Tag Archives: k-pop

South Korea Concert Accident

K-pop Concert Planner Found Dead in Apparent Suicide After 16 Die

KIM TONG-HYUNG, Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A South Korean man involved in planning an outdoor pop concert where 16 people were killed after falling through a ventilation grate was found dead Saturday in an apparent suicide, officials said, as doctors treated eight others facing life-threatening injuries from the disaster.

The man, 37, an employee of the Gyeonggi Institute of Science and Technology Promotion, was found dead at around 7 a.m. in Seongnam, the city south of Seoul where Friday’s accident occurred, said city spokesman Kim Nam-jun.

The site of his death was not far from where 16 people watching a performance by 4Minute, a girls band that is popular across Asia, were killed when the ventilation grate they were standing on collapsed. Eleven other people were seriously injured.

It was believed that the man, who was questioned by police Friday night over the accident, leaped from the top of a 10-story building, police inspector Park Jeong-ju said.

Gyeonggi Institute of Science and Technology Promotion was one of the sponsors of the concert, which was organized by the news site Edaily and was part of a local festival. About 700 people had gathered to watch the concert, which was abruptly halted after the accident happened.

In a televised briefing on Saturday, Seongnam City spokesman Kim Nam-jun said there was a possibility that the death toll from the accident could rise. Of the 11 people treated at hospitals, eight were dealing with life-threatening injuries to the abdomens or lungs, Kim said.

Most of those who were killed were men in their 30s and 40s, while five were women in their 20s and 30s, fire officials said.

Photos of the accident scene showed a deep concrete shaft under the broken grate. Kim said it was believed that the grate collapsed under the weight of the people.

A video recorded by someone at the concert that was shown on the YTN television network showed the band continuing to dance for a while in front of a crowd that appeared to be unaware of the accident.

Dozens of people were shown standing next to the ventilation grate, gazing into the dark gaping hole where people had been standing to watch the performance. YTN said the ventilation grate was about 3 to 4 meters (10 to 12 feet) wide. Photos apparently taken at the scene showed that the ventilation grate reached to the shoulders of many passers-by.

The collapse came as South Korea is still struggling with the aftermath of a ferry disaster in April that left more than 300 people dead or missing.

For a time, the sinking jolted South Korea into thinking about safety issues that had been almost universally overlooked as the country rose from poverty and war to an Asian power.

The tragedy exposed regulatory failures that appear to have allowed the ferry Sewol to set off with far more cargo than it could safely carry. Family members say miscommunications and delays during rescue efforts doomed their loved ones.

Analysts say many safety problems in the country stem from little regulation, light punishment for violators and wide ignorance about safety in general — and a tendency to value economic advancement over all else.

___

Associated Press writer Youkyung Lee contributed to this report. Photo courtesy of Lee Jin-man/AP. 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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South Korea Concert Accident

16 Dead After Ventilation Grate Collapses at K-pop Concert

KIM TONG-HYUNG, Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Sixteen people watching an outdoor pop concert in South Korea fell 20 meters (60 feet) to their deaths Friday when a ventilation grate they were standing on collapsed, officials said.

Photos of the scene in Seongnam, just south of Seoul, showed a deep concrete shaft under the broken grate.

Seongnam city spokesman Kim Nam-jun announced the deaths in a televised briefing and said 11 others were seriously injured.

Fire officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because of office rules, said the victims were standing on the grate while watching an outdoor performance by girls’ band 4Minute, which is popular across Asia.

About 700 people had gathered to watch the concert, which was part of a local festival. Fire officials said many of the dead and injured appeared to be commuters who stopped to watch the concert after leaving work. Most of the dead were men in their 30s and 40s, while five were women in their 20s and 30s, they said.

Kim said it was believed that the grate collapsed under the weight of the people. Prime Minister Chung Hong-won visited an emergency center in Seongnam and urged officials to focus on helping the victims’ families and ensure the injured get proper treatment, Kim said.

A video recorded by someone at the concert that was shown on the YTN television network showed the band continuing to dance for a while in front of a crowd that appeared to be unaware of the accident.

Dozens of people were shown standing next to the ventilation grate, gazing into the dark gaping hole where people had been standing to watch the performance. YTN said the ventilation grate was about 3 to 4 meters (10 to 12 feet) wide. Photos apparently taken at the scene showed that the ventilation grate reached to the shoulders of many passers-by.

The collapse came as South Korea is still struggling with the aftermath of a ferry disaster in April that left more than 300 people dead or missing.

For a time, the sinking jolted South Korea into thinking about safety issues that had been almost universally overlooked as the country rose from poverty and war to an Asian power.

The tragedy exposed regulatory failures that appear to have allowed the ferry Sewol to set off with far more cargo than it could safely carry. Family members say miscommunications and delays during rescue efforts doomed their loved ones.

Analysts say many safety problems in the country stem from little regulation, light punishment for violators and wide ignorance about safety in general — and a tendency to value economic advancement over all else.

___

Associated Press writer Youkyung Lee contributed to this story. Photo courtesy of AP/Yonhap.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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2NE1’s CL to Make U.S. Solo Debut With Support of Scooter Braun

by REERA YOO

K-pop’s “baddest female” and 2NE1’s leader CL is prepping for a U.S. solo debut with the help of Scooter Braun, the famous talent manager behind Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and CL’s label mate PSY.

According to Korean news outlet Star News, the female rapper has already completed recording various tracks for the album. YG Entertainment confirmed the news earlier today and announced that CL will be releasing a U.S. single in the spring of next year.

Braun reportedly met CL in April last year and noted her high market potential due to her rapping skills, fashion sense and English proficiency.

Since their 2009 debut, 2NE1 has been blazing a trail in the international music scene, topping charts and breaking records. According to Billboard, 2NE1’s most recent album Crush is the highest-charting K-pop album ever. The group was also the first female Korean act to hold solo concerts in American arenas.

In May 2013, CL debuted in Korea as a soloist with her song “The Baddest Female,” which achieved an all-kill on South Korea’s major music charts just three hours after its release and its music video reached over a million views in less than 24 hours.

CL has been steadily rising in popularity overseas as a Fashion Week Regular, thanks to her designer friend Jeremy Scott along with her appearance on Skrillex’s new album. Maybelline New York also signed a modeling and endorsement deal with the starlet earlier this year.

In an interview with Billboard last year, CL expressed her solo ambitions and said she would like to express a different side of her as a musician, apart from her image with 2NE1.

“I want to represent Asian women,” she said. “I want to break that typical Asian female stereotype. There’s this standard where they’re all calm. I want to break that. I want to tell the world that there are some badass Asian female girls.”

Photo courtesy of CL’s Instagram

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Sungmin of Super Junior to Marry Actress Kim Sa Eun

by REERA YOO

Sungmin of Super Junior released an official statement on Tuesday, confirming that he will be marrying musical actress Kim Sa Eun in December, reported the Korea Herald.

Earlier in the day, local media outlets reported that the couple would tie the knot on Dec. 13 at the luxurious wedding hall The Raum in Seoul. However, Kim’s agency Golden 8 Entertainment initially denied the reports only to later confirm the wedding after talking with the actress.

“I met a good woman and will marry her on Dec. 13. I am heartbroken that you might have been perplexed and surprised about the news,” Sungmin wrote on his official homepage. “The news went viral while I was thinking about how to tell my good friends and loving E.L.F. I wanted to let you know myself. I am really sorry that you had to find out about it through the reports.”

After the 28-year-old singer released his statement, SM Entertainment reassured fans that Sungmin will continue his group activities even after marriage, according to Xports News.

The label even tweeted an encouraging message saying, “Sungmin~ Congratulations on your marriage! We wish for your happiness and blessings. We love you. -(Every) SM Entertainment family members.”

Kim and Sungmin met as co-stars in the musical The Three Musketeers late last year and made their relationship public just last month.

Many fans have brought up the possibility of a shotgun wedding, but Global 8 dismissed this claim in an official statement, stating that the two families met and picked the wedding date together.

Photo courtesy of Wow Keren

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EXO’s Luhan Files Lawsuit Against SM Entertainment

by REERA YOO

SM Entertainment is going through a rough year.

Following EXO member Kris’ lawsuit, (f)x’s Sulli’s sudden hiatus, and the recent withdrawal of Jessica from Girls’ Generation, another SM artist has filed for a contract termination lawsuit against the K-pop agency.

According to the Seoul Central District Court, EXO’s Chinese member Luhan filed a lawsuit against SM Entertainment on Oct. 10 in a bid to nullify his contract. The paperwork filed is reportedly the same as what his fellow bandmate Kris filed in May. It’s also being reported that Hankyul, the law firm that represented Kris and former Super Junior member Hangeng, will be handling Luhan’s case.

SM recently said in a statement that it was “baffled” by the lawsuit and claimed that they were in midst of discussing Luhan’s future activities after the artist had requested more individual activities in China. The agency added that they suspect a third party to be influencing Kris and Luhan’s actions.

“As it was with Kris’s case, Luhan filed a lawsuit when it was unnecessary, using the same pattern and lawyers after gaining immense popularity with the group, which leads us to believe that he is now prioritizing his own personal benefits while disregarding the understanding of his contract with the agency as well as everyone affected by his contract,” SM said in a statement.

While the specific details of Luhan’s case have yet to be revealed, media outlets are speculating that Luhan’s reasons for the suit are very similar to what Hangeng and Kris cited in the past. Sina, a Chinese media portal, recently revealed four main reasons as to why Luhan has filed termination against his agency:

1. SM Entertainment is unable to provide good future development plans for Luhan.
2. There is alleged discrimination in terms of treatment between Korean and Chinese members.
3. The allocations of resources are unreasonable.
4. Luhan has been experiencing health issues due to over-exhaustion of the body and stress

Rumors about Luhan’s fallout with his label first started circulating when the Chinese member was not present at the EXO concert in Bangkok last month. SM cited health problems as the main reason for his absence at the time, stating that the singer had been suffering from headaches and a sleep disorder. However, fans remained skeptical after Luhan’s consecutive absences from band activities including the SMTOWN concert in Tokyo.

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(Photo courtesy of Soompi)

As soon as news of Luhan’s lawsuit became public, SM stocks plummeted down to the daily limit of 15%, resulting in a loss of 64 billion won, the company’s all-time low this year. This steep plunge has allowed YG Entertainment to take the lead in market capitalization, according to Koreaboo. With the recent departures of some of its most popular K-pop artists, SM is expected to see a continuous drop in its stocks, without much time for recovery.

Featured photo courtesy of MTV Vietnam

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Janice Min

Janice Min Talks About K-pop’s Global Impact and Future

by JAMES S. KIM

K-pop is currently the best known product after Samsung, according to Janice Min, co-president and chief creative officer of Guggenheim Media’s Entertainment Group, which includes The Hollywood Reporter (THR) and Billboard. But as hallyu gains more international recognition, Min said K-pop still has a few more hurdles left before it could be fully embraced among Western audiences.

“Half of the top ten news reported by THR is related to K-pop,” Min said at MU:CON Seoul 2014, an annual festival for Korean music. “The world is getting more and more interested in Hallyu content.”

Psy’s international hit “Gangnam Style” was a turning point, Min noted. The song got casual music fans interested in K-pop, and it played right into the hands of an industry that was already heavily powered by social media. But in order for K-pop to stick, Min said K-pop artists need to come off as genuine, not manufactured by a larger entertainment company.

“I would say the weakness of K-pop is that it feels inauthentic and prepackaged … so there needs to be authenticity,” Min told the Korea Times, referring to Justin Timberlake as an authentic artist who gained more creative freedom after leaving NSYNC. She emphasized that music fans want to know that their favorite artists are genuine and passionate about their music, which includes writing their own songs.

In addition, Min said K-pop was still in a good place to compete in the music industry as the genre incorporates dance, fashion, beauty and music all in one.

Moving forward, Min said she expects K-pop diversify even further, with different acts that carry different sounds. In terms of breaking into the American audience, she cited Crayon Pop and G-dragon as prime examples, since the former opened for Lady Gaga at her U.S. concert and the latter is set to release collaborative tracks with Justin Bieber.

“The fact that Lady Gaga promoted the act on social media was probably the most powerful thing any Western artist could have done for a K-pop artist,” Min said. “Collaborations also get a lot of attention. The validation of a K-pop artist by a popular Western artist helps break through the clutter.”

As for what K-pop has meant to Koreans, Min said in some ways, K-pop felt like a “move forward” among the younger generation of Koreans who won’t harbor bitter memories of the Korean War and the rebuilding period.

“K-pop seems to represent total youth culture to Koreans, for reasons both good and sometimes bad,” Min continued. “But I think there is a big national pride in the phenomenon that is K-pop and the fact that it has traveled so far and wide in the world.”

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Six Korean Indie Songs That Will Get You in the Mood for Fall

by REERA YOO

It’s the end of the first week of October, which means fall is now in full swing. Here are six non-mainstream Korean songs that will help you get in the mood for the cozy season of autumn.

1. Verbal Jint ft. Eddy Kim – “I Smell Autumn”

This smooth R&B, hip-hop track by Verbal Jint is a perfect fit for the fall season, hence the song’s name. Eddy Kim’s soft vocals give the song a pleasant, laid-back vibe and compliment Jint’s soothing rap.

2. Soyu and Urban Zakapa – “The Space Between”

Already garnering attention on music charts, Urban Zakapa and SISTAR’s Soyu’s collaborative song has a sweet melody with a crisp beat that gives off the warm and breezy feeling of early fall.

3. Yoon Gun – “Meet in Autumn”

“Meet in Autumn” tells the story of a man who falls in love with a woman in Haeundae Beach and asks her to meet him again at the same location in the fall. Accompanied by piano and guitar, Yoon Gun’s soothing voice carries the love story in a beautiful manner.

4. Younha – “Wasted”

Younha has come a long way since her peppy “Password 486″ days. “Wasted” is an emotionally-charged break-up song that showcases Younha’s clear melancholy vocals. The music video depicts the heart-wrenching lyrics with barren sets and shots of rose petals’ colors fading that are reminiscent of the changing colors of autumn leaves.

5. Clazziquai Project – “Still I’m By Your Side”

Celebrating their 10th anniversary this year, Clazziquai Project brought back their signature funk and smooth vocals in their song “Still I’m By Your Side.” The music video follows the story of two different lovers going about their everyday routines after an argument with their respective significant others. The lovers’ perspectives are shown split screen and in separate filters, one warm and the other cold.

6. Mellouspoon – “Shall We Dance”

With its romantic, vintage sound and comfortable waltz rhythm, Mellouspoon’s song “Shall We Dance” tells the story of love and inevitable parting, reflecting the bittersweet and fleeting ambience of autumn.

Photo courtesy of Soompi

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Gangnam Aims To Attract 10 Million Visitors By 2018 With Its Annual Festival

by STEVE HAN

South Korean capital Seoul’s Gangnam District, which was popularized globally by K-pop megastar Psy’s viral hit “Gangnam Style” in 2012, is developing strategic plans to lure 10 million foreign tourists by 2018, according to the head of the district.

In 2012, prior to Psy’s release of “Gangnam Style,” more than 850,000 foreigners believed to have visited Seoul’s affluent southern district. In the following year, that number soared to 5.11 million. Shin Yeon-hee, the head of the Gangnam District, said she and her team will set the groundwork to attract even more tourists by hosting global events, including festivals and concerts.

“The target is to attract 20 million foreign travelers by 2017,” Shin told the Korea Times. “If that goal is attained, bringing 10 million to Gangnam will also be possible. We already have good facilities for tourism … What we need to develop further is cultural content.”

A big part of the district’s effort to make itself more tourist-friendly is the annual Gangnam Festival, a four-day event which began today on Yeongdong Street near the COEX building, an area considered as Seoul’s equivalent of New York’s Times Square. Although smaller-scale festivals have existed for years in Gangnam, the district combined them in 2007 to leverage its brand.

The festival is said to include a fashion festival, a marathon, a global food festival, and a two-hour K-pop concert by JYJ.

“The festival has huge economic effect, with the visitors spending 6.1 billion won last year in Gangnam,” said Shin. “We also hope the festival will have other positive effects, such as revitalizing Korea’s fashion industry and boosting international awareness of Gangnam.”

Aside from festival activities, the district also has plans to remodel the World Taekwondo Headquarters building into a taekwondo-related cultural park by 2016.

Featured photo courtesy of Daum

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