An article titled “Coming to America…Asian Pop Stars” in the latest edition of People magazine featured four Asian celebrities who have been making an impact on the American music industry.
Equally interesting is the fact that three of the four stars featured in this article are of Korean decent. The Korean celebrities, Se7en, BoA, and the Wonder Girls are all immensely popular in the Republic of Korea and are at the top of pop culture in Asia. Furthermore, this article displays that Korean music, commonly referred to as “K-Pop,” is becoming more mainstream, gaining a global listening audience.
The article also shows an increasing awareness and respect for Asian music, as it is being presented as a viable trend in the music industry that is gaining real popularity instead of an exotic showcase with only minimal staying power.
Out of the four stars in the article, Se7en is the only male component. Since his debut in 2003, Se7en has skyrocketed in popularity traveling all over Asia to countries such as Thailand, Japan, China, and Taiwan. He has also given numerous concerts in North America at prestigious venues such as the Grand Olympic and Hollywood Bowl, located in Los Angeles, and Madison Square Garden in New York City. Se7en is known equally for his voice and his dance moves as all of his concerts and music videos feature the singer engaging in what can be called a “freestyle hip-hop.” Se7en has just recently made his entrance into the American scene with his release of the single “Girls” featuring Lil’Kim and produced by Rodney Jerkins.
BoA, which stands for Beat of Angel, is thought of in Asia as the rough equivalent of Britney Spears. She stepped onto the U.S. music scene with her debut of the single “Eat You Up” featuring Flo Rida and her Album BoA on March 17th, 2009. “Eat You Up” quickly climbed to the number one spot on the “Hot Dance Club Party” chart. BoA has sited hip-hop as her main inspiration but stated that she also enjoys music by Michael Jackson, Nelly, Britney Spears, Brian McKnight, and Janet Jackson. BoA has gained wide popularity in Asia, topping charts in Japan, Korea, and China. As she moves into the U.S. scene her new image of a “sexy” instead of “youthful” is expected to be a positive switch for the American market.
If one visits Korea, it is hard to go far without hearing a Wonder Girls song. With songs such as “Tell Me,” “So Hot,” and “Nobody” the Wonder Girls have consistently topped the Korean charts and have secured a huge fan base. Described as the Korean version of the Spice Girls, the wonder girls truly are a pop band for young girls, with every member under 21. Having only begun as an official group in mid-2007 the Wonder Girls have had an astronomical year in 2008, taking off in popularity. Due to their enormous success in Korea the Wonder Girls launched their international tour on Feb. 28, 2009 which took them to Thailand and various locations in the U.S.