Don’t listen to international music because of the language barrier? Let me tell you what you’re missing out on—an immense exposure to global sound and culture. As a fan of Asian music, I will share with you some of my favorite artists from South Korea in hopes that you’ll immerse yourself in the beauty of international music and culture. After all, isn’t music a universal language?
Breakthrough South Korean Artists
South Korean music is on the rise and will continue to dominate music charts all around the world. You may have heard of top K-pop groups like BTS, BLACKPINK, and TWICE. Let’s dive deeper by examining some Korean artists and their dynamic music.
DPR LIVE, a 28-year-old solo artist who debuted in 2017 is known for his energetic rap and vocals. DPR LIVE heavily incorporates hip-hop, rap, and R&B styles throughout his music. His latest EP release, IITE COOL, is the perfect combo of these three genres. More notably, the EP’s title song Hula Hoops featuring BEENZINO and HWASA reached more than 4.7 million views on YouTube.
Next, is singer-songwriter Colde who after his 2016 debut in the duo group offonoff, officially debuted as a solo artist in 2019. Recognized for his unique voice and rap abilities, Colde’s style focuses on a lounge and alternative R&B vibe. His most popular songs include Control me, Sunflower, Your Dog Still Loves You, The Museum, and Light. Colde’s recent release of When Dawn Comes Again ft. BAEKHYUN, which gained over 1.5 million listens on YouTube, is the perfect late-night song to add to your playlist.
BAEKHYUN, released his first solo mini-album City Lights in 2019. The mini-album’s title song UN Village, which maintained a groovy alternative R&B style, received over 45 million views on YouTube. Following the release of his second mini-album Delight and EP Bambi, Baekhyun continues to showcase his powerful vocals through his mix of R&B, ballad, pop, and hip-hop music genres.
Our fourth artist, BIBI, is a 23-year-old singer-songwriter who debuted in 2019. Known for her distinct rap and vocal style, BIBI incorporates the hip-hop and R&B conventions
Throughout her music. BIBI’s latest EP titled Life is a Bi… showcases her unique flow and distinct rhythm combinations. BIBI’s top songs include BINU, NABI, and Eat My Love—with their respective audio videos totaling over 12 million views on YouTube.
Our last featured artist is rapper and singer SOHLHEE. After her 2019 debut, SOHLHEE went on to release her hit single Purple ft. TAEIL (of NCT 127), which gained over 1.9 million views on YouTube. SOHLHEE’s R&B, hip-hop, pop, and rap music style followed her latest 2020 release of SUPERSiNGLE. Although she has yet to release a full album, SOHEE's top singles, He ghosted me and LADY, are the perfect feel-good songs for an afternoon study.
The impact of South Korean music
In today’s digital world, listening to music from around the globe is super easy. No longer are our ears limited by geographical barriers as thousands upon thousands of music streaming services allow us to listen to international music. The cultural and linguistic exposure that’s gained is massive as listening to international music not only enriches your playlist but also allows you to enhance your global consciousness. By immersing yourself in global music, you’ll discover new perspectives, identities, and ways of life.
For me, this global exposure was possible through Korean music. I instantly fell in love with the language and, through it, was able to discover the incredible aforementioned artists. Most importantly, my passion for Korean music motivated me to start learning the South Korean language.
This love for music soon transformed into a cultural experience. I not only became hooked on other forms of Korean entertainment like my all-time favorite romance-fantasy film A Werewolf Boy, but I also developed an understanding of South Korean values, fashion, and food.
As a whole, my exposure to international music truly upheld the notion that “music is a universal language.”
More than ever, the sharing of culture through music is so important. Take the opportunity to expand your global consciousness, connect with diverse individuals, and immerse yourself in another culture. Don’t let language barriers keep you from listening to international music. Instead, explore music from around the world, discover new artists, and share your insights with others!