An Introduction to a Global Phenomenon: K-Pop

This week marks our last HGT blog post of the Summer Term. Although we have all been at home, all of us on the HGT have been keeping busy and  well connected throughout this unusual term. We hope that we have been able to expand this sense of community and connection throughout the student body online.

The HGT have a lot of exciting things planned already for next year. For example we have introduced a clubs and societies fair which will take place in September so students can see and sign up to all the different clubs that are on offer.  We also have a very exciting new club opportunity with the organisation EmpowerHerVoice, which is a platform that facilitates the empowerment of women, looking to expand to Calne.

For this week’s blog Katie (senior prefect) has written about one of her passions in an article entitled “An introduction to a global phenomenon” where she gives a fascinating insight into the world of K-Pop. A very interesting and enjoyable read.

We hope everyone has a restful and enjoyable holiday and we look forward to seeing everyone back in September

Fenella, Head Girl

An Introduction to a Global Phenomenon: K-pop

This is a subject that I don’t easily dig into, because simply, I will never stop. However, given how interesting it is, I shall explain some facts and stories of k-pop that I have specially collected to share, in case anyone decides to neglect it.

Many people may know K-pop as BTS, BLACKPINK, or some group with good-looking people who can dance extremely well. If that is your case, then prepare to be surprised for the rest of this article. Over the years, k-pop has gained significant musical recognition internationally, and this genre has really become a global phenomenon, thanks to its distinctive blend of addictive melodies, slick choreography and production values. If there is one thing that made k-pop stand out in the music industry, first of all, obviously it’s an addictive form of art which is visually satisfying, but more importantly, the level of perfection and profession k-pop groups hold has reached a whole new level that no other forms of group musicians would desire to compare with.

Now I shall introduce to you the harsh and impressive process of the making of a k-pop artist. Let’s say you are trying to become a k-pop artist now, just after starting middle school, usually at the age of 12-16 years old, you would go through at least three rounds of auditions for an entertainment company. You would be judged on your singing and dancing abilities, image, personality, social background, your potentials, and unique additional skills. If you manage to remain after these strict rounds of elimination, Bravo! You have now officially become a ‘trainee’ of your company. Now you would have the honor to go through years and years of rigorous training and preparation. And to give you an idea of the intensity of trainings, here is a quote from Jennie, one of my favourite k-pop artists, ‘During our trainee years, we would go to work at noon and get off at 2am the next day. We would take Japanese lessons, English lessons, Crump lessons, Dance lessons, and vocal lessons. We had to get classes for almost everything. There was no time to rest.’ Allbeit, training would only be a small part of worries in this period. Not all trainees are lucky enough to debut, in fact, according to statistics, you have a less than 0.1% chance of debuting — more than 100 times harder than trying to get into Oxbridge. And given that each year, hundreds of k-pop artist debut, the chances of you being successful are even smaller. That was not so easy! But there’s more to come after your debut, and I shall dive into that in the next issue.

Onto a more serious note, K-pop has become increasingly visible to global audiences in the past decade. Various South Korean artists have hit the Billboard Hot 100 chart since Wonder Girls first cracked it in 2009 with their hit song ‘Nobody’. Ever since then, k-pop has taken on a thriving path, and began to hold a special place in South Korea. Not only does it occur literally everywhere, in k-dramas, reality shows and movies; In 2018, when South Korea hosted the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, a moment of extremely heightened geopolitical tensions, K-pop singer CL performed two of her great tracks. If this does not prove my point, in the same year, the best-known k-pop group, BTS was invited to speak at the United Nations, in an effort to empower young people. K-pop has taken on a whole new kind of sociopolitical significance South Korea even proudly displayed it as its best-known export.

Inevitably, k-pop has gone through a long path to succeed. And it has not been easy for many to acknowledge and respect it as a new form of art and genre. However, despite the industry was, and may still be slightly controversial, there is so much to the world of K-pop, and it really is fascinating on all levels. Not only is it a revolutionary form of art, and internationally, a sociopolitical tool, but also a captivating and precious place that attracts people from completely different worlds to come together. Many k-pop fans even see it as their other form of ‘religion’, and as dramatic as that may sound to you, it truly holds special places in people’s life.

[If you want to know more about k-pop, try ‘K-pop explained’ on Netflix. Or explore some k-pop artist’s work and give their music a listen!]

By Katie (Year 12)

CREDIT Chung Sung-Jun / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images / Universal Images GroupRights Managed / For Education Use Only