miss A lures China with ‘Hush’

November 12, 2013

K-pop band put to test to save JYP Entertainment

Seen is an image captured from miss A’s “Hush” music video, released on Wednesday. The group recorded the song in Korean and Chinese in a move to enter into the world’s most populous nation. It will start performing in China from the middle of December. / Courtesy of JYP Entertainment

Seen is an image captured from miss A’s “Hush” music video, released on Wednesday. The group recorded the song in Korean and Chinese in a move to enter into the world’s most populous nation. It will start performing in China from the middle of December. (Courtesy of JYP Entertainment)

By Park Si-soo

K-pop girl group miss A has returned to the stage after a 14-month hiatus with a second full-length album “Hush,” led by a single of the same name.

The hook-heavy lead track, armed with lyrics explicitly describing what its members called a “sexually thrilling” moment of a romantic kiss, hug and other physical contact, instantly swept domestic music charts upon its release last Wednesday.

The song begins in a slow pace, with a heavy emphasis on the vocals of the members, acoustic instrumentals and minimal percussion, and steadily develops into an upbeat, dance track. Its accompanying music video released on the same day, shows a more mature and sexy side of the members — Fei, Jia, Min and Suzy.

Hush was written by E-Tribe, who earned fame for creating Girls’ Generation’s “Gee” and Lee Hyori’s “U Go Girl” among others.

This seems to break JYP Entertainment’s long-running practice that the firm’s major musicians, including miss A, have always brought their title songs produced by Park Jin-young, JYP’s founder and chief producer. miss A made its debut in 2010 with “Bad Girl and Good Girl,” written by Park.

The members will concentrate on domestic stages for one month or so and then expand their activities into China from the middle of December, according to a JYP spokesman. To that end, they also recorded the title song in Chinese.

“I’m very thrilled to be back on the stage,” Suzy said in an interview with The Korea Times at a cafe in Samcheong-dong last Tuesday. “It seems that time flies so fast because it has already been one year and two months since we went into hibernation.”

Suzy said she and the other members are “fully ready” to show their best performances on stage.

“Please forget the powerful and joint-twisting tough dance moves we showed previously,” she noted. “The new song was designed to make us look more matured, sexy and voluptuous.”

Fei said the new concept will also appeal to Chinese audiences. Fei and Jia are Chinese who joined the group through JYP’s notoriously competitive audition in 2006 and 2007, respectively.

“China is a huge market,” Fei said. “That means it’s tougher and takes longer than Korea to rise in China. So initially we will concentrate on big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai to build a fan base there and then expand into smaller cities.” She went on, “Taiwan and Hong Kong is also very crucial because Chinese people love to watch TV programs imported from the two.”

Jia expressed a rosy outlook of their activities in China and elsewhere, saying K-pop’s globalization is an “irrevocable” trend.

“You can see the trend with Girls’ Generation’s recent winning of an international award,” Jia said, referring to the nine-member K-pop superstar’s winning of the “Video of the Year” with “I Got A Boy” at the inaugural YouTube Music Awards held in New York on Nov. 4.

“That’s a great honor for not only Girls’ Generation but also all K-pop musicians. In addition the award winning means that the U.S. market is opening its door to K-pop gradually. I think the same is happening in many other counties.”

New experiment

Suzy said that making a comeback with a song not written by Park is a “new experiment.”

“Now everything is fine,” she said. “But it took time for me and the other members to get familiar with the song because it is different from Park’s music in everything such as feeling, concept and required vocal technique.”

She added, “Park said he likes the song although I’m not sure what his true feeling is. Anyway I’m happy because the song is a good match with the ‘sexy’ concept we pursue in the album.”

Music industry analysts said the departure from Park’s supports came amid rising concerns over JYP Entertainment’s sharp drop in sales. It means that Park’s production doesn’t guarantee success anymore.

Last year, the country’s third biggest label, after SM and YG Entertainment, posted 38.5 billion won ($36.1 million) in sales and 3.8 billion won in operating profits. The firm has suffered a sharp drop in sales this year, expecting to mark 27.3 billion won in sales by the end of the year. During the first half of the year, JYP reported only 10.7 billion won in sales and 400 million won in net losses.

What’s worrisome is that the firm has generated more than two third of its combined sales from the activities of 2PM, a popular six-member boy band.

The company manages 26 entertainers, but most of them are currently idle. miss A was the second biggest contributor to the firm’s bottom line last year.

“Park is a great songwriter for sure since he has created a number of hit songs,” said an analyst. “Nonetheless his songs are said to have lost their competitiveness gradually due to typical rhythm, mood and style. Given this, JYP’s voluntary departure shows how desperate the label is in finding a breakthrough amid consistent sales drop. It seems that the company expects a dramatic rebound in sales with miss A’s new song.”