WATCH — BTS, Blackpink, EXO and more: What’s the deal with K-pop?
Plus, a fun ‘aegyo challenge’ for you to try at home!
It was only a matter of time before CBC Kids News contributor and trend devourer Alexia Sabau sunk her teeth into K-pop.
K-pop is the nickname for a style of South Korean pop music that has become a verifiable global sensation in recent years.
Outside of South Korea, K-pop fans can be found around the world in countries like Canada, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico and the United States.
In recent years, K-pop groups have begun to carve out a place for themselves in the North American music scene, by collaborating with U.S. stars like Selena Gomez, Halsey, Nicki Minaj and Lil Nas X.
The song Ice Cream generated collective fangirling from Selena Gomez’s fans and Blinks, a.k.a. Blackpink fans. It quickly became one of the most used songs on TikTok in the summer of 2020. (Image credit: @skinnysel/Twitter, @daninataylena/Twitter, @delicatebh/Twitter)
In November 2020, the popular group BTS broke a record by becoming the first ever K-pop group to be nominated for a Grammy Award.
The band’s hit song Dynamite is up for an award in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance category at this year’s Grammys.
The awards show was supposed to happen in January, but was postponed until March 14 because of COVID-19.
Years in the making
Talented artists in K-pop have been working to break into the North American market for nearly a decade, and their efforts seem to be paying off.
CBC music journalist Melody Lau said good timing and a change in the way music content is consumed today has helped put groups like BTS and Blackpink in the spotlight.
Online streaming has “broken down a lot of barriers,” especially when it comes to language, Lau said.
“We’ve seen Latin music break through a lot … and K-pop is very similar in that sense.”
BTS is the first K-pop group to receive a Grammy nomination. (Image credit: @BTS_Official/Twitter)
Something for everyone
Lau said a few different factors help K-pop appeal to many different age groups:
- Catchy music that borrows influences from pop, hip hop, country and dance.
- Purposeful styling choices.
- Beautiful celebrities (or, as they’re referred to in the K-pop industry, ‘idols’.)
Going forward, she hopes the success of the K-pop industry “makes room” for Asian-Canadian and Asian-American artists to break through as well.
Check out this week’s episode of Hey Alexia, What’s Trending? to learn more about the K-pop trend, including some key terminology you should know if you’re hoping to dive into the genre.
TOP IMAGE CREDIT: Philip Street/CBC, with files from @bts_jhope/Instagram, @lisa.blackpink/Instagram