Happy Together

March 24, 2014

K-pop stars become sought-after guests of U.S. concerts 

K-pop star Psy performs in collaboration with American pop diva Madonna during her concert at New York City’s Madison Square Garden in this photo taken in November 2012. A growing number of K-pop stars are invited to open or grace concerts of world-class musicians in the United States.  (Korea Times file)

K-pop star Psy performs in collaboration with American pop diva Madonna during her concert at New York City’s Madison Square Garden in this photo taken in November 2012. A growing number of K-pop stars are invited to open or grace concerts of world-class musicians in the United States.
(Korea Times file)By Park Si-soo

By Park Si-soo

International pop stars are seeking collaboration with Korean pop musicians to grace their stage performances.

Few of these concerts are scheduled in Korea or Asian communities overseas, indicating that world-class musicians are increasingly perceiving K-pop as a genre that is widely beloved by non-Asians.

Crayon Pop + Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga and Crayon Pop? Yes!

Last Friday, U.S. pop diva Lady Gaga announced that the five-member group known for “Bar Bar Bar” will be the opening act of her 13 concerts in North America in June.

“I’m excited to announce June 26 through July 22 of Lady Gaga’s artRAVE: The ARTPOP BALL will be opened by CRAYON POP!,” Gaga said in a Twitter message.

On the same day, Crayon Pop confirmed it on its Twitter, saying “We will perform the opening act (13 performances) during her tour for one month in the U.S. Please look for our performances.”

“The girls didn’t believe it at first,” Hwang Hyun-chang, CEO of Chrome Agency that manages the band, was quoted as saying in a report. “In February, Ellin (one of the members) said her wish is to become famous enough to perform on the same stage with Lady Gaga.” He said fans are buzzing that her dream had come true, adding that the release of the band’s new album has been postponed so they can join Lady Gaga’s tour.

The agency said that Lady Gaga saw the group’s music video and chose it for the opening act. “We are honored to be the opening act of Gaga’s concerts,” the agency said in a statement.

Gaga plans to have 29 concerts in the U.S. and Canada from May to July and then fly to Europe for another concert tour.

Crayon Pop’s set will last about 30 minutes, during which it will sing “Bar Bar Bar” and show its signature “Straight-Five Engine Dance.” The band will also sing “Uh-ee,” a song off its soon-to-be-released album, Hwang said.

Psy + Madonna, MC Hammer, Snoop Dogg and who else?

Psy has played a pivotal role in lifting K-pop’s international profile with the global hit “Gangnam Style” in 2012. Since then, he has performed with many global pop icons, including Madonna, MC Hammer and Britney Spears.

Psy is now making last-minute preparations for a new album in collaboration with renowned American rapper Snoop Dogg and some K-pop musicians. Rumors have it that the new album will be released in mid-April, but Psy’s agency, YG Entertainment’ said nothing has been decided yet.

In November 2012, Psy joined Madonna’s concert at New York City’s (NYC) Madison Square Garden, dancing his signature horse-riding dance together and singing Madonna’s 2000 hit “Music.”

“He (Psy) flew in all the way from Frankfurt, Germany this morning just to cheer you guys,” Madonna said bringing Psy onto the stage. “Thank you, Psy! I’m a very big fan of yours. I’ve never been out to Korea, but I’ll have to do it one day.”

On the eve of 2013, he performed his hit single “Gangnam Style” with MC Hammer live during the annual television special, “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” at NYC’s Times Square.

The performance was aired across the U.S. through American broadcaster ABC. One month earlier, the pair did the same routine at the American Music Awards.

GD + Justin Bieber, Missy Elliott

G-Dragon, conveniently called GD, is one of the hottest K-pop stars receiving a flurry of calls for collaboration from overseas musicians.

The leader of K-pop boy band Big Bang has built up his extensive fan base in Korea and elsewhere with his self-penned songs and outstanding fashion sense.

GD recently took part in the production of American electronic musician Skrillex’s new album, which topped the main album chart of the U.S. iTunes upon its release, according to his management agency YG Entertainment.

In September last year, renowned American rapper and record producer Pharrell Williams expressed his desire to work with GD and Korean fashion designer Mina Kwon.

“These two are amazing talents. Korean art is vast and next level. Time to collab,” Pharrell wrote on his Twitter. GD responded with “Do it Let’s Do it!!,” raising speculation that there would be musical output to be worked out by the three in the near future.

Hwang Mi-hee, a YG’s PR official, said she doesn’t know as to whether the collaboration proposal has materialized.

Last August, award-winning American hip hop star Missy Elliott joined the production of GD’s second solo album “Coup D’etat.”

In November, GD surprised his fans at home and abroad by revealing that he had “finished” a collaborative work with Canadian pop idol Justin Bieber. He said the tune would come out “sometime next year.”

“But more than it being a really big project, I think it’ll be an album where artists with the same heart decided to have fun,” GD said during a press conference at the 2013 Mnet Asian Music Awards held in Hong Kong last November.

Meanwhile, Korean R&B singer-songwriter K.Will will hold a joint concert with American pop star Brian McKnight in May. The two singers will perform together on May 11 at the Jamsil Indoor Gymnasium, according to its organizer EWW.

“The two will hold the separate performances followed by a duet performance,” the agency said.

McKnight is a world-famous R&B artist who has sold more than 20 million albums. He has previously performed with Big Bang’s Taeyang, Lim Jeong-hee, and Kim Bum-soo. Last year, he released a new album “More Than Words.”

One Comment

  1. brian

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