How K-Pop Changed My Life & 10 Reasons Why I Love It so Much

It was in 2016. I was a sophomore in high school, at a point in my life where I was still heartbroken over One Direction’s decision to go on a break (still coping with Zayn’s departure) and in need of a new fandom to join and distract me from my 1D-induced heartbreak. That’s when a friend of mine introduced me to the amazing genre that is K-Pop. My first look at it was by watching BTS’ "Fire" music video and it all escalated from there. I stayed up late in the night for the following couple of weeks, binge-watching Bangtan Bombs and getting to know each member, watching all of their music videos and live performances, and then moving on to other groups like EXO and Blackpink. I raved about BTS to my family so much to the point where they too became fans of their music. Now, K-Pop is pretty much the genre my family and I listen to 24/7 and we are obsessed with Korean variety shows like Running Man and K-Dramas. It has allowed me to find a community of people who are so passionate about the artists they support and relate to them, learning about a whole different culture and meeting people from all over the world because of it.

As an avid K-pop lover, I would like to share 10 reasons why I love it so much and why you should give it a chance:

  1. 1. Training 

    Unlike young western pop stars who seem to gain fame overnight (like Justin Bieber), K-Pop artists go through rigorous training for years at a time. Their intensive training includes dancing, singing, exercising and dieting under a very strict schedule. They are mentored by agents and managers for a very long time. One example is Jihyo from the well-known group Twice, who was a trainee for 10 years before debuting. This training allows these young artists to become seasoned performers by the time they debut, providing fans with quality music and choreography. Here's Jennie from Blackpink talking about her experience.

  2. 2. The Music Videos 

    One of the things that K-Pop does amazingly is the production and creativity behind their music videos. The use of costumes, vibrant colors, revolutionary sets and video effects make the viewing experience for fans even more fun.

  3. 3. The Storytelling

    K-Pop utilizes strong storytelling throughout many of their songs and music videos. Their strong and meaningful song lyrics paired with inspiring visuals and storylines keeps fans on their toes. One of my favorite examples is Red Velvet’s "Peek-A-Boo" music video.

  4. 4. Fashion

    K-Pop brings a whole new meaning to fashion. From their real-life outfits (hello Airport Fashion!) to their music video costumes, K-Pop idols never shy away from making a bold statement with their styles, and they always interpret current trends in a unique way. Jennie from BLACKPINK is an example of a fashion mogul, always trending online for her airport fashion and even being chosen by Chanel Korea to be a brand ambassador and the model for its cosmetics line, Chanel Beauty. It’s safe to say that fashion plays a major role in the K-Pop Industry.

  5. 5. Choreography

    K-Pop groups perform complicated and challenging dance routines while singing, dominating their choreography. Not only is this incredibly difficult to achieve, but K-Pop artists are well known for excelling at this live. This makes their performances even more entertaining to watch!

  6. 6. Idols Are Promoting Self-Love & Social Awareness

    Anybody who goes on Twitter knows that BTS is always trending and their social engagement is top-notch. What many don’t know is how they are using their platform for all the right reasons. They gave a powerful speech to the United Nations as part of their global partnership with UNICEF. They are ambassadors for an anti-violence campaign titled “Love Myself,” and their speech for the campaign touched on issues related to global education and training crises. K-Pop is not always about aesthetics and music, but also about artists using their platforms for good causes.

  7. 7. K-Pop Artists Are Normalizing Gender Fluidity

    Many artists in this genre are challenging gender norms and knocking down barriers. With male idols wearing makeup and whatever fashion choices they like, many idols are showing people that it's okay to look and dress the way you want — even if societal standards say otherwise. Artists like G-Dragon, Taemin, Amber and Ren challenge gender norms with their fashion and advocate for being true to oneself, rather than adhering to society’s standards.

  8. 8. Their Album Packaging is Always Aesthetically Pleasing

    Anyone who is a collector of CDs knows the joy of unboxing their favorite artist’s album and looking at all the pictures and song lyrics. K-Pop albums are THE best at this. Their packaging is always so detailed and beautiful, to the point that I've started collecting K-Pop albums for fun. They come with amazing pictures, as well as little cute details like polaroid pictures and stickers. It’s definitely a fun experience opening these albums and showing your friends and family.

  9. 9. V-Lives and Fan Interactions

    As a previous Directioner, I know how much it meant to us when One Direction released special content like their video diary series so that we could get to know them and see what they do in their free time.  K-Pop artists are no different. They use an app named V Live to broadcast to fans (like doing an IG live), and to engage with fans and talk with them. They also release “reality tv show” style content, so we see them traveling the world and doing fun things. I find this to be so interesting and fun, because we are getting to know them as real people.

  10. 10. Great Music 

    Lastly — but most importantly — K-Pop artists release bops. From having catchy hooks to sing-along lyrics in English, these artists are actively making sure people from all over the world can enjoy their music. K-Pop music has melodies that can instantly get stuck in your head and make you dance along, despite the language barrier.

K-Pop is definitely a genre of music that I love a lot, and it has impacted my life for the better. Having the chance to be a part of a community that is so welcoming of people from different cultures means a lot to me. With all of these reasons, why not give it a listen and check some artists out?

Media: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. 1, 5 provided by the author.