In his own words, none other than Park Jin-young, popularly known as JYP, the founder of JYP Entertainment and uber-producer of the creme-de-la-creme of Kpop groups including The Wonder Girls, Got7 and more recently Twice, has admitted that
“we can’t keep sending over Korean stars… and keep expecting that could go on and on. So, now I just want to build something together.”
This was in an interview with CNBC released on October 24, 2016. And the interviewer, Chery Kang, immediately asks,
“Full integration with foreign talent and Korean…”
And, JY responds,
“Yes!… we have to try to understand their’s, and make something together. Their culture and our culture.
This according to JY Park is the “Future of K-pop.”
All of this shouldn’t really be a surprise. We see western super-fans like Jason Ray, an African American male audition in South Korea, and through his incredible covers rack up more than 13 million views on YouTube singing K-pop fan-favorites from BTS, Red Velvet and BlackPink.
We’ve seen articles we’ve written here on this blog attract heartfelt and sometimes just heartbreaking comments from non Koreans and non-Asians almost pleading, and asking if it’s possible for them to be a part of the K-pop industry. Such as in the article “‘SM Entertainment’ and ‘JYP Entertainment’ Announce New Auditions – Global and Local”
Hello, my name is Ndifreke Imoh, I am a coming up artist from Nigeria and i dream of becoming a kpop idol , please can you give me some tips on how to start. its really bothering me since am not from Asia and i don’t know were to start .and please will they accept me although am from Africa .thank you.
Or (this is a little long, but worth the read),
Hi, I’m María del Mar Artigas Rodríguez. I love k-pop, and I want to audition for J Y P Entertainment. I’m from Spain, so I’ll have to audition via Internet. But, anyways, I’ll do my best. I’m fifteen years old, and I’m in a Music school. I play the cello, and I’ve sang in various chorus and I’ve also acted in musicals at my English academy. I went to ballet when I was little, so I kind of remember some things. I know music because I study at a Music school, I’ve been there since I was 7 years old, so you can imagine. Another that might be useful, I speak Spanish of course, I have a B2 level on English, I defense myself in French, and I know just a few words in Japanese. (Like ‘konnichiwa’ or the numbers ‘Ichi, ni, san’)
I know k-pop idols have a harsh life, but I’m determined to become one no matter what. I love singing and k-pop music.
Do you think I have any chances to become an idol?
Thank you for reading all these.
Every year we see artists like Allysse perform at KCON on the smaller stages outside, receiving love from the crowd. Allysse has actually released a Korean single, as well as an innovative Konglish and beautiful cover of Aaliyah’s At Your Best. You can read our interview of Allyse and listen to her awesome music by clicking the link.
And, of course we’ve seen the lines at global auditions, filled with non-Koreans and non-Asians alike hopeful for an opportunity to achieve their dreams and aspirations.
Finally, there’s the awe inspiring performances of foreigners at the annual KBS World Kpop Festival, which is basically the World Cup of Kpop. Because, it brings together amazing talent from all over the world to compete in Korea with jaw-dropping performances that are almost just as good as the original K-pop songs and performances they are covering.
At the 2016 World Kpop Festival, the best performance prize was won by a team from Nigeria called Supreme Task. And, the grand prize was won by a solo-singer from the United States, Britaney Chanel. You can watch Britaney’s and Supreme Task’s awesome performances by clicking the link.
After such amazing achievements, do we say to these talented artists, “Ok, this is it. You’ve tasted the glory and excitement, but that is all we have for you. You can go home now.” I don’t know about you, but that hurts. If K-pop stays strictly Korean, if it survives the vicissitudes of time and tide, it will create a boulevard of broken dreams. And, how long before the dike holding back the tears of the brokenhearted breaks, and washes away that which the industry and fans alike today are trying so hard to protect?
This, I believe is what JY Park is getting at.
These so-called “foreigners” are not asking to take over the genre, they simply would like to add to the awesomeness. And, in there own way actually make K-pop be taken more seriously in America and outside of Asia, in general. These artists are using their talent and expending effort to advance K-pop, not undermine it.
It’s been rumored, unconfirmed, that one of the reasons or barriers to K-pop gaining ground in America, is because when a record executive sees K-pop groups that could possibly make the cross-over, they are always uniformly Asian, specifically Korean. In America, there are very few groups that are of single race. Think of Little Mix. Yeah, I know they are from the UK, but they promote heavily in the United States, hence my point. Other examples are Fifth Harmony, and All Saints.
Even One direction was not homogeneous. The days of homogeneous groups like NSync and Black Street Boys is basically over. Pop groups today, integrate.
Forget the marketing – consider for a minute that record executives also have daughters and sons. Their friends and their clientele also have daughters and sons. And, you’re asking them to promote something that they are not able to fully participate in. It’s not the American way.
So, taking JYP’s lead, non-Korean fans of K-pop should embrace the transition. After watching the 2016 Kpop World Festival performances and how the local audience chanted to them like it was the real thing, I believe Korean fans are ready.
As the CNBC interview concluded, JY talked of,
“… a big project in the United States… so far we are 70-80% of making it happen.”
Could JY be referring to the recently concluded Soompi Rising Legends contests that saw winners like Asel Hallaç from Turkey – an ultra talented rapper and vocalist who wowed with her covers of Yezi and Taeyeon, and speaks fluent English?
Watch this ground breaking interview by CNBC of Park Jin-young, by clicking the link, and let us know what you think in the comments, below.
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