(Last updated March 2018)
Who am I and how did I get here?
As you can probably guess from my URL, my name is Katherine and I really K-pop. I lived in Paris for the last five and a half years, but I’m originally American. I currently don’t have a job because of some visa-related issues in France (I only just returned to the United States). But I’ve always been involved in the arts – I majored in theatre in college and I also went to film school. I would love to be an entertainment writer or work in the publishing industry, and I set up this blog to practice my writing skills.
I discovered K-pop a few years ago in the most random way. Seriously. I was scrolling Buzzfeed for quizzes, clicked the wrong link and ended up on”What Member of GOT7 are you?” I took it anyway (I got Mark, in case you were wondering), and I got curious. I decided to watch their music videos, which basically turned into jumping down the rabbit hole and never looking back.
Now I’ve watched endless videos on Youtube, I have a playlist filled with hundreds of songs, can spout information on easily 20+ groups and casually listen to WAY more. I’ve also gone to several concerts (KCON France, Monsta X, K.A.R.D., SF9, Dreamcatcher) and did a K-pop dance workshop through my local Korean Cultural Center.
This is what happens when you’re destined to have a freelance job Since I want to be a writer and I want to practice having an opinion blog, what better subject than my new favorite obsession hobby?
What do I like?
One thing I’ve learned is that every K-pop fan has their own biases and opinions. I really do try to be as neutral as I can, but of course I have my own favorites. My fickle heart constantly changes over who I like the best, though. I come back and change this page pretty much every month.
CURRENT FAVORITES (but I have many, many more):
Top 10 Boy Groups: NCT (mostly NCT 127 and NCT U, but I like the Dreamies too), EXO, Super Junior, Monsta X, GOT7, NU’EST, BTS, B.A.P, VIXX, Wanna One
Top 10 Girl Groups: Red Velvet, BLACKPINK, TWICE, SNSD, EXID, gugudan, SONAMOO, CLC, Oh My Girl, WJSN
(Let it be known that I also love Sistar and I.O.I., but I won’t put them in this list because they’ve disbanded *sobs*)
Top 10 Male Biases: Donghae (Super Junior), Yuta (NCT), Taeyong (NCT), Sehun (EXO), JR (NU’EST), Jimin (BTS), Mark Tuan (GOT7), J.seph (KARD), Sungwoo (Wanna One), Hyungwon (Monsta X)
Top 10 Female Biases: Irene (Red Velvet), Hani (EXID), Mina (TWICE), Lisa (BLACKPINK), Hyoyeon (SNSD), Eujin (SONAMOO), Eunji (Apink), Hana (gugudan), Seungyeon (CLC), Cheng Xiao (WJSN)
Some Other Things About Me Regarding K-Pop:
*I’m heavily dancer-biased. You could probably figure this out if you looked at my above list. Part of it comes from my own dance training growing up, but I honestly think there’s nothing more attractive than someone who knows how to dance.
*Once I pick a bias for a group, it usually doesn’t change. When I get into a group, I have a system. I watch all of the music videos and performances, and then all of the variety show appearances and reality shows. After all of that, my bias is usually set. The only time I’ve had two biases was with NCT because I constantly change between Yuta and Taeyong. (I cheat and say that Yuta’s my NCT 127 bias and Taeyong’s my NCT U bias) That being said, my ultimate bias changes constantly. It’s currently Donghae, but we’ll see who it is six months from now.
*I haven’t officially joined any fandoms. At this point, I think I’m beyond being multifandom. I put together a list of groups that I follow at the end of 2016, and the number was over 50! I discovered a whole bunch more groups last year through survival shows, so I’m sure that number has at least doubled. I can’t even say I’m a casual listener of K-pop either, because I consume so much of it. So to balance things out, I don’t label myself or put myself in a particular fandom. My tastes and favorites are ever-changing, so I just call myself a hardcore K-pop fan and leave it at that.
*I like both boy groups and girl groups…but I put more energy into following boy groups. When I made my aforementioned list, I discovered I listen to more girl groups than boy groups. I was surprised, because I thought that it would be the other way around. I think that while I do listen to a lot of girl groups, it’s more casual. I tend to get way more hyped over boy groups, probably because I’m a straight woman.
*But at the same time, I’m a huge supporter of underrated girl groups. I think this is because I was an aspiring actress for so many years, but I really identify with these young girls who are trying to succeed and make a name for themselves. It seems like the industry makes it so much tougher for girl groups to hit it big. So I really make the extra effort to listen to a lot of girl groups and learn their names and songs, and I have some that I will fiercely promote on my Tumblr until they get the recognition they deserve.
*I’m an older fan, but also a newer one. I feel like I have a really weird perspective on things. To date myself, I’m about the same age as SNSD. (I’m actually like a week younger than Yoona) But because I’m new(ish) to K-Pop, I tend to prefer the groups that are trending right now over the ones that are closer to my age and have been around for a while. I honestly have never come across a K-pop group that I didn’t like, but I’ve noticed that the ones that debuted 2008-2011 have a different sound. I’m sure that this would be very different if I discovered K-Pop in college. So it’s a little isolating sometimes, because I feel like all of the other older fans listen to other music.
*I’m ambivalent (at best) about cute concepts. To be honest, I know this is incredibly ageist of me. I try to give everything I come across a chance, and I do like a lot of groups that push “cute” or “refreshing” concepts (especially if I’m into underrated girl groups like I said). At this point in my life, there’s nothing in a cute concept that I really relate to. I might like certain songs, but it’s not what I naturally gravitate towards. I do think that there are too many cute groups out there, so I probably do have a bias. But I’d say my disinterest is more with the trend than with the concept itself. If the market was saturated with sexy concepts or badass concepts, I’d feel the same way.
*The only thing I’m picky about is the dancing (and the occasional music video). I was in middle school choir, and I did some musicals in high school. That is literally the extent of my vocal training. I know very little about vocal technique, and even less about rapping or flow. To me, every song sounds good unless someone is doing something weird with their voice or it has song-within-a-song syndrome. Since I don’t speak Korean fluently, I don’t put much importance on lyrics either. But since I danced for half my life, I will dissect choreography like a frog in a high school biology class. I also went to film school, so I’ll sometimes get picky about music videos.
NOTE: The featured image comes from Elaina Wahl’s “9 Struggles of Being a K-Pop Fan When You’re Not Korean” on Buzzfeed, which is amazing and so true.