Yuri Kwon is here, and she is not coming to play. For those not familiar with the K-Pop scene, Yuri Kwon is a member is the girl group Girls’ Generation, also known as SNSD, which I had previously featured here. SNSD debuted in 2007 and went on to become one of South Korea’s best-selling artists and one of the most popular South Korean girl groups worldwide. They are legends in the K-Pop industry. They paved the way for many of the younger artists.
Fast forward to 2017, the group went on hiatus, and the members took up solo projects. In January this year, Yuri released Always Find You, a single in collaboration with DJ Raiden. She released both a Korean and an English version of the song, and she performed it in Miami at the Ultra Music Festival 2018. The song was a hit, and fans wanted more. So, when news broke that she would be dropping a mini album, her solo debut, on October 4th, people went wild. Anticipation has been brewing ever since that announcement was made. This week, SM dropped a teaser for the mini album and all I can say is, “I can’t wait!”
I like how SNSD members in general tend to go for a different ‘feel’ with their songs, and, with Yuri, I like how she went for EDM with Always Find You. From the snippets I’ve heard from the SM teaser, this mini album is bound to have surprises too. The mini album is titled ‘The First Scene’, and my two favourite songs from teaser are Illusion and Ending Credit (To be Continued). Check out the teaser for The First Scene below. Which is your favourite?
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Well, I guess this is how we're going to start this. Jumping right into the deep-end. Those familiar with K-Pop know that the industry places strict rules upon the so-called 'idols' when it comes to a lot of things, and one of these things is dating. Many K-Pop celebrities have had their careers rocked by scandals because they had the audacity to date. You got that right. Date. And it's not like dating is not something that doesn't happen in South Korea, it's just that there's this standard that's placed upon these celebrities for the purpose of marketing. And the reaction by the fans when they find out that their 'fav' is dating gives insight into why the companies make those rules in the first place. But is it the rules that came before the obsessive fans or is it the obsessive fans that came before the rules? Like a chicken and the egg kind of thing, but we already have the answer to the chicken and the egg question. It's the chicken. The chicken came before the egg. Anyway, back to the story, you could lose your career over dating. Kicked out of your label. Harassed by fans. Lose endorsements. Things get ugly. Granted, things have changed a little bit, but the situation is still wanting because celebrities still have to tiptoe when it comes to dating. Not to mention, on Thursday I woke up to news that Cube Entertainment was firing Hyuna and E-Dawn because they were dating.
People were pissed. PISSED. The internet was ablaze. How dare Cube fire them over dating? Now that I was glad to see because it shows that in as much as what Cube did sucks, times are changing. Hyuna and E-Dawn had the support of the people behind them. Also, what people were pissed off about most is that Hyuna was the one artist who was there with Cube from the start. Hyuna is Cube. And when they kicked her out, Cube's stocks took a hit. So spectacular was that drop in stocks that Cube walked back their decision. They came back moments later saying that they hadn't discussed it with the executives, even though they're the ones who had revealed the decision to fire the two artists through an official statement. And what's worse is that Hyuna and E-Dawn found out about it from the buzz created online. As it stands now, a board meeting will be held next week to discuss the matter of the firing of Hyuna and E-Dawn from Cube. Hyuna and E-Dawn's situation has gotten global attention, being covered by media even outside of South Korea, like Cosmopolitan, BBC, and The New York Times.
Girl's Generation, GG in short, also known as SNSD (Sonyeo Sidae, stylised as 소녀시대 in the Korean alphabet) is a South Korean girl group that has been active since 2007. The group quickly gained the title 'Nation's Girl Group' but their journey has not been without its ups and downs. Yesterday was GG's 11th anniversary and I celebrated by talking a walk down memory lane. Here are 5 things I've learnt from Girl's Generation.
The road to success is a long and winded one.
GG started out at a time when boy groups were the norm and yet they managed to carve a name out for themselves. It didn't come in an instant though, they released their first song in 2007 - Into The New World - but the song that rose them through the charts was Gee which they released in 2009. And even before their debut, the various members were trainees for several years as is the norm in the South Korean entertainment industry. Some can even train for 10+ years before they get a chance to debut! And, because of this training system, the people seeking to be in the entertainment industry practically start out when they are wee children so that they can debut by the time they are getting into late teenagehood or thereabout. I remember watching a GG documentary of the Into The New World era: they would practise that one song for hours and hours on end until every single thing was perfect. At that time, they were opening for Super Junior. People hardly knew who GG were; they had close to no fans. And yet, slowly, through the years, their popularity soared up to the point where they were being put in Korean textbooks as one of Korea's attractions!
Not everyone's going to like you, and you're going to need to be okay with that.
Given what I've led with, you'd think that GG was liked by everyone, and, well, relatively so, but they received their fair share of hate. There's this phenomenon called K-Netz, and they're basically Koreans on the internets who seem to specialize in hate. There's also this other phenomenon called sasaeng, which is an obsessive fan on steroids (figuratively). K-Netz and sasaengs can get very wild. Very, very wild. K-Netz have called for the death penalty for Korean celebrities simply because the celebrity did something the K-Netz didn't like. Sasaengs have directly caused the physical harm of celebrities and other people in the vicinity. Let's just say that things get ugly. But back to GG. GG has had it's fair share of hate. When they started out, Hyoyeon got labelled ugly for her nose. Yuri was attacked for her tan. The girls had to constantly watch their weight otherwise any misstep and they were done for. Then Jessica left and people took it out on Taeyeon who is the group's leader. The poor girl got depression so bad. In fact, she was recently attacked for mourning her friend's death who also happened to be suffering from depression and who ended up committing suicide due to depression. GG as a collective went through a period of time where they tried changing themselves to suit everyone else but as they grew, they grew into themselves and became more and more comfortable with themselves and slowly stopped changing themselves for everyone else's pleasure. Liberation.
Sometimes you're going to have to step out of your comfort zone.
A sizeable amount of entertainers state that they are, as a matter of fact, introverts. Then how are they entertainers? Such is the performer's paradox. GG also has introverts in its midst. Taeyeon is perhaps the most introverted amongst them, yet she has a budding singing career. How? She simply steps out of her comfort zone whenever she has to and steps back into it after she's done. Did you also know that Beyoncé states that she's an introvert? That boggles my mind. What is this life?
You're going to make mistakes.
The most recent mistake by GG was by Tiffany when she put the Imperial Japanese flag on her Instagram on South Korea's Independence Day. Japan's Imperial flag is considered the 'Confederate flag of the East', so you get the idea. And to put it up on Independence Day, oof! Tiffany's defense was that she had simply mistaken the flags and she had meant to put Japan's flag because she was in Tokyo and the the rising sun flag came up after she typed Tokyo and she didn't know any better because it wasn't taboo in Japan or anywhere else in the world plus she's American...she didn't know, in short. She apologized, but it was a really big scandal. HUGE scandal. In her defense, Japan's imperialism isn't discussed outside of East Asia mostly. The rising sun flag of Japan is in display in lots of places and people just think it's just another symbol of Japan, which it is, but they have no idea that it actually stands for war, destruction and hate. The point is, you're going to make mistakes. Apologize and make it right, otherwise you're just an asshole. The world doesn't need any more assholes, there's already plenty of those.
Friends are just family you choose.
GG is a tight-knit family. They're always there for each other. Even now, when they're in different countries, they still make time for each other. They get together when they miss each other and even during member's birthdays whenever they can. When one of them comes up with a project, the rest of them throw their weight behind her and support her fully. Get you friends like those.
*Originally posted in the main blog section on 8/5/2018
안녕하세요! 저는 이본입니다. 저는 스물 두 살입니다. 저는 케냐 사람입니다. 저는 작가 하고 과학자입니다. 저는 지난 9 개월 동안 한국어를 배웠습니다. 그래서 저는 나의 여정을 기록하는 것이 좋을 것이라고 생각했습니다. 또한 많은 사람들이 한국어를 배우는 방법을 묻습니다. 저는 또한 그것이 내 한국어 실력을 향상시키는 좋은 방법이 될 것이라고 생각합니다. 그래서 저는 한국어로 여기에 작은 블로그 포스트를 할 것이다. 그러나 초심자이기 때문에 저는 복잡한 일을하지 않을 것입니다. 저는 또한 10 월에 TOPIK 1을 공부하고 있습니다. 감사합니다! 열심히 한국어를 공부할 겁니다!
N.B. I will be posting study tips and tricks that I use in studying Korean and my journey learning Korean here (in English) so definitely keep checking up on this page whether or not you speak Korean. And if you're a fan of K-Pop and K-Dramas, I got you too.