My Kpop CD Collection

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

By now my Kpop CD collection is pretty big but only because I am obsessed with EXO and BTS. When I liked Kpop before, it wasn’t enough to buy CDs, posters, and other merch…

Well, things change!

I’m even going to KCON, the ultimate Kpop event– in America at least, where I will get to see some of my favorite boy and girl groups like CNBLUE, BTS, and SNSD! I’m also really looking forward to seeing IU…

I just LOVE concerts!

My Kpop CD Collection~

My Kpop CD Collection~

My first Kpop CD (2PM) was from a friend. He bought it for me while he was in Korea back in 2009 or 2010. Then, I bought GD &TOP’s CD, but it was kind of a disappointment since the songs weren’t that good…

So, I stopped buying Kpop CDs since most of them aren’t worth buying. They aren’t FULL like an album, you know? However, recently I’ve been going crazy and buying all of EXO’s CDs and BTS’ CDs, which are much more like albums. There are more than a few songs, and there are more than a few good songs, too.

I also have some Khiphop and Kindie CDs from some of my favorite Korean artists like LeeSsang, 10CM, and LADY CUBE.

^^

So, what’s in your Kpop CD collection?

If you’d like to get it started or add to it, then be sure to check out Hallyu X Holic’s Kpop Pop-Up-Shop, coming soon!

P.S.: I’ll be doing two blog posts on my favorite Kindie artists, so stay tuned!

About these ads

Kpop Skate Night!

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

Flyer~

Flyer~

Kpop Skate Night is taking place on Wednesday, June 25th in Houston, Texas!

The event is hosted by Houston Kpop Entertainment and MultifacetedACG, and I am happy to announce that I am partnering with MultifacetedACG!

In the future, I hope that I’ll be able to share more great Kpop events like this with all of you, and I can’t wait to meet the woman behind MultifacetedACG at KCON 2014.

Partners, events, and more!

I have already partnered with DramaFever in the past, and as many of you know I blog for them.

I am also partnering with MyMusicTaste– the start-up that I briefly worked for during SXSW, and Voyage To Asia.

Stay tuned for another awesome guest blog post from Voyage To Asia’s very own Daniel Cooper, which is coming later today!

In addition, Hallyu X Holic is my new home away from home where I’ll be sharing even more of what I love about South Korea: music, fashion, food, fun, and the latest celebrity news.

Stay tuned for an awesome giveaway to get you excited about Hallyu X Holic featuring Dollskill.com gift cards, Korean skin care and beauty product samples, and Kpop merchandise from some of my favorite boy groups like BTS and EXO!

^^

HANGOVER by PSY feat. Snoop Dogg: Everything You Need to Know to Understand The Music Video

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

The Most Epic Collaboration Ever~

The Most Epic Collaboration Ever~

PSY just released his new song HANGOVER featuring the legendary Snoop Dogg. From Champion (2002)– a noraebang favorite for many of my Korean guy friends, to Gangnam Style (2012) to Gentleman (2013), PSY has had the same  fun, free-spirited style for more than a decade.

However, I was never really his fan– until now.

In HANGOVER he’s cute, wacky, and someone I definitely want to party with the next time I go to Ktown or South Korea. In fact, I better put “Party with PSY” on my bucket list!

^^

You can watch HANGOVER right here:

And, here’s what you need to know to understand the music video– scene by scene, because it’s packed with tons of Korean pop (and party) culture that you don’t want to miss!

분노의 양치질 (Teeth-brushing of Fury)

A scene from a famous drama starring Cha In Pyo that has been parodied over and over again by everyone from Korean comedians to Korean actors and actresses~

A famous scene from a drama starring Cha In Pyo~

This scene has been parodied by so many Korean comedians and Korean actors (and even actresses) that Cha In Pyo finally told Koreans how annoyed he was by the people who made fun of his acting.

I know it’s hard to believe, but here are just a few of the parodies that have pissed off the man who started it all:

Korean actress Sung Yu Ri~

Korean actress Sung Yu Ri’s Teeth-brushing of Fury~

Korean Actress Yoo In Na~

Korean Actress Yoo In Na’s Teeth-brushing of Fury~

Even the Nation’s MC, Yoo Jae Suk, has parodied this scene!

The Nation's MC (and Comedian) Yoo Jae Suk~

The Nation’s MC (and Comedian) Yoo Jae Suk~

You can find more of this phenomenal parody online, featuring everyone from Korean kids to Korean idols to a cat owned by a Korean lady.

폭탄주 (Bomb Drink)

Poktanju~

Poktanju~

Poktanju is another crazy creation that came about as a result of the love that Korean’s have for drinking.

You can learn how to make your own, too, but I bet it won’t be as stacked as the one in HANGOVER!

However, someone should accept HANGOVER’s Domino Poktanju challenge…

Just not me!

>.<

편의점에서 먹기 (Eating at a Convenience Store)

Your very own restaurant serving millions of things you don't really want to eat, except ramyun!

Your very own restaurant serving millions of things you don’t really want to eat, except ramyun!

In America it’s really unheard of, but in South Korea it’s everywhere…

Eating at a convenience store!

Maybe it’s because Koreans like to do everything quickly (빨리 빨리!), but it sure is nice to be able to buy food, heat it up (if needed), and eat it just seconds later– especially if you really are hungover and on your way home at night!

When hunger strikes~

When hunger strikes~

And, what Snoop Dogg is eating– 삼각 김밥, or triangle-shaped kim and rice, actually tastes pretty good and comes in tons of different flavors:

Yummy~

Yummy~

The yummy stuff is on the inside!

낮술 (Daytime Drinking)

"Daytime drinking is welcome"~

“Daytime drinking is welcome”~

In the music video PSY and Snoop Dogg start drinking during the day, which is common in South Korea. If you haven’t done it, you should try it– no matter where you are.

In addition, you can even see some Korean drinking etiquette as PSY only uses one hand to pour some soju for Snoop Dogg. The cheek roll is also a very Korean thing to do, and as far as I know only Koreans do it, but maybe that will change after this video.

It’s while drinking during the day that PSY and Snoop Dogg meet the ahjummas, or older women, and then the REAL fun starts…

미용실 (Hair Salon)

Hair salon~

Hair salon~

But first, PSY has to go to the hair salon, or 미영실, to get his hair done.

There are hair salons everywhere in South Korea, but especially in high end red light districts like Nonhyun-dong where the girls not only need it but can afford it on a daily basis.

노래방 (Noraebang, or Korean-style Private Karaoke)

Luxury~

Luxury Noraebang~

Finally, they’re at noraebang!

Noraebang is all about overly decorated rooms with cheesy wall-paper, flashing disco lights, and a set of tambourines ready for That Person who’s too turned up.

Noraebanging~

Noraebanging~

And of course, it’s also about singing songs and drinking drinks until not only do you sound good but the girls (or boys) you came with look good!

But first, you need to figure out how to use this stuff:

Huh?~

Huh?~

G-Dragon and CL

g1

G-Dragon &CL~

These are PSY’s Korean labelmates who both make a cameo in HANGOVER. Their company is called YG, and if you’re into Kpop then you already know about YG and these two Korean artists.

If you’re not, then it’s about time you found out about ‘em both!

G-Dragon of Big Bang

CL of 2NE1

Love their music and style!

Recently, CL was even compared to Rihanna by Dazed, but they really are two very different artists even though they are both fiercely feminine. 

디스코팡팡 (Disco Pang Pang)

It looks safe enough...~

It looks safe enough…~

Until you get on and the ride starts!~

Until you get on and the ride starts!~

Okay, this is a crazy Korean ride that I would actually go on if I felt like puking up one of my meals, or dislocating my shoulder.

Yeah, no thanks!

사구 (Korean, No-Pocket Billiards)

Sagu~

Sagu~

Four Ball, or 사구– that’s sagu (sa means four), is an interesting game that I’ve never played before but have heard about from my Korean guy friends.

Of course, there’s also martial arts and jjajangmyun, Chinese black bean noodles, in HANGOVER. Those noodles were definitely delivered, which is a common way to get some grub wherever you happen to be whenever you’re in South Korea.

술 대결 (Drinking Battle)

A drinking battle between a couple in a Korean drama~

A drinking battle between a couple in a Korean drama~

This is not just a Korean guy thing to do, or just a guy thing really!

Obviously, the goal is to see who can drink more, but when soju is involved things definitely get a little more dangerous…

Things also get dangerous at the end of HANGOVER thanks to one well tossed spoon!

Well, I hope you love PSY and HANGOVER as much as I do, especially now that you (hopefully) understand the Korean culture behind the crazy, cant-stop-watching scenes in the music video.

<3

KCON &KPOP Savant!

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

I recently found out through my friend and fellow blogger Candi that this year’s KCON will be on August 9th and 10th. So far, the lineup includes SNSD and BTS!

In the past, it was impossible for me to attend Kpop events like KCON because of law school, but now that I’m done with law school (and working), I can go to KCON…

And easily afford my trip from Austin, Texas to Los Angeles, California.

I’m definitely looking forward to traveling and Kpopping in L.A. since I’ve only passed through it once while on the way to South Korea. More importantly, I’ve always wanted to see both SNSD and BTS as well!

Finally, if you’re like me and want to stay up-to-date on the latest Kpop (and Korean hip hop) concerts, events, and giveaways taking place here in the United States, then be sure to check out KPOP Savant! They’re an up-and-coming blog that has everything from the latest concert and event news to behind-the-scenes tour footage to CD AND ticket giveaways.

So, have you been to KCON before, and if so then what advice would you give to someone like me who is going for the first time?

Well, see you at KCON!

^^

Is Kris Really Leaving EXO?

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

I’ve made it through all 10 of THESE over-the-top (and unexpected) moments in Kpop, but here is one more that happened last night:

Moment #11: 2014

Kris~

Kris~

EXO’s Kris files a lawsuit against SM asking to terminate his contract– while he’s still in China and right as promotions for Overdose begin.

However, is Kris really leaving EXO?

Kris filed a lawsuit against SM to terminate his contract, which is probably one of those slave contracts that SM is notorious for having their artists sign. After all, JYJ (former members Junsu, Yoochun, and Jaejoong of DBSK) also took a similar action to end their own slave contracts.

At this point it seems like Kris really is leaving EXO.

He did betray his members by taking legal action without letting them know as well. By now, Sehun posted a “?” on his SNS, and (Solange-esque) several other members have even un-followed Kris on Instagram.

Will they even want him back?

From what I’ve seen on variety shows and heard here and there, he was always a bit of a loner– very quiet and always spending time with his manager instead of with his members.

However, it could be that something else is going on.

Last year after Olivia, a French girl, was slated for her debut as a Kpop idol, foreigners all over the world were incredibly jealous as they watched their dream come true for someone else.

However, in THIS blog post I explained why the Korean music industry is a tough and terrible place to make a career, especially as an idol: Scams, forced sexual favors, and a saturated industry are all just a few of the reasons why.

Anyway, the boys must be going through a hard time– ALL of them, so let’s give them our support by loving them and wishing them the best.

Breakups happen.

And, as one wise (and wonderfully wild) Korean woman on a variety show said, it’s rare that a breakup ISN’T bad.

>.<

10 Over-The-Top Moments in Kpop

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

I recently wrote a blog post for DramaFever about Kpop cosplay, which I had never heard of until recently when I went to I <3 Kpop!

I <3 Kpop is a club event here in Austin, Texas where we jam to Kpop for one night– all night, once a month. Its hosted by Demographics Entertainment, and I’m excited to have my friend Candi join me this month.

Kpop cosplay can be on-point as seen in the blog post that I wrote, but it can also be over-the-top. So, here are 10 over-the-top moments in Kpop!

Moment #1: 2007

Big Bang’s T.O.P. kissed Lee Hyo Ri while performing on stage during a music festival and broke millions of fragile fan girl hearts:

Moment #2: 2009

Korean netizens found negative comments about South Korea that a young, Korean-American Jay Park had made on Myspace years before he joined 2PM.

Then, they created a Jay Park death petition saying that he should commit suicide.

(I cried SO much when this happened. He was my favorite member of 2PM. After all, he was American and awkward, too, but worked so hard to get along with everyone and adjust to life in Korea. Not only that– he’s so talented! At that time I never even imagined that I would see him live in concert years later, either!)

Moment #3: 2009

Three members of DBSK– Junsu, Jaejoong, and Yoochun, filed a lawsuit against SM that brought an end to DBSK, my first Kpop love.

Watch the music video that started it ALL here:

Moment #4: 2010

Big Bang’s G-Dragon dry humped this girl on this bed while performing on stage during a concert:

Moment #5: 2011

T-Ara starts to bully member Hwayoung, who left this message under the name Suk Ryu on Nate Pann:

“Hello. I’ve been contemplating whether I should post this or not, but have decided to write a few things..

The group I’m in is… A group everybody will know just by revealing the group’s initial.

I’m a new member in the group, so it has been very awkward and because I’m also very timid, I’m unable to approach them easily… That’s one of the reasons why I’m becoming an outcast.

The original members must have strongly opposed my addition to the group…

I’m basically treated as if I’m an invisible at the dorm.
But when the cameras are rolling, they would suddenly have their arms around my shoulders.

When we’re practicing… I really feel like I’m going to die.
When I make a little mistake, I’d get criticized hearing things like, ‘You can’t even do this?’ and would get cursed at.

Even right now, I’m alone since they all went grocery shopping without me..
They’ll be back in a few hours, but I want to just forget about my singing career and leave.

However, this is the path I decided to take and I’m the one who decided to join, so it’s hard to do so.

I feel a bit better now that I’ve written this.

Thank you.”

Later in 2012 through an umbrella incident, everything comes to light. In the end, Hwayoung leaves T-Ara and gets into a dating scandal with Block B’s Zico, and the remaining members of T-Ara face death petitions and are forced to halt all of their activities…

>.<

For the full story, go HERE.

Moment #6: 2012

Big Bang’s Seungri admits that his Japanese sex scandal is true on national television.

Seungri's Sex Scandal~

Seungri’s Sex Scandal~

Moment # 7:  2012

PSY takes over the world.

Moment #8: 2013

EXO comes back with Wolf and takes over Kpop.

And, Kpop fan girls everywhere– like me,  filled their hearts with 12 boys and emptied their wallets until only a few pieces of lint remained; but, it was worth it!

Moment #9: 2013

Nude photos of Ailee, one of the best Korean female solo artists around, are released by her ex-boyfriend.

For the full story, go HERE and HERE.

But, everyone was on her side, and she wasn’t forced to stop singing like Ivy, a Korean female solo artist who had a sex scandal years ago.

Ailee even appeared at an award show right after the scandal and accepted a Top 10 award as the crowd cheered and screamed in support.

Moment #10: 2014

Stellar puts strippers to shame:

Ga In has sex in a shower:

And, G.NA thinks its okay to let a not-that-famous-comedian sniff her underwear:

Do you know any over-the-top moments in Kpop moments that didn’t make the list?

… Kpop sure has come a long way– for better or for worse, but I still love it!

^^

My Favorite Korean Hip Hop Artists &RNB Singers

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

Everyone always talks about Kpop and Korean idols, but they never really talk about Korean hip hop or Korean hip hop artists, Korean RNB or Korean RNB singers. Korean hip hop and Korean RNB are definitely different from Kpop and a genre all their own; so, this is definitely the MORE part of this category.

And, although there are Korean idols who rap and sing, they’re also definitely different from REAL Korean hip hop artists and REAL Korean RNB singers.

(Except for Zico of Block B and a few other idols like Suga who have actually released mix tapes, etc.!)

So, here are some of My Favorite Korean Hip Hop Artists &RNB Singers. You might recognize a few of them from Korean variety shows like Running Man and Superman Returns, but you might not recognize any of them at all.

I fell for the lyrics and rhythm of their music– not their looks, so I hope you like their music (and them), too!^^

Korean Hip Hop Artists

Tymee aka E.via and Napper

tymee

Tymee~

Recommended Albums: E.via a.k.a. Happy Evil and E.Viagradation Part 1 (Black & Red)

LeeSsang

Gary and Gil of Leessang~

Gary and Gil of Leessang~

Recommended Albums: Hexagonal and Asura Balbalta

Beenzino

Beenzino~

Beenzino~

Recommended Albums: 24:26 and Jazzy Fact

Geeks

Louie and Lil' Boi of Geeks~

Louie and Lil’ Boi of Geeks~

Recommended Albums: Backpack and Officially Missing You

Verbal Jint

Verbal Jint~

Verbal Jint~

Recommended Albums:  10 Years of Misinterpretation and Go Easy

Tablo

Tablo~

Tablo~

Recommended Albums: Fever’s End Part 1 and Fever’s End Part 2

Jay Park

jp

Jay Park~

Recommended Albums: Take a Deeper Look and New Breed

(Don’t forget to read my fan account: Jay Park: Live, Ripped, &In Concert!)

Zico

Zico~

Zico~

Recommended Albums: Zico on The Block 1.5 and Zico on The Block

Korean RNB Singers

Yoon Mi Rae aka Tashannie, Tasha, and T

Yoon Mi Rae~

Yoon Mi Rae~

Recommended Albums: As Time Goes By and T Best

ONE WAY

ONE WAY~

ONE WAY~

Recommended Albums: One Way Street and Rainy Days

Did your favorite Korean hip hop artist or RNB singer make the list?

I just hope that I didn’t forget anyone!

*Whew*

Color and Soul in Kpop: Lee Michelle’s Solo Debut

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

I’ve been a fan of Kpop since 2008, but I don’t pay as much attention to it anymore since everyone is always doing the same thing such as focusing on their image and concept instead of their voice and music.

But, here are some Korean idols who I still not only pay attention to but love and support for representing Korean musicJay Park, CNBLUE, EXO, and BTS.

I also love Ga In!

I do like Big Bang’s album Alive, G-Dragon’s album One of a Kind, and Lee Hi’s album FIRST LOVE. I also like many of SNSD’s songs, especially I Got a Boy, but I’m not in love with them, you know?

Unfortunately, most of the nugu, or unknown, Korean idols that have been debuting over the past several years will disappear having never had a hit song let alone a hit album, at least not without the use of digital sajaegi, or digital chart manipulation.

There’s definitely a reason for this: Kpop just lacks creativity and sensitivitycolor and soul.

Yes, there ARE a lot of bad things about Kpop these days from the shitty songs to the stripper-like clothing to the digital sajaegi, but the good thing about Kpop (that will never change) is that some of these kids are still pursuing their dream to become a singer– not an “idol.

And, Lee Michelle is one of those kids.

Lee Michelle~

Lee Michelle~

Lee Michelle, a half-black, half-Korean singer who appeared on Season One of K-pop Star took the Kpop world by storm with her color, soul, and story, and then disappeared into the calm. Now, she’s back– but not with YG and not with Supearls.

She’s back “Without You.”

(This is one music video that you shouldn’t watch without a box of tissue.)

The last time I cried while watching a Kpop video was back in 2008 or 2009. I was watching DBSK’s “Love in The Ice.” But, I cried today– unexpectedly, while watching Lee Michelle’s music video for “Without You.”

This video is powerful– just as powerful as her voice and the message that she is sending out to anyone who has ever known the pain of being different from everyone else and hated for it:

Instead of running away, changing yourself to be more like everyone else, and ultimately hating yourself, too, just love yourself…

Just love yourself.

So, who are some of your favorite Korean idols?

More importantly, why do you like them– for the music that they create or the image that they portray? In the end, I hope Kpop continues to give us songs that can make us cry as it embraces stars like Michelle Lee, sharing their songs and their stories.

Bring YOUR Favorite Korean Artists to YOUR Country

fi1

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

SXSW is almost over, but that doesn’t mean that I have to wait until next year to see some of my favorite Korean artists again! In fact, YOU might not have to wait for SXSW or until next year before getting to see YOUR favorite Korean artists from Korean idols to Korean bands to Korean singers right in YOUR country.

Recently, I volunteered at the SXSW trade show with one of my best friends. Together, we volunteered for an awesome, up and coming Korean startup called MyMusicTaste, the builders of an app that allows artists to go where their fans are.

Even Lady Gaga came to the MyMusicTaste booth~

Even Lady Gaga came to the MyMusicTaste booth~

(Not just Korean artists by the way!)

With MyMusicTaste, LUNAFLY, a popular Korean indie rock band, was able to go all the way to South America for a “Made By You” tour.

Can you imagine finally getting to see YOUR favorite Korean artists in YOUR country? I bet you can and definitely have before; but, don’t stop there, because you can finally make it happen.

Stop wishing, start making– that’s all you need to do!

Download the MyMusicTaste app on your phone and start “making” tours for your favorite Korean artists. Then, share the app and the tours that you’ve made with your family, friends, and fellow fans to help bring your favorite Korean artist to your country.

(It’s easy to use, and you will know why after you check it out, download it, and use it!)

As for me, I’d like to bring the wonderful ladies of LADY CUBE back to Austin, Texas. Their sweet features and simple style are accompanied by smooth, sexy, and soulful vocals that go perfectly over their homemade electronic beats.

Maddie and Kayle of LADY CUBE~

Maddie and Kayle of LADY CUBE~

These two ladies aren’t just great singers and songwriters.

They’re great DJs, too.

And, my favorite, “Just The Way You Are”– but be warned, it’s artistic and NSFW:

 This video is 3D and can be watched with the special 3D glasses found in this cool (specially signed for me) box that puts records and CDs to shame:

LADY CUBE~

LADY CUBE~

From Maddie~

From Maddie~

From Kayle~

From Kayle~

What’s inside in addition to the 3D glasses? A 3D poster and a USB with all of their addicting tracks.

One~

One~

Two~

Two~

I’m jamming out to them now, of course.

I’m so thankful for getting the chance to work with and become friends with the MyMusicTaste team and the ladies of LADY CUBE!^^

It’s been an awesome spring break thanks to them (and that one best friend).

P.S.: Yoon Do Hyun of Yoon Do Hyun Band is also in town, and I ran into him last night while I was downtown! We spoke in Korean and hugged before I ran away. It was just so surreal to not only see him standing outside of a bar after the clubs had closed but to actually hear his voice in person after hearing him sing and narrate one of my favorite Korean variety shows.

Last night's outfit~

Last night’s outfit~

Last night's nails~

Last night’s nails~

Last night's shoes~

Last night’s shoes~

I might be going out again tonight, but I’ve been going out every night since Tuesday night…

>.<

It’s my last Spring Break EVER, so I’m definitely going to do it right– even it it means over doing it!

Jay Park: Live, Ripped, &In Concert

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

SXSW (South by Southwest) is a longstanding tradition in Austin, Texas. It’s a week long festival where people from all over the world come to celebrate music, film, and the arts.

SXSW: Kpop Night Out brought f(x) and other great Korean artists like Guckasteen to Austin, Texas last year; and, this year, they brought two of my favorite artists and one new favorite to the place I call home: Jay Park, Nell, and Idiotape!

1948080_827370953943454_1833778585_n

The Flyer~

But, of course this story doesn’t start out as happy as the ending…

The night before the show I finally get a reply from the administrator of the Kpop Night Out Facebook page:

“Badges only.”

Badges can cost over $1,000.00, and of course I didn’t have one! So, I was immediately worried that I wouldn’t be able to get into the show– turns out it wasn’t badges only, but just in case I decided to volunteer at the SXSW trade show for a Korean startup called My Music Taste with one of my best friends– volunteer and get in for FREE!

However, we had only made tentative plans to go volunteer together the night before since I was SUPPOSED to do my phone interview for another job at 11 A.M. and then go to court with my supervising attorney as part of my internship at 12:30 P.M the next day.

Thankfully, when I woke up in the morning my supervising attorney let me know that our court trip was canceled, and I was able to go volunteer instead! So, I slept some more, finished my phone interview later, and got ready. Then, I picked up my best friend.

We made it ALL the way through traffic and to the convention center in downtown Austin only to turn right back around and go PAST my house to pick up two “bodyguards” who were really just her boyfriend’s buff, black friends. Of course I got lost on the way, but we found them, picked up some super yummy Burger King, and met up with the My Music Taste team again somewhere way PAST the convention center.

Then, we took two cars and dropped off the bodyguards somewhere downtown before my best friend and I finally headed BACK to the convention center where we found decent parking– also for free.

(Parking during SXSW is expensive, and parking in Austin at any time is just trial and error.)

By now, we were ready for some relaxation AND some street style photography, too. I had already got my photo taken earlier by a SXSW street fashion blogger, but these were our attempts at it:

Me~

Me being a hypocrite after I said that leggings aren’t pants!~

One of my best friends~

One of my best friends~

She's so cute~

She’s so cute~

After parking and taking pictures, we walked back to the convention center to meet up with the My Music Taste team and then headed to the venue, Elysium, together.

Waiting outside in our own special line~

Waiting outside in our own special line~

Look at the line for General Admission!~

Look at the line for General Admission!~

While in the line for “special people with badges,” I ran into friend and fellow blogger Beats And Sheets. We had talked about going to SXSW this year through our blogs, but it was great to finally get to meet her there; and, it was also great that she was able to recognize me in the crowd!

(It was definitely fate!)

Anyway, we finally went inside, put our things away, and did a wardrobe change now that the work was over and the fun was about to begin!

Meow~

Meow~

Wow~

Wow~

And, the fun finally began! Inside, I ran into SO many friends, and– of course, I got to see and listen to so many great Korean artists.

Nell~

Nell~

Idiotape~

Idiotape~

But, NOTHING compared to getting to see Jay Park live, ripped, and in concert! We had definitely squeezed our way to the front and had to fight off quite a few people to stay there, but it was SO worth it.

OMG!~

OMG, Jay Park!~

I’ve been a huge fan of his since 2008 when he first starred on Hot Blood and then was picked to be a member of 2PM after being on that show. I was DEVASTED when he left 2PM maybe just a year or two later, but it’s AMAZING to see him now. He’s so much more charismatic, sexy, and ripped in person. He’s got great energy, a great voice, and great moves… and a great body…

LOL

Anyway, here are all of the shitty photos that I took. I tried to take better photos and a video, but I just couldn’t figure it out. I also didn’t want to waste too much time capturing this moment, because it’s one that I’ll NEVER forget.

One~

One~

Two~

Two~

Three~

Three~

Four~

Four~

Five~

Five~

Six~

Six~

Seven~

Seven~

He’s touchy feely, and I loved that he was always coming RIGHT over and teasing the girls in front and cheering on the crowd and also just being really sexy on stage with all that swag and skill.

Oh yeah, even Lady Gaga stopped by!

At the end, some very lucky girl got his shirt but later on I got to meet him and get his autograph!^^ I spoke Korean to get his attention in the horde of girls surrounding him, and it worked.

One~

Close~

Two~

Closer~

Thankfully, a girl had a notepad FULL of construction paper, and she shared with us. If she hadn’t, I definitely would have ripped it out of her hands.

Hyuna performed after Jay Park, but I couldn’t have cared less. She didn’t even sing! We also thought our stuff had gotten stolen, but one of the team members had just moved it to a safer place– thank God! So, I was on Cloud 9 and stayed there– I mean, I made eye contact with and talked to Jay Park!!!

I was supposed to touch him– like just his hand or something, but I totally forgot when he was finally RIGHT in front of me…

*(Happy) Sigh*

It was a long but awesome day in Austin, Texas thanks to so many wonderful people!

I made a dream come true, and I also made some new friends along with getting to spend some time with one of my oldest and best ones. I can’t believe that I’m still up, but I wanted to write all of this before I go to sleep and have some very sweet dreams…

^^

Inside FNC: Cheongdamdong 111

Screencap~

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

It’s always hard to describe what life at a South Korean entertainment company is really like to foreigners who are interested in becoming a Kpop idol or a Kpop star. From the managers who will control your daily schedule to the sunbaes who will boss you around to the practice rooms where you will spend most of your time– now you can see it all for yourself through the part reality, part variety show Cheongdamdong 111!

The cast~

The cast~

Cheongdamdong is a “neighborhood,” or district, in Gangnam.

(Gangnam Style is actually a song that pokes fun at the rich people who live there.)

You might know it as the place where I’ll be staying this winter while I’m in South Korea, but in case you didn’t know, Cheongdamdong is also one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Gangnam, Seoul, and all of South Korea.

More importantly for this post, Cheongdamdong is home to some of the biggest South Korean entertainment companies from SM to JYP to Cube and even FNC.

(I’ll be living just two to three minutes away from SM!)

Cheongdamdong 111 takes you inside FNC– literally, and shows you the lives of the CEO, trainers, managers, Kpop idols, and trainees as well as the lives of the actors and actresses who are also a part of this very successful South Korean entertainment company.

So, who’s who at FNC?

CEO:

Han Sung Ho

Artists:

FT Island, CNBlue (“Yoon Chan Young”‘s band!), Juniel, AOA, and more.

Actors and Actresses:

Lee Dong Gun, Yoon Jin Seo (Cha Eun Sang’s older sister!), and more.

Screencap~

Screencap~

In addition, after watching this show you might better understand THIS post on becoming a Kpop idol or a Kpop star; and, you might also better understand why its so important to speak Korean, understand Korean culture, and practice Practice PRACTICE.

You’ll also understand more about how these companies work by getting a behind the scenes look at management, production, and training.

Plus, its just a lot of fun to watch!

(I’m already on Episode 2 as I take a very long break from writing my final papers…)

Wanna watch Cheongdamdong 111, too?

For full-length but unsubbed episodes, go HERE and watch it on OnDemandKorea.

For shorter but English subbed episodes, go HERE and watch it on Dailymotion.

Finally, as a quick preview here’s “Yoon Chan Young,” Kang Min Hyuk of CNBlue, talking about what its like to act with “Lee Bo Na,” Krystal Jung of f(x).

So You Want To Be a Kpop Idol, a Kpop Star?

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

This is a special post for my “little sisters” who are interested in pursuing a career in the Korean music industry as singers; and, if you haven’t yet, be sure to check out THIS post by seoulbeats about what it’s like for Asian-American, Latino, black, and white people who are currently pursuing “The Korean Dream.”

I’ve talked about the music industry in Korea before HERE, but I’d like to offer some advice– not just a warning, and introduce two possible role models (for my little sisters in particular) who have made it big in Korea and are black and Korean: Insooni and Yoon Mi-rae (aka “T” or Tasha).

And, here are two important links:

Entertainment Companies and Their Artists

Entertainment Companies and Their Addresses

(I know that there are people of every race who are pursuing careers in music or entertainment in Korea, so there is someone out there who we can all look up to! If you’re not sure, just ask me. I wish I had room to mention them all– from Jessica Gomes to Julien Kang to Sam Hammington and even Olivia, a French girl, and Sam, a Kenyan boy. But, don’t even get me started on the people who are Korean-American or Chinese and have made it big in Korea!)

From now on, I’m not going to use the word “Kpop idol” or “Kpop star.”

I don’t think you’ll make it (very far) in the Korean music industry as a foreigner unless you have the humble heart of a true singer and are willing to work incredibly hard from learning to speak Korean to learning about Korean culture to learning about the people and companies that make up what has become a very large industry– on top of actually singing and maybe even dancing if you become a “dance gasu.”

Why won’t you make it far if you just want to be a “Kpop idol” or “Kpop star”?

These days, anyone can get surgery and be styled to look like a Kpop idol or Kpop star. These days, anyone can even have the attitude of a Kpop idol or Kpop star. So, what separates you from everyone else is your voice, talent, and work ethic. Having a good work ethic, especially in a place where people are often over-worked like Korea, will be the best way to make your dreams come true.

After all, by now many of us know that auditioning to be a singer in the Korean music industry both in America AND Korea is an ordeal, and the competition gets harder and harder every year! So, that means YOU have to work harder, too.

(To see what its like to audition for SM, watch THIS video as the members of Infinity Challenge– seven of Korea’s most famous comedians, do just that!)

If you DO manage to pass the audition and sign with a music or entertainment company, then practice harder than everyone else. Take critique– in fact, ask for it. Go out of your way to sing or dance anywhere and for anyone.

Most importantly, don’t let the challenges you encounter, such as discrimination or cultural differences, bring you down!

It’s hard for Koreans to make it in the music industry, too, so don’t see your challenges as any harder than anyone else’s, although they might be different in many ways. From running errands to performing favors to standing on small stages night after night and even being scolded and getting your feelings hurt– you better be ready to deal with it all and get through it all, always learning and improving along the way.

In addition, take the time to get to know your sunbaes in the Korean music industry, from H.O.T. to EXO, from G.O.D. to 2PM, from S.E.S. to SNSD, as well as other legends and current trends in the Korean music AND entertainment industry.

However, for my “little sisters” who are looking for a sunbae and role model who might hit a little closer to home, then look no further than Insooni and Yoon Mirae.

Insooni~

Go HERE to read more about Insooni and her story, as well as get some excellent advice from The Diva of Korea herself.

Yoon Mi-rae with her husband, Tiger JK~

Yoon Mi-rae is someone many people are more likely to already be familiar with, so I won’t spend too much time talking about her except to say she is an amazing rapper AND singer who has come a long way in both Korea and America!

If you have a dream, go for it; and, don’t be afraid to dream BIG.

But, be realistic. Don’t just see your dream– see the hard work, dedication, and effort it will take to make it come true.

(And, if you want to know how I got to meet people in the music industry and be in a Kpop music video a few years ago, then shoot me an email or check out THIS post on my tumblr.)

The Korean Music Industry (and Olivia)

*Kpop, Korean Idols, &More*

Olivia– a French girl, making her debut as a Korean idol?!

Olivia and her members of The Gloss~

Olivia and her members of The Gloss~

Don’t be jealous– yet, because the Korean music industry is a tough and terrible place to work.

Most agencies scam, molest, or force their trainees to perform sexual favors just to get on a show or two.

Yes, the Big Three (Sm, YG, and JYP) probably don’t, but they don’t have to because they’ve been around for years and established themselves as powerhouses in the industry.

(But, why do you think JYJ left DBSK and SM? The slave-contracts that Korean artists are forced to sign just weren’t cutting it for boys who went overseas and saw how other fair and free music industries are.)

Do you know how many agencies and groups are in Korea? Look HERE to see just how fierce the competition is. As you can see, most groups debut and disappear.

The ones who do make it have to sell their souls on variety shows or radio shows where its not all fun and games. Filming lasts for hours, and they really DON’T have to feed their guests. Saying the wrong thing can be a DISASTER, leaving you as fish for the sharks that are the also known as Korean netizens.

Sure, we’re loyal and forgiving, but the Korean music industry is not. It took Ivy FOUR years just to have a come-back after her sex-tape scandal. Baek Ji-young also had a sex-tape scandal, but she was luckier.

(I don’t know why.)

Don’t even get me started on 선배들 (seniors) and 술자리 (drinking places– like at a bar or karaoke). Respect and obedience in this culture is so deep that you might drown in it before you figure out all the nuances and norms, such as bowing (인사), using two hands to accept something, turning your head when you drink, and doing what you’re told– even if you don’t want to.

The industry wasn’t always this bad, but in an effort by agencies to get attention for their groups amidst the mass of nameless faces and nugu groups– its been changing.

(Just look at Girl’s Day. Hye Ri dating Tony An of H.O.T.? No, he’s just her “sponsor,” or “pimp” to put it loosely.)

Honestly, what most foreigners don’t know is that hostess culture (both male and female prostitution) is alive and well in South Korea. Well, maybe now some of you DO know: Se7en and Sangchu went to a massage parlor (안마), but its not JUST a massage parlor.

So, Olivia… Good luck. I hope you have an amazing agency and amazing members, because THIS is what you have to deal with; and no, the Korean police aren’t really good at solving crimes. They leave that to the 양아치, or gangs– and to private settlement between the parties involved.

Anyway, love Korean music, not the Korean music industry; don’t idolize or turn a blind eye to corruption just because its coated in cuteness.

But, this is her dream and the dream of many others, so I really hope its everything she wants it to be.

(I’m just worried that it won’t be.)

My close unni and oppa both work in the entertainment industry– unni makes videos and oppa trains and manages idols. She told me how they are forced to work like dogs– in fact, she could never make it out on the weekends. Oppa told me about some foreign trainees (Thai) who were having a hard time adjusting to Korean culture– anyway, I just asked him about it on Kakao, so I’ll see if he even knows about this issue and what he thinks.

Update:

1. He didn’t know about it.

2. He said its not an issue in Korea yet.

3. It’s STILL not an issue in Korea yet.

P.S.: Do you still want to break into the Korean music industry after reading this blog post and being warned? If you think you’ve got what it takes, then be sure to check out THIS post to find out how!