The popular K-pop (Korean pop) group BTS, short for Bangtan Sonyeondan, has been nominated five times for the Grammys since 2021 which helped introduce K-pop to the western media and culture. However, like many other K-pop idols, success didn’t come to BTS right away.
The life of a K-pop artist can be described as grueling hard work. The process to become a K-pop idol can take many years.
Individuals first audition for entertainment companies, such as JYP (Jin-Young Park) entertainment, SM (Star music or Lee Su-man) entertainment and YG (Yang Goon) entertainment. If they pass auditions, they sign a contract with a company and become a trainee.
However, being a trainee is nowhere near easy. Trainees are put under strict contracts, such as limiting social media and restricting diets. Trainees may also train up to 10 hours a day on top of any school work, according to kbizoom.com.
Although K-pop has become more popular in the western media, many artists still receive criticism and scrutiny from the US.
Because of their fashion or makeup, many people outside of South Korea may label K-pop men “too feminine” in a negative way.
Sophomore Nika Kouassi said, “Since they look perfect on the surface level, people look for something really dumb to pick on and maybe that’s why there’s so much hate around femininity [in K-pop]”
Their fandoms can also play a big aspect into the way K-pop idols are seen by the media.
Many popular idols are constantly being followed by stalkers, also known as “saesangs.” These saesangs have photos of idols’ phone numbers, addresses, family members and passports, according to allkpop.com.
While this scratches the surface of the world of K-pop, K-pop is a category full of many different genres of music.
Each group has their own concepts, and each new album or mini album may have an entirely different concept than previous ones. Give different K-pop groups a chance, and you may find a new favorite group to listen to.