Reneh Gelladuga, Staff Reporter

When Mai Vang’16 switches on the radio, she quietly hums along to the catchy hits. She bobs her head to the pop, the hip hop, but her absolute favorite genre of “pop” is K-pop. K-pop as in Korean pop music. The melodic, electronic vibes derived from South Korea. K-pop is really what makes Mai shout passionately in the car.

Mai has been a follower of Korean pop music since 2010. “My older sisters were K-pop fans, so that’s how I got introduced,” Mai explains. Her siblings influenced the music to her since she was 10. “Gosh, since middle school grades? Like sixth grade,” Mai says.

K-pop differentiates from Western music numerous ways. Mai embraces the differences the Koreans take with their publicity. “I like the concepts, the music. Each time there is a comeback there’s a concept that goes with it. And their whole album follows that concept. And the stage performances are always different. Comparing K-pop artists to American artists, K-pop artists tend to come back more. For American artists they always come back a year or two years. For K-pop artists it’s always every five or six months,” Mai explains. American artists take a longer hiatus during their career than the Koreans do. The Koreans release tracks much more often than Western stars.

Korean popstars give their all to appease the fans. Idols wake at the dawn and collapse after midnight, working like machines. It takes pure dedication to motivate themselves the way they do. The stars spend years building and polishing their skills to eventually showcase to the world. Music company trainees train 24/7 to develop their talents. They undergo cruel diets, plastic surgery, and all sorts of sacrifices to make it big. Many bands endure world tours that last an entire year.

Mai is well aware of the pressure the public forces onto the idols. That is why she does her best to support her favorite bands. “Right now my favorite band is Seventeen and DAY6. Back then it was Super Junior, BIGBANG, 2NE1, all those, basically the groups that debuted in 2007 and all of them,” Mai lists. She cheers on all bands but knows her limits. “I don’t think I want to start anything and get committed because it’s time consuming. I would go to the fan meetings and concerts but to start a fan club is too much,” Mai admits.

K-poppers are often judged by other fandoms for the severity of the fans’ dedication. Multiple K-pop bands contain more than five members. All of those band members do put ink on a roster, and the fans know them all by heart. Mai’s wall is decorated with Korean posters and album jackets. She also owns 3 albums and continues to grow her collection.

Non K-pop fan Tony Tran ’16 expresses his opposite views on the music genre. “The fans are too crazy. They’re crazy. They’re just really dedicated, they know all the members,” Tony elaborates. Even so, the fans’ actions do not refrain others from liking the music.

Despite all the crazy controversies and fans, K-pop is loved globally. Tours are scheduled internationally for certain bands and many, like Mai plan to attend. “I would go see BTS.