Despite the hallyu’s success in Asia, today’s Korean pop stars have yet to make it big in the States. Yes, we’ve seen a Korean or two in a Hollywood film or on Comedy Central, but concerts have been fairly localised, and the high-profile tour by Rain never got off the ground. And we’ve yet to see JYP’s investment in his US operation make any significant payback.
Can BoA succeed where Rain failed? She has been achieving significant success in Japan, where her language skills have helped her to make the breakthrough. All the while she has been honing her English, preparing for the onslaught on the US. She’s even prepared to tackle some questions in English at a press conference.
Her backers have ambitious plans, and have made a bold statement in the release of teaser videos for her English language single, Eat You Up, due to be released online in October 2008: in a strange gothic song-and-dance audition, BoA blows away a rather fusty-looking judging panel:
[Edit: YouTube has now removed all versions of the trailer – so here’s the full version]:
For the musicologists among you, apparently this is a Reverse Beat Dance Track.
Loyal readers will know that LKL has a sneaking admiration for BoA. Preferring to let her talent speak for itself rather than constantly pushing for media attention, she is one of Korea’s most successful musical exports. She will face stiff competition in the States and it will be interesting to watch the strategy for making her stand out from the crowd, becuase the music itself does not appear to be anything particularly new. Will she be branded specifically as “Korean” or generically as “Asian”? Is she a raunchy exotic oriental import or a reminder of an imagined past innocence? Indeed, will the fact that she’s not American be pushed at all? The slogan accompanying her campaign, making the best use of her name – Best of Asia, Bring on America – points the way.