Stardom In Reverse

For several years K-pop artists have been trying to break into the American pop market, and with decidedly mixed results. Now, a U.S.-based agency will attempt to do the opposite, create a Korean-language pop group and try to break into the Korean market.

Stephen Um of West Side Entertainment recently told the Korea Times his company plans to “create a group from Hollywood and send them to Korea to cater to the music industry out there.” The group will be all-female and consist of two Korean-Americans, two Koreans and one Korean-Japanese.

The main priority will be for the group’s members to be fluent in Korean and understand Korean culture from the outset. Um says the main problem with Korean artists coming to America is they don’t fully appreciate the cultural differences and assume they can learn as they go along.

He also said his group will “focus on” attributes that sell well in Korea, meaning “visual style and dance routines” rather than vocal abilities and distinct personalities, which are more important in the U.S.

West Side will start holding auditions in South Korea in September. The goal will be to establish the group first in Asia and then bring them back to the U.S. where Um hopes they can become a force in the U.S. music industry.