Everybody has a K-Pop fan origin story! We love hearing them. In hundreds of different ways, the first experience you have with the world of K-Pop can be a glorious gateway into addictive music, tasty food, and of COURSE some brilliant dance routines and a great community of dancers!
For me, I initially took a brief glimpse into K-Pop back in 2009 when I discovered Girls Generation ‘I Got A Boy’ and Hyuna ‘Bubble Pop’ on YouTube. I proceeded to listen to them on a consecutive loop for two weeks straight – my love officially sparked later in 2017. BTS were on the American Music Awards and I saw some tweets complaining about the camera work when compared to performances on Korean shows. I hadn’t heard of BTS before but decided to watch the performance to see how terrible the camera work was, and ended up forgetting all about it in favour of how amazing ‘DNA’ was and how insane the choreography looked. 7 hours of searching later, I had well and truly fallen down the K-Pop rabbit hole – including a somewhat confusing 6 minutes of my life where I watched the Halloween dance practice of BTS ‘Go Go’ with no context as to why they were dressed like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves…
I haven’t looked back since!
We asked you all in our DGC community how you got into K-Pop, and compiled a summary of the top answers below 😀
We all know how addictive YouTube can be. One minute you’re watching cat videos and then you’ve found yourself learning how to unicycle. Before you know it, it’s 4am and you’re watching NCT’s entire back catalogue. For lots of people at DGC, YouTube has been their gateway into K-Pop thanks to the ‘recommended for you’ sidebar and endless hours of interviews and compilations at your fingertips.
‘I was meant to be writing an assignment. 7 hours later, my assignment wasn’t written, but I knew everything there was to know about BTS!’
‘The Young Bros ‘Youtubers React to K-Pop #1’ video and SHINee – Lucifer got me into K-Pop’
‘I randomly heard the instrumental for EXO’s Overdose online and then searched for the music video about 5 years ago!’
‘I found GOT7’s ‘If You Do’ music video on YouTube by accident, and it changed my life!’
2. Friends and Family
The people you know can be the greatest influences in your life, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to learning more about K-Pop. The benefits of finding out this way include having someone to answer your questions (What’s a bias? How do you do a fan-chant?) and another person to freak out over comebacks with!
‘My friend sent me ‘Ring Ding Dong’ by Shinee and said I would like it because I love Eurovision. She was right – one playlist later and I was hooked.’
‘Coming to watch my friend dance in the DGC showcase got me into K-Pop!’
‘A friend showed me ‘Abracadabra’ by Brown Eyed Girls & I’ve been obsessed ever since.’
‘I was always aware of it, but I really got into it when my sister-in-law introduced me to EXO ‘History’ almost 5 years ago.’
With their global domination of charts and hearts worldwide over the last few years, BTS have been monumental in attracting thousands of new Armys to the K-Pop world. With hundreds of hours of video on V-Live, Bangtan bombs on YouTube, endless tweets from the band and even apps to download, it’s easy to see how they’re often considered a gateway.
‘I edited a book about BTS and fell face-first into the whole thing – I watched ‘DNA’ and then ‘Blood Sweat & Tears’ and that was it, no hope of escape!’
‘I saw BTS on the Graham Norton show only a few months ago and started looking up their music videos and was completely hooked. I started being recommended K-Pop videos and started liking more songs and now I’m really into a lot of K-Pop.’
‘A friend told me to check out BTS. I did, and now I’m addicted to K-Pop!’
4. Asian Culture and visiting Asia
For many people in the DGC community, K-Pop music was introduced to them once they had experienced other parts of Asian culture. This includes watching K-Dramas, visiting Korea, and listening to other genres of music such as J-Pop. Lots of K-Pop artists release music in other languages, which can be how people discover them.
‘My best friend moved to Korea to teach English in 2009 and got engaged in 2015 and invited me to his wedding in Seoul. Before I went, I tried to learn more about the culture including going to see f(x) in Trafalgar square that summer but still wasn’t into K-Pop. It was only after I left Seoul that I really got into it thanks to seeing EXID performing ‘Up & Down’ on TV while in Seoul! When I got back to London I quickly became hooked on 2NE1, EXID, f(x), BTS, 4Minute & Wonder Girls. I only wish I was a K-Pop fan before I went to Seoul!!’
‘I was watching Chinese TV shows with friends (specifically Happy Camp in 2012) and saw EXO-M.’
‘I lived in Japan but mostly listened to K-Pop and ate at Korean restaurants. My co-workers were into Big Bang so it was easy to get hooked in the office!’
‘I listened to Japanese songs by Girls Generation not realising they were a K-Pop group, and heard one of their songs in Korean and loved it!’
There are endless ways to get into K-Pop, especially now that technology is so advanced, making new music even easier to stumble upon. Who knows, maybe someone comes across this blog post and decides to give K-Pop a listen! If you do, then we know a great dance community that will welcome you with open arms if you want to try… 😊
Written by Jessica Tansley
Jess is the token Northerner of DGC and professional ‘fan chanter’, after learning every fanchant for DGC15 and shouting them louder than the music… When she’s not in class or talking about her love for Jungkook (BTS), Jihyo (Twice) and Chung Ha, you’ll find her twirling her way through a Disney theme park in a polka dot dress, arranging a Cappella music and on Instagram at @Jiehsikahhh