With so many singers and groups debuting in Korea these days, it’s hard to keep track of those who have international connections and such. These days, it’s common place for groups to have an English-speaking member who either grew up or spent time abroad. There are also rookie and veteran singers who have been abroad at some point who are also very popular these days. While most of these English-speaking members come from the U.S., not much attention is placed on the ones from elsewhere, particularly Canada.
This post is dedicated to our homegrown KPOP talent – Canadians in KPOP. Today I will point out some of the more memorable and even some not so well known Canadians in Korea’s music scene. Most people don’t realize that Canada does have a strong presence in the KPOP scene. For your reading enjoyment, here is my spiel!
One of the more well known examples of a Canadian KPOP singer, solo songstress G.NA grew up in Vancouver and later ended up going to Korea, training first at Good Entertainment to debut as part of Five Girls in 2007. However, plans changed and so she returned to Canada, but not before being scouted by the future CEO of Cube Entertainment. In 2010 she made her major label debut in Korea, and since than has been topping the charts. G.NA’s girl-next-door image as well as her bubbly personality and Western pop sensibility has made her a recognizable act in Korea and around the world. Vancouver is proud to be the home of such a talented artist.
A more recent addition to the KPOP world, EXO-M member and leader Kris also hails from Vancouver. Having resided for several years there during high school, Kris considers himself a Canadian at heart. In 2012, SM Entertainment took the world by storm yet again with the debut of the 12 member duo-unit group EXO. Kris is a member of the Mandarin subunit that promotes in China. Recently, the group has been promoting their most recent album “XOXO” as a full group of 12 rather than two six-member sub-units like before. Kris’ rapping style gives him that distinctness in his respective group, and yet again, another Canadian making waves in Korea!
Even more recent, Nega Network’s first ever boy band League of Competition 9 (aka LC9 or the Brown Eyed Boys) debuted last month in Korea. Their main rapper Eden is originally from Vancouver. Having won a ulzzang contest on the popular KPOP news site Soompi in 2011, Eden was eventually recruited into Nega as a trainee and debuted as a member of this group. Eden also is the rapper of his group, and is one of many rappers in idol groups that can rap in English and Korean, which is quite a trend these days. Yet another Vancouverite is making it in Korea!
The lead singer of this popular group, Alex moved to Canada at a young age and later returned to Korea and joined two college friends, singer Horan and producer Clazzi, and became Clazziquai. Jazz, electronica, bossanova and pop music are what this group is iconic for in Korea. While much older than a lot of the other Canadians on this list, Alex still very much considers himself a Canadian albeit it has been some time since he moved from Canada permanently. Nonetheless, this singer/actor proves how much talent exists in Canada!
This Torontonian became the first to put Toronto on the map in the KPOP world. As a member of the Mandarin sub-unit of Super Junior and now more recently a solo artist, Henry has brought his insatiable talent to a bigger stage. Being able to rap, sing, play piano and violin, and dance, Henry represents a younger and more versatile generation of performers. He recently released his first even solo album “Trap”. Once again, Canada is home to great talent!
Last but not least, the first singer from Ottawa to debut in Korea, and the first half-Asian contestant on a singing audition program to make it relatively far in the competition (MBC Birth of a Great Star season 1). Aside from a fan base from his YouTube days, Shayne has become a well known name in Korea, but also continues to become a better artist. He is signed with Sony Music in Korea, and we’ll hopefully be seeing new music from him soon!
Honourable mentions to go: Sera (Nine Muses), Changmin (2AM), Tablo (Epik High), Horan and Clazzi (Clazziquai), all the members of short lived idol group ESQ, and former audition program contestant and session artist Eddie Chun!
Hopefully you have been well informed that Canada does have a presence in KPOP, like never before. GO CANADA POWER!~