K-pop star Ailee is set to meet with American music producers this weekend to discuss possibly branching out to the American market, according to allkpop.
Sources told the website that Ailee apparently cancelled this week’s stage appearances in South Korea after her agency, YMC Entertainment, scheduled meetings in the U.S. with a group of unidentified Grammy Award-winning producers that have worked with big name artists, including Justin Bieber, Usher and Ne-Yo.
“The producing team was looking for a Korean artist to work with, and by chance, came upon a video of Ailee, who is receiving love from her fans who call her Korea’s Beyonce,” an anonymous representative told the website.
YMC Entertainment confirmed the news, but remained cautious. “We canceled all of her music show stages and schedules for this week at last minute due to her meeting with a producing team overseas,” the agency said in a statement. Continue Reading »
It’s no secret that K-pop has successfully pervaded the international music market, with infectious tunes, flashy getups and dance numbers choreographed with seamless precision. Many K-pop artists have released English-language versions of their songs, including BoA, Se7en and Girls Generation, to name just a few, and fans all over the world have been eating them up and asking for seconds. There’s no disputing that K-pop industry is a well-oiled machine with a high success rate in luring listeners from overseas, but how might a foreign artist fare in the Korean music market?
Little Mix wants to find out. Britain’s sweethearts, the first girl group to win The X-Factor, just released a Korean version of their hit single “Wings” on online music store Melon. This is reportedly in response to a cover of the same song, performed by four female contestants on SBS’ K-Pop Star.
The chorus of the Korean version is still performed in English, and takes up a significant chunk of the track’s runtime, which is like pulling an Avril Lavigne in reverse; the pop-punk princess released a Japanese version of “Girlfriend,” with only the chorus chanted in mangled Japanese. Speaking of pronunciation, Little Mix’s Korean rendition of “Wings” isn’t completely butchered like Anna Kendrick’s attempts at singing in Korean in a Funny or Die video with f(x), but one Melon user commented, “한국어 맞음? (Is this really Korean?)” Continue Reading »
The queen of rap, none other than Missy Elliott, will be taking the stage at KCON 2013 for the first ever U.S. taping of M! Countdown.
Elliott will be joining some of the most popular names in K-Pop — EXO, f(x), G-Dragon, Dynamic Duo and Teen Top — for a highly anticipated performance at the fan convention set to take place at Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena later this month.
“I’m excited to be a part of KCON,” Elliott said in a statement. “This event will allow me to interact with a diverse group of artists and fans.”
The five-time Grammy Award-winning rapper announced in June that she would be featured on G-Dragon’s next solo album, which is slated for release this month. Elliott will be featured on the Big Bang frontman’s tracks “Chugalug” and “NiLiria,” and it’s possible that we’ll see the two high-flying MCs perform together onstage on Aug. 25. Continue Reading »
K-pop girl group Crayon Pop, known for their wacky dance moves and lyrics, has signed a license and partnership deal with Sony Music Entertainment.
The female quintet released its latest single “Bar Bar Bar” in June, and it has drawn a sensational reaction since. Parody videos have followed one after another, as the song’s music video has amassed over two million hits on YouTube in less than two months. The song is known more for its “Straight-Five Engine Dance” and catchy beats, as most of its lyrics is a repetition of “Jumping, everybody.”
Sony Music has already signed similar deals with global stars such as Beyonce, Justin Timberlake and Usher. Its CEO Edgar Berger and President of Asia Denis Handlin signed Crayon Pop, thinking that the girls can “make it in the global market,” said Lee Se-hwan, a spokesman from Sony Music’s Korean office. Continue Reading »
North, South Korea to Return to Kaesong Talks
Voice of America
North and South Korea are meeting for a seventh round of renewed negotiations to try to reopen their joint industrial park at Kaesong, the last trace of inter-Korean cooperation. Pyongyang pulled its workers from the factory complex in April over military tensions but South Korean officials are dismissing concerns that this month’s training exercises with the United States could affect the talks.
The two Koreas are heading into negotiations on the Kaesong industrial park on a positive note but with the specter of renewed military tensions still looming.
The talks come a week after North Korea suddenly agreed to a new round of negotiations after ten days of silence.
The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) published a statement proposing the August 14 talks that it described as “bold and magnanimous.”
What I saw in North Korea
CNN Senior International Correspondent Ivan Watson was granted rare access to North Korea last month to attend the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War. GPS intern Howard Cohen spoke with Watson about what he saw.
What kinds of restrictions were placed on journalists during your five day visit to North Korea?
The restrictions were onerous. We weren’t allowed to leave our hotel unless we were on a government organized bus trip. Our three-man crew was assigned two very polite minders who accompanied us everywhere outside of the hotel and made no secret about the fact that they had veto rights if we were to take pictures of something that they didn’t approve of. So they would basically tell us what we could and could not take pictures of.
Was there anything that you saw that really surprised you?
I was surprised by the size and choreography of the military parades and government organized spectacles that we saw. I was also blown away by the scale of the cult of personality of the dynasty that have ruled North Korea for 60 years, the size of the monuments dedicated to the grandfather and the father that ruled the country, and the amount of iconography that was everywhere that we visited. I was also amazed by the spectacles of devotion for the current leader, the grandson of the founder of the country, Kim Jong Un. Just the explosions of cheers at the moment he steps out into the public arena – the devotion that comes from the crowd – I’ve not quite seen anything on that scale before. Then again, I’ve never visited the Korean Peninsula.
Not Funny: Joke Lands Comedian in North Korean Labor Camp
It’s no fun being the punchline.
North Korean comedian Lee Choon Hong has been shipped off to work camp after offending the nation’s autocratic regime during a comedy bit, Radio Free Asia reports.
The well-known comedian was performing for farm workers in the Kangwondo Province of Sep’o, where he had been ordered by authorities to entertain on a 150,000-acre farm. Though it’s unclear exactly what he said, Hong was removed during his act after making a remark about the government and immediately sent to Jikdong Youth Coal Mine in the city of Sunchon in South Pyongan province.
Prayer vigil in Seattle Saturday for North Korean detainee Kenneth Bae
The Seattle Times
The Edmonds and Lynnwood-based family of detained American Kenneth Bae is holding a vigil Saturday evening in Seattle to pray for his release from a North Korean labor camp. A fresh surge of media coverage (including this Aug. 8 Associated Press news report in The Seattle Times) should prompt our local community to pay attention and take action.
Bae was detained more than nine months ago after leading a group of tourists across the border from China. He is accused of committing hostile acts against the country, though specific details of his arrest and alleged crimes are scant. No other American in recent years has spent more time in the reclusive regime’s prison system, especially following Kim Jong Un’s ascent to the head of state.
‘Project Cheonan’ Faces Court Injunction
Wall Street Journal
It has been more than three years since the South Korean warship Cheonan sank, but the controversy over the cause of the sinking still lives on in Seoul.
Three South Korean naval officers and two relatives of sailors who died on the Cheonan have filed a court injunction, seeking to stop the release of a film challenging Seoul’s claim that North Korea was responsible for the sinking of the warship.
Forty-six people died on the night of March 26, 2010, when the naval corvette sank near South Korea’s disputed Yellow Sea border with the North.
An investigation by a South Korean-led international commission concluded it sank after it was hit by torpedo launched from a North Korean submarine — a charge Pyongyang still denies vehemently. The United Nations Security Council has also formally condemned the sinking but stopped short of imposing any penalty on Pyongyang or demanding an official apology from it, in what is believed to be a diplomatic compromise with Beijing.
Seeking to Close Tax Gap, Seoul Finds Religion
Wall Street Journal
With an economic slowdown cutting into its tax take, the South Korean government has plans for one of the country’s last untapped revenue sources: clergy earnings.
A tax bill announced Thursday and soon to be submitted to parliament would strip priests, monks and other religious leaders of the tax exemption that dates back to the founding of the country in 1948.
The bill, which would take effect in 2015, would “reduce ‘blind spots in taxation’ by imposing taxes on earnings previously not subject to taxation,” Finance Minister Hyun Oh-seok said.
Cramming for Stardom at Korea’s K-Pop Schools
New York Times
Kim Chae-young goes to a cram school five evenings a week, toiling there deep into the night. Unlike most 13-year-old South Korean students who attend such special schools to enhance skills like English and math, however, she is dancing and singing for up to four and a half hours. It has been her routine for the past four years.
“I want to become a K-pop icon, one like Psy whose song and dance lift the entire crowd,” she said, referring to the Korean rapper whose music video “Gangnam Style” went viral. “All these hours I spend here are my investment for that dream.”
On a recent evening at the Def Dance Skool in southern Seoul, where Chae-young trained, sweating teenagers bobbed, stomped and pivoted in front of wall mirrors, repeating hip-pop dance moves to the clapping and shouting of instructors. Later, she moved to an upstairs recording room, where she practiced the British singer Adele’s international hit “Rolling in the Deep,” often stopping, arms akimbo, to listen to a gentle admonishment from her teacher.
U.S. guitarist offers apology to Korean Air over false accusation
SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Yonhap) — A renowned U.S. guitarist has offered an apology to Korean Air Lines Co. on Thursday for his false accusation that the carrier damaged his guitar.
Steve Vai said in a message posted on Facebook that the broken neck of his guitar was discovered at a rock festival in South Korea. The music event came before the guitarist took the Korean Air flight.
Korean Air “was not the airline that damaged my guitar,” Vai said. “My apologies to Korean Airlines for this misinformation.”
2NE1 gets natural with latest
Another month, another single for girl group 2NE1. YG Entertainment has promised four singles in four months. July saw the reggae-tinged “Falling in Love.” And yesterday the music label released single No. 2, a more typically bouncy 2NE1 track, “Do You Love Me.”
While the song is a return to form for the popular group, the video is a bit unusual – rather than 2NE1’s over-the-top craziness, “Do You Love Me” instead features the four young women just having fun and hanging out – at the beach, in the pool and in their bedrooms and bathrooms.
Much of the video was filmed by the girls themselves.
10 Addicting Dance Covers of Crayon Pop’s Viral ‘Bar Bar Bar’
There’s just never enough hype about Crayon Pop, but let it be known (again) that the ridiculously adorable “JUMPING!” squad has invaded Korea with their kind-of-new song “Ba(r) Ba(r) Ba(r)”. It’s comparable to how the Wonder Girls’ went viral with “Tell Me” back in ’07. And just when you thought cover dances were too passé for your tweets, Crayon Pop just made them cool again. Which is pretty weird when you think about it since a lot of people were saying how Crayon Pop wasn’t cool right before they became a national sensation.
So here are 10 highly addictive dance covers of the “Bar Bar Bar” dance that you’ll never get sick of. If you’re anything like me, you’ll get sucked into the inescapable vortex that is YouTube and end up watching 50 more cover videos, too. Hope you don’t though, I’ve ended up at some weird parts of YouTube, especially when it comes to K-Pop. (Actually, that video is awesome, though.)