meta-script10 K-Pop Rookie Girl Groups To Watch In 2023: Le Sserafim, Mimiirose, Ive & More | GRAMMY.com
10 rookie k pop girl groups 20202
(Clockwise from top row) Mimiirose, LE SSERAFIM, NMIXX

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10 K-Pop Rookie Girl Groups To Watch In 2023: Le Sserafim, Mimiirose, Ive & More

Girl groups may take over the sound of K-pop in 2023. Read on to learn about 10 female-fronted groups whose 2022 success has made them artists to watch this year.

GRAMMYs/Jan 4, 2023 - 04:22 pm

In 2022, K-pop was defined by women. From early spring hits like (G)I-dle’s "Tomboy" and IVE’s "Love Dive," to BLACKPINK topping the Billboard 200 albums chart and then embarking on the largest world tour for a K-pop girl group, there was no shortage of achievements or great music for K-pop's leading ladies.

Renowned names like TWICE, Mamamoo, ITZY and Red Velvet thrived with new releases, festival appearances, and international tours. Soloists made exciting comebacks — as with artists from BoA, Chung Ha, and Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon — or through  long-awaited debuts, like former Iz*One members Chaeyeon and Yena, Red Velvet’s Seulgi, TWICE’s Nayeon, and many others.

2022 was also the year where legends such as Girls’ Generation, KARA and EXID returned after being inactive for years, instilling a breath of fresh hope in an industry where so few women thrive past their mid-20s. While these changes take time, hopefully their steps will open doors to a different future.

But among countless highlights and broken records, 2022’s crowning jewel has to be the solid collection of girl groups it debuted into the world. Each overflowing with potential and unique flair, GRAMMY.com rounded up 10 names — in order of debut — that are defining how K-pop will sound and look in 2023 and beyond.

Billlie

Debuting at the tail end of 2021, this septet from Mystic Story Entertainment built a peculiar niche right from the start. As it’s written on the cover of their first EP, the Billage of perception : chapter one, "we sing of the mysterious, hidden, and even dangerous B-side." Their lore features multiple dimensions in both real and dream worlds, but centers on figuring out what happened with a fictional girl named Billlie Love.

Much like their narrative, Billlie’s songs are marked by unusual titles ("M◐◑N palace" or "Mcguffins ~ Who's the Joker?" come to mind), quirky soundscapes, and eloquent performances. Early this year, main dancer Tsuki went viral for her fancam performing "GingaMingaYo (the strange world)" — which shows a small glimpse of how mesmerizing they can be.

IVE

Just five days shy of their first anniversary, IVE made history, winning a Daesang (grand prize) for Best Song of the Year at the 2022 MelOn Music Awards for their single "Love Dive." The achievement placed them as the third fastest girl group to win their first grand prize.

"Love Dive," which dominated South Korean charts for months, is a prime example of the "chaebol crush" concept that IVE crafted for themselves: girl crush, but with a hint of royalty. Hailing from Starship Entertainment, the six-member group — which includes Wonyoung and Yujin of Iz*One fame — was one of the biggest sensations of 2022, and are certainly ready to multiply that success in the following years.

Kep1er

Formed last year through Mnet’s survival show Girls Planet 999, Kep1er inaugurated 2022 with debut single "WA DA DA" on Jan. 3, 2022. Its nine members come from different backgrounds and countries (South Korea, China and Japan), but together they form a K-pop Megazord of sorts. Although their style is often bold and loud, their b-sides prove they can work with softer and sultrier styles just as well.

Kep1er is set to disband sometime in July 2024, but don’t cry — in addition to the bops yet to come, temporary groups in K-pop are often fundamental in shaping the next generation of idols (just look at how many former Iz*One members are mentioned on this list). That said, even if Kep1er’s sound isn't much to your taste, you’re better off learning the names of some of K-pop’s future leaders.

NMIXX

The latest girl group off JYP Entertainment — home to titans like TWICE and ITZY — NMIXX debuted in February 2022 with the divisive "O.O." Bringing together multiple tempo changes, soaring chants, rock guitars and a handful of onomatopoeias, the attention-grabbing tune challenged perceptions about what makes a good song.

They confidently call their sound "MIXXPOP," and repeated its profuse nature in September’s theatrical "Dice," to much commercial success. But for those who still aren’t convinced, the sextet has also proven versatility to spare in the unstoppable beats of "Tank," the sweet joy of "Funky Glitter Christmas," and in a show-stopping cover of Seventeen’s "Aju Nice" at KCON 2022 L.A.

LE SSERAFIM

"What you lookin’ at?" LE SSERAFIM ask in their polished debut "Fearless," but the truth is that it was hard not to look at them in 2022. They were the first girl group to debut under HYBE, the entertainment label of groups like BTS, TXT, and ENHYPEN. Adding to the expectation, popular names such as Sakura and Chaewon from Iz*One and Mnet’s "Produce 48" contestant Yunjin also figured in the lineup.

While the anticipation was high, there was no better group to weather these challenges. With a name composed by an anagram of the phrase "I'm fearless," LE SSERAFIM proved that their core is made of steel and flawless releases. If "Fearless" showed what they came for, October’s neo-perreo-influenced "Antifragile" consolidated the quintet as a bold, blazing force to be reckoned with.

CLASS:y

Another girl group formed through a survival show — MBC’s "My Teenage Girl" — CLASS:y debuted in May with the ambitious "Shut Down." The track steamrolls with classic Indian instruments and relentless tempo, proving that while CLASS:y might be lesser known than their peers, they are just as talented.

The full range of their skills is on display during live performances. Radiating confidence beyond their years, they tackle styles that range from Latin-inspired mid-tempos to bouncy bangers meant to stick in your mind for days.

NewJeans

For months, it was rumored that another girl group from HYBE would be debuting under the wings of their subsidiary label, ADOR. However, no one expected their debut to be as groundbreaking as it was. NewJeans dropped "Attention" out of the blue in late July — no teasers beforehand, no info about the members, nothing.

It worked. The release gained over 1.3 million YouTube views in less than 24 hours. Following suit came music videos for all three other tracks off their exquisite self-titled EP, including 2022’s darling summer hit, "Hype Boy." With impeccably chill vibes and an aesthetic filled with Y2K nostalgia, NewJeans were one of 2022’s biggest, most rewarding surprises.

CSR

Formed entirely by 17-year-olds, CSR debuted in the summer with a kind of sound that seemed to be forgotten in recent K-pop. Bringing back memories of groups like GFRIEND and Lovelyz, these rookies' sugary, synth-filled slice of pop effortlessly stood out.

CSR’s first single "Pop? Pop!" is layered with surprises and unfaltering hope — motifs that are repeated throughout their whimsical EP Sequence: 7272 — but it was November’s fizzy "♡TiCON" that got them their first music show win on KBS’s Music Bank, settling the group as ones to watch in 2023.

mimiirose

Although YES IM Entertainment is a newly established company, its CEO is none other than Im Chang-jung — a singer-songwriter and actor known in South Korea for being "the original multi-entertainer." That said, it makes sense why mimiirose left an impression right off the gate with September’s "Rose."

Boasting confident vocals over Middle Eastern-inspired chords, "Rose" offers a fair display of their charms, with special remarks to rapper and former Girls Planner 999 contestant Yoon Jia. The two other tracks off their single album Awesome don't disappoint either. With the tropical house of "Lululu" and the trickling synths of "Kill Me More," mimiirose are primed as self-assured performers with unyielding potential.

Fifty Fifty

Under newcomer label ATTRAKT, Fifty Fifty debuted on Nov. 18 with a strong first EP, The Fifty.

Throughout its four dazzling tracks, the quartet displays various colors and a vocal maturity that is both hard to find and crucial to have. "Tell Me" starts the journey in what could be the perfect indie movie soundtrack, moving swiftly to the synthpop of pre-release "Lovin’ Me" and title track "Higher." By the time that edgy closer "Log In" arrives, you are already sold on Fifty Fifty’s magical appeal.

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Tori Kelly
Tori Kelly

Photo: Sarah Morris/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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Tori Kelly Gets “Unwrapped” For 'TORI' At GRAMMY U Event Showcasing Production & Recording Techniques From Her New Album

The singer stepped out for GRAMMY U's first "Unwrapped" event to give fans a look deep inside her new record, TORI. Joined by producer and collaborator Tenroc, the pair walked guests through the making of several tracks including "missin u" and "oceans."

GRAMMYs/May 21, 2024 - 10:11 pm

GRAMMY U members got a special treat from Tori Kelly when the singer (and Sing-er) took the stage for the first ever GRAMMY U "Unwrapped" event on May 15. Held at The Novo in downtown Los Angeles, the event brought together fans, music industry professionals, and students for a night that dove deep into the creative process behind Kelly’s brand new record, TORI. Amazon Music and Mastercard were participating sponsors for this event. 

Joined on stage by producer and collaborator Tenroc, Kelly took fans through a journey of several tracks from her new record, from inception to completion. Kelly discussed each track, aided by a video presentation and using stems to highlight special production techniques, musical intricacies, and cool little Easter eggs. The showcase was followed by a round of live questions from the audience, where Kelly dished about everything from her voiceover work to her pre-studio rituals, before grabbing a guitar and performing two new tracks: "High Water" and "Oceans." 

Here’s a glimpse into all the songs Kelly and Tenroc featured, from "Missin' U" to "Spruce."

"thing u do”

When it came time to make Tori, Kelly told the audience that she wanted to focus on "songs that make [you] wanna dance," and "songs that [anyone] can belt out in the car." Mainly collaborating just with Tenroc, Bellion, Clyde Lawrence, and Jordan Cohen, Kelly put together a record that's strongly influenced by late '90s and early '00s pop, with references to chirping Sidekick phones and plenty of nostalgic vocal effects. 

"missin u" in particular is interesting, not just because it was inspired by Craig David and the U.K. Garage sound — with Kelly taking special care to pronounce "garage" in true British fashion at the live event — but also because it was released in both its original form and as an R&B edit. The latter version is the one Kelly and Tenroc highlighted at the event, going through Kelly's vocal tracks, and really digging in on the remix's bridge, which Kelly wrote just for that track and recorded in her home studio.

Getting to see Tenroc's Logic Pro work on the big screen seemed to mesmerize everyone in attendance, with most marveling at the ease he seemed to have flicking through the dozens of stems, layers, and plug-ins. 

"missin u"

When it came time to make TORI, Kelly told the audience that she wanted to focus on "songs that make [you] wanna dance," and "songs that [anyone] can belt out in the car." Mainly collaborating just with Tenroc, Bellion, Clyde Lawrence, and Jordan Cohen, Kelly put together a record that's strongly influenced by late '90s and early '00s pop, with references to chirping Sidekick phones and plenty of nostalgic vocal effects.

In particular, "missin u" is interesting, not just because it was inspired by Craig David and the U.K. Garage sound — with Kelly taking special care to pronounce "garage" in true British fashion at the live event — but also because it was released in both its original form and as an R&B edit. The latter version is the one Kelly and Tenroc highlighted at the event, going through Kelly's vocal tracks, and really digging in on the remix's bridge, which Kelly wrote just for that track and recorded in her home studio.

Getting to see Tenroc's Logic Pro work on the big screen seemed to mesmerize everyone in attendance, with most marveling at the ease he seemed to have flicking through the dozens of stems, layers, and plug-ins. 

"shelter"

Talking about "shelter," Kelly described a sort of shorthand she'd developed with Tenroc, after working closely together over the past few years. She said they're at the point where they can communicate with "sounds" and "telepathy," a benefit she attributes to not switching producers throughout the making of her record.

Tenroc and Kelly used "shelter" to talk about the comping process, or the act of combining the best parts of different takes into a single track. Kelly said she typically does about five takes of a vocal track, all in different personas: one normal, one shyer, one wild, one with a lot of vocal runs, and one that's sort of a wild card. She can keep each take separate in her mind that way, remembering how she recorded a vowel slightly better in one take or gave a line a little grittier vocal texture in another. It's not something everyone can do, though, and Tenroc said it's truly amazing to witness in person — a fact the live audience could attest to. 

For Kelly, a lot of making TORI, was about exploring different tones and textures of her voice, she said. She'd sometimes start by doing an impression of a singer like Rihanna and Willow in one run, and then blend the inspired version with her own, stretching herself vocally. She demonstrated that kind of thing live at the show, doing off-the-cuff runs of bits of "Shelter" to talk about how they changed the way the word "plate" in the chorus. 

Tenroc also showed off how he used the Little Alterboy plug-in to alter Kelly's voice, turning the rap in "shelter," as well as the "you, you, you, you, you" bit into what sounds like a deep masculine voice, even though those lines were originally laid down by Kelly herself. 

"spruce"

When "spruce" was first being envisioned by Kelly and co-writer Casey Smith, it was a song called "truce" about making up with your loved one before going out on the town. Kelly had been wanting to make a "getting ready, girly song," though, and Bellion came into the studio one day with the idea of merging the two ideas in what became "spruce." 

Written over a loop made by Tenroc, "spruce" — featuring Kim Chaewon of K-Pop group LE SSERAFIM — is emblematic, Kelly said, of her effort to let go, change, and try new things in the studio. The production was inspired by Jai Paul and uses sidechain compression, which is when the level of one instrument or sound triggers a compressor to control the level of another sound. The crowd clearly seemed taken with the sound when Tenroc played examples of how it was used in the track, which he said he made in part with the Serum plugin. Kelly said the result feels fully "3-D," like you're "inside" the track rather than just listening along.

"same girl"

The last — and most personal —song on the record, "same girl," was mostly written by Kelly while she was on a plane. She wanted something that felt like it could close the record, and she recorded it live with Tenroc in her studio, where he also played piano. 

Kelly said the song was inspired by her love of various music styles and genres. She explained, "Coming up as an artist, I always felt a little insecure about trying to stay in one lane and be in one box. I love so many different genres. I'm inspired by so many different things." She continued, "And so finding my sound I always thought that was a bad thing... But I'm grateful for all these different genres I've been able to dabble in. This song was me being overwhelmed by people's opinions and letting it get to me a little bit while thinking of my career as a whole."

Kelly said that while she worried when she was writing that the lyrics would be too personal and too specific, she's had great feedback about the track, something that reminds her that, "Anytime you write about your own experience, someone else out there is going to be able to relate to it." 

5 Takeaways From The 2024 GRAMMY U Conference In New York City

ATEEZ perform at Coachella Weekend 1

Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Coachella

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K-Pop Summer 2024 Guide: ATEEZ, IU, TXT & More Live In Concert & On Tour

Whether you want to have your Head in the Clouds, go over the moon at KCON or head Towards the Light, plan out your summer with these K-pop events and tours featuring TWICE, LE SSERAFIM, Stray Kids and more.

GRAMMYs/May 8, 2024 - 12:31 pm

2024 has had a handful of memorable K-pop moments in North America so far. From boy group ONEUS's La Dolce Vita tour to TWICE's one-night-only show at Las Vegas' Allegiant Stadium in March, the industry has kept a steady flow of entertainment for lovers of Korean music and culture. Last month, ATEEZ, LE SSERAFIM, and indie band The Rose also left their mark at Coachella Festival in California, proving that K-pop acts at major festivals are a rising trend.

With summer right around the corner, even more tours, festivals, and conventions are set to pop up across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. From mid-May to September, whether on weekdays or weekends, there will always be something to do or someone to see. Among the most-awaited events are singer IU's first world tour and ATEEZ's massive trek in July, as well as Stray Kids, IVE, and VCHA's performances at Chicago's Lollapalooza Festival.

To help you enjoy the most out of this busy season, GRAMMY.com assembled a list of all the K-pop concerts and events happening in the next few months below.

May

CIX: 0 or 1 in North America

May 10-26

Boy group CIX will be back in North America for their third tour this May. Named after single album 0 or 1, the stint will cover eight cities across the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, starting in Chicago, IL and wrapping it up in Los Angeles, CA. The quintet will likely perform hits like "Cinema" and "Movie Star," as well as their latest single, "Lovers or Enemies," and celebrate their upcoming fifth anniversary.

Head in the Clouds Festival

Forest Hills, New York

May 11-12

Following the success of last year's edition in Queens, New York, Head in the Clouds Festival returns to the big apple in 2024. In their mission to spread Asian diaspora talent, the lineup for this year enlists (G)I-DLE to headline on Saturday and singer BIBI on Sunday, along other names like ATARASHII GAKKO! and Joji. Korean acts Balming Tiger, Wave to Earth, and newcomer girl group Young Posse will also join them. HITC Festival is usually based in Los Angeles, but this year's L.A. edition has yet to be announced.

BM (KARD): After the After Party Tour

May 14-25

Hailing from co-ed group KARD, Korean-American singer BM will kick off his first U.S. solo tour in mid-May. After the After Party Tour was inspired by the track "ATAP (After the After Party)," off his December single album, Lowkey. BM will perform in six cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. He also teased an EP soon, and stated that he will be "taking new music on this tour."

P1Harmony: P1ustage H : UTOP1A Tour

May 14 - Jun. 16

Boy band P1Harmony is also returning to North America with their third tour, P1ustage H: UTOP1A. Beginning in Houston, TX, on May 14, it will follow with shows in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, and more — including a prestigious performance on June 8 at New York City's Governors Ball Music Festival 2024. The sextet released their first studio album, Killin' It, in February of this year.

Tomorrow X Together (TXT): ACT : PROMISE World Tour

May 14 - Jun. 8

A TXT tour in the U.S. has become an annual event: following 2022's ACT : LOVESICK and 2023's ACT : SWEET MIRAGE, 2024 welcomes ACT : PROMISE. Featuring 11 shows across the country, the boy group will play in Houston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, and more. They will also perform two nights at New York's legendary Madison Square Garden before heading to the Japanese leg of the tour in July.

Wheein (MAMAMOO): Whee In The Mood [Beyond] World Tour

May 17 - Jun. 4

Powerhouse vocalists MAMAMOO hit stateside last year with their MY CON World Tour, a first for the group. Now, it's member Wheein's turn to celebrate her solo career with Whee In The Mood [Beyond] World Tour, inspired by her first LP, 2023's In The Mood. After a slew of shows in Asia and Europe, the singer will head to San Francisco, CA, for the first out of eight concerts in the U.S. Other cities include Dallas, Orlando, Los Angeles, and New York.

RIIZE: RIIZING Day Fan-Con World Tour

Los Angeles, California

May 20

SM Entertainment's freshest rookies RIIZE announced their first fan-con, RIIZING Day, to take place from May to August in various cities across the globe. After playing in Seoul, Tokyo, and Mexico City, the boyband will come to Los Angeles for a single performance at the Peacock Theater on May 20. RIIZE are expected to play their compact yet dynamic discography, including singles "Get A Guitar," "Talk Saxy," and "Impossible."

June

Purple Kiss: 2024 BXX Tour

June 2 - July 2

It's not even been a year since Purple Kiss toured the U.S. with their The Festa Tour in fall 2023, but they're already gearing to come back. Starting June 2 in Oceanside, CA, the 2024 BXX Tour will take the girl group to seven cities in the U.S. and nine cities in Canada, closing it off in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on July 2. This is a big chance for fans who missed their performances last year, or simply to those who want to see singles like "Zombie" and "Sweet Juice" live again.

ITZY: Born to Be World Tour

June 6-28

Girl group ITZY has spent the majority of 2024 bringing their second world tour, Born to Be, across Oceania, Asia, Latin America, and Europe. In June, they will finally step in North America for a 10-stop stint, including cities like Seattle, Los Angeles, Newark, Fairfax, Toronto, and more. Despite featuring only four out of five members while vocalist Lia is currently on hiatus due to health reasons, they promise to set the stages on fire with their high-energy discography.

VERIVERY: Go On Fan-meeting Tour

Jun. 14-23

Starting June 14, boyband VERIVERY will kick off their Go On Fan-meeting Tour in New York at Brooklyn Steel. Then, they will head to Chicago, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Fort Worth, and finally Los Angeles for a last performance at Vermont Hollywood. The seven-member group is currently a quartet, as member Dongheon is currently enlisted in the military, and members Minchan and Hoyoung are on hiatus due to health concerns. VERIVERY's latest release was 2023's EP, Liminality.

A.C.E: 2024 REWIND_US U.S. Tour

Jun. 19 - July 18

February marked the much-anticipated comeback of boy group A.C.E with the EP My Girl: My Choice. It was their first release in three years, and to rejoice further, the quintet announced an extensive 14-date tour throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Starting June 19 in Madison, WI and closing off on July 18 in San Juan, PR, A.C.E will also perform in Los Angeles, Nashville, New York, and more.

HYO: Milwaukee Summerfest

Milwaukee, WI

Jun. 28

HYO, also known as Hyoyeon from Girls' Generation, will be showcasing her DJ chops on June 28 at Milwaukee Summerfest. The performance will happen just months after HYO held her 2024 Spring U.S. Tour, Cherry Blossom, which spanned seven cities across the country. In the setlist, fans can expect hits like "Dessert" and "Deep," but also some innovative remixes of other artists' songs, like GALA's "Freed From Desire" and Girls' Generation's "Gee."

July

AB6IX: Find You Fan Concert Tour

Jul. 3-21

Another boy group to embark on a North American tour this year, AB6IX will bring their Find You Fan Concert across nine stops in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. Starting off in the cities of Toronto and Montreal, they will then head to New York, Mexico City, Miami, Denver, and more, before wrapping it up in Los Angeles. The tour title was inspired by their latest release, January's EP The Future is Ours: Found.

ATEEZ: Towards the Light: Will to Power 2024 World Tour

Jul. 14 - Aug. 11

Performance kings ATEEZ never stop. After the release of their EP, Golden Hour: Part. 1 on May 31, the eight-member group will head to North America for their Towards the Light: Will to Power 2024 World Tour. Kicking off on July 14 in Tacoma, Washington, the boyband will also play in the cities of Los Angeles, Arlington, Washington, D.C., Toronto, New York, and more. The tour supports ATEEZ's December 2023 LP, The World EP.Fin: Will, but hopefully the setlist will include surprises as new music comes out.

IU: HEREH World Tour

Jul. 15 - Aug. 2

One of the most important artists to come from South Korea, IU (born Lee Ji-eun) has been shaping the country's music industry since 2008 with her unique voice, sensitive songwriting, and sharp mind. Given her journey, it's almost absurd that her first world tour is only happening in 2024 — but better late than never. After stops in Asia and Europe, IU will head to the U.S. for six sold-out concerts, beginning on July 15 at Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, and concluding on August 2 at Kia Forum in Los Angeles, CA.

The Boyz: Zeneration II World Tour

Jul. 19-28

Following their 2023 Zeneration Tour, which featured 24 stops across Asia, 11-member group The Boyz are now bringing its sequel worldwide. After a 3-day July stint in Seoul, South Korea, the Zeneration II tour will head to the U.S. for five shows in New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Jose. Throughout August, The Boyz will segue onto the Asian leg of the tour, wrapping it up with a few European dates in September.

KCON Los Angeles 2024

Jul. 26-28

Known as the largest Korean culture and music festival in North America, KCON has a decade-long legacy of serving as a bridge for "all things Hallyu." Held at the Los Angeles Convention Center and Crypto.com Arena, the festival includes a two-night concert, fan signings, food and merch stalls, panels with professionals in the industry, and many other attractions. KCON hasn't announced its official lineup yet, but attendees can expect it to maintain the same excellence of past years.

Secret Number: The 1st U.S. Tour 2024 Unlock

Jul. 26 - Aug. 10

Girl group Secret Number debuted amidst the chaos of 2020's COVID-19 pandemic, therefore falling short of live experiences with their fans. As they enter their fourth year together, they will finally meet North American fans with their 2024 Unlock tour this summer. Kicking off on July 26 in Chicago, the sextet will then head to Minneapolis, Charlotte, Houston, Denver, Phoenix, Seattle, and Los Angeles for a final show on August 10.

August

Stray Kids, IVE, VCHA: Lollapalooza Chicago 2024

Aug. 1-4

K-pop's presence on Lollapalooza continues to expand. This year, Stray Kids is set to headline on Friday, Aug. 2, alongside singer SZA. It's the boyband's second appearance at the festival, following their 2023 show at Lollapalooza Paris. On that same day, U.S.-based, K-pop-trained girl group VCHA, formed by JYP Entertainment in partnership with Republic Records, will also make their first performance at the festival. To close it off, Saturday will feature the captivating girl group IVE.

I.M (Monsta X): Off The Beat 2024 World Tour

Aug. 8-31

Monsta X's maknae (youngest member) I.M has been building a prolific solo career while his teammates are enlisted in the military. Accompanying his third EP, Off The Beat, the singer announced an eponymous world tour, featuring 19 stops in Asia, North America, and Europe. He will play seven dates In the U.S. and two in Canada, including New York, Boston, Toronto, and more.

ARTMS: 2024 Moonshot World Tour

Aug. 16 - Sept. 10

Formed by five LOONA members (Kim Lip, Choerry, JinSoul, HaSeul, and HeeJin), girl group ARTMS was one of 2023's most-awaited debuts. Their first studio album, Devine All Love & Live, is set to drop on May 31, and the quintet will celebrate with a string of concerts across South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. Starting August 16 in New York, the tour will cross Atlanta, Orlando, Los Angeles, and more cities before wrapping up on September 10 in Chicago.

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Megan Thee Stallion (Center) and (from L to R:) J-Hope, Jin, Jungkook, V, RM, Suga, and Jimin of BTS attend the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 03, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Megan Thee Stallion (Center) and (from L to R:) J-Hope, Jin, Jungkook, V, RM, Suga, and Jimin of BTS attend the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on April 03, 2022.

Photo: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

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9 Essential K-Pop/Western Collabs: From BTS And Megan Thee Stallion, To IVE And Saweetie

From Jungkook and Usher's tribute to their shared musical idol, to BLACKPINK and Selena Gomez' sugary sweet collab, K-pop and Western artists of all genres are joining forces to create killer hits.

GRAMMYs/Feb 27, 2024 - 02:12 pm

It’s impossible to ignore the growing global popularity of K-pop. Although Korean pop has been around for decades, the genre's meteoric worldwide success over the past 10 years is reminiscent of Beatlemania and the early 2000s American boy band craze. With a steady increase year-over-year in album sales and K-pop groups touring the U.S. and Europe, interest in K-pop shows no signs of slowing down.

Initially launched in South Korea as a music subgenre with Western pop, R&B and hip-hop influences in the '90s, the K-pop industry is valued at around $10 billion.

Given the worldwide appetite for K-pop, several Western musicians are keen to partner with K-pop acts crossing over into more international markets, often with songs sung partially or entirely in English. While K-pop artists do not need Western artists to be successful — BTS sold out London’s Wembley stadium in under 90 minutes back in 2019, and BLACKPINK made Coachella history twice with performances in 2019 and 2023 — K-pop's massive fanbase and multi-genre influence make it an ideal collaboration for everyone from rappers and singers to electronic DJs.

But don’t take our word for it. Here are nine of the most iconic K-Pop/Western collaborations (not in any order; they are all great songs!).

Usher and Jungkook - "Standing Next to You (Usher Remix)" (2024)

The maknae (the youngest member of the group) of global K-pop superstars BTS and the King of R&B are both having banner years: Jungkook released his debut solo album, and Usher just performed at the Super Bowl

The Bangtan Boys have cited Usher as a significant influence (even singing a callback to his 2001 hit "U Got It Bad" in their No. 1 song, "Butter"), so BTS fans were delighted when the Jungkook tapped Usher for a remix of "Standing Next to You." The song marks the fourth single from his Billboard 200 chart-topping debut album, Golden

Both singers count Michael Jackson as a major influence. In their collaboration video, Usher and Jungkook pay tribute to the King of Pop as they slide, pop, and lock across the slick floor of an abandoned warehouse. 

John Legend and Wendy of Red Velvet - "Written in the Stars" (2018)

R&B singer/pianist John Legend was the perfect choice for an R&B ballad with Wendy, the main vocalist of K-pop quintet Red Velvet. The final song on the five-track SM Station x 0, a digital music project, "Written in the Stars," is a beautiful, mid-tempo love song. A bit of a departure from K-pop’s typical upbeat sound, Wendy and Legend are in perfect harmony over a warm yet melancholic rhythm.

As Red Velvet’s main vocalist, Wendy was the ideal voice for this collaboration. Additionally, she split her childhood between Canada and the U.S., and has been comfortable singing in English since Red Velvet debuted in 2014. This wasn't her first collab with a Western artist: In 2017, she released an English-language version of the pop ballad "Vente Pa’Ca" with Ricky Martin

BLACKPINK and Selena Gomez - "Ice Cream" (2020)

A powerhouse debut single, BLACKPINK collaborated with pop royalty Selena Gomez on the massive 2020 hit "Ice Cream."

An electropop-bubblegum fusion filled with dairy double entendres, "Ice Cream" was an enormous success for both Gomez and the BLACKPINK girls. The track peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and has racked up nearly 900 million YouTube views to date. 

Written by a consortium of hitmakers, including Ariana Grande and BLACKPINK’s longtime songwriter and producer Teddy Park (a former K-pop idol himself), "Ice Cream" shows that YG Entertainment’s golden foursome and Gomez were the correct partnership for this track. The pop-trap bop marked the first time a K-pop girl group broke the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and immediately solidified BLACKPINK as global superstars. 

Snoop Dogg and Monsta X - "How We Do" (2022)

West Coast rap godfather Snoop Dogg has quietly become one of the go-to Western acts for K-pop collabs, working with Psy, BTS, Girls’ Generation and 2NE1. K-pop is the Dogg Father's "guilty pleasure," and he performed at the Mnet Asian Music Awards with Dr. Dre in 2011. Without Snoop's love of K-pop, the world might not have gotten this fun and energetic collaboration with Snoop and Monsta X, a five-member boy group under Starship Entertainment.

The song appears in The Spongebob Movie: Sponge On The Run in a dance segment where Snoop, decked out in a pink and purple Western suit, is accompanied by zombie dancers. Though we do not see the members of Monsta X, their harmonious crooning is the perfect accent to Snoop Dogg’s trademark casual West Coast flow.

BTS and Steven Aoki - "MIC Drop (Steve Aoki remix)" (2017)

No K-pop list is complete with a nod to the magnificent seven, and "MIC Drop" is one of their catchiest Western collabs to date. 

"Mic Drop" is quintessential BTS: a nod to hip-hop with a heavy bass line and fun choreography. While the original version of "MIC Drop" is excellent, the remix with EDM superstar DJ Steve Aoki and rapper Desiigner cracked the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 — the first of many hits for the Bulletproof Boy Scouts. 

Released at a time when BTS were just starting their ascent to chart-topping Western dominance, the track's boastful lyrics and tension-building electro-trap production offered an excellent introduction to the group that would soon become international superstars. 

JYJ, Kanye West and Malik Yusef - "Ayyy Girl" (2010)

A truly deep K-pop cut, you’d be hard-pressed to find many people who know that Kanye West collaborated with a first-generation K-pop group over 13 years ago. Released as the lead single on JYJ’s English-language album The Beginning, West’s signature bravado and wordplay are on full display over a track that sounds like the Neptunes produced it.

The song garnered attention in the U.S., but after a string of bad luck (including a severely delayed U.S. visa process and issues with their management company, SM Entertainment), JYJ could not capitalize on their American success. The group continued to see success in Korea and Japan in the early 2010s but never made a splash in the Western market again.

IVE and Saweetie - "All Night" (2024)

A reimagining of Icona Pop’s 2013 song of the same name, "All Night," sees fourth-generation K-pop girl group IVE partner with rap’s resident glamor girl Saweetie for a funky, electronic-infused pop song that’s perfect for dancing from dusk till dawn. 

"All Night" is the first English song for the Starship Entertainment-backed group. Interestingly, none of the members of IVE have individual lines in the song, choosing instead to sing the lyrics in a six-part harmony. This choice is exciting but fun, giving listeners the feeling that they are more than welcome to sing along. 

The girl group embarked on their first 24-date world tour in January 2024, with stops in the U.S., Asia, Europe and South America. Given their quest for global dominance, there’s a good chance "All Night" won’t be IVE's last English-language release.

BTS and Megan Thee Stallion - "Butter (Remix)" (2021)

BTS’ "Butter" had already spent three weeks atop the Billboard charts and was declared the "song of the summer" when the group’s label announced Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion as the guest star for the song’s remix in late August 2021. The GRAMMY-nominated septet is no stranger to collaborating with Western musicians, having worked with Halsey, Jason Derulo, and Coldplay

Though only slightly altered from the original (Megan’s verse was added in place of the song’s second original verse, along with several ad-libs), the remix was praised by both fans and critics alike, catapulting the song’s return back to the No. 1. Although the collaborators did not release a new music video featuring the group and the self-proclaimed "Hot Girl Coach," three members of BTS’ "dance line" (members J-Hope, Jungkook and Jimin) released a specially choreographed dance video. Additionally, Megan was a surprise guest during BTS’ record-breaking Permission to Dance LA concert in November of the same year.

LE SSERAFIM and Niles Rodgers - "Unforgiven" (2023)

GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Nile Rodgers' first foray into K-pop was a partnership with LE SSERAFIM, a fourth-gen girl group from the same parent company behind BTS. "Unforgiven" was released earlier this year as the lead single from the group’s debut album of the same name. 

A darker take on the familiar K-pop formula with A Western feel and look (the young quintuplet dons cowboy hats, boots and bolo ties in the song’s accompanying music video), "Unforgiven" is about rebellion and being a fierce, strong and independent risk taker. That riskiness drew Rodgers' ear. 

"It seems like a lot of the K-pop that I'm hearing lately, the…chord changes are a lot more interesting than what's been happening [in other music fields] over the last few years," he told GRAMMY.com in 2023. "I come from a jazz background, so to hear chord changes like that is really cool. They’re not afraid, which is great to me."

15 K-Pop Songs That Took 2023 By Storm: From Seventeen’s "Super (손오공)" to NewJeans' "Super Shy"

TikTok Artists 2023 List Hero
(Clockwise, from bottom left): SexxyRed, Paul Russell, FIFTY FIFTY, Flyana Boss, Kenya Grace

Photo: WireImage, Kevin Kane/WireImage, Han Myung-Gu/WireImage, Kaitlyn Morris/Getty Images, Hannah Diamond

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TikTok's Musical Class Of 2023: 8 Artists Who Transformed Virality Into Stardom, From Tyla to FIFTY FIFTY

After yet another year of TikTok's domination in musical discovery, get to know eight artists who emerged on the app as certified hitmakers this year.

GRAMMYs/Dec 21, 2023 - 04:03 pm

Music and social media have never been more intertwined. As TikTok continues to integrate into the music industry, for many artists, being a musician and a content creator are no longer mutually exclusive.

Riding the algorithm to fame isn't always easy, but it's undeniable that TikTok is now one of the most effective marketing tools for artists, just as acts like Nicky Youre and Alexandra Kay saw in 2022. From Tyla's viral "Water" dance challenge to Sexyy Red's "SkeeYee" hair flip trend, up-and-coming artists took advantage of TikTok's power once again in 2023 — like the K-pop act FIFTY FIFTY, who transformed their catchy dance-pop single "Cupid" into a skyrocketing commercial breakthrough.

"TikTok provides promotional opportunities for rising artists like us [by] providing an opportunity to be exposed in many different angles," FIFTY FIFTY's Keena told GRAMMY.com.

For hip-hop duo Flyana Boss — whose single "You Wish" took off on the app — TikTok has helped them learn "the power of manifestation and never giving up on your dreams." They add, "there's a strong audience out there that's hungry for artists like us."

TikTok has both personalized and revolutionized how music is shared daily. Here are eight artists who brought your "For You" page to life — and made it big in 2023.

Aliyahs Interlude

If anyone's an It Girl, it's Aliyah Bah. Known as Aliyah's Interlude online, the TikTok influencer quickly grew a fan base through her fashion sense, blending Y2k fashion with Harajuku style in her own #Aliyahcore. This year, she took a step into pop stardom with her anthem "IT GIRL."

Inspired by the likes of Azealia Banks, Ayesha Erotica, and Beyoncé's RENAISSANCE, Bah's poppy house track channels a confidence that's dazzling and dramatic. More than a million TikTok videos spotlight the song's chorus — "I-T-G-I-R-L! You know I am that girl" — over outfit checks, girl nights, lip syncs, makeup transitions, and much more.

"When I dropped it, the song just went crazy immediately and wanted to make all the promo based on just, like, me being super cute and stylish," Bah told TIME.

The influencer and singer further gained notoriety by rocking her girly style in a cameo in Doja Cat's "Agora Hills" music video. #Aliyahcore is all about being unflinchingly true to yourself, and "IT GIRL" channels that hot girl energy —- because Bah is that girl.

Austin Williams

Scrolling on country TikTok, the odds are high that you'll come across a video from singer/songwriter Austin Williams — and after hearing his deep, gravelly voice, you'd find it hard to believe he's only 19.

The Nashville musician's mature vocals have helped him propel to nearly half a million TikTok followers, garnering more than 3.8 million likes on the platform. On one of his most viral songs, titled "90s Rap Mashup," he shows off his high-energy rhythmic flow while paying tribute to hip-hop legends. Alternatively, he leans into a solemn side with similarly popular singles "Wanna Be Saved" and "Bury My Bones."

Thanks to his versatility, Williams recently signed a deal with CAA and announced that he's opening on tour for fellow country artist Warren Zeiders (whose ascent to fame is also owed in part to TikTok, which boosted his original song "Ride the Lightning"). Given Williams' natural talent and knack for social media, it's only a matter of time before he's headlining his own tour.

FIFTY FIFTY

Globally, "Cupid," belonging to the rising South Korean girl group FIFTY FIFTY, took flight as one of TikTok's most inescapable songs this year.

The radiant bubblegum song earned its spot at No. 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, and its incredible 10-week chart streak made it the longest-charting song by a K-pop girl group.

FIFTY FIFTY's Keena praised TikTok for being "user friendly and easily accessible" for music fans. "When these factors meet an easy-listening song like 'Cupid,' the synergy was amplified and aligned with the fast-paced trends," the singer explained to GRAMMY.com. (Currently, Keena is the only member of FIFTY FIFTY, as the group's former agency, Attrakt, recently terminated the contracts of members Aran, Sio, and Saena, filing a lawsuit for alleged defamation and attempting to break their contracts.)

Beyond the sped-up version popularized on TikTok, "Cupid" spurred a series of additional remixes — a "Twin" version, live studio version, and collaboration with Sabrina Carpenter.

Flyana Boss

Folayan and Bobbi LaNea, the hip-hop duo who go by the stage name Flyana Boss, went viral when they posted a TikTok of themselves running while rapping a verse of their track "You Wish" — and now they're sprinting to victory.

"I think we're both still in shock at how many people these videos have reached," they shared in a statement to GRAMMY.com.

After signing to vnclm/Atlantic Records in 2021, their TikToks have collectively racked up more than 40 million likes on the platform and helped the pair gain more than 1 million monthly Spotify listeners. Sharing music on the app not only helped them grow their fan base this year, it exponentially fueled their ambition.

"TikTok's great for music discovery and as an artist, you can get your music to a large active community of people by posting," the pair said. "So we fed the algorithm as much as we could!"

With their name stemming from "flyness" and "bossness," it's no surprise that Flyana Boss are killing the game — and if you're lucky, you might just catch them on their 2024 headlining tour, which kicks off Feb. 24.

Kenya Grace

Kenya Grace is no stranger to fame this year. Though her musical specialty is in bedroom pop, her talent swells far beyond her London bedroom. "Strangers," a dance-pop song about ghosting on dating apps, blew up massively on TikTok; one of her first teaser videos for the song now has more than 85 million views.

"I hate making people wait!" she told Rolling Stone UK. "I love being free with [my] socials and, like, just posting stuff, whatever it is that I make that week. 'Strangers' came out really fast, which was great."

At just 25 years old, Grace dethroned Doja Cat on the U.K. singles chart, and became the second British female solo artist in history to score a No. 1 by writing and producing a song entirely by herself. Her echoey, airy delivery and enveloping drum'n'bass production is irresistible, making her debut single with label Warner Records Inc. an instant smash.

Paul Russell

After releasing a handful of albums and singles during college, Paul Russell began building a dedicated TikTok following in 2020 — and his foundational years are finally paying off. This year, his charming single "Lil Boo Thang" took off on TikTok with its infectious energy and playful lyrics, peaking at No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 — and scoring Russell a hot deal with Arista Records.

Sampling the Emotions' 1977 soulful song "Best Of My Love," Russell's hit exemplifies the growing trend of interpolating older music to inspire and create new art — one he made his own long ago.

"When I first started, I would find a song that was already popular and do a rap verse on the end," he shared in an interview with RANGE. "If someone is scrolling and hears something they recognize, it's like 'Oh! What's he going to do with this?'"

Pulling from Russell's '70s and '00s R&B inspirations, "Lil Boo Thang" conjures a joyful spirit. And since Russell has announced he's working on his upcoming album, only more joy is to come.

Sexyy Red

"To be honest, I wasn't surprised when it went viral. I been going viral for as long as I can remember," Sexyy Red laughed in an interview with GRAMMY.com.

The rising rapper knows how to navigate TikTok like a pro. Her first label mixtape, Hood Hottest Princess, dropped this summer via Open Shift, following her previously released singles "Pound Town" (with Tay Keith) and "SkeeYee" going wildly viral on the video-sharing app this year. "Pound Town" landed a highly anticipated Nicki Minaj feature, and "SkeeYee" became the first No. 1 on the new TikTok Billboard Top 50 chart in September.

"TikTok helped introduce my music to people who might have never heard it before, and also me as a person outside of what I say in my songs," she described. "I also like seeing how people get [their] own meanings from my music."

Her success has spurred collaborations with Summer Walker and Lil Durk, and the rapper opened for Drake in August on his It's All a Blur Tour.

"I learned that I can really do anything I put my mind to. I'm grateful that I get to be in a position to take care of my family and friends, and put out music that people can turn up to," she continued. "The doubters will be believers real soon."

Tyla

Hips don't lie, and when a snippet of the chorus from Tyla's "Water" became the TikTok sound of a viral dance challenge, the artist swiftly surged to international fame.

In 2019, the South African singer found success with her vibey debut single "Getting Late," but her global breakthrough this year came from the universal catchiness of "Water." Serving as just a sample of the 21-year-old's incredible musical talent, the viral amapiano track also earned the singer her first GRAMMY nomination this year in the newly minted Best African Music Performance category, alongside ASAKE & Olamide's "Amapiano," Burna Boy's "City Boys," Davido and Musa Keys' "UNAVAILABLE," and Ayra Starr's "Rush."

"​​I've noticed that people's attention spans aren't that long anymore," Tyla told 2024 GRAMMYs host Trevor Noah for Interview magazine. "People like watching short videos, so with my music, I love creating small videos that I hope will trend. Because I've been on social media throughout my life… I use that to my advantage when promoting a song."

Bringing pure passion to her amapiano and pop music, it's clear Tyla isn't just keeping her head above water — she's ready to ride the waves, from TikTok and beyond.

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