Blackpink has taken the world by a storm for the last four years since their debut, and whether you’re a fan of “The Album”, their latest release which contains collaborations with Selena Gomez and Cardi B you must recognize they’re one of the greatest successes not only in Kpop, but in global pop these days. It’s impossible to deny just how incredibly powerful these four young women are and the power of this group all over the world. They’ll release their Netflix documentary “Light Up The Sky” on October 14, highlighting their hardships and success.
But Jennie, Jisoo, Lisa and Rose are not the only pioneers who have changed the game for women in the KPOP industry. Within such a diverse genre, KPOP has an impressive list of wonderfully talented and record breaking women. From empowering messages to heart wrenching and emotional songs, Korean women are indubitably creative, powerful and can’t be held back!
When it comes to iconic looks, creative concepts, and catching songs, BLACKPINK is not alone in their journey. Here are some female artists that have shaped a new era for KPOP and BLACKPINK.
If colorfulness, catchy choruses and hypnotizing dance moves are your thing - you will absolutely love GIRLS GENERATION! Also known as SNSD, the group which debuted in 2007, was originally composed of 9 girls: Jessica, Taeyeon, Hyoyeon, Sunny, Tiffany, Yuna, Yuri, Seohyeon and Sooyoung
SNSD is immensely popular, having earned the title of “The Nation Singers”. They’re also credited as inspiration to various newer groups such as Gfriend and Apink. Their hit song “Gee” has been considered Song of the Decade by Melon. Back in 2015 Girls' Generation became the first girl group to achieve four music videos with over 100 million views on YouTube, changing forever the game for female artists in South Korea. Impressed yet?
In 2014 Jessica Jung announced her departure from the group, which was very confusing for most fans since the group was in their peak of their success. Jessica wanted to focus on her fashion line, and became an entrepreneur aside from working on her solo music. She has now released a book called Shine which describes parallels of her reality in the past.
But Jessica is not the only one in the group to shine solo. As the group has become smaller with time, with other departures, their solo careers have been just as brilliant as their group activities. Tiffany and Hyoyeon work hard on their music careers individually. Meanwhile Taeyeon has become a superstar, and is easily one of the most successful soloists in the industry. Yuri and Seohyeon have found amazing success in their acting careers, and the other girls also have developed their charms and various talents.
Although some members have parted ways, the girls are still very close and keep their group creativity flowing. They still get together often and cheer each other on in their individual success.
Lee Ji-eun is certainly one of the most well regarded names in the industry. She’s charismatic, beautiful and exceedingly talented both as a singer but also as a lyricist. IU is also known for her incredible acting skills easily navigating from comedy to dramatic characters and never shying away from difficult and intense characters.
She has been recognized for her success by Forbes, Billboard and out of four solo albums, three of them have gotten first place in Gaon charts as well as twenty-two of her singles have made first place as well.
IU possesses qualities that are attractive to both fans of the most mainstream pop music but also appeals to the most indie of fans due to her creativity and her stubborn attitude of always challenging herself to create fresh music that speaks from the soul, never hesitating from approaching music from a place of vulnerable honesty.
She also often collaborates with other iconic artists such as G-Dragon and even the beloved Suga from BTS.
Considered one of the most controversial female singers in Korea, HYUNA is an example of how to survive and thrive in an industry that so easily rejects individuality and personal decisions.
Trust me, you’ve seen HYUNA before - she has appeared in the legendary music video “Gangnam Style” by PSY. She’s also been a member of amazing groups 4Minute and Wonder Girls, and she’s also worked with collaborations such as her duo with Jang Hyun-seung Trouble Maker and her trio TripleH with Pentagon members EDawn and Hui.
But her catchy pop songs, her amazing stage presence and her provocative music videos aren’t the only cool things about her.
HYUNA has most recently come forward with her relationship with EDawn, and if you know anything about Kpop you know that romantic relationships are extremely frowned upon.
Challenging the status quo, the duo left their company and joined other artists who don’t fit the Kpop mold in PSY’s new (and groundbreaking) company PNation.
At the young age of 28, she has sold 12.4 million records only in her solo project. Her ability to adapt to the industry which she has been a part of for the last 10 years makes us excited to see what comes next!
Amber is a member of a KPOP group called f(X) who was known for their style and uniqueness. However her solo career is well known and admired, since she refuses to stay inside the box.
Liu has challenged SM Entertainment and has released a mixtape through Soundcloud with her own resources. She also directed each of the six music videos that accompanied the track.
The group which she was a part of has unfortunately disbanded, and due to an unfortunately sudden loss of one of the members Sulli, Amber has left SM Entertainment. But still, she thrives and created incredible art while defying traditions for being Tawainese-American, for always being dedicated to the LGBTQ and also for her androgyny and cool look. Although Amber has always worn her hair short, and boyish clothes, she doesn’t shy away from talking about her attraction towards men and how she wants to be accepted for who she is.
If you’re looking for a soothing voice, a creative soul and excellent music - you need to check out her newest release X.
The rapper and singer has had an unusual career, debuting in 2003 but truly shining as a contestant of the hit show Unpretty Rapstar. She won second place in the competition, and has achieved success after collaborating with more established artists in the industry. She’s also a cast member of the hit show “Sister Slam Dunk”.
Jessi’s rapping is remarkable, and her singles have power and charm to them, but she’s also a really skilled singer. Aside from her vocals, she is also an inspiration for women worldwide. Women look up to her because she embraces her sensuality, and she’s not afraid of being an edgy artist. regardless of her age defies the pattern of women having to be cute, adorable and innocent. Jessi isn’t afraid of claiming her age and her years of experience in the industry, and now that she has joined Hyuna in PNATION, the Korean-American superstar has found the freedom to truly be able to express herself as her newest single “NU NU NA NA” has been taking over all around TikTok.
Arguably “The Baddest Female” in KPOP, Chaerin Lee is back! The charismatic and fiery leader of the girl group 2ne1 - one of the most legendary groups in Kpop history - has parted ways with YG Entertainment recently.
CL’s career has been one of great success. Often outspoken about how the industry has mistreated her and other 2NE1 members for their appearance and their choice to defy the idea of femininity, CL has successfully released singles in English, Korean and she has become an icon for women and girls everywhere who thrive to be uniquely themselves. She claimed her title of “The Baddest Female” and shocked the Korean industry with her edgy music videos and rap.
The korean singer is recognized by her amazing style, her connections in fashion and music worldwide, and her unique aesthetics and behavior. The artist is outspoken in her lyrics, and she’s always bold in her genre choices. Now, she’s finally coming out with yet a new album which promises to be historic. Another iconic fact is that CL was the chosen artist to represent South Korea in the closing ceremony at 2018 Winter Olympics closing ceremony.
CL has announced a new album to be released this year, and her newest song “Post Up” has been a powerful rap track featuring her in memorable and beautiful outfits.
Here’s a group that keeps things fresh, bold and exciting in the industry! MAMAMOO is the foursome formed by Hwasa, Solar, WheeIn and Moonbyul. Their soulful voices, latin inspire beats, and modern styles have seduced people all over the world who keep a watchful eye on their steps.
MAMAMOO is known for their sensuality, seductive harmonies and their bravery to challenge strict rules. One of the most interesting facts is their dedication to empowering women’s self esteem by speaking candidly about their own struggles within the industry.
Singer Hwasa has been such an inspiration for girls and women all over Korea who felt they didn’t fit in with their curvaceous bodies and confidence in their sexuality. Having to speak up about the beauty industry proved a challenge she faces bravely.