Sunye sent love and support to Sunmi along with a thoughtful lunch box.
On March 17, Sunmi posted to her Instagram to show off the love and support she’s received from Sunye. The picture shows lunch boxes prepared by Sunye and a card says, “To Sunmi, from Sunye unnie.”
Both Sunmi and Sunye debuted in 2007 as members of girl group Wonder Girls. Even after the disbandment of the group, the members continue to support each other in their own fields.
Sunmi launched her first world tour as a solo artist on February 24. As the artist is currently in Canada for her performance in Toronto, fans are guessing that the two could have met each other in Toronto.
Married to missionary James Park in 2013, Sunye is living in Canada with her three children.
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!
Former girl group ‘Wonder Girls’ member Sunye is now a mother of 3 girls.
On January 30th at 4:30 P.M., Sunye gave birth to her third daughter in Canada. She and the baby are both healthy, and Sunye will be focusing on a postnatal care.
Sunye’s agency Polaris Entertainment announced, “Sunye has become a mother of 3 kids. She is very healthy, and the baby was born 3.8kg and is healthy, as well. The baby’s nickname is “To-shil-yi”, and her legal name is Park Yu-jin.”
In April last year, Sunye appeared on MBC ‘The King of Mask Singer” and sang on stage. Then, she signed an exclusive contract with Polaris Entertainment and planned to make a comeback. Yet, Sunye soon announced that she was pregnant with her third baby.
With the birth of her third baby daughter, Sunye has become a mother of 3 just within 6 years of marriage. Since she just had a labor, she will be focusing on her health and family. Polaris Entertainment also said, “There is no specific plan for Sunye’s Korea activities, yet. We hope you wish Sunye’s family has happy days ahead of them”.
A former member of Wonder Girls, Sunye took maternity photos with her two daughters.
On December 25, Sunye posted pictures to her Instagram, sending warm Christmas greetings to fans.
“Merry Christmas, everyone,” reads the caption. “I had a photo shoot with our children, celebrating our soon-to-be-born third kid. It was like a present for us, especially because we could help children in Haiti through this photo shoot collaboration! Enjoy your holiday and please share warmth!”
In the photos, Sunye is smiling brightly with her two kids. With her due in January, her baby bump is now visible.
Sunye debuted in 2007 and became the first married idol singer in 2013. After leaving Wonder Girls in 2015, Sunye has been away from the entertainment industry, until she made an appearance in “Stranger” this year.
She was readying for a comeback this year but postponed the plan after finding out that she was pregnant with the third child. Previously, she promised to come back as a proud singer, denying rumors about retirement.
Stars like Eric Nam, former Wonder Girls’ Yubin, f(x) Luna, and Block B’s P.O all shared a magical night with luxury brand Givenchy.
On December 20, the Givenchy Beauty Holiday Party held in Gangnam, Seoul attracted a slew of stars. Some singers to attend the event included f(x) Luna, Wonder Girls’ Yubin, Eric Nam, and Block B‘s P.O.
At the holiday party, Givenchy hosted several activities such as secret beauty classes and interactive forums where attendees could pick of styling tips for the end of the year. Moreover, many also had a chance to talk about their wishes for 2019.
Eric Nam, P.O, and more shared what their New Year’s resolutions are likely to be. Related to the theme of the night, P.O revealed that he wants to shoot a cosmetics pictorial next year, while Eric Nam said he wants to have fun times with his loved one. Similarly, singer Changmin also wanted to spend more time with family and friends.
For the holidays, stars have several different wishes. “I hope it snows a lot,” said actress Lee Tae-ri, who has been having a very busy year. Due to the hectic schedule, she’s had for the past few years, Lee mentions wanting to make up for lost time with her family. On the other hand, Luna hoped to eat her three favorite foods, bibim-guksu, sweet cream cakes with strawberries, and grapefruit ade for Christmas.
Living in America, I had never felt more global presence of K-Pop before. Until PSY brought “Gangnam Style” and made everyone dance on their own invisible horses, K-Pop playlist was my “guilty pleasure.”
Nowadays, I don’t hide away from the fact that I fairly enjoy listening to K-Pop. It’s part of my culture, and I adore these pretty-faced idols. It’s all thanks to PSY and especially, BTS, who helped the world to open their eyes and acknowledge K-pop as a real music genre.
With the recent news of BLACKPINK signing a contract with a major American label, Interscope Records, it reminded me of one girl group that tried to penetrate the Western music market way before everyone did, including both PSY and BTS. I don’t know how much of you guys remember, but if I were personally to give credit to a group for introducing K-Pop to the Western audience, it’s JYP’s one and only, the Wonder Girls.
It all started when the group released an English version of “Nobody,” the title track to their [The Wonder Years] Trilogy album in 2008.
Of course, previous artists, such as BoA and Rain, had also tried to break down the walls of Western hemisphere in the past, but the Wonder Girls were the first ones to publicly announce their entry to the foreign music market.
The results, at least the numerical ones, were not that bad. “Nobody” became the first K-Pop song to appear on Billboard’s Hot 100, placing itself at No. 76 on the chart. Later, the group joined the famous Jonas Brothers on their world tour in 2009 as the opening guests.
Moreover, they also collaborated with various American artists, such as FOREVER (formerly known as the School Gyrls) for their single “The DJ is Mine” in 2012. They even caught the attention of Akon, who agreed to feature in what became the group’s last track to promote in America, “Like Money.”
Despite their never-ending and honest work, the group’s attempt to penetrate the Western music market was ultimately marked as a failure. After releasing “Like Money” in 2012, they went into a 3-year hiatus, during which Sunye and Sohee announced their departure.
What caused this so-called “failure,” no one knows.
However, if I, as a person who very much enjoyed their music during their global promotions, were to give reasons why it was not a 100% success, I would list these 3.
Lack of Localization
When the Wonder Girls released an English version of “Nobody,” it was just a literal translation of its Korean counterpart. Nothing had changed except for the language, which was my first personal let-down from the group. People say “each language has its own genius,” meaning it’s impossible to directly translate one language into another while being mindful of the cultural differences.
For “Nobody,” JYP should have been more aware of the difference in the dating cultures of the two countries and adjust the lyrics accordingly.
Because they failed to do so, some parts of the lyrics appeared rather awkwardly, and the lack of in-depth vocabulary failed to convey the seriousness of the message this particular love song was trying to deliver. Add this on top of a music video that shows JYP taking a dump, and how do you expect anyone to take this seriously?
Same goes for the music video.
The music video starts with JYP performing his own track “Honey” with the Wonder Girls members in the back as his back-up singers. The song “Nobody” doesn’t event start until 2 minutes into the video.
This strategy worked in Korea, only because everyone already knew who JYP was and the fact that he is not the main figure in the music video. However, it was most likely that the Western people did not. They weren’t going to wait around for 2 minutes in order to maybe give this new genre a try. The music video needed an immediate impact, but it was nowhere to be found.
Concept Too Extreme
After “Nobody,” the Wonder Girls presented 3 more songs – “2 Different Tears” in 2010, and “The DJ is Mine” and “Like Money” in 2012. My second personal let-down from the group came from these music videos with concepts too extreme. “2DT” and “Like Money” both had settings where it either featured an extraterrestrial figure, or the members as robots. At the beginning of “2DT” music video, JYP himself explicitly says “an alien has entered this world … with a body shaped like a Pikachu.”
The extreme concept in these music videos take away too much attention of the public from the music. Instead of focusing on the music, their eyes all turn to looking at members chasing after a “Pikachu-shaped alien” with multi-colored hairstyles and make-up.
Consequently, the music video also made it very difficult for the audience to recognize the members, unless you played the video on repeat, taking notes down on who had what hair colors and other details.
For a rookie group trying to break a new market, a strong identification is a must. However, the members hide behind all the flashy concept and storyline, failing to mark their faces in the minds of their target audience.
Lack of Technology Compared to Present
Last reason for the Wonder Girls returning to their homeland after relatively unsuccessful promotions was not necessarily their fault. It was the lack of technology or communication methods of the past compared to the present.
BTS, who was recently crowned as the “Best Social Artist” at various American awards, was able to achieve this milestone partly thanks to YouTube and other social network platforms. Since before their debut, BTS actively communicated and shared the process of their debut and post-debut with their fans. This resulted in the strong bond between the artists and their fans, bringing them closer to work to receive such meaningful awards.
However, it was a different time for the Wonder Girls.
YouTube had just been established in 2005 and it was not a popular website until after the group had decided that North America was not an option for them. It was the same for all online platforms; Instagram was not even a thing and Facebook was just getting started.
Consequently, the communication between the Wonder Girls and their fans abroad halted every time the group went back to Korea. The global fans had to really put in time and effort into searching upcoming news of the group, which I personally think got too exhausting. Furthermore, there were not enough online contents to “dukjil” over, and people naturally lost their interest in the group.
People say the Wonder Girls trying to enter the Western music market too early in their career is what ultimately cost them their disbandment. Sunmi quickly departed from the group after the group’s first global promotions and later, Sunye and Sohee also departed.
While it wasn’t a complete success, I still applaud loudly the Wonder Girls for their brave attempts. And I believe that if they were granted the privileges of the present day technology advance and more, the girls would have had a better chance at wowing the Western hemisphere just like BTS did.
Thanks to our proud senior groups, such as the Wonder Girls, PSY, and BTS, many junior groups now have a better and easier chance to go abroad. They have shown the promising future of K-Pop, and I truly hope that the results keep getting better and better.
by. Dasol Kim
Disclaimer: The opinions or views contained in this article may not represent the opinions or views of Kpoplove, The Korea Daily, its employees, agents or affiliates.
Reality show featuring HA:TFELT Yeeun in her daily life confirms premiere date!
On October 22, Studio OnStyle’s new celebrity reality digital show “Red Hair Yen” (literal translation) will premiere. The program will feature former Wonder Girls member Yeeun, as she fights against the prejudice of the world to purse her dream as HA:TFELT. During the course of the program, the singer will participate in an exhibition called “Blue Bird Project” where she takes one step closer to becoming a real artist.
The program has gathered much attention since this is the first reality show featuring a celebrity by OnStyle, the digital studio owned by CJ ENM. The channel has previously showcased digital dramas that feature the struggles of a woman in the current society. Thus, the channel received support from many women across the country.
Moreover, “Red Hair Yen” hopes to connect with the audience in their 20’s and 30’s through the daily life of HA:TFELT. Yeeun, who is nothing but honest and confident, will exchange in-depth conversation with various artists with distinct individuality and opinion when it comes to art. By listening and responding to the concerns of each artist, the singer hopes to connect with the artists as well as the audience on an emotional level.
Meanwhile, “Red Hair Yen” will premiere on October 22 on OnStyle channel. It will also be released through the official YouTube channel and Facebook of OnStyle on every Monday and Wednesday at 6 PM, KST.
In September, a news channel reported that members of Ye-eun’s father’s church filed a lawsuit against the singer.
Police cleared singer and former Wonder Girls’ member Park Ye-Eun of colluding with her criminal father in a fraud scheme.
The police recently completed an investigation of the singer. In conclusion, authorities said that they did not have any suspicion that Park helped her father in any way. Further, on October 5, they announced that only Park’s father was sent to the prosecution for questions.
Park’s father is accused of pocking around 20 billion won from church members that was supposedly intended for investment. According to reports, he had told his church attendees that he was planning on starting an entertainment business. Over time, he convinced them that it was low risk and there was a guaranteed return.
In a suit filed earlier this year the church member accused Park and her father of working together.
A pregnancy, an interview, and an announcement; former Wonder Girls leader Sunye attempts to clear the air.
On Friday, former Wonder Girls Sunye and her husband announced that they are expecting this third child. Polaris Entertainment, the singer’s agency, urged fans and the public to congratulate her and explained that she plans to give birth in January.
However, in the midst of the good news criticisms arose. In an interview published just two days later on Sunday Sunye says that some of the information was inaccurate and misconstrued her words and intentions.
One of the glaring inaccuracies in the article was that the Sunye was unhappy and unsatisfied during her time as part of the Wonder Girls and as an entertainer. As such, the article mistakenly concluded that Sunye had no intention to return to the entertainment industry.
Further, after Sunye announced her pregnancy, some criticized her for being inconsiderate to her company. Some felt that she was dishonest by informing the public, and presumably Polaris Entertainment, about her pregnancy after signing a contract in August.
In response to the criticism, Sunye took to social media to clear the air. In a post, the singer clarified that she had never declared her retirement. Instead, she has been on a break to focus on her marriage and family. Additionally, she mentioned that she regretted nothing about her time with her former group and considered them especially precious people.
Regarding her company, Sunye wrote that she informed Polaris about her circumstances and limitations. This included divulging the status of her pregnancy while they discussed a possible contract. When the company signed her to the label, there was a clear understanding that things would progress slowly.
Meanwhile, Sunye married Korean-Canadian missionary James Park in 2013. Since then she has focused on her family.