It’s a scary thing waiting for a hurricane that you know is heading straight for your neighborhood. Hurricane Irma was a category four and was predicted to hit Tampa Bay, with the eye hitting only a block away from my small apartment. Living right by the water can have its perks, but at that moment I felt nothing but dread and fear. As I planned to evacuate with my sick mother and our two small dogs, thoughts of my home flooding filled my mind. I remembered I sat down, needing a break from the stress, and caught up with some K-pop music show performances. It was September 9 and I was watching the Incheon K-pop concert performances that were up on YouTube. I began watching the Red Velvet performance for “Red Flavor” and I instantly burst into tears.
Why am I bursting into tears? I thought instantly. I did love the song, but crying seemed like an over exaggeration. I soon realized it wasn’t because I was sad or upset, but it was because the song brought me relief. Watching them perform and singing one of my favorite summer hits filled me with instant calm and joy. I didn’t think about the impending hurricane, orders to evacuate, monetary problems, questions of the future, but instead I was smiling and singing along.
For those that aren’t aware, I started this blog with a bigger goal in mind. Sure, I absolutely love writing, but I started this website because I wanted it to lead to my ultimate dream: to work in K-pop music industry. Why? Because, I love K-pop.
Truthfully, I only discovered K-pop a little over a year ago when one of my classmates at my old university (USF! Go bulls!) suggested I listen to EXO after I told her I l watched anime. I supposed she thought I was open to international music, which I was, but I had never heard of K-pop before. I even remember the first K-pop song I fell in love with, “What Is Love” by EXO-K, and it’s still one of my favorite K-pop songs (and probably favorite EXO song).
After listening to EXO exclusively, and obsessively, for four months, I stumbled upon their cover of SHINee’s hit single, “Why So Serious?” and instantly became intrigued after looking up the hilarious lyrics (who honestly thought a song about a zombie apocalypse would be a hit?). I was instantly hooked, and even had my first bias, Onew. SHINee became my new favorite group because they were incredibly unique and talented. I began watching live performances for the first time and following SHINee's promotional activities. It was the first time I learned about the various music shows, voting systems, and fan websites. You better believe I watched the live performance for Everybody AT LEAST a hundred times. Who can resist SHINee in a military uniform?
But, the group that led me to the K-pop rabbit hole was BTS. Yes, call it a cliché, but BTS was the hook, line, and sinker. I stumbled upon the music video for “Spring Day” on February 15 (yes, I remember the day) and I watched it again, again, again...and again. I kid you not, I watched the video six times in a row. I was mesmerized by the cinematography, aesthetic, clothing, emotion, rapping, singing, lyrics, and everything else you could think of. It was the deciding factor of my life, and I didn’t even know it yet. What started after that was the ultimate K-pop obsession.
Discovering BTS so late made me realize that I wanted to invest more time in K-pop. I began reading articles, staying updated on the latest comebacks from various group and solo artists in all genres, waking up an hour early just to watch all the live performances, and actively searching for K-pop concerts in my area (btw: there are none). I was in an unknown world, but I never wanted to leave. No one understood me, but I liked it better that way. K-pop had become more than a type of music for me, it became my safe space.
Whenever I was upset, sad, scared, lonely, etc. etc, I listened to K-pop. Somehow K-pop gave me self-confidence needed to travel across the world alone, get over an abusive relationship, succeed at my first adult job, and talk to new people (and as an introvert, that is NO easy feat).
The idea to create this website all started when BTS was nominated for the Top Social Artist Award at the Billboard Music Awards. I was in awe at the success of a K-pop group that literally started with nothing, and I was inspired to follow in their footsteps. Although I had no skills whatsoever, maybe I still have none, I became inspired to at least try. After seeing BTS accept their award, it solidified the idea in my mind and since May I’ve been actively seeking that goal.
I’m sure my story isn’t unique, but it’s a story I want to be proud to tell one day. I'm using this platform as a stepping stone to show potential employers that I have the writing skills and knowledge necessary to create meaningful and interesting content for their client's audience. Maybe this blog will never amount to anything, but regardless it's a part of my K-pop story and proof of my love for this crazy genre of music. Whether it's working for a K-pop tour company like SubKulture Entertainment, a news site or Soompi, or even a major K-pop entertainment company like BigHit Entertainment, I'll do anything possible to leave my mark on the K-pop community!
So, while others may laugh, I'll keep emailing, writing, learning Korean, researching potential careers, searching for nearby concerts, and, of course, listening to K-pop.
Stay Kurrent. Stay K-pop.