Every now and again, the world gets an individual or group that break down doors and shatter glass ceilings. It may seem from afar these protagonists have an agenda, but a closer look makes it obvious they are only following their hearts. Also, we later come to see them as brave and courageous, because they refuse to live in a world defined for them. Rather, they define their own world. K-pop may have gone global riding on the Hallyu wave, but it largely comprises home-grown and home-based groups and agencies, out of the Korean Peninsula. As a result, and rightly so, when you think of a K-pop girl group visions of Girls Generation and 2NE1 come to mind. So, CoCo Avenue an American K-pop girl group, home grown and home based, to state the obvious are not your typical K-pop girl group. Regardless and notwithstanding certain realities, these five young women have chosen to follow the heart’s siren-song and give chase to their dreams. In so doing, they are redefining their world and what we understand to be K-pop.
In their own words, they tell us their story:
CoCo Avenue’s members are split between 5 cities. Washington D.C., St. Louis in Missouri, as well as Orlando, Pensacola, and Jacksonville which are all in Florida. When we decide on a cover or a project, we have to practice individually until we have the opportunity to meet. Most times that means we only have a night before a performance or shoot to review and get everything down. During our last performance [at the Hallyu Forum Live in Washington DC], we were flown in hours before we hit the stage. It can be stressful, but the outcome is always rewarding, and we are dedicated enough to make it work. We each are in different stages of our lives. Some of us are students and the others are working….but the founders of this group discovered each other on YouTube! We were doing covers individually, and we were such fans of each other’s work that we decided to team up.
K-pop to us is a culture, not just music. It is a blend of Korean sound with fashion, and art, and we are so enthralled by it. As far as being a K-pop group, that’s a little uncertain for us. We LOVE singing in Korean, but none of us are Korean, and so although we’d like to be considered a K-pop group, we understand how the definition of what we are can get a little blurry. But what is certain is that this is not just something fun for us, a hobby. We want to do this, really do this, become a group that performs in South Korea AND in the US, representing a sea of international fans who want more than anything to see their faces represented in the music they love.
… we’ve worked pretty hard to get our name out there, and we’re still working. We audition for any competitions that come our way, or even for those that don’t. We practice our singing, our dancing, and we work on our image. We’re writing songs and forging relationships with people who can help us reach our goal. We still have work to do, but this is so important to us, and we’re willing to put in whatever work is necessary. To some people it may seem silly, or pointless, but this is what we love to do. K-pop has become something really special to us, and we want to be a part of it.
David Henry Thoreau probably said it best, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams and live the life you imagined”.
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