Sunday, April 23, 2017

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What's actually going on with Suzy: Will she really leave JYP?

Suzy's contract with JYP Entertainment has expired on March 31, 2017, and the interest of her fans is collecting around whether or not the top k-pop star will renew her contract. You know, Suzy didn't say a word about the renewal of her contract even through it has been one month since her contract ran out, and that's why there have been so many rumors about her decision. Well, here's what's actually going on with her.

After Suzy's contract with JYP has expired, of course, some agencies contacted her to sign an exclusive contract with her because, yeah, she is a super star. And Suzy thought seriously of making a contract with one of the agencies, but she refused the proposal eventually. The agency is not big, but Suzy thought the agency can give full support to her and help her grow as a competent solo musician. (Suzy prefers an agency for musicians to an agency for actors because she hopes to keep on being active as a solo singer)

Suzy is also thinking about establishing her own agency. According to people close to her, she asked them about establishing her own agency. And she also asked her friend for advice. Her friend is a celebrity who has established his own agency, and Suzy asked detailed questions about establishing and operating her own agency.

In this situation, JYP really wants to renew the contract but the only thing JYP can do is wait for Suzy's decision. Good news for JYP is there has been no discord between Suzy and the agency, while Suzy has a good feeling toward JYP and Park Jin Young. However, it's also true Suzy was not fully satisfied with her life in JYP because she couldn't do everything she wanted in the agency. For example, JYP was very passive about Suzy's solo debut even though Suzy has been looking forward to it. JYP thought it could harm Miss A's teamwork.

For now, there's a good chance that Suzy will establish her own agency, but nothing is confirmed yet. She's busy filming her new drama now, and she'll announce her final decision after finishing filming the drama.

** If you want to know real personality of Suzy, download <K-pop Secret Vol.1: 40 Korean Stars’ Real Personality> :)
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Friday, April 21, 2017

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IU talks about her collaboration with GD and Kim Soohyun

Q. Congratulations on your comeback. Tell me about your new album "Palette".
IU: The title means my new album contains a variety of colors. When I was young, I liked a palette better than a painting. A palette is a drawing tool, but I thought a palette itself can be a work of art. As it's my first album in a long time, I wanted to show my own palette to you.

Q. As a music producer, you took part in writing all the tracks of your new album.
IU: Yeah, all the tracks contain my own stories. There is no fiction, and the lyrics are from my diary.

Q. Tell me about the title track "Palette".
IU: I wrote the song by myself. The song is basically an extension of "Twenty Three" because both songs are about myself. When I released "Twenty Three," I wanted to tell you there were various aspects of me. But two years have passed since then, and I became a woman who can clearly speak about what I like. I've practice dancing a lot too, so please look forward to my dance performance.

Q. It's notable that G-Dragon is featured as a rapper in the song.
IU: Well, I'm a big fan of him, and I asked him for advice when I was writing "Palette". And I later asked him to be featured in the song because I was sure he is the one who can express free and witty atmosphere of the song. He readily said okay, and he did better than expected. I'm so thankful for him.

Q. How about Kim Soohyun? He appeared in music video of "Ending Scene".
IU: We've known each other for a long time. You know, we appeared in "Dream high" and "Producer" together. I'm very thankful for his help because I know he's so busy.

Q. Many famous k-pop singers will make a comeback between April and June. Don't you feel pressured to win the competition?
IU: I know a lot of awesome singers will release their new albums soon, and it's true I'm a little bit scared. However, I'm very happy about it too because I think the competition among popular singers can boost the k-pop industry. I hope we all will sing great songs for k-pop listeners.

Q. You've not recently attended any end-of-year music awards, and some people say you boycotted end-of-year music awards. Is it true?
IU: No, it's not true. Officially, I've never done promotional activities for my album since I released "The red shoes" in 2013. And some of broadcasting companies even didn't ask me to attend its awards ceremony. It's good to attend end-of-year music awards, of course, and I will attend end-of-year music awards this year if I can.

Q. It has been 10 years since you debuted. Do you think you've changed a lot?
IU: Even though it has been a long time since I debuted, I don't think I became very skillful. I'm still not used to what I'm doing. Instead, I became to know about myself better, and I know how to soothe myself.

Q. So, what's your goal as a singer?
IU: As there are so many people who know me, I feel responsible. I want to be a singer who can talk about my thoughts instead of just making sounds.

** If you want to know real personality of IU, GD and Kim Soohyun, download <K-pop Secret Vol.1: 40 Korean Stars’ Real Personality> :)
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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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Burdens placed on Hyuna's shoulders

Do you like Hyuna? I'm sure there are a lot of fans who love the sexy queen. By the way, Hyuna is having a hard time now. Do you know why?

You know, in June 2016, 4minute was disbanded and Nam Jihyun, Heo Gayoon, Jeon Jiyoon and Kwon Sohyun left Cube Entertainment. Hyuna is the only member who decided to renew her contract with the k-pop agency, and Cube Entertainment has high expectation for her now because she is a super star and the agency believes that she alone can earn as much money as 4minute. That's why Hyuna held a world tour in North America early this year.

But that's not all. At the end of 2016, the BEAST members left Cube Entertainment too and made a new start as Highlight. Even though Jang Hyunseung still belongs to Cube Entertainment, the agency doesn't have the other 5 popular and talented members any more. So, Hyuna is the only artist Cube Entertainment can depend on, and that's one reason why Hyuna formed a new sub unit "Triple H" with two young idols E'Dawn and Hui. Cube hopes Hyuna will make them famous.

Well, what do you think? Good news for Hyuna's fans is she is very strong-hearted about her career and she's the one who can get over difficulties. I hope she will do well. And check out what Hyuna talked about her new start. On April 19, she attended a press conference for Triple H's reality show "Triple H detective agency".

We've been sharing our thoughts on music with each other, and that's why it was so natural to form Triple H with E'Dawn and Hui. Even though I'm their senior, I learn a lot from them because they're very fresh. Above all, I'm so happy that I can work with the two handsome guys, haha. Actually, I've not changed much even though it has been 10 years since I debuted. I just walked again and again just like I do on the treadmill. About 4minute and Trouble Maker, I can't say everything is over. I think my activity as a member of Triple H is an extension of my activities as a member of 4minute and Trouble Maker. I didn't ask Jang Hyunseung's opinion about Triple H, but we're open to all the possibilities. What I really want to say is that I'm so happy that I can have so many chances to release new albums and meet my fans. I think I'm lucky.

Monday, April 17, 2017

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Minzy talks frankly about YG, 2NE1 and "Goodbye"

On April 17, Minzy, the former member of 2NE1 held a showcase event for her solo album in Seoul. I attended the event, and you know, as it is her first ever solo album, she looked a little bit nervous but she showed great performance.

How do you like her title track "Ninano"? Well, "Ninano" is a trendy song based on Hip Hop, and yeah, it is basically similar to 2NE1's songs. But it is very notable that Minzy represents the soul and massive talent of a true singer. Through the song, she does what she is able to do so well, proving she's not only a great dancer but also a competent vocalist. You know, she had such a long hiatus as a member of 2NE1, and it seems like she really wanted to show that she can do tremendously well as a solo singer.

So, let's see what Minzy talked about her first ever solo album and 2NE1.

Q. You released your first ever solo album. How do you feel?
Minzy: I'm very nervous, of course. But I know it's a great opportunity for me, and I hope I will reach more fans.

Q. Did you have any difficulties when you were preparing for the album? Because it is your first ever album since you left YG and 2NE1 in 2016.
Minzy: I didn't have any difficulties, but it was never easy to build futures of my own. And it's true I felt pressured to meet the expectations of many people after leaving YG, but I'm sure it acted as a stimulus to me.

Q. So, what made you decide to leave YG and 2NE1?
Minzy: Because my contract with YG has expired. And I had to make a choice because I wanted to show new sides of me.

Q. How do you feel about YG now?
Minzy: Well, YG is like my hometown. I've learned singing and dancing there. YG helped me a lot, and I know YG made me who I am.

Q. How about Yang Hyunsuk?
Minzy: I'm sure he's proud of me because I was just an elementary student when we met for the first time. He'll support me a lot even though I don't belong to YG any more.

Q. Do you still keep in touch with the 2NE1 members?
Minzy: Yeah, we contact each other often. Lately, they called me after watching "Sister's slam dunk 2".

Q. It seems like many fans were disappointed because you didn't participate in singing 2NE1's last song "Goodbye".
Minzy: I know many fans were disappointed about it, and I was disappointed about it too. However, I just supported the members because it was the last song of 2NE1.

Q. How do you like your new agency?
Minzy: YG was very systematic and it had its own rules. Music Works, on the other hand, has a family-like atmosphere. We're like family, and I'm really enjoying my life in Music Works because I can always share many of my views and opinions.

Q. It's notable that Flowsik is featured in your title track as a rapper.
Minzy: After watching his performance with Bohyung of SPICA, I was charmed by his voice. I wanted to perform with him, and I contacted him.

Q. Tell me about the title track "Ninano".
Minzy: I think people expect me to show some great dance performances. I wanted to show a splendid performance, and that's why I chose the song as the title track.

Q. How about "Beautiful lie"? You took part in writing the song.
Minzy: I've been interested in writing songs, and I'm happy that I can get a chance to include my own song in my solo album. I'm usually inspired by movies and dramas when I write songs.

Q. What's your goal as a solo singer?
Minzy: I'll just try to enjoy myself on stage, like I used to. If I win a No.1 trophy at a music chart show, I'll have a guerrilla concert wearing Hanbok (Korean traditional clothes) because "Ninano" contains Korean sentiments.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

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Interview with the producer of We Got Married

Q. Is WGM scripted?
We know many people doubt if WGM is real, but I can say for certain sure that it is not scripted. Of course, we have our cue sheet, but it only includes the time table.

Q. Are you sure all the cast members of WGM don’t have their boyfriends and girlfriends in real life?
When we cast them, we triple check if they have lovers in real life. We ask them questions such as “Do you have anyone you like these days?” “Do you think there is a possibility that you will become her boyfriend?” and “We heard that you are close with a famous idol. How are you and she related?”
For example, we could cast a famous entertainer, but we had to except his name from the cast list because he said he was in love with someone. It was just one day before the first shooting began.

Q. Are the cast members' emotions toward their partners real?
There were some cast members who seemed to like their partners for real. What we hope is some of couples of WGM will fall in love and marry in real life. When that happens, we’ll buy them home furnishings.

Q. How do you match couples?
We don’t usually cast the bride and groom at the same time. We cast one person through in-person meetings, and then, we begin to search for his or her partner. For example, before Lee Jonghyun and Gong Seungyeon appeared in the program, we casted Lee Jonghyun first, and we tried to find his bride on the basis of his requirements. Yewon could have been his partner, but she became Henry’s bride, eventually.

Q. Is there any particular reason why so many idols appear in WGM?
We know idols don’t like to appear in the idol athletics championships and WGM. However, we cast them because many of viewers of WGM are in their teens and twenties. And young and fresh idols fit well with the conception of the program. Yoo Sungjae and Joy are the typical example. They’re so cute.

Q. So, through idol stars who appear in WGM, what do you want to show?
It all depends. For example, we casted Taemin and Naeun because we wanted to tell stories about first love. They had little dating experience, and there were a lot of similarities between them. And after we casted Yook Sungjae and Joy, we wanted to tell stories about an ordinary couple in their early 20s because both of them began their careers as trainees at an early age and they couldn’t enjoy ordinary dates.

**This interview is included in <K-pop Secret Vol.3: How and with whom Idols Date>. K-pop Secret Vol.3 contains all the stories about k-pop idols’ date. The author, who has been working as a k-pop journalist since 2010 gives you answers to some questions about k-pop idols’ date such as “With whom they date?” “Why k-pop idols break up so soon?” and “How much dating experience do they have?”

Download link
Google Play:

K-pop Secret Vol.1: 40 Korean Stars’ Real Personality
K-pop Secret Vol.2: Unknown Stories about K-pop Industry
K-pop Secret Vol.3: How and with whom Idols Date
K-pop Secret Vol.4: The Reality of K-pop Idols
K-pop Secret Vol.5: K-pop Idol Group Ranking

Friday, April 14, 2017

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2017 k-pop idol group ranking

As a k-pop journalist, I’ve been trying to find a way of deciding k-pop idol groups’ rankings more objectively. I’ve asked several people in the k-pop industry for the objective standard to decide the rankings, and some of them gave me a hint about it. So, in early 2017, I’ve collected data on k-pop idol groups’ activities to determine their rankings, and what I basically wanted to do was to measure k-pop idol groups' popularity and influence in the k-pop world numerically, just like the Korean Business Research Institute did.

Some people might think it’s just something for people to gossip about, but it’s not. Actually, idol groups and their agencies really care about k-pop idol group ranking, and there is a good reason for it. Performing at various mini concerts is the main source of income of most of k-pop idol groups. And if an idol group has a very high public recognition, in other words, if the group is ranked high on the k-pop idol group ranking, the group can get paid more than other idol groups. And the group who is ranked high on the ranking also can appear in more mini concerts than others because the public want to see more popular idol groups. Yeah, k-pop idol group ranking is absolutely to do with money. Ok, let’s see the result I got first. (Data as of March 1, 2017)

Let me explain how I got the result. As you can see above, the ranking has been decided based on 5 factors, Melon index, fan café index, Facebook index, Youtube index, and recent performance index. More specifically, I gave marks for each field on a maximum of 1000 points, while I got numbers for Melon index from the amount of the idol groups’ fans on Melon, the biggest online music site in Korea. And fan café index means the membership of their fan cafes, and Facebook index means the amount of likes of their official Facebook page. These 3 indexes show how many fans idol groups have and how loyal their fandoms are.

By the way, the problem is that the 3 indexes don’t reflect idol groups’ recent performance, and that's why I included Youtube index and recent performance index in the statistics. Youtube index means the number of views of idol groups' recent music videos. And recent performance index shows how popular idol groups are these days, and to reflect how successful idol groups’ latest albums were, I got the numbers from the amount of likes of their latest albums on Melon.

So, among boy groups, BIGBANG, EXO and BTS are taking the top spots of the ranking, showing off their overwhelming popularity in the k-pop world, while young and fresh boy groups such as GOT7, WINNER and SEVENTEEN are in the steep growth. And among girl groups, Girls' Generation, the most famous k-pop girl group, is still maintaining the top position, but young girl groups who debuted within the past 3 years such as BLACKPINK, Red Velvet, MAMAMOO and GFriend are becoming more prominent in the k-pop industry. And particularly noteworthy is the fact that TWICE, who debuted in 2015 has already become no.2 in the ranking.

Well, to summarize, top class idol groups such as BIGBANG, EXO and Girls’ Generation are still in their golden days now, but young idol groups are in the steep growth and began to threaten the top position. What do you think it means? Yeah, it means there is an active generational shift in the k-pop world. And as explained above, recent performance index of 2017 k-pop idol group ranking shows how successful idol groups’ latest albums are, and the ranking will continue to change and change again based on their latest performance.

**This article is included in <K-pop Secret Vol.5: K-pop Idol Group Ranking>. K-pop Secret Vol.5 contains stories about k-pop idol group ranking.

Download link
Google Play:
K-pop Secret Vol.1: 40 Korean Stars’ Real Personality
K-pop Secret Vol.2: Unknown Stories about K-pop Industry
K-pop Secret Vol.3: How and with whom Idols Date
K-pop Secret Vol.4: The Reality of K-pop Idols
K-pop Secret Vol.5: K-pop Idol Group Ranking

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

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K-pop Secret series is released!

Aren’t you curious about k-pop stars’ real personality? Aren’t you curious about unknown stories about them? Here’s what you’ve been waiting for! <K-pop Secret> series is released!

Welcome to the real world of k-pop. We tried to include all the secret stories about Korean entertainment industry in the <K-pop Secret> series. We want to share all the stories behind k-pop stars with fans all over the world.

<K-pop Secret Vol.1: 40 Korean Stars’ Real Personality>

K-pop Secret Vol.1 contains stories about the real personality of 40 Korean stars. The author, who has interviewed more than 100 Korean celebrities since 2010 tells the story of famous Korean stars including G-Dragon, Baekhyun, Nichkhun, IU, Suzy, Kim Soohyun, Lee Kwangsoo, Song Joongki, Jun Jihyun, Park Shinhye and more.

Google Play:

<K-pop Secret Vol.2: Unknown Stories about K-pop Industry>

K-pop Secret Vol.2 contains unknown stories about k-pop industry. The author, who has been working as a k-pop journalist since 2010 gives you answers to some questions about k-pop industry such as “Do k-pop idols really sing live?” “How do k-pop chart shows choose their no.1 of the week?” and “Who’s the best singer among k-pop idols?”

Google Play:

<K-pop Secret Vol.3: How and with whom Idols Date>

K-pop Secret Vol.3 contains all the stories about k-pop idols’ date. The author, who has been working as a k-pop journalist since 2010 gives you answers to some questions about k-pop idols’ date such as “With whom they date?” “Why k-pop idols break up so soon?” and “How much dating experience do they have?”

Google Play:

<K-pop Secret Vol.4: The Reality of K-pop Idols>

K-pop Secret Vol.4 contains stories about the reality of k-pop idols. The author, who has been working as a k-pop journalist since 2010 gives you answers to some questions about the reality of k-pop idols such as “How much do k-pop stars earn?” “Why do k-pop agencies do sajaegi?” and “Why do k-pop idols leave their groups?”

Google Play:

<K-pop Secret Vol.5: K-pop Idol Group Ranking>

K-pop Secret Vol.5 contains stories about k-pop idol group ranking. As an experienced k-pop journalist, the author tells the story of the latest trend in the k-pop world. The book includes various stories about the hottest k-pop idol groups such as EXO, BTS, GOT7, TWICE, BLACKPINK and Red Velvet, while the latest version of k-pop idol group ranking is also included in it.

Google Play:

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

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WINNER feels sorry because they couldn't help Nam Taehyun when he had hard times

Q. You made a comeback after a long hiatus.
Seungyoon: I'm so excited now. It feels like we're debuting again. As we prepared a lot for our new album, I'm full of confidence now.
Mino: Even though we had a long hiatus, I couldn't have time to rest because I was busy doing my individual activities. But I feel very comfortable now. It feels like I'm home again.
Jinwoo: I want to get back to the basics and start with a renewed mind.
Seunghoon: Yeah, I'm a rookie at heart. I'll try to be very diligent.

Q. Weren't you worried about your long hiatus?
Seungyoon: I wasn't worried about it, but I worked on music very hard because I really wanted to release great music.
Seunghoon: When I was asked same question in the old days, I usually said I felt sad about our long hiatus. However, I've adapted to such a system. And I was not bored at all because I've been continuously communicating with our fans.

Q. It's your first ever album since Nam Taehyun left your team.
Seungyoon: We wanted to be together for a long time, but he had to leave the team because of his health. When he was active as a member of our team, he had hard times. It's too bad. At first, I was really worried because he has great singing ability and there are still many fans who love him. I was worried if we lose our popularity. But, we tried our best to fill the vacancy. Especially, Jinwoo tried really hard to improve his singing skills. I'm sure we got a great outcome.

Q. So, what did you do to improve your singing skills?
Jinwoo: I took vocal lessons continuously. I think I've relied so much on the team and I wanted to become the one who can ease the other members' burden. I practiced really hard.

Q. Tell me about your new song "Really Really."
Seungyoon: We wrote the song last year. We've released sentimental medium tempo songs because we wanted to differentiate ourselves from other idol groups. However, this time, I wanted to write dance music because I thought it's time to show something new.

Q. It's notable that Seunghoon designed the choreography of the song.
Seungyoon: Yang Hyun Suk entrusted it to him. I think the choreography is gorgeous. It's fresh.
Seunghoon: I did it in a heartbeat, and I could create the choreography in a single day.

Q. Did Yang Hyun Suk give any special advice on your new album?
Seungyoon: When we were filming our music video in the United States, he gave us feedback on it in real time. He said we need to try to be ourselves instead of pretending to be handsome.

Q. It seems like your new song "Fool" is a song for Nam Taehyun.
Seungyoon: Yeah, the motif of the song was the vacancy of him. I'm so sorry I couldn't help him when he was having hard times.

Q. All the BIGBANG members will enlist in the army, and people say you are the one who can fill the boy group's void.
Seungyoon: No, we can't. We know we're still lacking in many things. However, we hope to continue to grow as artists just like BIGBANG did. We'll try to build our own world of music.

Q. Mino, did you enjoy filming "New journey to the west"?
Mino: Well, as it was my first time to appear in an entertainment program and there were big seniors, I was nervous at first. However, they took care of me great, and I could receive a lot of attention from viewers. I think direction and editing of the program were really great. I'm thankful for it, and I'm very happy now.

Q. iKON will make a comeback soon too. What do you think about your competition with the group?
Seungyoon: It will be fun. We're very close, and I think we'll whoop it up in our waiting room. As a fan of iKON, I'm really looking forward to their comeback. I think iKON's music is more energetic than our music.