For Wonder Girls, Girls’ Generation and BoA, the U.S. market was a tough and tricky one to crack. But not for PSY, the eccentric Korean singer and rapper who just happened to make perhaps the most successful U.S. debut in Korean music history.
PSY’s secret? He didn’t try.
There was no extensive strategy, no hard training and not even a need for the 34-year-old to set foot on U.S. soil. The four-minute video of his newest single “Gangnam Style” on YouTube _ now with more than 20 million views and counting _ was enough to put PSY’s name on the map.
And this time, it’s not just the Korean media singing praises.
Major U.S. media outlets like The Huffington Post, CNN, the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times have covered how the comic and upbeat dance track took over the world. What’s more, T-Pain, Robbie Williams and Josh Groban are among the growing list of celebrated musicians who’ve tweeted their love for “Gangnam Style”.
The hit song, unlike other Korean music professionally targeting the U.S. market, is in Korean except for a few English words like “sexy lady” and “style ” here and there. But that doesn’t seem to matter.
“I don’t even care what the lyrics mean. To me, it’s the melody and beat that are insanely addictive”, says Lisa Keanan, 20, a student at New York University. “I didn’t even know what K-pop was until I came across this song”.
Young Sherman, 34, a graphic designer who lives and works in Manhattan, was also introduced to the world of K-pop when his coworker sent him the YouTube link.
“I had it on repeat all day long at work yesterday. I was doing the horse riding dance in my dream. I’d say this is addiction”, he said, adding that he even ordered a “Gangnam Style” T-shirt online.
A “Gangnam Style” T-shirt? Yes, a T-shirt with a caricature of PSY doing the arm swish and leg pop with the words “Keep Calm and Gangnam Style” centered on the front.
Several U.S.-based online shopping sites are selling different variations of the shirt for anywhere from $16 to $25.
Many cultural commentators say PSY is the only Korean singer who actually made his name known to the general public in the U.S.
“Of course not everyone knows PSY, but at least he got closer than anyone else who tried so far”, said Elena Choi, a cultural commentator and writer based in Los Angeles.
Wonder Girls, BoA and Girls’ Generation do have a fan base here, but the number is very limited and a majority of followers are Korean-Americans, she said.
Y.C. Park, a music producer in New York, says this is the first time a Korean song is creating a real buzz.
“It’s always been the Korean media hyping up the success of Korean singers in the U.S. Honestly, there was never any success”, he said, adding that this might serve as a turning point for K-pop to get good exposure to the masses.
In the meantime, “Gangnam Style” is being replicated into all kinds of parodies, as seen on YouTube, across the U.S.
“My coworkers tried filming a short version right in the office, but our boss stepped in. The fun stopped there”, wrote an anonymous user on MissyUSA, a popular online community among women. “I have a feeling we’ll convene again soon for a full-on shoot”.
Credit : Korea Times
Source : Hancinema