K-Pop is Pushing for “Diversity” with More and More Foreigners 

The “K” in K-Pop stands for Korean, and people often think that a K-Pop song is mainly sung in Korean by artists trained by South Korean music companies. Since the late 1990s, K-Pop has featured many singers from various nationalities in music groups. However, most foreign members are from East Asian nations, such as China and Japan. By the 2nd and 3rd generations, South East Asians also entered the scene, with K-pop artists mostly from Thailand (like BLACKPINK’s Lisa) and some from Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

Nevertheless, the number of foreign members in K-Pop groups is often limited.

However, everything has changed now as K-Pop entertainment companies pay more attention to the international market. They are recruiting more and more foreign talents, under the belief that they can still attract a Korean audience and a larger international fanbase by interacting more closely.

One notable case is the girl group BLACKSWAN, which includes Fatou from Senegal-Belgium, Gabi from Germany with Brazilian roots, NVee from the United States, and Sriya from India. The group had Korean members when it debuted in 2020, but they all eventually left.


NiziU is also a special girl group with all members from Japan but produced by the K-Pop entertainment company JYP Entertainment. Additionally, HORI7ON is an interesting case with seven members from the Philippines. These are just a few examples of K-Pop groups with no Korean members.

Some groups have Korean members, but they are no longer the majority, such as in the case of KATSEYE and BABYMONSTER. Not stopping there, HYBE is preparing to debut a multinational group of 6 members – who are winners of the program “The Debut: Dream Academy” – aiming at the international market before continuing in Korea.

“For a long time, I wanted to nurture talent from different countries with the K-Pop method and create a global music group in the K-Pop style,” said Bang Si Kyuk, founder of HYBE, regarding his ambitions.

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JYP Entertainment also affirmed its readiness to debut the American girl group VCHA through Republic Records, including Lexi, Kendall, Savanna, and KG from the United States, Kaylee from the United States with Korean roots, and Camila from Canada.

Kim Jin Woo, head of the research team at Circle Chart, stated that the appearance of globalized music groups today is clear evidence of K-Pop’s determination to achieve appeal in the global music industry.

K-Pop still has a weak presence in the pop music market,” he shared. “K-Pop record labels are trying to maximize their profits through a new approach. In the future, K-Pop female artists may become more Westernized like the Spice Girls, while male groups try to move forward like One Direction to enhance their global influence.”

However, the question here is whether K-Pop should eliminate the “Korean factor” to expand into the international market. This is still a controversial question for those in the industry and the audience.

Source: K14

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