What makes certain artists and celebrities more special than others? Why are some more liked and popular than the rest?
If we knew the answer and a formulaic solution to that question, we’d be able to make quite a fortune and also at the same time may be facing a situation where no one particular artist would then be special any more.
While experts and professionals still probably don’t have an exact answer to how an artist can become a global icon, they all probably have certain elements that they believe in which contributes to the birth of a world-famous star.
Some that are worth thinking about may perhaps be timing and history.
Timing is probably one of the most important elements in the birth of a new global icon. And it is also an element that cannot easily be controlled. Because how would music labels and managements know when to launch a new artist at the most optimal time period? They actually don’t. They most likely guess based on data and follow a hunch.
History is also another element that is worth noting because the state of music today has been shaped by the countless music that has been released and heard by all of us up until now ever since the time of Classical music. How the music scene is shaped through time in a way sets up an environment that makes it possible for certain artists with the right traits to suddenly blow up. It prepares the listeners.
But you also might be asking: “What about other things such as marketing, good music, and etc.?” Well, those are all actually just a given. No music label or entertainment agency launches an artist without marketing, and no one would be making music that is unpleasant to the ears while having the goal of becoming a global icon in mind.
With the exception of PSY and BTS, there has arguably not yet been any K-Pop artist who has managed to take the world by a storm with their sudden explosive popularity. Of course, there are many K-Pop artists on the rise at the moment globally, but that in part has a lot to do with how the K-Pop scene itself suddenly became a global phenomenon through the impact that both PSY and BTS have contributed.
Having said that, with so many talented solo female artists who show much promising potential, will there ever be a solo female K-Pop artist who displays a similar level of popularity as either PSY or BTS, becoming a global icon?
Take for example, BoA, CL, IU, Jennie (BLACKPINK), ChungHa, SunMi, TaeYeon, and etc. All of them are exceptionally talented with immense popularity in the K-Pop scene. Despite their status as some of the most popular and influential solo female K-Pop artists, the world still has not seen a female solo K-Pop artist become a global icon. They are known but there is a clear difference between being known and being recognized as an explosive phenomenon. And given the age we live in, a lot of K-Pop idol groups are actually known because their fandom is no longer limited to domestic fans and also because K-Pop is such a big music trend all over the world right now.
BoA and CL are two female solo artists who have actually shown quite an attempt at it. However, BoA’s popularity mostly boomed internationally more in Japan than anywhere else while CL pretty much stayed under the radar for a long time after putting out a few singles like ‘The Baddest Female’ and ‘MTBD’.
And we know for sure that language isn’t the problem, some of these solo female K-Pop artists have actually grown up overseas or are fluent English speakers as well.
Perhaps thinking about the fan base of K-Pop is also something worth considering. Are fans of K-Pop inclined to be more supportive and crazed over male idol groups than solo female artists? This is not to suggest that there are not K-Pop fans of solo female artists, but to merely try an establish a suggestion that the K-Pop fandom itself is also just not as interested in a solo female artist as much as male idol groups. After all, if there’s one of a few things that we can always refer to in assessing data, it’s the fans. Fans are actually ultimately what brings worldwide success to any artist, K-Pop or not.