BTS, Red Velvet, Blackpink: Meet the American producers and songwriters behind your favorite K-pop stars

And although these American producers and songwriters have labored with some of the most important names in the States like Bruno Mars or Justin Bieber, many of them credit score K-pop as their saving grace when they struggled to remain afloat in the US.

“In this audio field, the highs are actually higher and the lows are actually low. It really is hard to survive in this factor,” explained Jonathan Yip of the output and songwriting group, The Stereotypes.

“We could’ve quit plenty of periods … But we got the chance to go to Korea and they embraced us,” Yip instructed CNN.

From Taeyang’s timeless “Eyes, Nose, Lips” to the latest BTS hit “ON,” these American songwriters and producers have introduced their abilities to assistance generate the songs that we adore.

In this article are some of the most important US songwriters and producers in K-pop proper now:

The Stereotypes

Behind: Purple Velvet’s “Terrible Boy,” BoA’s “Kiss My Lips,” Taemin’s “Push Your Amount,” Tremendous Junior’s “Satan,” Jessi’s “Gucci”

This output and songwriting group is composed of Jonathan Yip, Ray Romulus, Jeremy Reeves and Charm. The Stereotypes may well have started off out of Yip’s spare bed room in the early 2000s, but they’ve develop into one of the most popular manufacturing groups in LA, functioning on tracks like Justin Bieber’s “Any individual to Enjoy,” Chris Brown’s “Beg For It,” and Fifth Harmony’s “Produce.” They received two Grammy Awards in 2018 for their do the job on Bruno Mars’ “Which is What I Like” and even introduced Asian faces to the forefront of the US audio scene with Much East Movement’s “Women on the Dance Ground” in 2008.

But immediately after “Women on the Dance Ground” grew to become a hit, the Stereotypes hit a slump.

“We experienced discussions between each individual other like, ‘Dang, what are we heading to do?’ Yip instructed CNN. “The checks usually are not coming in and all the checks that do come in are heading to hire. And it is really just like, ‘What are we heading to do?'”

But an chance to delve into the globe of K-pop presented itself when executives from SM Entertainment frequented them in LA.

“We performed them a bunch of information and they took two songs. 1 was for Girls’ Era called ‘XYZ,” Yip explained.

SM then invited them to South Korea, where by they started manufacturing a lot more than 20 songs a week. When it was challenging do the job, Yip explained K-pop permitted them to be artistic in diverse methods than what American audio permitted.

“In this article in The us, people want it simple and, you know, a four-bar loop,” Yip explained.

“But the factor they actually tension over there in (Korea) is modifications within the defeat … From the verse to the pre-hook, there is a adjust. From the second hook to the bridge, there is a adjust. They want to be in a position to adjust your emotion each individual time, which we adore mainly because that permits us to be a lot more musical,” Yip additional.

Melanie Fontana & Lindgren

Melanie Fontana, Lindgren (center), and their manager Justin Garza.

Behind: BTS’ “Boy With Luv,” “ON,” “Euphoria,” Twice’s “Trick It,” I.O.I’s “Crush,” TXT’s “Crown,” EVERGLOW’s “Bon Bon Chocolate”

Songwriter Melanie Fontana and producer Lindgren, are the supreme energy few, owning labored with the most important name in K-pop, BTS.

Fontana’s songwriting career kicked off when she was just a teen, immediately after she aided write Justin Bieber’s “Property This Christmas.” She started off her K-pop journey in 2013, serving to write “Keep Women” for Girls’ Era.

But her existence was eternally modified when she aided write “Euphoria” for BTS’ Jungkook.

“If it was not for that minute, I do not think we would be below proper now,” Fontana instructed CNN. “It was a stadium favored of theirs and I just couldn’t feel how huge it was. I knew BTS was huge. I often admired them from afar, but I didn’t think a boy band would actually want to do the job with some girl, you know? But turns out they do.”

Soon after observing Fontana’s talent, Huge Strike Entertainment, which manages BTS, approached her again to assistance write a lot more songs for the seven-member group.

She and Lindgren went proper into the studio and immediately after sending strategies again and forth from LA to Seoul, “Boy with Luv” was born.

The song promptly climbed to the prime of the Billboard charts and was qualified as Platinum by the Recording Business Affiliation of The us for providing over one million models in the US.
From The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to Periods Sq. on New Year’s Eve, “Boy With Luv” was carried out all over the place. Fontana even got to share the stage with BTS as she sang the backing vocals to the song as they carried out on SNL.

And although Fontana and Lindgren explained the song was unquestionably a collaborative hard work with other songwriters and producers, observing a song they aided write develop into so successful was “one of the greatest honors of existence.”

“It really is like observing your artwork hung in the Louvre,” Fontana explained. “All an artist can actually hope for is the appreciation of people and it is really exceptionally worthwhile, primarily when you have labored in a genre which is been type of appeared at as fewer than for a long time.”

“When I started off producing K-pop, some of my American colleagues had been like, ‘Don’t you want to do the job for anyone who’s like blowing up in The us?’ And I just experienced this affinity for K-pop and I was like, ‘Well yeah, I do want to write for American artists, but I also have a passion for this far too,” Fontana explained.

Bekuh Growth

Bekuh Boom

Behind: Taeyang’s “Eyes, Nose, Lips,” Blackpink’s “Whistle,” “Ddu-Du Ddu-Du,” “Get rid of This Enjoy,” iKON’s “Goodbye Street”

For all you Blackpink fans, thank Bekuh Growth for the fact that “Boombayah” is really pronounced ‘boombayah’ and not ‘boombayay.’

When the twenty five-year-outdated songwriter was sent a textual content by YG Entertainment’s well-known producer, Teddy, to assistance write Blackpink’s debut solitary, he permit her know that he wanted the song’s title to be “Boombayay.” But she study it as “Boombayah,” and which is how the song that aided Blackpink explode onto the scene was produced.

Bekuh started off producing songs when she just 10 a long time outdated as a way to cope with her parents’ divorce.

“The initially song I at any time wrote was about my parents’ divorce and it was called ‘I’m Much better,'” Bekuh explained. “Then each individual time I liked a boy in school or whenever I was heading as a result of something, I would come household, near the doorway and I would get out notebooks and just write a bunch of songs.”

In spite of her talent, Bekuh’s songs failed to catch the focus of American artists. But the good news is for her, they did catch the focus of YG Entertainment.

They set her on a airplane and introduced her to Korea. When she felt shy and out of location, one of the initially artists she was in a position to connect with was Taeyang. He and Bekuh bonded over their shared Christian faith and the up coming factor she knew, she was producing the chorus to “Eyes, Nose, Lips.”

“When I got that song, in the eyes of the organization in Korea, I was a important asset,” Bekuh explained. “But when it arrived to The us, no person cared … So I made the decision to reside (in Korea) fundamentally for a year.”

With Bekuh’s songwriting capabilities, Blackpink grew to become one of the prime girl teams in Korea overnight. But Bekuh explained she felt the most good results with “Get rid of This Enjoy” mainly because it charted on American iTunes.

“It went all the way to #1 and that was a large factor for me mainly because fundamentally I experienced to journey midway across the globe just to get my audio performed in my very own region a long time afterwards,” Bekuh explained. “The location I started off out in, no person believed in me or got my eyesight … So I come to feel like I absolutely owe my entire career to Teddy and YG.”

Bekuh claims she has a new song coming out with Jennifer Lopez and is even functioning on her very own EP that she hopes to release someday this year. But even as she branches out in her career, she explained K-pop will often have a exclusive location in her coronary heart.

“(K-pop) has blessed my existence in so many methods and has showed me diverse views and diverse methods of existence,” Bekuh explained. “At any time that Teddy or anybody there requires me, I will drop every little thing to be there for them mainly because they have absolutely modified my existence for the greater.”

Chikk

Chikk

Behind: EXO’s “Overdose,” “Monster,” Girls’ Generation’s “Mr.Mr.,” Taeyeon’s “Why,” Purple Velvet’s “Purple Gown,” NCT 127’s “Kick It”

Rodnae “Chikk” Bell was by now producing for huge US names these types of as Iggy Azalea, Jordin Sparks and Jennifer Hudson in her initially year of songwriting. So when her publisher questioned her if she wanted to go to Korea, she was skeptical.

“I was like, ‘Why?’ But that publisher just experienced an ear and he is like, ‘I think you’ll do actually well there.’ I truthfully didn’t think I would, but it was a free of charge journey and they explained they’d feed me so I explained, ‘I’ll go,'” Chikk explained.

Chikk flew to Korea in 2013 and in spite of it currently being her initially time in a foreign region functioning with foreign artists, she arrived again household owning written two main hits — EXO’s “Overdose” and “Mr.Mr.” for Girls’ Era.

“I remaining with two #1’s and I was like, ‘Whoa, perhaps I really am great,'” Chikk explained. “Now, I’m averaging almost four trips a year.”

Chikk (right) with Lay of K-pop group EXO.

Chikk mirrored what Yip of the Stereotypes explained about how American pop artists want repetition in their audio although K-pop artists want a lot more sophisticated melodies and modifications within their audio. Chikk explained the reason for it traces again all the way to the Korean War.

With a substantial selection of US troops stationed in South Korea in the course of the war, jazz superstars such as Nat King Cole and Louis Armstrong held performances there to aid the troops. Their audio developed a “main excitement between the Korean people,” in accordance to the Korean Tradition and Details Support.

“So Korea technically, due to the fact the rebuild, was constructed on sophisticated melodies and in the course of that important time of coming alongside one another as a region, it was constructed on black audio,” Chikk explained.

But with black audio and lifestyle currently being these types of a driving force in the genre, K-pop has also been accused of cultural appropriation.

From K-pop artists sporting dreadlocks and cornrows in their audio videos to some even performing with blackface, many K-pop and K-hip hop artists have been slammed for thieving from black lifestyle or currently being downright racist.
South Korea, on the other hand, is one of the most ethnically homogenous countries in the globe, so Chikk claims the artists and amusement organizations are continue to understanding to find that “pleased medium” between cultural appropriation and appreciation.

Chikk explained what hurts a lot more than observing K-pop artists currently being accused of cultural appropriation is the deficiency of credit score which is currently being offered to songwriters.

“I keep in mind at the time hearing a long time in the past that you will hardly ever see any artists of color on the Korean charts. Which is what an govt in Korea instructed me,” Chikk recalled. “But when I appeared about, every person was of a diverse race producing the song. I think that is what hurts and what we’re fighting for. Inclusivity in the acknowledgment of who’s actually serving to these artists be who they are.”

Chikk, who just unveiled her very own debut song titled “Delighted Now,” explained she’s now functioning on her very own audio to which she hopes to deliver some of the “Korean flair” she learned although functioning in K-pop.

“I discovered a element of myself across the globe in a different region,” Chikk explained. “K-pop has offered me this sense of id and instructed me that I was born to do fantastic points.”

Correction: This tale has been up to date to give a a lot more precise sizing comparison for North and South Korea.

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