ARTLOVER Debut single  

Korean Female Rapper “ARTLOVER” unveils debut track “Want U Back” out 2 March 2018

South Korean native and London based K-pop prodigy ARTLOVER has announced the release of her debut single “Want U Back” available on all digital retailers March 2nd.
With a background as a make-up artist serving clients such as ELLE, Vogue and Rankin, it's safe to assume that ARTLOVER has already had her fair share of success. The step from the world of fashion into music might be a small one but non-the less daunting.
“I really wanted my debut single to shine, and I've always thought in terms of music when working with fashion, so it was natural to take this route” the Seoul born singer says.
“Want U Back” is a rap driven Soul Pop gem dressed up in a retro suit about immature love and loss. The single is the result of a collaboration between the singer and the renowned JYP Entertainment producer Tae-Seop Lee (Twice, Day6).
The track is the first single off ARTLOVER'S debut EP due out soom.
Genre: K Pop, Hip Hop

Here's a video of the song

Western Celebrities who love K-Pop  

The Korean wave is taking the world by storm. Its influence is such that even the biggest Hollywood stars are taking notice. From Liam Neeson to Lorde, a log of big-name actors and singers know and love a thing or two about K-Pop and Korean culture.

One of the most prominent Hollywood celebrities taken by Korean culture is Liam Neeson. During his visit to South Korea on July 2016, the “Taken” actor showed that he's up to day with K-Pop. At the same time he was promoting his movie “Operation Chromite” he gave his best version of TWICE's famous “sha sha sha” move from the group's song “Cheer Up.” He also confessed that his love for Korean food, particularly Kimchi.
During an interview on Conan, Emma Stone revealed her obsession for K-Pop and gushed about her favorite, 2NE1. When host Conan O'Brien asked her to describe K-Pop, the star said, “it's a global phenomenon. It's beyond excellent. It's the best thing you've ever seen.”
Conan O'Brien is also taken with South Korean culture. During his visit to South Korea in 2016, he immersed himself in the many colorful aspects of South Korean life and culture. He tried to learn Hangul, visited a historic fish market and even featured in a Korean drama series and K-Pop music video.
The Grammy Award-winning singer Lorde is also a huge fan of K-Pop. She proclaimed her love for the genre, described it as having interesting melodies and songs, and then went on to affirm that the Korean version of pop is more captivating that the one in the West. According to allkpop, Lorde lists 2NE1 and Lee Hi as her favorite K-Pop acts.
K-Pop has also conquered the hearts and minds of The Vampire Diaries stars Nina Dobrev and Kat Graham. The actresses have proclaimed themselves fans over K-Pop groups on Twitter. Dobrev even tweeted about 2NE1 being badass and amazing, to which Graham replied that she is also obsessed with K-Pop.
Jaden Smith is also a fan of K-Pop. Will Smith's son had the chance to visit the YG Entertainment headquarters with his father in 2013. There he hung out with Yang Hyun Suk, CL, G-Dragon, Taeyang and T.OP. More recently, Jaden even showed love for G-Dragon on Twitter, calling the BIGBANG member his idol. Jaden has also revealed he plans on becoming a K-Pop Star someday.


South Korean celebrity couples  

If you talk about relationship goals, you talk about K-pop singer-danger and actor Rain and his long-time girlfriend actress Kim Tae-hee. The couple finally tied the knot at a Cathedral in Seoul. Kim wore a knee-length lace dress designed by her stylist. The couple are reportedly spending their honeymoon in Bali.

Another couple to look up to are Gianna Jun Ji-hyun - My Sassy Girl - and a banker. They married in 2012 at the famous Shilla hotel in Seoul. The stylish beauty wore a Jenny Packham dress on her wedding day. The couple had a baby boy afterwards and after giving birth, Jun made her comeback on TV with fantasy drama The Legend of the Blue Sea, now showing on SBS.
Actor Lee Byung-hun of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra married fellow actress Lee Min-jung in 2013 at Grand Hyatt, Seoul. Since then, they went on and had a child in 2015.
Korean model and actress Lee Young-ae got married to a businesswoman in 2009 and they then gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl. Lee, who is best known for her role in the historic TV drama titled Dae Jang Geum, distanced herself from show business after getting married. However, she is making a television comeback after 14 years in the upcoming drama Saimdang, Memoir of Colors.
Another actor that features in Saimdang, Memoir of Colors is Song Seung-hun. The actor has a romantic story of his own. He has been dating Chinese actress Liu Yifei since late 2015 after they co-starred in The Third Way of Love (2015), a romantic comedy featuring a love triangle.
Kwon Sang-won fixated on Son Tae-young even before they started dating. He persuaded a mutual friend to introduce them and after they had go on two dates, he talked about marriage. Ever since, the love between the former Miss Korea-turned actress and the heartthrob actor has grown after a decade of marriage. They now have a son and a daughter.
Jang Dong-gun and Ko So-young are the South Korean version of Brangelina. They married in 2010 after a surprise announcement during Jang's fan meeting that took the entertainment industry by surprise. The pair have a son who was born in 2010 and a daughter who was born in 2014.
Bae Yong-joon and Park Soo-jin were able to ignore the controversy surrounding their 13 year gap and got married in 2015. Since then, they have welcomed a son to their lives. Bae rose to fame due to her participation in Winter Sonata, a Korean drama that marked the start of hallyu or Korean wave. Park, however, rose to fame as a member of a girl band called Sugar which disbanded back in mid-2000s.


Netflix bets on Korean drama   

Entertainment service providers are putting all their bets on South Korean content to expand their reach, boosting the cultural clout of region's fourth-largest economy.

Netflix is just the latest entertainment service provider to jump on the bandwagon. The service provider announced an original 12-episode drama series that will be adapted from a popular South Korean online comic series.
The announcement came after the company revealed its content creation budget for 2017 amounts to $6 billion, topping a projected $4.3 billion at NBCUniversal, parent company of CNBC.
“The Korean content category is becoming vital... it has high production value and the content travels,” said Vivek Couto, executive director of consultants Media Partners Asia.
This move opens the Asian market for Netflix as major consumers of South Korean cultural exports include Southeast Asia and greater China. Netflix entered Asia in 2015 and, therefore, is rolling out original productions in the region.
Other entertainment companies that have invested in the South Korean pop culture entertainment business include Hong Kong telecommunication giant PCCW Ltd. with its Viu streaming service and Turner Broadcasting's Oh!K subscription-based TV channel. South Korean content takes precedence in the programming on both channels that are available in various Asian countries.
Mirae Asset Daewoo's analyst Jee-hyun Moon and Amazon Video and YouTube Red said that Netflix is not yet popular in South Korea so local content will help boost a foothold for Netflix in South Korea.
“In the Hallyu (Korean Wave) trend, the major genre is drama. Films and variety shows can be popular, but the lifespans of these shows are shorter,” said Moon.
Netflix may also have potential in China, where South Korean pop culture is predominant despite efforts by authorities to curb performances by Korean celebrities.
Breaking into the world's second largest economy might be a challenge due to strict censorship laws that limit Chinese market to many foreign media players. For instance, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are banned in the country.
Despite the obstacles, Netflix hasn't given up on breaking into the Chinese market.
“The regulatory environment for foreign digital content services in China has become challenging. We now plan to license content to existing online service providers in China rather than operate our own service in China in the near term,” Netflix said in a letter to shareholders. The company also acknowledged that licensing revenues in China will be “modest”.
According to Moon, Netflix needs to play within the rules of the game to be the first one to take over the Chinese market once regulations are relaxed.
“Netflix wants to generate other revenue streams including that from content licensing to the Chinese platforms. If Netflix gains some brand awareness in China and other Asian countries through licensing content, they can get other opportunities in the future,” she said.
Netflix is the world's leading internet entertainment service with over 109 million members in over 190 countries enjoying more than 140 million hours of TV shows and movies per day, including original series, documentaries and feature films. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on nearly any Internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.


Wonder Girls Disbanding  

The four-member girl group Wonder Girls announced they are going to split up after they release their final single. The K-pop sensation who rose to international fame with their hit single “Nobody” have decided to disband after 10 years in business.

The announcement comes after rumors of the group going on separate ways sparked by the members' contracts being about to expire. The news were confirmed by the South Korean company JYP Entertainment and said that the decision had come up after much discussion among the members and their agency.
But not all Wonder Girls members are leaving showbiz. According to JYP, the band members Yubin and Hyerim will stay with the agency and will still pursue their career in singing, acting and emceeing. The other members Yeeun and Sunmi, however, have decided to leave the company to start on a new path.
Although these are sad news for the world of K-pop, at least there is a final digital single to look forward to which marks the 10th anniversary of their debut in the industry. The statement affirmed the song is their way of thanking the fans who have supported them in the past decade.
The band made their debut back in 2007 and became one of the most popular K-pop groups in Korea. They had released a total of three studio albums, which are “The Wonder Years” (2007), “Wonder World” (2011) and “Reboot” (2015).
Since the announcement of their break up, Wonder Girls fans took to social media to express their love for the four-member group. The members of the band also left farewell messages for their fans in a video.
Some of the comments fans left for Wonder Girls in social media include:
“Because of ‘Nobody' now y'll know K-pop. Thank you Wonder Girls”
“Wonder Girls, 2Ne1, and Sistar were the groups that I knew before I even got into K-pop and this doesn't feel real.”
“Secret, Kara, Rainbow, 4minute, 2Ne1, IOI, the Ark, and now Wonder Girls. K-pop is over.”
“2Ne1 then Wonder Girls... This is really heartbreaking. They are the groups which songs were played in the radio internationally.”
The full statement from JYP Entertainment, is as follows:
“We are here to announce the disbandment of the group that has been always with us for the last ten years, Wonder Girls. The members have talked amongst themselves and with the company for a long time and the [girls] decided to disband. Yubin and Hyelim have renewed their contracts with JYP Entertainment and will continue their activities in music and acting as well as other fields. Yeeun and Sunmi have decided to pave a new path for themselves and have regretfully decided to leave the company. As a thanks to all the fans who have been with them for 10 years, they have decided to release their last digital single on their 10th year anniversary, February 10th. We would like to thank the fans of Wonder Girls all over the world who stuck by Wonder Girls in their 10 year-long journey, and promise to help and support both the members who are leaving and staying to help make their future better. Thank You.”


The novels of South Korean writer Han Kang  

South Korean writer Han Kang has become a sensation in South Korea with the publication of her books “The Vegetarian” and “Human Acts”. Published back in 2007, “The Vegetarian” is a slim novel that tells the story of a woman named Yeong-hye who suddenly stops eating meat. This act enrages her family and symbolizes Yeong-hye's renunciation of humanity itself, which she sees as essentially violent. As she dives deeper into her obssession with cleansing her body from meat, it becomes clear that she's trying to emulate the peaceful life of a tree; she literally transform herself into a tree. As it can be expected, this book has been compared to Kafka's Metamorphosis at many levels.

“The Vegetarian” has earned praise beyond the borders of South Korea and has own the Man Booker International Prize, awarded every other year to novels from any country published in English (as it has been translated by Deborah Smith).
After the success of “The Vegetarian”, Kang published another novel that also saw the light of day in English. The novel is “Human Acts” and is grounded more firmly in reality than “The Vegetarian” although it is just as inventive, intense and provocative.
“Human Acts” focuses on a tragic episode in South Korean history that saw student protesters being shot in the streets of the city of Gwangju in 1980, while others were captured and tortured by dictatorial government forces. Since the details of the tragedy were either censored or grievously downplayed by the government, many Koreans have only recently learned the full extent of the atrocities committed.
Considering the history of censorship, “Human Acts” is an outstanding work that requires considerable bravery. The subject matter is controversial in itself, and Kang's nonlinear, surrealistic treatment is a huge risk that ultimately gives the atrocities and the characters who endure them an emotional immediacy.
King's fascination with bodies is palpable from the beginning. A wretched 15-year-old boy named Dong-ho helps to wash and label fast-decomposing corpses in a municipal gymnasium in Gwangju. His main worry is his school friend, who we learn to be dead on the second chapter.
The following chapters skip forward to account for effects of the massacre on the survivors. The story also shows the perspective of a book editor who must contend with a government censor, as well as a former prisoner who is asked to reminiscence about his time in captivity, and lastly, a factory worker who lives with daily nightmares of her sufferings at the hands of Korean soldiers.
Kang's writing style serves to empower both stories. In “The Vegetarian,” Kang's talent for grotesque description served the novel's psychosexual suspense and perverse entertainment value. In “Human Acts,” it makes the atrocities of human-on-human violence extremely vivid.
But that's not the only bold narrative risk Kang takes. There's a chapter that is told from the point of view of a dead boy who body is trapped under a pile of other dead bodies: "When they threw a straw sack over the body of the man at the very top, the tower of bodies was transformed into the corpse of some enormous, fantastical beast, its dozens of legs splayed out beneath it." Thank goodness it's just her wild imagination a book.


S-Korean Rapper San E Releases New Single  

South Korean rapper Jung San, known as San E, is not just any rapper. He is, indeed, the most successful solo rapper in South Korea's mainstream music. After securing a contract with Brand New Music, San E recently released a new single.

San E became famous back in 2008 when he released his first mix tapes, dubbed “Ready to be Signed” and “Ready to be Famous”. To attract attention to his music, he jokingly dissed one of the famous underground rappers Verbal Jint.
His diss on Verbal Jint achieved its purposed and raised the attention of South Korea's hip hop community and Verbal Jint - who, surprisingly, then invited San E to join Verbal Jint's hip hop crew, Overclass.
In 2010, San E won the Best Hip Hong Song Korea Music Awards for his song “Rap Genius.” Following that award, he became the first rapper that secured contract with JYP Entertainment, one of the big three labels in South Korea's k-pop industry.
Then San E released his first mini album dubbed “Everybody Ready?” in which San E collaborated with fellow JYP Entertainment artists Min, and Joo and Yeeun on the mini album.
San E then released his single “Tasty San”” that featured Min in the M Countdown music television show. A few months later, San E started another round of promotion for the single “LoveSick”, in which the video featured Sohee from Wonder Girls.
San E is not like any other rapper. He uses music as an outlet. He was born in South Korea but moved to Georgia, USA, when his parents were struggling due to the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. That is what gave him a closeness to this style of music and an international sense.
“I always wanted to let everybody know hip-hop is worldwide,” said the rapper.
He then announced his ambitious plan to release a charity single. The purpose of it all is to cross the barriers of race, culture, language and sex, alongside the collective known as Hip Hop for the World. He recorded a global anthem “HIPHOPISHIPHOP”.
Hip Hop for the World includes talented artists from four continents and is led by San E, famous for his K-Pop Hot 100 hits like “Break-Up Dinner,” “A Midsummer Night's Sweetness” and “Body Language.”
“HIPHOPISHIPHOP is my high school dream. As an immigrant, if I let my friends listen to Korean hip-hop music, they'd be like, ‘They can rap in Korea?' I always wanted to let everybody know hip-hop is worldwide; it can be rap in all different languages you never heard. It took awhile to make it really happen, now here it is.”
2017 Jan 23 EP [Season of Suffering]
2015 Apr 23 Album [The Boy Who Cried Wolf]
2014 Aug 04 Digital Single 'Body Language'
2014 Jun 12 Project Single 'A Midsummer Night's Sweetness'
2013 Nov 21 2nd Mini Album ['Not' Based on the True Story]
2013 Nov 06 Digital Single 'Where Did You Sleep'
2013 Aug 02 Digital Single 'Story of Someone I Know'
2013 May 13 Digital Single 'Big Boy'
2011 Apr 26 Digital Single 'Don't Go'
2010 Nov 03 Digital Single 'LoveSick'
2010 Sep 13 1st Mini Album [Everybody Ready?]
(more details on his San E facebook page)
Goblin, a popular but controversial K-drama  

K-dramas are known for their near-perfect male leads: attractive, intelligent heirs to vast fortunes, among other positive qualities. The K-drama Goblin follows in that direction, except for that they take it to the next level; they conjure a knight in shining armor who is considered by television critics to be a god.

Critics argue that is one of they main reasons why the show has boasted record-breaking viewership since its premiere on South Korean cable channel tvN with production by Studio Dragon.
“We've evolved past god-like men to actual gods, who have the appearance of good-looking men,” said culture critic Jung Duk Hyun. “Now, their abilities surpass the realm of human strength.”
In the past few years, popular dramas have seen a surge in male leads who are gifted with supernatural powers.The male protagonist in 2013's I Hear Your Voice can read people's minds. The following year, My Love From the Star featured an extraterrestrial with superhuman powers of sight, hearing and speed as its romantic lead. The year after, in Another Miss Oh the male love interest was able to see the future.
And now it's Goblin's turn. Based on Korean folklore about dokkaebi, a higher spiritual being who is roughly equivalent to a goblin, Goblin stars Gong Yoo as Kim Shin, a warrior who was impaled on a sword centuries ago and transformed into an immortal with endless wealth.
Goblin has scored ratings as high as 12.7 % in 2016 and many critics attribute this popularity to female viewers' yearning for all-powerful make figures who can solve the problems of modern women with stressful lives. The final episode in Jan 2017 recorded an 18.7% nationwide audience making it the second highest rated drama in Korean cable television history.
“The realistic ideal is that two people complement each other in a relationship,” said Choi Ji Sun, 28, a lawyer who has watched every episode of the show.
“But it's easy to escape to a world where someone will come to my side at the drop of a hat, no questions asked, and provide everything. Of course, I would never expect that of my real life partner.”
In the show, the protagonist Ji Eun Tak, played by Kim Go Eun, is able to summon Kim Shin by just blowing out a flame.
The female lead is surrounded by problems, living with relatives who scorn her after the death of her mother. Kim Shin comes to her rescue to provide for her and shelter her. Although he is her knight in shining armor, she is no damsel in distress. Instead, she is strong and strives to provide for herself.
“But it's a shame she is unable to escape the Cinderella stereotype, especially when her make partner is so almighty,” says drama critic Kim Sun Young.
Their age difference has done nothing but spark the controversy as Ji is portrayed as a high school student while Kim is said to be 39 years old with the appearance of a thirty-something man.
The system of fantasy blocks any guilt and allows viewers to accept, without being repulsed, the romance between a young woman and an older man, TV critic Hwang Jin Mi. “But the image of a young girl... hanging onto a rich, thirty-something man... lingers.”
Descendants of the Sun: Korean drama in India  

Like the rest of most of the world, Television viewers in India are majorly exposed to content from American and British TV shows. The only platform that offers material other than British and American to viewers in India is Zindagi, the number 1 Premium Entertainment Channel.

With a selection of the best shows worldwide, Zindagi offers viewers a glimpse into new cultural settings while broadcasting universal emotions.
Zindagi has launched shows from Turkey and Ukraine before, but recently it has taken a new step and introduced the blockbuster South Korean drama “Descendants of the Sun” for the first time on Indian television. The touching drama tells the love story of Special Force Officer (Song Joong Ki) and a surgeon (Song Hye Kyo) whose fates intermingle.
The TV show was not only a blockbuster hit in South Korea but it also took Asia by storm, garnering immense popularity and top-ratings across the continent.
The selection of actors had already paved the way for the finite series to succeed. The Korean heartthrob Song Joong Ki, who plays the role of a Special Force Officer, is considered to be one of Korea's hottest actors with a huge fan following across South East Asia. His choice seems ideal as the actor served in the Korean Military for two years before bagging the role in the show.
Although Song Joong Ki was already popular in the country, the show catapulted his fame making him one of the highest paid South Korean actors.
“Descendants of the Sun” is the story of Special Force Officer and a surgeon who fall in love at first sight. Despite their instant congeniality, they are taken aback by their contrasting ideologies and values (one kills to protect lives and the other saves lives).
Destiny unites them again after almost a year of separation whey they meet at a war zone “Uruk”, a land far from Seoul. The new circumstances force them to work closely together.
The story will tell if their love will blossom in a strange land and an extreme environment. The audience is yet to find out if they will be able fight or succumb to destiny.
Some of the sweetest quotes from Descendants of the Sun include:
“I hope you don't think my kiss is bad. I did it after thinking a thousand times.”
“You are already beautiful.” (Yoo Si-jin speaks to Kang Mo-yeon, who is reluctant to make eye contact because she is not wearing any make-up).
“You have so many men to worry about. Just worry about me from now on.”
“Regarding the kiss, what should I do? Should I apologize for that? Should I confess my feelings to you?”
“Yes... you know, I have (been bewitched by something).” (When Kang Mo-yeon and Yoo Si-jin look at the wrecked ship, Kang asks him: “Have you ever been bewitched by something?”)
“Because it is far away... I want to spend more time with you.” (When Yoo Si-jin and Kang Mo-yeon got to a beach, Kang says to Yoo: “Didn't you say the beach is far from here?”)


K-pop star Rain Marriage  

The Catholic wedding recently took place in Gahoe-dong cathedral in Jongno, Seoul but lets take a look back at the events leading up to the surprisingly modest wedding. 

In a hand-written letter to fans, South Korean pop icon Rain announced his engagement to top actress Kim Tae-Hee. However, unlike most fans would have expected, the letter said that their wedding would be low-key given the country's economic and political woes.
“I am going to be a good husband and man as a head of a family,” said the singer in the letter, posted on his Instagram feed.
“She has always been by my side through the hard times and the good times,” he said, referring to the actress who is two years older than him and is popular across Asia.
The couple first met while shooting a TV commercial in 2011 but they didn't start dating until 2012.
The wedding attracted the attention of the media and fans as Rain - whose real name is Jung Ji-Hoon - is one of the biggest names in the world of K-pop. This genre of music amasses a huge amount of followers not only in South Korea but across Asia and beyond.
Even though Rain is mainly known as a K-pop icon, he has also starred in numerous South Korean TV dramas and Hollywood action pictures including the Wachowski brothers‘ “Ninja Assassin” and “Speed Racer”.
“Regarding the time and the wedding ceremony, we plan to keep it as quiet and holy as possible during the current unstable national mood and economically difficult times,” he said.
The wedding is going to take place at a Catholic church in Seoul with family members.
Rain is also known for being confined to barracks for a week back in January 2013 for sneaking out to meet Kim while performing his mandatory military service.
Rain was Time magazine's 2007 most influential person in the world. Stephen Colbert was second. In 2008, Stephen Colbert jokingly challenged Rain to a dance off with words like “Hey Rain, let's see if Korea will lift the embargo on balls”. Colbert even did a Korean kind of music video, jokingly mocking Rain.
Rain comes from a humble background which is one of the reasons he puts so much effort into everything he does. Either dancing, singing or acting, Rain always works hard to deliver the best result yet. That is why he is also famous for his statement: “If you were to ask me the reason I tried so hard, there is no reason. Trying as hard as possible is everyone's duty in life.”
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