안녕하세요! I’m Taliana, and a new member of this blogging team. Every Tuesday, I’ll be bringing you entries about the Korean music scene.
Music in general has always been a big passion of mine. I am almost always listening to music - while I’m travelling, while I’m studying, while I’m sleeping, while I’m just doing my usual daily things, while I’m reading… all the time! I’d even go as far as to say that I’m addicted to music since if I don’t listen to any for a few days, I get really restless and aggravated.
For several years now I’ve been interested in Asian music. Like most people I know, my interest started off with Japanese music, but over the past couple of years my interest has changed to Korean music. In fact, it’s almost all I listen to now. Sometimes I’ll put on something else, but 90% of the time if I’m listening to music then it’s probably something Korean.
Korea has a lot of amazing music to offer, and I really think that there is something for everyone, no matter what genre it is that you enjoy most. There’s pop, there’s hiphop, there’s R&B, there’s ballads, there’s rock - Korea’s got it all, and through these entries I hope to help spark an interest in other people for Korean music.
Although Korea’s modern music has been and still is heavily influenced by the trends of the Western world, their current music scene is still quite different from our own. I don’t pay too much attention to Western charts but from what I have seen, hiphop is the big thing these past few years. Although hiphop is also steadily gaining popularity in Korea, pop music still dominates the charts. One of the biggest names in the pop music industry is a label called SM Entertainment. SM Entertainment has produced some of Korea’s biggest pop music acts - bands such as H.O.T., S.E.S. and Shinhwa (신화), and in more recent years BoA, TVXQ (東方神起), Super Junior, The Grace and now SNSD (or Girl’s Generation).
Just like SM Entertainment is the bigger name in the pop scene, the other scenes also have a label or two that stand out more than the others. For example, JYP Entertainment, headed by Park Jin Young (박진영), has had a lot of influence over the R&B scene, producing artists such as g.o.d., Lim Jeong Hee (임정희), Rain (비), and in recent months The Wonder Girls. Perhaps the main rival in this scene is YG Entertainment who focus on hiphop and R&B, producing well-known artists such as Wheesung (휘성), Lexy, 1TYM, SE7EN, and more recently Big Bang. There are of course many other labels with many other artists worthy of a mention, but if I started listing everyone, this entry would go on forever! This is just to give you a bit of an overview, and in future entries we’ll definitely take a closer look.
It is quite interesting to note that many of the popular Korean artists are not only popular in Korea, but are also very popular in other Asian countries such as China, Singapore and Thailand, and most especially in Japan. BoA, for example, has been very successful in Japan and she has often been compared (favourably) to Japanese popstar Utada Hikaru. In the past two years, TVXQ have released 2 Japanese albums, and will soon be releasing their 16th Japanese single. Shinhwa also have a large Chinese and Japanese fanbase, and Rain and SE7EN have also been very popular in Japan although both men seem to have their sights set on the American market.
I think the fact that Korean artists are so popular outside of Korea just proves that music isn’t just about what language the words are in. Good music can and does transcend all barriers of language and country, and as cliché as it may sound it’s true that music brings people together.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this first entry! Whether you’re a fan of Korean music or not I’d love to hear your thoughts ^^ And if anyone has something Korean music related that they’d like me to write about, just drop me some suggestions!