British girls’ magazine ‘Bliss’ published an article on K-pop in their latest issue of the magazine, with singer Rihanna donning the glossy cover. Scans of the article along with a transcript is below the cut for you all to enjoy, but don’t forget to support the Hallyu and pick up a copy for yourself!
We’re sitting in a super comfy cinema seat in the Leicester Square Odeon waiting for the lights to dim. But we’re not going to see any credits come up on the screen. We don’t even have popcorn. Instead we’re surrounded by hordes of screaming fans waiting for a band to come on stage.
Everyone is so loud and excited that you’d think Harry, Niall, Liam, Zayn and Louis were about to pop their heads around the curtain. But you might not have heard of the band causing all the commotion. It’s Korean pop act SHINee who are playing their first ever London concert – and the fans are out in force.
Korean Pop, or K-pop as fans call is, is a fast growing phenomenon in the UK. Bands are put together by talent agencies – a bit like record companies holding auditions for groups in the UK. Band members are scouted when they’re 14 or 15 and trained by talent agencies for two years before they’re unleashed on the public. They’re given intense dance and vocal coaching (and some pretty intense hair treatments!) and moulded into the perfect pop stars.
When the boys walk on stage, it’s like nothing we’ve heard before. The auditorium erupts in screams and fans are warned not to approach the stage or the concert will be shut down. Gulp. Well that’s our bums firmly glued to the seats – in a way that’d never happen if there was anyone called Aston, Nathan or Zayn on stage.
We must admit that we were a teeny bit concerned about the language barrier as we don’t quite understand Korean. (Well, ok, we don’t know any!) But for K-pop fans this isn’t an issue. “It doesn’t matter that they’re singing in Korean, you don’t need to 100% understand the lyrics to know that what they’re singing is beautiful.” Lauren, 16, gushes. As the boys start belting out tunes we realise exactly what the fans meant. The music feels amazing to listen to. We’re up on our feet, clapping and dancing to hit song Juliette before we remember that we don’t really know the words!
And it’s not just girls who love the K-pop trend. Tobi, 18, has travelled all the way to London from Cornwall just to see the band perform for an hour. “K-pop is addictive,” he tells us. “It consumes my life.” Many of the other fans agree, explaining how they stumbled upon one band and then another, and then another…and then they were completely hooked.
Being at a K-pop concert feels like being a part of a crazy family at a Christmas party. A family created via Facebook, where K-pop fans share thoughts, music and their love for bands.
It seems to us that being a K-pop fan is all about having fun and enjoying the music, so back at BLISS HQ we get straight onto YouTube and fully immerse ourselves in the K-pop sensation. We didn’t think that any bunch of boys could get between us and our obsessions with One Direction, JLS, and The Wanted – but SHINee are beautiful and talented enough to give them a serious run for their money. The jury’s out…
Sparkly and SHINee!
So, what exactly does SHINee mean?
Onew: “SHINee means ‘the one in the light’. Which is what we want all our fans to be – in the SHINee spotlight regardless of their age or region.”
How do you feel when you perform to screaming fans?
Onew: “Performing on stage is addictive. I feel joy and happiness and I wouldn’t change that.”
Key: “There are times when you get tired, but once you’re on stage it’s gone…then on it’s just fun!”
Sounds ace! How do your UK fans compare to others?
Minho: “You can tell they’re having fun as they dance along to our music.”
Jonghyun: “The way they cheer, they show no limits!”
That must be why they told us to stay in our seats during the concert! You got mobbed at the airport when you arrived in the UK.Are you fans always that enthusiastic?
Key: “Our fans are extremely passionate.”
Minho: “Fans always welcome us, and it feels great so we can’t comlain!”
Jonghyun: “There are some fans that follow us to the office and hotels. It’s a surprise that we manage to get around!”
What makes you different to other K-pop groups?
Onew: “The synergy and harmony between all five of us.”
Taemin: “We are unique in everything we do, from our fashioin to performances.”
What would you be doing if you weren’t pop stars?
Jonghyun: “I’d be a songwriter.”
Minho: “I’d be an average university student who is into sports.”
Key & Onew: “Yeah we’d just be university students too!”
Taemin: “I’ve always wanted to be a pilot.”
Like the sound of SHINee? You might enjoy these guys too…
Three of the members are the voices of the chipmunks in the Korean release of Alvin and the Chipmunks!
Girls’ Generation (also known as SNSD)
The nine girls are models for Goobne chicken, the Korean equivalent of Nando’s. Yum!
They won Best Worldwide Act in the 2011 MTV EMAs. Wow!
They’ve recorded ten songs with Will.I.Am. Ooh!
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