K-Pop Artists Who Thrived in 2020

The entertainment industry isn’t limited by language barriers, cultural differences or geography anymore. That's evident in the success of films like Crazy Rich Asians, Always Be My Maybe and Parasite. Even moreso, it’s blatantly obvious with K-Pop artists like BTS and BLACKPINK taking the world by storm with their catchy tracks, stunning visuals, iconic fashion and high-production music videos. BTS was once considered the under-dogs of K-Pop, debuting from a poor company with a previous scandal to becoming the biggest K-Pop group of our generation and making their company, BIGHIT, become a billion-dollar empire. 

K-Pop music isn’t a “fad” or a “trend,” but rather a genre that's here to stay and break records! K-Pop is a global force to be reckoned with, and now that you have all the time in the world, here’s a list of K-Pop artists who thrived in 2020 despite the terrible circumstances, so you can check them out. 

  1. 1. BTS

    Everyone and their mothers knows who BTS is — and with reason! They’ve broken down barriers, paving the way for other K-pop groups to cross over to America. With their most recent album, Map Of The Soul: 7 breaking numerous records and their most recent single “Dynamite” breaking the YouTube record of 100 million views in less than 24 hours, it’s safe to say BTS has had an amazing year and accomplished so much! Fun fact: They recently had a whole week dedicated to them on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show, with exclusive performances and skits featured. ARMY were raving about it, and it’s safe to say America is in love with them! 

  2. 2. BLACKPINK

    From collaborating with Lady Gaga (with "Sour Candy") to releasing their first album named The Album, BLACKPINK has dominated the world of K-Pop and is considered to be the blueprint for girl groups nowadays. The Album broke the record of "Highest First Week Album Sales For K-Pop Girl Group In A Day," surpassing a million pre-orders! With features like Selena Gomez and Cardi B on their album, as well as artists like Ariana Grande and Victoria Monet credited with writing for The Album, BLACKPINK exceeded BLINKS’ expectations and showed that this is, in fact, their year. Fun fact: BLACKPINK teamed up with Netflix to release their very first documentary named BLACKPINK: LIGHT UP THE SKY, set to release on October 14th. 

  3. 3. TWICE

    With their MORE & MORE album surpassing 200,000 sales in a day, and being named as the first K-Pop girl group to sell over 100,000 online concert tickets after having to cancel their tour, they have proven time and time again that they are unbeatable. Fun fact: TWICE teamed up with YouTube Originals to release Twice: Seize the Light, which discussed how they became a girl group and their journey in their 2019 tour. 

  4. 4. ITZY

    ITZY debuted in 2019 but has already taken the world by storm. Receiving awards like “Best New Artist” and “Female Rookie of The Year,” they’ve been continuously recognized as one of the best rookie groups to date. They are known for their difficult choreography, catchy songs, and uplifting messages! Fun fact: Yuna, the youngest member, is only 16 years old! 

  5. 5. EVERGLOW

    Everglow only debuted last year yet they’ve already set a name for themselves both in Korea and internationally. They released two mini-albums this year, with singles "Dun Dun" and “La Di Da” proving that they are a monster rookie girl group. Fun fact: They went on their first ever tour, “Everlasting Tour,” but had to cut it short due to the pandemic. 

  6. 6. SUNMI

    SUNMI has been in the K-Pop industry for 14 years, but she is still as popular as ever! With her most recent single at number five on the Billboard US World Digital Song Sales, she proves time and time again that she never disappoints. From her love for her fans (MIYANE) to her elegant music videos, she proves that solo K-Pop artists can also be successful. Fun fact: She used to be a member of a popular girl group named “Wonder Girls,” and she’s liked two of my Instagram posts recreating her makeup looks!

  7. 7. Red Velvet 

    Despite one of the members, Wendy, suffering a horrible accident that resulted in her having to take a hiatus for a couple of months, the girl group broke multiple records with their single "Psycho." From winning Song of the Year to being nominated for Best K-Pop at the MTV Music Awards, Red Velvet continues to break down barriers and show off their talents. Fun fact: Irene and Seulgi, two of the members, teamed up to release their Monster EP, with the single “Monster” ranking No. 1 in 45 regions on iTunes.

  8. 8. Stray Kids

    From winning “Rookie of the Year” to breaking their own record by selling over 300,000 pre-orders for their most recent album, they continuously prove that they are a force to be reckoned with! Despite losing a once-loved member who was revealed to be problematic, they’ve shown that they can face any challenge head on. Fun fact: They were set to tour in Europe but had to cancel because of the pandemic.

  9. 9. SUPERM

    With their self-titled EP naming them as the first ever Asian act to achieve No. 1 on Billboard’s US album chart back in 2019, SUPERM has broken many records in only a short period of time! In April they became the first ever group from SM Entertainment to hold an online concert, attracting more than 750,000 real-time viewers. In August, they released their first album named Super One and promoted it on shows like Good Morning America. Fun fact: They were named as the official global ambassadors for Korean Air in November of 2019. 

  10. 10. (G)-IDLE

    Last but certainly not least is this talented girl group. They never fail to impress their NEVERLANDS, with their self-produced songs and amazing music videos. Their most recent single, linked above, took No. 1 on iTunes’ Top Songs Chart in 47 regions around the world and achieved 50 million views just six days after its music video release. Fun fact: Soyeon, leader and rapper, broke the Guinness World Record for “Fastest time to hang up five T-shirts" in just 25.41 seconds. 

All in all, 2020 has been a major flop, but not in the entertainment industry — and most certainly not in the K-Pop world! Some honorable mentions include IU, MAMAMOO, IZ*ONE, and NCT. If I could go on and on, I would! 

I urge you to check these artists out! Despite the language barrier, understand that good music is good music, no matter where it comes from.