
Shinhwa members are well known for their talents in various areas in the entertainment industry. Not only are they immensely popular for their appearances on variety shows, each member has successfully proven their talents in various areas like dramas, movies, musicals, producing and much more!
Shinhwa is extremely talented and everyone has such a great relationship, it is no wonder the group has made history by being the longest active Kpop idol group! They spend infinite amounts of time and effort for fans, one of the most noteworthy would be that they have a concert every year. In 2019, it will be their 21st anniversary since debut.
JYP’s first idol group G.O.D has never disbanded, however they were previously on an extended hiatus as each member pursed their solo careers. G.O.D is known for their iconic songs that really reflected Korean culture in the early 2000s amassing fans from various age groups. Labeled as the “nation’s idols” that used lyrics described as “storytelling,” many of their songs are still remembered as iconic Korean songs.
G.O.D is considered to be part of the legendary first generation Kpop idol groups among H.O.T, Seck’s Kiss and Shinhwa.
G.O.D’s songs are one of the best songs to sing in karaoke regardless of how old the songs are. The songs are still relatable and relevant amidst the 4th industrial revolution, simply “classic songs.”
Kpop Boy Groups of the 2000s
Super Junior (2005-present)
The iconic Kpop idol group that broke the stereotype by consisting of many members even 13 at one point. Super Junior can be considered to be one of the earliest hallyu idols that paved the path for Kpop to become globally recognized. Not only are they a household name today in 2019 but their everlasting popularity in Korea and abroad is something many idols aim for.
Super Junior can be considered one of the examples of successful subgroups that has proven to create more opportunities for the idols to showcase their talents outside of their group activities. After dominating Asia, Super Junior has proven their reigning power as iconic Kpop idols by their amazing success in Latin America even releasing songs in English, Korean and Spanish!
Super Junior was one of the first idol groups with so many members creating the opportunity to market to so many different preferences. Each member had their own unique remarkable characteristics that would appeal to nearly anyone. Frankly, it was a genius move by SM and now we have idol groups that follow this strategy! (Thank you SM!)
Big Bang (2006-present)
YG’s first idol group aka “Kings of Kpop” and the MVPs for setting the Hallyu wave ablaze internationally, especially outside of Asia, Big Bang is the group who continuously redefined what ‘KPOP’ is by experimenting out of the norm while expressing their individuality.
Big Bang is renowned for writing their own songs which plays a significant role for their success.
Not only is the group incredible for having so many No.1 songs but also their success promoting as subunits and soloists unbelievable that has become something to strive for the following generation of idols. Is there anyone who doesn’t know Taeyang’s Eyes, Nose, Lips or GD’s Coup d’etat?
Just thinking of Big Bang, the concept of swag, hip, fast beats, clubs and parties come to mind. While is it sad to see that most of the members are still serving mandatory military service, it won’t be long before they will be back!
The boy band of SM aka the “Princes of Kpop” who set the standard for live performances with complex dance moves, Shinee contrasts crucially with other groups of the 2000s. Not only is this group experimental with their music exploring various genres, they are also considered the “aesthetic,” “artistic,” “beautiful” group through their choreography, concepts and wardrobes.
With the sad passing of member Jonghyun (RIP) in 2017, Shinee will never be the same. However, Shinee’s songs as a quintet, Jonghyun’s legacy remains as numerous fans continue to love and cheer for Shinee.
Shinee will forever be that scarred part of my Kpop love. They have had to regroup after the unfortunate experience of losing a member, however I fervently hope that they will be able to recover not only for themselves and fans but also for the legacy of JH to not be forgotten in the future.
Kpop Boy Groups of Today (2010s)
With less than 10 months before the end of the current decade, there are so many boy groups who debuted and deserve to be listed as THE boy group of 2010s. While many would want to nominate for their favorite group, I would say based on the past 110 months (2010-2019.2), EXO and BTS are the ones who will be considered the “legends” of 2010s in Kpop history years from now.
Is there anyone in the Kpop scene who doesn’t know EXO and BTS? EXO is the 3rd generation of SM’s beloved idol boy group taking on the baton from their seniors H.O.T, Shinhwa, Super Junior and Shinee. BTS is without a doubt the “titans of Kpop” if my 90 year old grandmother knows who they are because of the Korean news. So many records were broken and so much history was made by these two idol groups during this decade, I personally would like to bet some dough on whether BTS or EXO will show up in the history or business books in the near future. Having heard that UC Berkley is offering a DeCal class on BTS from a friend attending UCB, my odds of winning are very high.
Looking back on Kpop idols from the 1990s, Kpop itself is still pretty young with so much potential for growth. As a passionate Kpop fan who grew up with the first generation of Kpop idols on my TV screen in the 1990s and 2000s, I genuinely hope that there will be a day when Kpop music can be heard on the radio (outside of Korean radio stations) abroad.