How K-pop took over the world — as told by one fan who rode the wave

In a new podcast, writer Vivian Yoon explores the international rise of K-pop, which has evolved from an obscure genre into a billion-dollar industry.

Meet the host: Vivian Yoon is a writer, performer and podcast host from Los Angeles who specifically talks about the evolution of K-pop.
* In her podcast “K-Pop Dreaming,” she examines the genre’s rise on the international stage, while incorporating themes from her own life.

The rise of K-pop: Despite being around for decades, the current most popular iteration of K-pop is adored by millions globally.
* Yoon believes this broadening appeal is intentional, with management and entertainment labels actively creating “international-facing groups” that often include non-Korean members.

The breakthrough: Yoon mentions Psy’s 2012 song “Gangnam Style” as an example of when K-pop first truly entered US mainstream consciousness.
* Yoon described the times as “surprising, shocking and confusing,” as the song was not just Korean-language, but also satirical about a specific Seoul neighborhood.

Cultural Origins: K-pop’s unique style is influenced by a two-beat rhythm called “bong-chak,” originating from the century-old genre of Korean music called “trot.”
* The “bong” rhythm, described as “Korean blues,” is a musical element that reflects the historical hardships endured by the Korean people throughout the 20th century.

What’s next: For new K-pop fans, Yoon suggests starting with the popular song, “Super Shy” by NewJeans.
* Exploring K-pop’s history and rise has been “transformative” for Yoon, helping her accept her own cultural identity and explore unresolved identity issues from her childhood.

View original article on NPR

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