Say Hello to Hallyu!
Unless they have been living under a rock or in an Amish colony, almost anyone you ask can tell you what K-Pop is and probably name at least one Korean group or singer. Over the past 10 years the wave has been growing exponentially but, what is the force behind it? Believe it or not, our grandparents and great-grandparents were some of the first international fans. American and European service members were dancing to Korean artists during the Korean War and decades to follow however, this trend didn’t really catch fire world wide for many decades later after companies like SM, YG, and JYP started to exploit the internet for the resource that it was becoming and gave life to what is now the giant obsession that has touched each of us here today.
Surfing the Wave
We have all been part of the same conversation at some point and quite possibly it was how we were introduced to K-Pop. More than likely someone was browsing YouTube and stumbled across a video, clicked it and that is where it starts.
“Hey! Listen to this song I found! Its by some group called (fill in the blank with your first group).”
“What the heck are they saying?”
“I have no clue but its catchy, isn’t it?”
“Yeah! Play it again! Oh! Look! Another one!”
From that moment on, we have spent countless hours searching, watching, listening, liking, commenting and sharing the music we had grown addicted to and our numbers grow from a scattered few, to the ranks of our chosen “Fandom”. We have sought each other out and organized gatherings like K-Con. One small convention grew to an annual international phenomenon where thousands of us could openly gather and celebrate together without the stigma that used to follow us everywhere. Suddenly, we were not that crazy.
We’re Not Fans! We Are a Fandom!
Few Western Artists can claim to come close to the loyalty of those who follow K-Pop stars. Just try to criticize a K-Pop song to a die-hard fan and get ready for a war. Seriously, we will rally the troops and support our artists. Every success and failure, every joy and tragedy is personal to us. When BTS was honored by the Billboard Music Awards, we couldn’t have been more proud if we were the ones on stage. When tragedy struck Ladies Code, we were crushed as if we had lost a dear friend. We cheered and cried when the chose to return as a trio and not fill the empty positions left by the deaths of EunB and RiSe. They became a symbol of strength to us as they pushed on. Again our hearts broke with the news of the suicide of Jonghyun of SHINee. Instantly, love and support flooded from around the world to the remaining members. We all prayed that they would find the music in their hearts once again. More for their sake than our own. Now we can celebrate with them as their new album climbs the charts.
More Than Good, They’re “Fantastic Baby!”
A book could be written about the ways that Korean music is reshaping the music scene around the world and even more can be said about the amazing fans like you. If we tried to do that here, the magazine would never fit in the box. This genera is blowing up and you were here first! In the future we will continue to bring you the news and artist interviews but if you missed any of them so far, go catch up at our blog! Until next time, keep dancing like you don’t care if anyone is watching and keep singing even if you don’t know the words!
Featured Image: Nainoa Shizuru, 09.07.18, unsplash.com