Tag Archives: k-pop

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Moon Myung-jin and Son Seung-yeon to Perform at Pechanga Resort & Casino

by ETHEL NAVALES

There are already countless reasons to drop by Pechanga Resort & Casino. Maybe you want to check out their beautiful, multimillion dollar renovation. Or maybe you want to check out some of their incredible performers such as Kenichi Ebina who wowed Pechanga audiences back in April 2014.

Well, it looks like there will be two more big reasons to visit in February: Moon Myung-jin and Son Seung-yeon.

The “R&B master” Moon Myung-jin and the rising star Son Seung-yeon will perform live together in the upcoming “Healing Concert” at Pechanga Resort & Casino on Saturday, February 28 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 1 at 5 p.m.

Moon Myung-jin, a veteran R&B and soul singer, received plenty of attention when he appeared in Immortal Song, a popular singing competition TV show, in 2013. He sang Haebaragi’s “It’s Not Only Sorrow” and immediately topped all Internet searches in Korea. He became more popular after winning the show’s 100th episode (The Deulgukhwa Special) and Sulwondo Special.

Son Seung-yeon was the winner of The Voice Korea in 2012. Since winning, she’s been garnering much attention and popularity for her powerful voice and singing talent. She joined Immortal Song in 2014 and quickly became the queen of the show.

Tickets are priced at $70 (Silver), $90 (Golden), $110 (Orchestra), $150 (VIP) and can be purchased by visiting the Pechanga Box Office from noon to 8 p.m. or www.pechanga.com/tickets. You can also call 714-443-3500 for more inquiries.

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Originally published on Audrey Magazine

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Ladies’ Code’s Road Manager Sentenced to Prison

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

Ladies’ Code’s former road manager, Mr. Park, has been sentenced to 1 year and 2 months in prison for speeding and causing the accident that claimed the lives of Go Eun Bi (EunB), 21, and Kwon Rise, 23.

According to Judge Jung Young Hun, the 27-year-old manager had failed to reach an agreement with the families of the deceased before the trial. Thus, the guilty verdict was handed down on Thursday.

On Sept. 3, Park was driving a van carrying the K-pop girl group and two staff members near the Yeongdong Expressway when the car slipped on the rain-drenched road and crashed into a guard rail. As a result, EunB died shortly after impact while Kwon passed away after undergoing 10 hours of emergency brain surgery. The other passengers, including Ladies’ Code members Sojung, Ashely and Zuny, received minor to critical injuries.

Polaris Entertainment, Ladies’ Code’s talent agency, initially said in a statement that the accident was caused by the vehicle malfunction. Park told the police that the rear wheel came off before the van hit the guard rail, but the National Institute of Scientific Investigation (NISI) concluded that speeding was the cause of the accident and that the wheel popped out after the collision.

According to Star News, Park eventually confessed to speeding and said he called emergency services immediately after the crash.

Ladies’ Code debuted in 2013 and had made a comeback with their single “Kiss Kiss” a few months before the accident occurred. EunB and Kwon were best friends and roommates.

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Photo courtesy of Polaris Entertainment

RELATED NEWS:

Ladies’ Code manager arrested and charged for speeding

Ladies’ Code fatal accident likely caused by speeding, not vehicle defect

Kwon Rise of Ladies’ Code dies after car accident

EunB of Ladies’ Code passes away in tragic car accident

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Epik High, Crayon Pop and Hitchhiker Join SXSW 2015 Lineup

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival recently announced the third lineup for its K-pop Night Out showcase, and it looks like Epik High, Crayon Pop and Hitchhiker will be headlining the highly anticipated event in March.

After a two-year hiatus, Epik High made a remarkable comeback in 2014 with their eighth album Shoebox, which topped Billboard‘s World Albums chart. Comprised of Tablo, Mithra and DJ Tukutz, the trio has made music together for over a decade and is often credited for bringing hip hop to the mainstream in South Korea. This will be Epik High’s first time performing at SXSW as well as their first Stateside show since 2009.

Crayon Pop will be returning to the States after touring with Lady Gaga on her Artpop tour. The girl group first gained global acclaim for their addictive song “Bar, Bar, Bar” and  energetic choreography. Members ChoA and Way, who are identical twin sisters, formed the subunit Strawberry Milk back in October, debuting with the bubblegum pop track, “OK.” There’s no doubt that the colorful quintet will add some spunk to SXSW this year.

Hitchhiker’s “11” is possibly the weirdest K-pop music video of all time as it features garish computer-animated characters dancing to what sounds like auto-tuned baby babble. The music video became a YouTube phenomenon in October and caught the attention of various media sites, including BuzzFeed and Vox.

Hitchhiker is actually a persona of Choi Jinwoo, a renowned songwriter and remixer at SM Entertainment–the same talent agency that houses K-pop superstars Girls’ Generation, f(x), Super Junior and EXO. This year’s K-pop Night Out 2015 will be the electronic DJ’s debut live performance.

K-pop Night Out 2015 will take place on Thursday, March 19 at Elysium. You can view the full list of Korean musicians performing at SXSW 2015 here

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Photo courtesy of YG Entertainment

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Korean Girls React to Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda”

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

We have seen kids, teens and YouTubers react to K-pop music videos, thanks to the good work of the Fine Brothers, but we haven’t really seen Koreans reacting to American pop music—that is until now.

YouTuber sw yoon recently launched a new series called “Korean Girls React,” and the first episode features several Korean girls reacting to Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” music video. Although the English translation in this episode is a bit vulgar and exaggerated, the girls give a pretty interesting commentary about the differences between American and Korean pop cultures.

The episode begins with interviewer asking each of the girls what they think the video is about solely based on the title “Anaconda.” Oblivious to the raunchy content awaiting them, most of the girls assumed the video was some kind of documentary on reptiles.

Needless to say, the girls were very surprised when they saw Minaj twerking on a jungle set. Their reactions varied from shock to confusion to amusement throughout the song.

The girls later expressed their surprise that the so many shots focused on Minaj’s butt instead of her bosom–a physical attribute that Korean men find the most attractive, according to the girls.

Surprisingly, many of them believed that K-pop girl groups were more provocative than Minaj.

“This video has way more skin exposure, but I think that makes it less sexy,” one girl explained. “Korea is more about hinting at things and leaving it to the audience’s imagination.”

When asked how they felt about provocative music videos being released in South Korea, some expressed nonchalance or gave positive comments.

“I don’t think it’s bad. Since Korea is still very conservative, if you wear something too revealing in the summer, people judge you,” one girl said. “I think these videos can help change people’s perspectives.”

However, others said they were afraid that such sexy music videos would objectify women and make viewers see them only as sex symbols.

Swyoon recently made another video showing Korean girls eating American snacks, the direct opposite of the viral BuzzFeed video “Americans Try Korean Snacks for the First Time.” You can watch the episode below:

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Kim Tae-woo Back on Center Stage

by JAMES S. KIM | @James_S_Kim
jamesskim@iamkoream.com

Kim Tae-woo cuts an impressive figure as he strides into the lobby of the Line Hotel in Koreatown, Los Angeles. At 6-feet-tall, the broad-shouldered singer with well-groomed facial hair stands a good bit taller than most of his entourage.

His aviators, his latest piece of signature eyewear, are the only throwback to Kim’s younger boy band days. The 33-year-old is joined by his wife, Kim Aeri, who works alongside him at Soulshop Entertainment, the Seoul-based talent agency he founded in 2011. A documentary crew from Korea is following them, recording the couple’s excursion to the U.S.

When the g.o.d. lead vocalist spoke with KoreAm in November, he was in the midst of a two-city U.S. tour (L.A., then New York) to perform reunion concerts with fellow members of one of K-pop’s most famous boy bands. Nearly a decade since g.o.d (which stands for “Groove Overdose”) disbanded, the group released a new album, Chapter 8, in July 2014.

The K-pop landscape was a lot different when g.o.d.’s Kim, Son Ho-young, Danny Ahn, Park Joon-hyung and Yoon Kye-sang ruled the charts in the early 2000s. For fans who grew up with g.o.d. and other first-generation K-pop groups like S.E.S., H.O.T. and Shinhwa, the Internet was still young, and digital content was far and few between.

But as K-pop evolved, so did Kim. When the group dispersed in 2005, Kim didn’t idle, adding solo artist, producer, businessman, husband and father to his résumé. Now, as head of Soulshop, Kim is in charge of signing and facilitating the growth of his own talented corps of artists.

A day before g.o.d.’s concert at L.A.’s Staples Center, Kim Tae-woo took a break in his schedule to chat with KoreAm about career, family and the reunion tour. The interview has been translated from Korean to English.

When did you and the other members first think about reuniting and coming out with Chapter 8?

All of us had this dream in mind. We all wanted to come back. In the meantime, we were each busy doing solo projects, and we were under different companies, so it took a long time to get everything together. Our schedules had to match up. For me, I had thought about it for a long time. Since the beginning of last year, I started thinking of ideas. My company and I eventually took on producing the album. We had to think of what image g.o.d. would have when we came back, what direction we would be going in. We took all this into consideration.

How did it feel to record a full album again with the group?

Chapter 8 was an album we made on our own. In the past, there was always a big producer like JYP Entertainment. Rather than focusing on asserting our own flavor, though, it was more of a learning experience. It felt like we were on the receiving end of the music that was new to us. The lyrics contain messages that we, as g.o.d., really wanted to express and convey.

We had plenty of freedom to do what we wanted. It was fun. For the first time in a long time, we were able to fool and joke around in the studio again. The result was definitely important, but our main goal was to really capture the feeling of the old days. We were doing our own thing for 10 years, so being able to come together again, talk about music—it was really important to us. The only thing different was that we were all more mature, and we all looked older.

When I first started with g.o.d., my goal was to be successful. This time around, I think there was real heart behind the comeback. We wanted to do this for the fans. The fans were our number one priority, and that gave us the most satisfaction, seeing the fans who were really anticipating us to come back. Back when we were a group, we always wondered if we’d be able to perform in America. Now, here we are.

You’ve come a long way since 2005. What was going through your mind when the group went on hiatus?

At the time, many people asked, “Why did you stop, when everything seemed to be going so well for you?” It was a great time in my life. But there are always ups and downs in life, and that applies to g.o.d. as artists, too. It’s the same way for current K-pop idols.

I thought about how I would move forward as an artist. I started my career when I was 18. I had a goal: I was going to be an artist for my entire life and career, so I went solo. It was a natural transition. There’s nothing permanent in this world. It applies to both stars and pop groups. In the end, we wanted to move on with our own individual musical philosophies.

In my life, g.o.d. was an important starting point for my career, but it’s not something I could have expected to be a part of until I was 60 or 70 years old. It felt like a natural thing for me to move on. I stood at the top with g.o.d., and when the group disbanded, I started my solo career, where I was recognized, too.

When did you first begin thinking about music as a career?

I was in fourth grade, and it was a dream of mine to become a musician. I liked going up on stage and performing when I was young, and I loved music and singing, so I naturally continued pursuing it as a career. I met great teachers and had good opportunities. Park Jinyoung (JYP) selected me [for g.o.d] after I sent a demo tape to his company.

Luck is so important. It’s really important who you first start your music career with. It’s also important what kind of chances you’re given. For me, those kind of things worked out really well. The other members were great. The producers who helped us were great. They are the ones who I appreciate for helping me along and giving me the strength now to continue with music.

Who were your biggest influences in music?

JYP first, obviously, since he’s the one who helped me start my career. In regards to artists I looked up to and wanted to emulate, I really enjoyed Stevie Wonder, James Ingram and especially Brian McKnight. I met all of them.

When I was able to meet them and speak with them, it was a huge moment in my life. I saw them as heroes. I was able to get a vocal lesson from James Ingram for an hour at his studio. I got to talk with Brian McKnight. I wasn’t able to talk too long with Stevie Wonder, but I gave him my CD. Those instances were all like dreams.

What made you want to go into the business side of music and open your own company?

It’s difficult, first of all, to be an artist. I didn’t want to just make music—I wanted to help someone else realize their dreams of becoming a musician, in the same way [Park] Jinyoung helped me do the same.

I’ve found that it isn’t easy. If I release my own album and it doesn’t do well, then I take the blame and responsibility. If I help produce another artist’s album and it doesn’t do well, I’m also responsible for both the album and the artist. But it’s a lot of fun. It’s a different goal that I’m trying to achieve.

I’m not in the business to make [K-pop] idols. I want my company to be a place where artists who truly enjoy music can gather. I want these musicians to have the same mindset I had when I was younger: it’s not about becoming a star by being an artist. It’s about being an artist because they love music.

What qualities do you look for in artists you want to represent?

Passion. That’s the most important thing. Practicing is hard. It’s difficult to practice when you don’t really know what the immediate future holds for you. Your passion for music is what gets you through that and pushes you forward to try even harder. And a heart and soul that loves music.

What’s it like working with your spouse?

Of course it’s great. I’m very grateful. She gives me good direction. No one cares for how I am more than she does. She’s someone who thinks from my perspective, so there’s trust.

But she’s also very objective and makes sure I don’t get swayed. She tells me things that a regular employee at my company wouldn’t be able to say to me, so it’s helpful and frustrating at the same time.

If someone’s a member of my company, there’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t get said in front of me. That’s not the case with Aeri. It’s a bit frustrating sometimes, because she’s able to say anything to me. “No, you can’t do that!” It’s great.

What are your thoughts on how Korean music and pop culture have expanded internationally?

It’s a great opportunity. The fact that not only Koreans, but people all over the world are listening to and going crazy over K-pop right now is a blessing to see.

I think what current artists don’t have on old-school is, they aren’t able to consistently sell one million to two million albums. Our fanbase also showed up in much more impressive numbers. Since SNS [social networking services] and the Internet weren’t prevalent back then, fans also made a bigger effort to come and watch their artists. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have any opportunities to see them.

These days, there isn’t as much hype around getting your hands on an album since we live in an age where we can find anything on the Internet. If I do anything, anyone can see it on the Internet. Psy’s case is amazing. A Korean artist on the Billboard charts? Americans are going crazy about Korean music. When I see that, I can’t help but feel happy for them.

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How has K-pop evolved over the years?

I think the musical arrangements by Korean musicians have become among the best in the world. The standard has become a lot higher, and the methods have become much more refined. The ideas are much better.

Secondly, the melodies that Korean musicians use now have a much more human aspect to it. Many of the melodies in K-pop are [inspired] from the past, like the Beatles. Many of these find their way into modern tracks, which, as a result, appeals to American and global listeners and sounds fresh to them. Even though the melody might be old-school, the sound is definitely new.

When you look at musicians from years ago, doing music for a living was a very exceptional deal. Mostly, it was only those who were born with talent and ability who were able to make it big. But now, there are so many people who can sing well. You could become a star on YouTube. But in order to do so, a large part of that is making sure your music is appealing to audiences. If you want to make music that only you’ll enjoy, you might as well stay at home and do your music there. There’s no point to making an album or performing for people.

How do you balance work and family life?

Since my wife is working with me at my company, I feel like I’m always with family. I’m participating in [South Korean reality TV show on celebrity families] Oh My Baby, and luckily for one full day a week, I get to spend time with them. It’s a great opportunity for me. Usually, I don’t get to see [my kids] until I come back home from work, or if Aeri is up late when I get back. I normally don’t see them more than two hours a day. I feel sorry that I can’t spend more time, but I’m trying my best to raise my kids. Once they grow up, I think they’ll understand why their parents worked so hard. Once I grew up, I came to realize the same thing about my own parents.

In terms of balance, it’s important for everything. I’m a workaholic, but it’s not like I don’t spend any time with the family. On the flip side, I’m not a full-out family man who doesn’t work.

What do you do when you are with your family?

Personally, I love staying at home. I love my sofa, my bed. These days, though, my two daughters are at the age where all they want to do is run around and play—they’re 2 and 3 years old. They want to go out. For me, it’s everything right up until we actually go out that’s the most tiresome. I have to get myself ready, wash up and wear something nice. When I’m at home, I can wear anything and comfortably be a couch potato for the rest of the day. If I go out, people might recognize me.

It’s great, seeing the kids run around. But it’s tiring for their dad.

Have you introduced music to them?

Aeri (interjecting): They’ve been listening to music since they were born.

Tae-woo:When my first daughter was born, I was in the delivery room. I was playing James Ingram, Luther Vandross, Stevie Wonder. My wife was in labor for 19 hours, but I kept the soul music going. My first daughter can sing really well because of that.

What do they like listening to now?

Aeri: g.o.d. music.

Tae-woo: They really like it.

Old-school g.o.d.?

Aeri: No, their new album.

Tae-woo: They’re a bit young for old-school g.o.d. They like pop.

What about Chapter 8 appeals to your daughters?

Tae-woo: They’re able to hear a familiar voice—their dad’s voice. They like a good melody, one that makes them happy. That’s pretty much the most important goal for g.o.d. Even if the song might be sad, we want people who listen to the song to feel better afterwards.

Aeri : Their songs can cover all generations.

Tae-woo: (To Aeri, in English) Oh, good! (In Korean) I’ll give you $10 for that.

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Photos courtesy of Soulshop Entertainment

This article was published in the December 2014/January 2015 issue of KoreAmSubscribetoday! To purchase a single issue copy of the December/January issue, click the “Buy Now” button below. (U.S. customers only. Expect delivery in 5-7 business days).

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SM Entertainment to Release the World’s First Hologram Musical

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

SM Entertainment will premiere the world’s first hologram musical, School OZ, on Jan. 14 in Seoul, according to Soompi.

Based loosely on The Wizard of Oz, this hologram fantasy musical stars various SM artists, including Changmin of TVXQ, Key of SHINee, Suho and Xiumin of EXO and Red Velvet’s Seulgi. The story will center on the search for Dorothy, who mysteriously disappears before the day of the “Great Knight” championship. The 110-minute show will be screened at the SMTOWN Theatre, taking advantage of the venue’s high-definition screens, projectors and its start-of-the-art sound system.

SM Entertainment will also screen its hologram concert Girl Story, which stars Yoona of Girls’ Generation and SHINee’s Minho, on the same day of the musical’s premiere.

Tickets for both performances will be available starting Wednesday, Jan. 7 at 10 a.m. KST and can be purchased via the app “SMTOWN Theatre” or the agency’s dedicated website.

You can watch the trailer for School OZ below:

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Featured image courtesy of Soompi

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Rolling Stone Lists HyunA’s “Red” as One of the Best Music Videos of 2014

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

K-pop star HyunA’s “Red” recently placed fifth in Rolling Stone‘s “10 Best Music Videos of 2014″ and was the only Asian artist to be featured on this list.

Rolling Stone described HyunA’s music video as “a schizophrenic mess” that uses rapid scene transitions to mirror the song’s structure and “wild images [that] bring its lyrics to life.” The magazine also noted KBS’ ban of the hit song and said, “Some major Korean broadcasters thought the original video was too hot for TV, which means it might [be] just right for an American audience.”

“Red” was ranked one spot below Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.” Meanwhile, Sia’s “Chandelier” topped the list, followed by DJ Snake feat. Lil Jon’s “Turn Down for What” and Beyonce’s “Pretty Hurts.”

This is not the first time the “Bubble Pop” star has attracted attention overseas. Last year, HyunA was invited to perform at the SXSW Music Festival as a K-pop representative, after the festival’s general manger saw her performance in Psy’s viral “Gangnam Style.”

You can watch HyunA’s “Red” music video below:

HyunA will perform “Red” at the 2014 Golden Disk Awards in Beijing on Jan. 14.

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12 K-pop Christmas Songs

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo
reera@iamkoream.com

It’s Christmas Eve! Here are some festive K-pop jingles, old and new, to help you get in the holiday spirit.

Roy Kim – “It’s Christmas Day”

Roy Kim’s silky voice is sure to melt a few hearts this Christmas Day in his latest self-composed winter carol. The lyrics capture the feeling of butterflies when one confesses love to that special someone on Christmas.

The VIBE Family – “Lonely Christmas”

If you’re planning to spend Christmas alone this year, this emotional pop ballad by VIBE Entertainment’s best vocalists will bring you comfort. Composed and written by Ryu Jaehyun, “Lonely Christmas” is dedicated to those who are unable to be with their loved ones during the holiday season. In addition, the music video uses beautiful animation and storytelling.

Mystic89 Family – “Christmas Wishes”

Mystic89 artists have some of the most unique voices in the K-pop industry, and this Christmas collaborative song blends all of their vocals perfectly. “Christmas Wishes” has a cheerful but easygoing melody that will ease away all your holiday worries.

Sweet Sorrow – “The Story of December”

Nothing screams Christmas more than sleigh bells and bright trumpets. “The Story of December” is a cheery holiday classic that highlights Sweet Sorrow’s smooth harmonies.

Ailee – “My Grown-up Christmas List”

Korean American soloist Ailee brings her signature soul in this cover of Amy Grant’s “My Grown-up Christmas List.” Recorded in both English and Korean, the song is about an adult asking Santa for a better world for humanity rather than materialistic gifts.

BTOB – “You Can Cry”

Despite its title, BTOB’s “You Can Cry” is a lighthearted, mid-tempo song that attempts to cheer up all the single people spending Christmas alone. While Christmas is considered a celebration of family and close friends in Western countries, South Korea sees the holiday as a romantic one that’s on par with Valentine’s Day. This is why BTOB reassures their lonely listeners with their smooth vocals that it’s OK to cry if they have no date for the holiday.

Crayon Pop – “Lonely Christmas”

This is probably the most hyperactive Christmas song in K-pop. Crayon Pop’s disco-pop jam will make you want to dance and is perfect for livening up holiday parties. The “jelly legs” dance works as a cool party trick as well.

TVXQ – “Magic Castle”

“Magic Castle” is one of the earliest songs the original five-member boy band TVXQ recorded. In the first minute of the music video, the group showcases their acapella skills before performing the cover of The Classic’s 1994 hit song “Magic Castle.” It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly 11 years since TVXQ released this track. Fun fact: Yoona of Girls’ Generation plays the girl featured in the music video, which was her first public appearance.

IU – “Merry Christmas in Advance ft. Thunder”

IU, who was recently voted as South Korea’s favorite singer of 2014, flaunts her clear vocals in this sweet and peppy song. MBLAQ’s Thunder is also featured as a rapper in the original track.

Kim Bum-soo and Lena Park – “White Winter”

Kim Bum-soo and Lena Park, two of the most acclaimed vocalists in K-pop, brighten the holiday season with their modernized cover of “White Winter,” originally released by Mr. 2 in the ’90s.

URBAN ZAKAPA – “Snowing”

URBAN ZAKAPA, an indie-jazz trio, captures the warmth and sweetness of winter with their crooning voices.

Jellyfish Entertainment – “Because It’s Christmas”

The gentlemen of Jellyfish Entertainment delight listeners in this festive R&B song. All-star vocalists Sung Si-kyung, Park Hyoshin and Lee Seok-hun give solid performances with support from K-pop boy band VIXX.

What are some of your favorite K-pop Christmas songs? Let us know your thoughts!