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table of contents

K-Pop Has Seoul [33] How has Western pop music influenced K-Pop?

Rino Nakasone [43] Positive Magazine goes one-on-one with the most famous K-Pop choreographer.

Big Bang World Tour [65] The five member goes on tour in the U.S.

What Does Super Junior Do Next? [71] After losing two original members, will SuJu call it quits?

the many faces of SHINee

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photo credits: table of contents: photos: designed by: nia daniels photo of the month: photo: new artist: photo: photo: designed by: nia daniels photo: designed by: nia daniels album review: photo: photo: designed by: nia daniels k-pop has seoul: photo: photo: photo: photo: photo: designed by: nia daniels rino nakasone: photo: designed by: nia daniels photo: photo: photo: photo: photo: ads KISS+NOTE_+SANDARA-SHINee+2.jpg

article credits:

new artist: album review: k-pop has seoul: rino nakasone:

picture of the month

Korean solo artist, Se7en, performs in Saitamashintoshin, Japan at the Saitama Super Arena. He is set to make his debut in the United States August 2012.

new artist

Greetings from Planet EXO up ro G r e p u S w e N s ’ Meet K-pop

SM Entertainment’s highly anticipated new group EXO held their debut showcase heralding the birth of a large group. The 12-member group took their first step out to the music industry receiving the enthusiastic cheers of 3,000 fans at their debut showcase at Olympic Hall of Olympic Park in Seoul. This marks the 100th day of beginning their online promotions. To prove that they are a ‘prepared rookie’ the group caught the attention of the fans through various unit stage by each member and powerful performances. The debut stag that took place with cheers of 3,000 fans whose hearts have already been all-consumed with the group by their teaser marketing since last year seemed to be no less than a large group comeback stage. There was an unprecedented 8,000 people have applied for a ticket and among them 3,000 people have been selected by invitation. The showcase opened up with a video of the boys arriving from exoplanet continued to a performance of ‘History’ showing off their powerful choreography of the continued on page 23

members, followed by Kai’s performance, Tao’s martial arts, and Lay-Lu Han-Xiu Min’s performance. The group singing skills were formidable. Lu Han and Chen sang ‘Baby Don’t Cry,’ Baek Hyun and D.O. ‘What is Love’ showing off their ability to hit high notes. Followed with Kai and Lay performing their new song ‘Two Moons,’ continuing on with Se Hun, Lu Han’s performance stage. The stage performances shown by the group was unlike the traditional young boy group showing emphasizing masculinity and powerful charm to appeal as a new type of handsome boy band group. Members expressed their determined resolution, “In the future we will go anywhere in the world to see our fans.” Leetuek who lead the showcase shared, “When Super Junior debuted we received the help of DBSK, I came here today to be helpful as well, but it seems I have rather learned of passion and ambition.” EXO has been teasing about their official debut since December last year with the announcement from SM Entertainment about a new boy group. EXO held their Positive Magazine - May 2012

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exo-k Su Ho Baek Hyun Chan Yeol D.O Kai Se Hun

m exo Xui Min Lu Han Kris Lay Chen Tao

first showcase event in Korea where they held various solo and group performances including both teaser and performances for “History”. During the showcase EXO revealed that they would be debuting with their first mini album “MAMA” on April 9, satisfying many fans.

with a showcase on Saturday performing their debut single ‘MAMA’ to be released on April 9. Divided into 6 team member of EXO-K and EXO-M is to promote and debut songs simultaneously in Chinese and Korean.

TVXQ the boy group that boasts unwavering popularity and girl group Girls’ Generation that is even mentioned by the President to be an example of success is not an exaggeration to call them K-Pop’s prince and princess. The agency that these two groups belong to SM Entertainment has now formed its next generation K-Pop idol group to officially debut on April 9.

Carol Hastings

After releasing EXO’s first teaser video last December, SM Entertainment has since then revealed individual profile, teaser video, and prologue single. The highly anticipated new group EXO-K and EXO-M has debuted


album review


The First Mini Album

Two diabetic promotions (via Orange Caramel) and one excruciating postponement later, and After School‘s leader, Kahi, has clicked her heels and made her highly anticipated return to the one place she will forever call home: the beloved platform of K-pop. Last year, Pledis Entertainment decided to divide their leading girl group, After School (Bekah, Jooyeon, Jung Ah, Kahi, Lizzy, Nana, Raina, Uee, and Yi Young), into

sub-units – sans Uee, of course, who’s almost always preoccupied with K-dramas – and allowed one member to go solo. During the Summer of 2010, when the boy bands of Kpop were just starting to crawl back into the forefront, Orange Caramel debuted. The sub-unit was/is made up of Lizzy, Nana, and, surprisingly, Raina, and the three skipped into the scene with a rather eyebrow-raising Positive Magazine - May 2012

approach to cute and frilly pop music. The trio later went on to release a second single in November.

works well for the girl group, and it fits Kahi like a glove, so it’s no surprise to hear her go down that route again with this single.

As for the solo member, it wasn’t until this year that Pledis finally announced that Kahi would be making her solo debut.

Of course, there are distinctions between the two songs, like the crunching effects of the chorus, although, and it pains me to say it, but I can’t consider the ‘chorus’ in “Come Back You Bad Person” a proper chorus. Actually, the entire structure of this song, while melodically

Of all the members in After School, Kahi is arguably the most admired. She he is the one member who has earned a high level of respect spect in her own right, mainly because classy is always in. n. Her sexy meter isn’t necessarily bursting at the seams, but at the same time, she definitely knows how to move. ove. Kahi (30) is one of the handful of idols who finds herself on the perimeter of the K-pop age pool. In this day and age, most Korean an idols are in their teens – sometimes younger – and early twenties, but a lucky few of the older bunch have remained ained relevant by affirming a solid position in pop groups ps full of younger members, i.e. Kahi in After School. It has always worked that way, especially in the mainstream m media, because a youthful face is a face that sells. That means that if Kahi is associating herself with a younger crowd – when she’s well out of her 20s – she has the daunting taskk of continuing to churn out music for a younger demographic, aphic, while essentially trying to grow up in the process. s. For Kahi though, that task might actually be less of a burden now, because she has already established hed a certain sense of maturity within After School, and d it doesn’t hurt that she’s going solo with this promotion; ion; the less kids tagging along, the better. Much like Kahi’s disposition, a lot of this mini album isn’t exactly more tly edgy or chaotic, but mor oree along the lines of subtly fierce. To put a song ng to that description, ion, think After School’s “Because Of You“, u“, just not as epic. “Come Back You Bad Person“, the lead single and one of two songs that Kahi wrote, is “Because Of You” all over again; the message may differ, but this is song features those exact xact same airy vocals and that whisper-rap-thing g that was written all over After School’s smash hit of 2009. I do have to say orked/ that the style worked/ continued on page 16


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pretty at some points, feels like Kahi was trying too hard to mix water with oil. That or she was aiming or something a little more experimental and less of a commercial single, which is not a bad thing, because she actually has something gorgeous going with the calmer moments of the song – “baby, don’t leave me/baby, don’t leave me!“; it would work a little better with a more interesting arrangement and a far more creative chorus. Throw in a killer hook and she’s got a perfect hit.

production. It’s really well done throughout this EP, but it works the best in “Roller Coaster.” The transitions are chilling and with the added bonus of form, this song’s impact is far greater (and exponentially stronger) than it is in “Come Back You Bad Person.”

Micheal Potter

Listening to it though, there are obvious moments when nothing is going on. This usually only happens when it’s a lead single and there’s most likely one or two dance breaks involved. Check and check.

Of all the members in A fter School, Kahi is arguably the most admired. She is the one member who has earned a high level of respect in her own right, mainly because classy is always in. Her sexy meter isn’t necessarily bursting at the seams, but at the same time, she definitely knows how to move. Kahi, for the newbies out there, is a multi-faceted, pop maven. She has developed into a performer more so than a singer, and from watching her on stage, I can tell there’s a special drive in After School’s leading lady that propels her to deliver impressive live performances, one right after the other. Her merits are largely based on her lengthy experience in the entertainment business; she was BoA’s back up dancer at one point in her career. So when this mini album progresses from the pseudo-dance single to something like the tame and ethereal mid tempo track, “One Love“, I can’t help but wonder when THAT song – the one that will blow me backward out of my chair, the one we all know Kahi could easily pull off – will circulate and set off a line of explosions. Certainly Kahi knew the masses were expecting big tracks, so I can not deny the fact that she has at least injected heavy beats and extra grunge into two of her songs, one of which is by all means the top song off of the album: “Roller Coaster.” It’s leaps and bounds crisper and far more engaging than the lead single.“Roller Coaster” reminds me of Kylie Minogue‘s strand of pop, which is by far one of the best. It’s obvious that Kahi is obsessed with a thick, ambient 16

K-Pop Has Seoul Korean Pop, best known as K-Pop, is a mixture of different styles of music. Mostly recognized for their Western influences, these songs range with a multitude of sounds. They can either branch out from hip hop to electronic, or rock and R&B. It originated in South Korea, but has branched over to other parts of the world, and is popular with many teenagers and young adults. Through Youtube, Facebook, and other social media, K-Pop has gained recognition that would not have happened otherwise. It’s becoming shockingly popular in the U.nited States, Australia, and Canada. K-Pop is considered to have its primary contemporary origins in the early 1990s. Key artists began incorporating Western pop music styles into their work to generate major hits at home in South Korea. Seo Tai-ji and his group Seo Tai-ji & Boys debuted in 1992 with music that included influence from rap and techno. The Korean hip hop duo Deux became popular around the same time. These helped begin a movement that would become

known as the Korean Wave, or Hallyu, as Korean pop culture began to spread internationally. Since K-Pop is getting extremely popular, one would think that the music would be in English. However, a lot of K-pop is predominantly Korean. However, many groups incorporate English lyrics into the songs or in the chorus, allowing their Western followers to be more comfortable with the music. K-Pop is visually stimulating. Typically, music videos have bright, intense colors. The dancing and choreography are top notch. The songs are catchy, and many artists have been in commercials, dramas, movies, radio, and many other sources of media. Youtube and Facebook has played a large part of it. Just by posting one video, thousands of people can watch it. For example, Big Bang’s new song “Fantastic Baby” recieved around one million views per day at one time.

Positive Magazine - May 2012

K-pop has many groups. Popular ones include 2NE1, T-ara, Wonder Girls, Jay Park, and many more. There has been such positive feedback from Westerners. K-pop has also been influence by Western artists. In Wonder Girl’s “Be My Baby”. You can see the influence of Beyonce in the choreography and outfits. Some say Boa’s “Eat You Up” has a bit of Ciara in the style of dancing. K-pop also has some serious and thoughtful songs, like Brown Eyed Girls’ Cleansing Cream. As Western influences grew in Korean pop, the concept of the manufactured pop band took root as well. The corporation S.M.Entertainment was launched in 1995. Lee

Recent estimates indicate that the Korean wave could be responsible for as much as $3.8 billion worth of cultural exports in 2013 from South Korea. Soo Man, founder of the corporation, surveyed teenage girls to find out what they wanted to see, and he soon began launching musical acts in response. S.M. Entertainment’s first two acts were the boy band H.O.T. and the girl group S.E.S. As K-pop has expanded, S.M. Entertainment has created such acts as TVXQ, Super Junior, SHINee, and Girl’s Generation. Other music corporations have since proliferated. Among the most successful are YG En-


pictured on page 43: SHINee in the Korean version of Lucifer music video. This band is best known for its great fashion sense and catchy songs. They recently toured in Japan for two years and released their first Japanese album. pictured top right: Super Junior members Heechul and Kyuhyun in their latest music video, Mr. Simple. Super Junior or SuJu, as their fans call them, was once considered the world’s largest boy band. pictured below: Girls’ Generation performs live in Hong Kong. SNSD, better known as Girls’ Generation, has found success in America. They have performed on Live! with Kelly and the David Letterman Show.

tertainment, DSP Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment. By 2006 efforts were underway to expand the popularity of Korean pop to the US market. One of the top solo performers of all time in South Korea is the R&B singer Rain. Exposure in People and Time magazines began to spread the word to American audiences. Highly publicized concerts in New York City and Las Vegas were sold out. Rain also performed in American films, but he made little headway on pop charts in the US. Female singer BoA had four consecutive number one albums at home in South Korea when her single “Eat You Up” was released in 2008 in the US. The song landed in the top 10 on the dance chart in the US, and it paved the way for the self-titled album BoA in 2009. The album

only reached #127 in the US but it did top the Heatseekers chart. Despite the muted success of BoA and Rain in the US, the international spread of K-Pop has begun to accelerate. Recent estimates indicate that the Korean wave could be responsible for as much as $3.8 billion worth of cultural exports in 2013 from South Korea. Korean pop music plays a primary role in the Korean wave. The boy band TVXQ are cited in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the world’s largest fan club and being the world’s most photographed celebrities. In 2009, the Wonder Girls became the first K-Pop recording act to reach the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US. Their single “Nobody” rose to #76. In 2011 BIGBANG’s Positive Magazine - May 2012

EP Tonight became the first K-Pop music to enter the top 10 of the iTunes album chart in the US and it reached number three on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.

pictured left: Remaining members of TVXQ, or DSBK, Yunho and Changmin. TVXQ is largely regarded as having the best harmonizting. pictured above: Big Bang is a Hip-Hop boy band. They have just started touring in the United States and Europe. They have also released a new album, Big Bang.

Increasingly Western artists, songwriters, and producers have shown an interest in the K-Pop market. Will.I.Am incorporated Korean elements in his music video for the song “Check It Out” with Nicki Minaj. UK newspaper The Guardian has reported on the extensive involvement of Universal Music’s Pelle Lidell with the K-Pop market. Sonha Rishardson


O N RI n a l za

a r e n o s a k a n

Don’t tell us you don’t know who she is! Rino Nakasone is an internationally-famous choreographer and dancer. She has been in music videos and concerts with Britney Spears and Justin Bieber. She has also worked the Gwen Stefani, as a member of the Harajuku Girls. She most recently worked with the Pussycat Dolls, and was featured on American’s Best Dance Crew. However, she is more known in the K-Pop world as the dancing machine behind most of SM Entertainment’s choreographies. Some of her works include: SHINee: Noona Neomu Yeppeo (Replay); Love Like Oxygen; Juliette; Hello; Lucifer Girls’ Generation: Tell Me Your Wish (Genie); Oh!; Hoot Super Junior: No Other (with Maryss from Paris) BoA: Dangerous; Copy and Paste Kangta: Love Frequency f(x): Chu (song); Nu ABO TVXQ: Maximum; Keep Your Head Down She recently paid a visit to her homeland, Japan, as a special guest performer for the DREAM ON! K-Pop Dance Festa in Shibuya. She also held several dance workshops in Tokyo and visited her family in Okinawa. Positive Magazine’s Anthony Drucker was lucky enough to get an exclusive interview with this busy and talented dancer.

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PM: Of course the fans love all your work, but if you had to pick just one from all your K-Pop projects, which one would be your favorite choreography to date and why? Love Like Oxygen by SHINee. When I first heard the song, I loved it so much because it had so much of a Michael Jackson flavor. So I couldn’t help but make a choreography that had so much MJ influence, which I love.

Rino is best known for her work with K-Pop sensation SHINee. She has also worked with Girls Generation, Super Junior, BoA, TVXQ to name a few groups. SHINee music videos pictured clockwise: Lucifer, Love Like Oxyen, and Juliette (Japanese Version) Courtesy of SM Entertainment

PM: The Beat Freakz have always been very vocal about encouraging girls to dance – how does it feel to see so many girls learning and performing you choreographies, like at “DREAM ON!”? Why do you think they appeal so much to girls, some who might not have been interested in dancing beforehand? It’s an honor because that’s how I practice dance, watching all the idols and their choreography. I think K-Pop has a lot of elements of how entertainment used to be back in the day, with MJ, Janet Jackson, TLC and MC Hammer. continued on page 62

Positive Magazine - May 2012

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They made us wanna do what they did because it’s so attractive. My opinion of why Girls’ Generation is so popular in Japan is not only [because] there were no other artists like them, but also [because] they are role models of what the Japanese girls wanna be. Also, Girls’ Generation entertains with great music and catchy choreography.

I would love to teach in as many countries as possible, just bring me out there! And whoever can’t learn from me, just keep watching the footage and try your best. Pay attention to the details! Also study all the different artists because even when they’re doing same choreography, they all have their own distinct styles you can learn from.

PM: We’re curious about the process and work that goes into choreographing; for example with a group like SHINee, who you’ve worked closely with since debut, do you keep in mind the members’ individual strengths and weaknesses, or do you focus on creating a visual expression for the song itself?

PM: What would be your craziest dream K-Pop project — like, maybe you would want to collaborate and perform with ANY K-Pop artist on a non-K-pop song, or even like a huge mash-up collab with the Beat Freakz — what would it be and why?

pictured left: Beat Freaks on America’s Best Dance Crew. Rino is third from the left.

I always consider each artist’s style and strengths, but mainly I just listen to the songs – I want to make the music come alive through choreography.

pictured above: Rino standing with members of Beat Freakz

PM: You’re holding a series of workshops here in Tokyo during your visit, and one of the dances you’ll be teaching is for DBSK’s Keep Your Head Down – easily one of the most anticipated comebacks of the year. How would you describe your experience working on this particular choreography?

Anything under the K-Pop sun — the sky’s the limit! My dream is to perform with SHINee! It would be great if we could do it with the Beat Freaks; it could be their songs or just [a] straight-up dance performance! Who knows, it could be me singing with SHINee too~!

The choreography for was actually a collaboration with three other Korean choreographers (BeatBurger) and I enjoyed working with them. I think when collaborating there are a lot of unknown possibilities as to how the work will come out, and I love that.

Also I want do project with Girls’ Generation and Beat Freaks; since we’re both 9-member, all-women groups it would be funny to switch roles, and maybe do some skits. PM: What more can we expect to see from you in K-Pop 2012? Both SHINee and SNSD are working in Japan this year, any chances of seeing more of your work here?

PM: You’re known to give dance workshops in LA/US and now in Japan, do you have any plans on visiting any other countries to give workshops? And do you have any tips for for those who are unable to attend workshops but still want to learn the choreographies?

I don’t know for now but I am always there when they need me! I love them!