Music is jumping over the language barrier as collaborations between Korean and Western artists show Korea’s cultural leap into the American market. Through concerts like the Korean Convention (KCON) and iconic collaborations between artists like Psy and Snoop Dogg, American music is opening to Korean culture.
Korean pop has Western elements, which helps in the adaptability of Korean music outside of Korea. Throughout the last five years, many collaborative projects have occurred between the two genres. Notably, 2NE1 and G-Dragon have collaborated on songs with musicians like Diplo, will.i.am, and Skrillex. Female soloist Ailee has been featured in one of Eric Benet’s songs and Psy worked with Snoop Dogg to make the track “Hangover.”
Even Lady Gaga, who started her new tour just a couple months ago, has drawn attention to the growing popularity of Korean girl groups by inviting Crayon Pop to open her shows. In 2012, popular girl group Girls Generation was invited to perform on “The Late Show with David Letterman.” With concert events like KCON attracting audiences of mostly non-Korean guests, a lot of translated articles and content have also come about on the Internet for foreign listeners.
Concerts and showcases by Korean artists have come to the American concert market quite frequently in the past five years. KCON, the largest Korean convention in North America, was held this year at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena on August 9 and 10. According to Billboard, attendance at the event more than doubled from 20,000 to 42,000 over last year’s event. This growing audience shows signals of the gradual advancement Korean music is making in America.
Alice Hong, a highschool student who worked at KCON this year, told JSR, “Working at a booth at KCON gave me a chance to meet a lot of the people who came for the event. I was really surprised because so many non-Koreans were a lot more passionate and knowledgeable about Korean artists than I am.”
Hong continued, “I hope it develops into a genre that’s internationally well-known.”