Tag Archives: music

Clara Hong

[VIDEO] Clara Hong Kills It at ‘The Voice’ Blind Audition

by JAMES S. KIM

Have you ever heard a voice that made you stop and turn and find its source? Atlanta’s Clara Hong did just that with her voice on this week’s The Voice. Her rendition of “Chuck E.’s in Love” got judges Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani and Pharell Williams literally spinning in their chairs within seconds of her first effortless note.

Watch her performance here:

When it came down to choosing which team to join, Hong found herself being fought over by the three judges.

Pharrell was enamored with her tone, comparing it to silk, to which Hong replied, “You’re silk. … Your voice!”

“[Your voice] feels very you,” remarked Gwen Stefani, who, after complimenting Hong on her stage presence, gave her an impromptu coaching display of how to command it. “Your singing voice, it’s so alluring.”

Adam Levine went all out and wrote a poem for Hong as the other judges gave their pitches. “Clara is great, and so am I. Why should I coach you? Let me tell you why. I’ve been in this chair for three solid years. I know what it takes, so please, have no fear. So Team Adam it is. So glad you could be the triumphant victor. Let’s make history.”

“I’m a really competitive person, and I will kill for you,” Levine later emphasized.

In the end, Hong chose Levine–her gut feeling, she said–over Pharrell, who she had been a fan of since middle school.

Hong, whose parents moved from South Korea to the States when she was eight years old, took a break from college after two years to pursue her passion in music. After moving into the city, she also took on a banquet server job to pay the bills.

“There’s some pressure to prove to my parents that I can succeed with music,” Hong said. “They came here initially to give us a fine education, and I think it would be a relief to know that they feel okay with me doing this.”

You can watch Clara’s full blind audition segment below:

joe-hahn-mall

Linkin Park’s Joe Hahn To Make Directorial Debut with ‘Mall’

Joe Hahn has directed more than 30 music videos for Linkin Park, along with a number of other projects, so turning his skills over to film probably was a pretty natural transition.

The Linkin Park musician will be making his directorial film debut with Mall, based on Eric Bogosian’s 2001 novel. The story follows five dissatisfied suburbanites who find themselves in a shopping mall when a man begins firing at people. The incident not only radically changes his life, but also those of the others who are forced to deal with the life-threatening situation.

“It’s about the cycle of self-destruction,” Hahn explained to Mashable. “I find it refreshing to see this kind of point-of-view in contrast to today’s society that interacts digitally.

“The thing with life through devices, Internet and apps is that people are self-editing themselves. They are picking the best selfies and showing how cool they are, very one-sided. … When I read this script, it felt real and refreshing to show how ugly people can be, as they hide their inner beasts after cracking their facades.”

Mall will receive a North American theatrical release on Oct. 17, according to New Noise Magazine. The film will be distributed via Paragon Pictures. The movie stars Vincent D’Onofrio, Gina Gershon and Cameron Monaghan.

Hahn hosted an exclusive screening of the film, plus a question-and-answer session, during the 5th annual Nerd HQ event at Petco Park in San Diego. The video for the Q&A is below.

Image via Mashable

SPICA

VIDEO: Girl Group SPICA on U.S. Debut at KCON 2014

by JAMES S. KIM

Many K-pop acts have tried to play their hand in the U.S. market, all to varying levels of success. Girl group SPICA, however, may be one of those to catch on here in the States, as they got a running start with their American debut at KCON 2014 this past weekend.

KoreAm had the opportunity to interview the ladies before their set on Saturday. The group, which features Juhyun, Boa, Narae, Jiwon and Bohyung, were just as excited as we were to see them hit the stage for the thousands of fans who made their way out to Los Angeles this past weekend.

SPICA’s English debut single, “I Did It,” is an empowering song that fits their vocal talent and nothing-held-back personalities. In our exclusive interview, the ladies talk about what they’re proud of so far, and what they’re looking forward to as a group. Check it out!

SPICA debuted in 2012 under B2M Entertainment with their single “Potently.” Since then, SPICA has released four singles, including “Tonight,” which shot to the top of Korean music charts. Former Fin.K.L member Lee Hyori served as a mentor figure for a time, and she collaborated with Boa to write the lyrics for “Tonight.”

“I Did It” is just one of the tracks on a yet-to-be named, full length English LP. We’ll keep you posted on any news. Meanwhile, check out the music videos for “I Did It” and “Tonight.”

K-pop

August Book Giveaway: Win A Visual Guide to the K-pop Revolution!

Attention, book lovers! KoreAm is partnering with Tuttle Publishing to bring you some exciting new titles by internationally recognized authors and thought leaders in Korean language, culture, art, history and business. Did we mention these books are being offered to you for free? We will be giving away books every month from now until the end of 2014.

We’re going to start the giveaway with Mark James Russell’s K-Pop Now!: The Korean Music Revolution, a visual compendium of all the stars in the K-pop universe. Choe Sang-Hun, the New York Times Korea correspondent, said this about the book: “With K-pop being the most talked-about product coming out of Korea today, Koreans and non-Koreans alike ask: So what is K-pop? Between the covers of this book, you will find the closest thing you can get to an answer. This is a comprehensive and timely guidebook on K-pop by someone who can describe and explain it better than any other person I know, by a Western expert who has been following K-pop more closely and with more passion than Koreans.”

Russell, who has lived in Korea since 1996, has covered Korean pop culture for the New York Times, Billboard and Newsweek.

Three copies of this book are up for grabs. All you have to do is tweet at us (@KoreAm) with photo proof of why you’re one of the biggest K-pop fans in the world—or want to be. Show us a poster of a favorite boy or girl group, snap a shot of your album collection, or be creative and surprise us!

Whatever it is, tweet it at us with the hashtag #KpopRevolution, or comment on the article below with your photo (click the small icon to upload images). You can also reply to the Facebook post on the KoreAm page and attach a photo along with your comment.

Winners will be selected on Wednesday, Aug. 6, by the K-pop-savvy members of the KoreAm staff. Those chosen will be notified via Twitter and on Facebook.

KCON-Gdragon missy elliot

G-Dragon, SPICA Join All-Star KCON 2014 Lineup

by JAMES S. KIM

Big Bang’s G-Dragon and girl group SPICA are the latest names to join the lineup for this year’s KCON, the largest Hallyu fan convention in America, happening on August 9 and 10 at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena. Billboard.com reported that the singer/rapper will headline the first of the two concerts at the festival, which also features fan meet-and-greets and panels.

G-Dragon, who performed with Missy Elliott at last year’s event, will join SPICA (U.S. debut), Girls’ Generation, IU, CNBLUE, Teen Top, B1A4, BTS, VIXX and Jung Joon-young on the stage. South Korean TV and movie stars Lee Seung-gi, Lee Seo-ji and Yoo In-na are also set to appear at the festival.

KCON-flyer

KCON expanded to a two-night festival last year, and this year’s event will feature two concerts as well. South Korean music chart program M Countdown will also be filming the performances, which might mean longer sets from the performers.

Tickets go on sale today, and more ticketing options will be available later. You can purchase them at KCONUSA.com.

Top photo: G-Dragon performed with Missy Elliott at last year’s KCON.

SISTAR

KoreAm’s Ultimate K-pop Summer Playlist

by JAMES S. KIM and STEVE HAN

Tomorrow marks the beginning of summer, and to celebrate, we’ve put together a jam-packed playlist of the best summer-themed K-pop songs ever.

The first wave of hits is a mix of old and new, celebrating a few of our favorite things: the ocean, sand and sunblock.

Whether or not you live near the beach, these songs will take you there.

Cool – “Woman of Beach”’

“It’s summertime!” We jump right in with a blast to the past from Cool.

SISTAR – “Loving U”

SISTAR in Hawaii? Yes, please.

Big Bang – “Sunset Glow”

Beach party with Big Bang? Of course!

Jinusean – “How Deep Is Your Love”

How deep is my love? As deep as the big, blue sea … and as cheesy as late ’90s fashion.

Fly to the Sky – “Sea of Love”

Anyone ready to bust out the karaoke machine yet?

Dynamic Duo – “Summer Time”

The latest single off their new album, which released this past week!

DJ DOC – “Summer Story”

Another summer classic.

UP – “Sea”

UP was a short-lived group, but they did churn out some great tunes, including this one.

Clon – “꿍따리샤바라” (Kung Ddari Sha Bah Rah)

Are you somehow feeling down? Then turn this song up! There’s no proper translation for this song’s title, but the closest might be “hakuna matata.”

IU feat. Clon – “꿍따리샤바라” (Kung Ddari Sha Bah Rah)

IU brings a much more mellow feel to her remake, which also features the original artists.

Jessica (Girls Generation) & Park Myung-soo – “Cold Noodles”

We know how the Spurs won the NBA championship this year. Korean naengmyun is the perfect dish to beat the heat!

MC Mong – “Ice Cream”

Ice cream is a no-brainer. But love can be like ice cream, too. We won’t delve any further.

Yoon Jong-shin – “Pat Bing Soo” (Red Bean Shaved Ice)

The original song about our favorite summer dessert item.

Akdong Musician – “Red Bean Shaved Ice”

These two can sing about cutting down a tree and we’d still listen.

IU & FIESTAR – “Sea of Moonlight”

What if IU were part of a girl group? This is what it may look like, but it’s a short-lived vision as the other girls leave her behind on an island. Seriously, this is what happens in the video. Apparently, they didn’t want to take her on.

Busker Busker – “Yeosu Night Sea”

If you’re walking along a beach a night, perhaps with someone you care about, this is the song for you. Let lead vocalist Jang Beom-jun’s soothing voice wash over you like the crashing waves.

1TYM – “Hot”

Of course, if cooling off isn’t your thing and you always keep it hot, 1TYM understands. (Bonus: Can you spot the future Big Bang members?)

UPDATE: We don’t know how we overlooked these.

Deux – “In The Summer”

Shinhwa – “Eusha Eusha”

Uhm Jung-hwa – “Festival”

What other gems are we still missing?

Awkwafina

‘Bad Rap’ Documentary Asks: Where Are The Asian American Rappers?

by JAMES S. KIM

Ever since hip-hop took off in the South Bronx in the 1970s, rappers around the world have embraced the music and culture, with many carving out their own identities and establishing themselves as mainstream stars.

But what about Asian American rappers? Though several have stomped onto the scene, from pioneers such as the Mountain Brothers, Jin and Lyrics Born, to stars of today including Far East Movement and Jay Park, these aren’t the names that we immediately associate with hip-hop in mainstream American culture.

Why not? Is it a lack of support? Their appearance? Not having that breakout hit? Filmmakers Salima Koroma (director/producer) and Jaeki Cho (producer) are looking to explore that question with Bad Rap, a new documentary about the Asian American presence in hip hop.

 

20140513085701-Dumb_Crowd

Dumbfoundead

Bad Rap focuses on the perspectives of four Asian American rappers: Dumbfoundead, Awkwafina, Rekstizzy and Lyricks. Each has their own story, style and attitude, but they all share the same goal: to make it big. Yet they all encounter challenges in a culture that still expects them to fit the model minority stereotype.

With insight and appearances from Far East Movement, Jay Park, Jin, Traphik, Decipher, Kero One, The Fung Bros, Ted Chung and Oliver Wang, Bad Rap looks to shed light on the Asian American hip-hop culture and highlight the up-and-coming stars.

Salima Jaeki

Salima Koroma (left) and Jaeki Cho

As of now, Koroma and Cho are looking to add on their 40-minute film, and they are asking for support via Indiegogo. All proceeds will go towards adding more content to complete a 70-minute feature, as well as finalizing the film for its eventual premiere.

The idea for Bad Rap began with a “mutual obsession” with hip-hop. Koroma first reached out to Cho, who had written a piece on K-pop star G-Dragon when she was searching for a subject to cover for her thesis at Columbia University. Cho’s journey with hip-hop began with listening to Drunken Tiger when he was 10 years old, and that led to a career in music journalism.

Check out the trailer below, and follow the project on their Indiegogo page, as well as on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and YouTube.

Traphik

Traphik (Timothy DeLaGhetto)

Jin

Jin

Jay Park

Jay Park

FEM

Far East Movement

Images via Bad Rap Film Indiegogo Page

RRN Tour Sched

Run River North Announces Upcoming Tour Dates: California, Texas, NYC, Minnesota & More

Hey music fans, did you miss your chance to see indie rock group Run River North live during the first leg of their tour? Fear not, the band will back at it this summer, kicking off the month of June with four dates in California.

The band will be all over the country throughout the rest of June, July and the beginning of August, playing in Portland, Chicago, Nashville, New York City, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Salt Lake City, to name a few. You can see the full list of tour dates on their website and follow them on their Facebook page.

RRN SF

Read KoreAm‘s March cover story on Run River North here.

Images via Facebook