WHAT DOES THE K IN THE TERM K-POP STAND FOR?
K-Pop is short for Korean Pop and is not just pop music in Korean. K-Pop is a mixture of several music genres - from pop, R&B, hip hop, house to Latin, reggae and soul. So there’s surely something for all of us! Although K-Pop is so diverse, there is a key element that makes it the global success phenomenon it is today. We are talking about the so-called "idols". These are the Korean girl and boy bands. What makes these bands so special? A look at the South Korean entertainment industry answers that question.
We think it’s safe to assume this: Nowhere else in the world is the entertainment industry as pronounced as in South Korea. There are three companies - also called the "Big Three" - which have been the birthplace of many K-Pop bands since the 1990s. The three giants are: SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment. Today, in addition to the "Big Three", there are many other talent agencies in Korea. In those agencies, young talents are spotted (often already in their early teenager years), trained and finally accompanied to their official debut as K-Pop stars. After years of musical and theatrical training - including vocal, dance and acting lessons as well as the learning of various instruments - these companies create young all-round talents who have what it takes to conquer the entertainment world.
And that is exactly what some have already achieved. First and foremost, the Bangtan Boys (BTS). At the beginning of 2018, they achieved an international breakthrough. The 7 Korean boys, aged between 21 and 25, have proven their talent through awards such as the Billboard Music Award and the MTV Europe Music Award. Prior to that, they had already dusted off all awards in their home country. Fancy a cool hip-hop song? Listen to their song "Idol". Prefer something emotional with a soft beat? Then the song "Fake Love" might be just right for you!
BTS are not the first Korean musicians to appeal to the American and European audience. In 2009, the song "Nobody" by the Wonder Girls was in everyone’s ears. It was the first K-Pop song to hit the Hot 100 Billboard charts. In 2012, this was also achieved by a Korean singer named Psy with his song "Gangnam Style". What made these songs so successful, besides the catchy tunes, was an easy choreography that everyone could dance to. The spread of K-Pop has no end in sight. Recently, Tiffany Young made her US debut with an English song called "Over My Skin". Tiffany is a member of the group Girls' Generation - probably the best-known K-Pop girl band of all time!
K-POP & K-BEAUTY
K-Pop and K-Beauty are closely linked. If you go to a beauty shop in Korea, you will most likely see the faces of well-known K-Pop artists on the walls, the shelves and the doors. In addition, the store will most likely play K-Pop music. Korean girl and boy bands are regularly employed as brand ambassadors and campaign models. Not only because they are the embodiment of the Korean beauty ideal. They also set many of the make-up trends that young Koreans are eager to follow. Want to try out the look of your favourite K-Pop star? Below we show you what the typical K-Pop look is made of:
K-Pop Girl Look:
(1) Face: What’s the secret weapon of a Korean woman? Her flawless complexion. So let’s start with that: Prepare your skin with proper skincare and then apply your favourite foundation evenly. Try to only use a little bit of face powder to fix your make-up because K-Pop stars love their dewy skin look. Finally, finish off with some blush in a bright color like pink or orange and make sure to blend it in well.
(2) Eyes: Your eyebrows should have a full and straight look. That makes you look younger. You can do without eyeshadow because the focus will be on the “puppy eyeliner”. What’s that? We bet you’re familiar with the cat eyeliner where the end of the liner is curved up into a pointy tip. For the puppy eyeliner you do the opposite: Instead of creating a wing at the end, extend the line downwards following the direction of your upper lash line. You’ll end up having rounded, innocent-looking eyes like a puppy. Finally, glitter accents are set to enhance the sparkle in the eye. There are no rules here. For instance, you can apply a little glitter eyeshadow to the lower lash line or in the inner corners of your eye.
(3) Lips: An ombré look in pink, red or orange is very much appreciated on the K-Pop stage. The look is made with the must-have lip tints - a liquid, highly pigmented lip product. To achieve the ombré look, start by applying the color only in the inner part of the lips and then blend it outwards.
K-Pop Boy Look:
(1) Face: For the boys of the K-Pop scene make-up is also a fixed part of the agenda. Their base make-up routine doesn’t really differ from that of the girls: They prepare the skin with proper skincare and then apply foundation (often times a little concealer is enough). Sometimes the facial structure is additionally emphasized with a little contouring.
(2) Eyes: The K-Pop boys usually get their eyes tight-lined with brown pencil liner. To tight-line the eyes, the pencil is applied very closely to the lash line and on the waterline. To soften it up, the lines are then smudged out for a very natural smoky eye look. Of course, we can’t forget about the eyebrows. Usually filling the brows in with a bit of brow powder is enough.
(3) Lips: The highly popular lip tints are also used on Korean boys. But instead of a vibrant ombré look, only a little colour is added to the lips then blended out. This brings some liveliness to the lips which would otherwise look too pale in the stage light.
Have we awakened your interest in K-Pop? For starters, check out the glimyu K-Pop playlist!
glimyu K-Pop playlist: We’ve been non-stop listening to these songs: