The 60 million won KPop Stars Part 1

Posted on December 14, 2010

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I recently came across this article by KPopLive.com, who pinpointed the appearance fees for some of KPop’s most beloved artists; I thought this info was particularly fitting for my “Kpop newbie thread,” as a way of introducing  you newbies to some of kpop’s most popular idols. To whittle down this introduction, I’ll be breaking up this post into two parts and have decided to only mention the 8 biggest artists based on their appearance fee of over 60 million won (approximately over £35,000!) a shot!

So keep your eyes peeled, try to soak up some of these names and maybe even namedrop some of these artists the next time you meet a pro kpop fan- you’ll be sure to sound pro too!

Lee Hyori

Basic must know info:

  • Fan club name- “Hyori-Together” (Not 100% sure on this one tbh!)
  • Dubbed the sexy queen of kpop and CF’s (commercials).
  • Showed her feisty, independent and yet still ‘aegyo’ filled personality during her time on the Korean variety programme “Family Outing.”
  • Debuted in 1998 and found fame as part of girl group “Fin.k.l”
  • Is the highest paid female singer in South Korea
  • Recently faced plagiarism issues with her 2010 album “H-Logic.”

Songs you should check out (click on song titles for youtube links):

U-Go-Girl” from her “Hyorish” album- especially notable for the, much imitated and addictively fun “hello/ok,” bridge dance.

Chitty chitty bang bang” nope this isn’t a single version of the old British film, this is actually the main single release from her 2010 “H-Logic” album. I particularly like the catchy chorus and notable dance moves include the ‘car driving’ bridge and the ‘hip tapping’ chorus.

My POV: It seems that top stars will always have to fight off a bit more criticism than other people and Hyori is no different; other than her latest plagiarism accusations, which were soon found to be the fault of songwriter Bahnus (click HERE to read more about that), her ‘sexy’ image has meant that relationship scandals are often brought to the forefront as well as  questions about possible having had plastic surgery. However, regardless of scandals, it’s hard to argue with the amount of success she has had both inside and outside of music. Personally I find it refreshing that she has become a powerful female figure in the Kpop industry because, in some ways, she doesn’t typically conform to the Korean social ideals of being a ‘celebrity;’ she’s openly sexy, isn’t afraid to catch a tan, and being over 30 years old- she’s proving to younger idols that good looks can be achieved through a healthy diet and exercise rather than the strict calorie counting they often publicize.

Rain

Official Website: www.rain-jihoon.com

Must know basic info:

  • Known by 4 pseudonyms- “비” his Korean stage name, “Rain” is the English translation of his Korean stage name, “Bi” is the Hangul pronunciation of his Korean stage name (비) and “Jeong/Jung Ji Hoon” his real name.
  • Official fan club name- “The Cloud”
  • Debuted as a solo singer in 2002.
  • During his teens had a short lived career as a member of hip hop teen group “Fan Club.”
  • After auditioning (by dancing for 2 hours straight) Rain was able to slowly hone his skills whilst working as a backing dancer for his CEO/ mentor JYP (Jin Young Park).
  • Failed many auditions for the simple fact that he lacked double eyelids.
  • Faced many hardships during his youth, fighting through poverty and (the greatest loss) the premature death of his mother, before his debut as a solo singer.

Songs you should check out (click on song titles for youtube links):

With a music career spanning nearly 10 years, it’s hard to pick and choose which songs you must listen to, but I’ll pinpoint some notable songs for you.

Rainism– title track from the album of the same name; this unique track is particularly noted for the addictive “I’m gonna be a bad boy” chorus and dance. It was also the song that introduced me to Rain’s music.

Love song– from his 2010 “Back to the basic,” album; other then creating great dance tracks, Rain manages to keep things in balance with his ballads. This particular one drew attention for it’s ‘shirt lifting’ bridge segment and became a viral hit through an animated otter spoof.

Other then these songs- my personal favourite song at the moment is Rain’s, unreleased track, “This is love,” also from the Rainism album.

My POV: If Hyori is considered the queen of Kpop music, then Rain can definitely be considered the ‘King’ and with such fame comes the usual scandals with relationships and, more recently, lawsuits and talks of a gambling problem (which was soon settled in court and found to be falsified.)

He is often referred to by the Korean media, as being a ‘world star’ and his track record could justify this title. Rain’s the first Korean to ever win a MTV movie (biggest bad ass star 2010) award for his film “Ninja Assassin,” which seemed to be the icing on the cake, on top of the fact that he (as a Korean) managed to grab a lead role in a Hollywood movie. The achievements are endless; he’s starred in tv dramas, 3 films, contributed to creating his own clothing label and is a CF king.

For me, aside from these material achievements- I’ll always know Rain for being a person who overcame and achieved so much after so many hardships.

Wonder Girls

Official Website: www.wondergirlsworld.com

Must know basic info:

  • Members- Sun Ye (leader), Ye Eun, So Hee, Yoo Bin and Hae Lim.
  • Official fanclub name- “Wonderful”.
  • Debuted in 2007.
  • Managed by the powerhouse that is JYP, who also discovered Rain.
  • The first ever Korean artist to have a song debut in the US Billboard Hot 100 Charts in 2009, with their song “Nobody.”
  • Supported the Jonas Brothers on a 45 date tour across the US.
  • Faced a line up change in 2010, when member Sunmi left to pursue her academic career, and new member Hye Rim (Lim) joined up.
  • Are very active in the US and are based in New York for much of the year.

Songs you should check out (click on song titles for youtube links):

Tell me: Their debut song, which is particularly notable for the ‘wonder woman’ themed music video for the song and dance which inspired many celebrity imitators.

Nobody: The song which helped them crack America, lovable for it’s retro vibe and easy-to-dance-to chorus.

My POV: The Wonder Girls can rightly demand such a high appearance fee for the simple fact that they are the first Korean artists to debut in the US Billboard hot 100 charts- and this was a big  surprise considering that this all happened within 2 years of their debut in the Korean music industry. The girls have proven their capabilities and drive to ‘crack’ America, having easily adjusted to living in both Korea and the US to pursue their careers- it also helps that they’ve become fluent in English over time!

Personally, the Wonder Girls are easy to like and their songs (thus far) have been enjoyable for both the tunes themselves and the MV (music videos) which accompany them. Whilst they definitely have a unique look about them, I think this is an advantage for their attempts at the US market- additionally, by releasing their singles in Korean and English they are ensuring that their presence is felt worldwide.

Big Bang (aka BigBang)

Official Website: www.ygbigbang.com

Must know basic info:

  • Members: G-dragon (leader), TOP, Seung Ri, Tae Yang and Dae Sung.
  • Managed by YG Entertainment- one of the first labels to bring hip hop music to South Korea.
  • Official fan club name: V.I.P’s
  • Debuted in 2006.
  • Their unique “Big Bang fashion” sense with G-Dragons bleached hair, TOP’s tall hair, Tae Yang’s mohawk and the fact that they rejuvenated the image of  high tops to make them a ‘must have’ item.
  • Have found much success in their individual projects outside of the band; particularly with Tae Yang, G-Dragon and TOP’s solo efforts.

Songs you should check out (click on song titles for youtube links):

Lies– Their debut single, with the memorable “I’m so sorry” chorus line and the ‘invisible stalker,’ like theme in the MV.

Lollipop– This bubblegum bright collaborative song helped introduce the world to Big Bang’s fellow labelmates 2NE1.

High High- An example of the success of their efforts outside of the bands music, this recently released single by G-Dragon and TOP, is addictive-ly catchy.

My POV:  Big Bang have made waves and caught peoples eyes in other ways outside of their music too; with TOP finding success in his role in the Korean action drama Iris and (maybe it shouldn’t be noted, yet is still slightly funny) G-Dragon’s brief ‘lawbreaking’ actions during a solo gig that saw lawsuits and threats of jail abound.

Big Bang are a powerhouse of success- in the KPop world, they could be considered the ‘Seniors’ having debuted in 2006, yet their look and sound always remain fresh and with the times. Usually I’m not much of  a hip hop fan and don’t know much about Big Bang but I do find their Korean/Hip Hop fusion music  easy to digest- personally though, I know the band more for their unique fashion sense and for their solo efforts, which have proved surprisingly successful.

Source: Kpoplive.com, MTV.com, Wikipedia and PopSeoul.com
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Posted in: K-Pop, K-Pop Newbie