meta-scriptChung Ha Returns: On 'EENIE MEENIE,' The K-Pop Soloist Is Ready To Step Back Into The Spotlight |
Chung Ha
Chung Ha



Chung Ha Returns: On 'EENIE MEENIE,' The K-Pop Soloist Is Ready To Step Back Into The Spotlight

Chung Ha was one of K-pop’s most promising soloists, but decided to step back from the industry. Upon her return, Chung Ha wants to tell her fans "that they have the freedom to choose."

GRAMMYs/Mar 12, 2024 - 01:26 pm

It takes courage to become a soloist in K-pop — a scene largely dominated by girl groups and boy groups of the most varied sizes — but more than that, it takes verve. Singer, dancer, and songwriter Chung Ha, 28 years old, knows it better than anyone.

Born in Seoul, South Korea but raised in Dallas, Texas, she first rose to stardom in 2016, after  returning to her home country and participating in Mnet’s trainee competition show "Produce 101." There, Chung Ha caught the eyes of judges and viewers alike for her sharp movements and innate charisma. She placed fourth on the finale, and became a member of I.O.I — the show’s resulting temporary girl group.

While I.O.I and its 11 members found great success, when the group disbanded in early 2017, Chung Ha decided to challenge herself further. In June of that year, she released her solo debut EP, Hands On Me

Soon, Chung Ha became one of K-pop’s most promising (and somewhat unexpected) soloists — not only did she prove to be an exceptional dancer, but a smooth vocalist as well, full of style and star power. On stage, she commands performances with surgical precision, yet flows with breathtaking grace. She proved her versatility with a string of captivating singles, like the ice-cold "Snapping" and the bewitching "Gotta Go," which reached No.1 on Billboard’s K-pop Hot 100 chart in 2019. Her first studio album, 2021’s Querencia, blended R&B, EDM, reggaeton and even bossa nova with finesse.

But amidst all the success, Chung Ha took a break. She decided not to renew the contract with her previous label, spent more than a year on a hiatus, and even considered abandoning the music industry, as revealed on the YouTube talk show "Gabee’s Rising Star"

Luckily, Chung Ha changed her mind. She signed with MORE VISION, a label founded by singer and rapper Jay Park, and will drop the single album EENIE MEENIE on March 11. caught up with Chung Ha via Zoom to learn more about her comeback — and to dive into her creative process, how she sees herself, and who she wants to be.

You spent more than a year on a hiatus, and even left your previous company. What made you sign with MORE VISION for this new phase of your career?

Jay [Park] reached out to me often. When I talked to the other co-workers at the company, their vision really aligned with mine. I think that was a crucial reason.

For example, I've never toured. I want to start out in small venues, and if I do have a chance I want to make it bigger. I want to work on more collaborations and try different genres of music like [on] "EENIE MEENIE," and they're aligned with me on that.

On "Gabee’s Rising Star," you said that you wanted to study abroad during your hiatus, and that being a celebrity is "just a job." What made you want to come back to music?

I was always interested in psychology. Working in this industry, it's a little chaotic, so I tried to maintain my mental health by [attending] counseling, and then I felt like I wanted to maintain my mental health on my own.

And growing up in Texas, I always had my Mexican friends with me, but I was the only one unable to understand Spanish. I was always interested, but [the break] felt like it was the right time to embrace Spanish more. I wanted to dive into the culture and the language, but at the end of the day, it was all about me maintaining my mental health because I wanted to be in this industry. Me wanting to explore Spanish because I wanted to engage more with my fans. I just realized, Oh, it was all about music. Okay. [Laughs.]

Since your last comeback, in what areas do you think you have improved or evolved?

Um… I don't know. I'm gonna need to have a real [live] stage for that. I think that's the kind of question I want to ask my fans to see what gradual changes that they notice, because for me, I feel like I'm still the same. But I want to tap myself [on the back] for trying new genres and being brave about getting out of my comfort zone.

What did you have in mind when you started producing this new album? What's the story behind it?

I was really confused. I was asking people, like, "I don't know what to do. I don't know what's next for me."I feel like I've tried different genres of music and different colors of myself, like "Bicycle," "Play," "Love U," and "Roller Coaster."

I didn't know what to do, so I decided to show both sides of myself. A new [side] with MORE VISION, and the one people are always eager to see, like [on] "Stay Tonight" and "Dream Of You." Those were some of the biggest [songs] that I saw people commenting on. So, the familiar side of me and a new side of me are both in the album, and I'm pretty confident [about it].

You collaborated with Hongjoong from ATEEZ in the lead track "EENIE MEENIE," which represents that new side of yourself. How was that experience?

I have followed ATEEZ since the beginning of their career. Their performance is so mind-blowing, they have that special energy that only they can give, so I was always inspired by them.

And then, on "EENIE MEENIE" there is a rap part, so when I heard the track I was like, Oh, I am not rapping. [Laughs.] That's just too new for me. I sing-rap in "EENIE MEENIE," but that’s about it. So, I needed a real rapper and a real captain on my side and I thought Hongjoong was a perfect fit. After I heard his verse, it was so great, more than I ever expected. He definitely gave that final touch.

The other song on your album, "I’m Ready," represents your familiar side with driving house beats and a mesmerizing atmosphere, almost like a sequel to "Stay Tonight" and "Dream of You." As for the title, what are you ready for?

I guess I'm navigating through new things, and I don't know how it's gonna come out. [People] might say it's a failure, they might say it's a success, they might say I'm brave to challenge myself, but I'm just ready to face all that. 

Even though someone might say, "Oh, I don't think it's the right fit for Chung Ha" or "I liked the old Chung Ha better," I don't think I'm afraid of getting judged, or getting rates on anything. I'm just ready to be more adventurous. Being too nervous might drag you into this anxiety space, but just being nervous in general with music and releasing new things is what makes me keep going.

I think people need that nervous feeling, being out of their comfort zone. You never know how you're going to feel, how the outcome is going to be. 

Do you remember any specific experiences where you were trying something new and it turned out better than expected?

Oh, "Stay Tonight"was one of them. When I first heard the track, I was like, Um… this is too high. I don't know if K-pop lovers will like this song, because it was more [Western] pop than K-pop. It was right after I dropped "Snapping"and "Gotta Go," so I was like, Are my fans ready for this? 

But [I thought] hey, you know what, let's just have fun. Let's just try new things. Let's vogue. [Laughs] I've always wanted to vogue, so I did that, and it became one of my epic pieces of performance. It didn’t go big in the charts or anything, but it became a real standout from a more artistic point of view.

EENIE MEENIE represents a new start for you, and both songs in the album talk about trusting yourself and your choices. Since you participated in the songwriting, is that what you have been experiencing lately? How do you recognize what feels right for you?

I feel like you never know what's right, but for me, I decide [something] when it keeps on popping in my head. Like, I would just be calm and see where my mind goes and what my [fandom] HAART keeps on telling me. 

If your heart moves that way, I’d rather just do it and regret, than not do it and regret. That’s how I trust my instincts, listening to what I really want.

You mentioned that you see K-pop and Western pop as one. What do you think about the global growth of K-pop, and Western artists trying K-pop, or artists collaborating?

I think it's wonderful. I mean, the only difference is the culture and the language, and how we make our music with different rules and stuff. And it's really awesome [to see] other artists trying out Korean, trying out the marketing strategy of what we have always done. But it's the same with Korean artists, they try to go abroad and then try Western music.

Trying different cultures is getting more natural than splitting what's K-pop and what’s pop. I think it's all gathering into one because music is one, and we love music.

Is it easier for you to see everything as one because you are Korean, but you lived in America for so many years?

Yes, I think it was more natural for me to try different things. It was fun to get to know things like, Oh, this is Western style music, Western marketing strategy, or Western businesses, it goes on like this, and then Korean businesses go on like this. So it's all about learning.

You mentioned in an interview with Teen Vogue that you like to portray characters in your songs, but recently you have been telling your own story in them as well. How do you find the balance between those two possibilities?

I don't initially choose what to do before I hear the music. I hear it first, and then decide, like Oh, I want to share a story of mine, because I have this experience and my current state of mind is this, but sometimes it's just Oh, this is a new character I've never tried before. I want to be her, or I want to be him, or whatever. Let me try that out, let me see what it tastes like. [Laughs.] When new music comes to me, whatever character, whatever story comes up first, I would go with that.

And for this album, are you a character or are you portraying your life story?

I’m portraying my life story in both songs. I had a lot of choices to make throughout the beginning of my new career [after leaving my former company], like choosing a label, choosing a new logo, choosing songs, and other things, but in the end I just like what I like to do. 

I came back to the music industry, and I really want people to embrace whatever they want to do. To tell them that they have the freedom to choose more than predetermined answers. I wanted to encourage that.

In another moment of your interview on "Gabee’s Rising Star," you said "When people think of Chung Ha, all that comes to mind is ‘Gotta Go’."Do you still believe in that?

Yes, and no. But I’m very grateful, because that song is what elevated me to the next step, and it gave me the courage to try different genres of music. But "Stay Tonight" and other pieces of music also identify me in different ways.

Who is Chung Ha, then? How would you like to be recognized?

Definitely not "Gotta Go." [Laughs.] I'm not that person now. I'm just a girl who loves music, and I'm just grateful and thankful, always. As much as I was diligent before, I want to keep on doing that, and I want to meet my fans more.

As Chung Ha, I want to ask my fans who they think I am, because I try to be as authentic as possible with music and my personality. Also I'm an adventurous person. Love to challenge myself. And I’m ready to go.

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Photo of Eminem performing at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony in 2022.
Eminem performs at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony in 2022

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images


New Music Friday: Listen To New Albums & Songs From Eminem, Maya Hawke, ATEEZ & More

Dive into the weekend with music that’ll make you dance, brood and think — by Jessie Reyez, Ayra Starr, Adam Lambert, and many more.

GRAMMYs/May 31, 2024 - 04:11 pm

After the cookouts and kickbacks of Memorial Day weekend, getting through the workweek is never easy. But you made it through — and now it's time for another weekend of however you decompress. As always, killer jams and musical food for thought have arrived down the pipeline.

As you freshen up your late-spring playlist, don't miss these offerings by artists across generations, moods, genres, and vibes — from K-pop to classic country and beyond.

Eminem — "Houdini"

It looks like Dua Lipa isn't the only artist to name-drop Erik Weisz this year. In a recent Instagram video with magician David Blaine, Eminem hinted at a major career move, quipping, "For my last trick, I'm going to make my career disappear," as Blaine casually noshed on a broken wineglass.

With Em's next album titled The Death of Slim Shady, fans were left in a frenzy — was he putting the mic down for good? If "Houdini" is in fact part of Eminem's final act, it seems he'll be paying homage to his career along the way: the song includes snippets of Em classics "Without Me," "The Real Slim Shady," "Just Lose It" and "My Name Is."

The superhero comic-themed video also calls back to some of the rapper's iconic moments, including the "Without Me" visual and his 2000 MTV Video Music Awards performance. It also features cameos from the likes of Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, and Pete Davidson — making for a star-studded thrill ride of a beginning to what may be his end. 

Read More: Is Eminem's “Stan” Based On A True Story? 10 Facts You Didn't Know About The GRAMMY-Winning Rapper

Maya Hawke — 'Chaos Angel'

"What the Chaos Angel is to me," Maya Hawke explained in a recent Instagram video, "is an angel that was raised in heaven to believe they're the angel of love, then sent down to do loving duties."

Chaos Angel, the third album by Maya Hawke, out via Mom+Pop Records, is an alt-rock treasure with a psychologically penetrating bent. Smoldering tracks like "Dark" and "Missing Out" plumb themes of betrayal and bedlam masterfully.

Jessie Reyez & Big Sean — "Shut Up"

Before May 31, Jessie Reyez's 2024 releases have come in the form of airy contributions for Bob Marley: One Love and Rebel Moon. And for the first release of her own, she's bringing the heat.

Teaming up with fellow rapper Big Sean for "Shut Up," Reyez delivers some fiery lines on the thumping track: "They b—es plastic, that b— is a catfish, oh-so dramatic/ And I'm sittin' pretty with my little-ass t—es winnin' pageants." Big Sean throws down, too: "B—, better read the room like you telepromptin'/ And watch how you speak to a n—a 'cause I'm not them."

Foster the People — "Lost In Space"

Indie dance-pop favorites Foster The People — yes, of the once-inescapable "Pumped Up Kicks" fame — are back with their first new music since 2017's Sacred Hearts Club. The teaser for their future-forward, disco-powered new song, "Lost in Space," brings a psychedelic riot of colors to your eyeballs.

The song is equally as trippy. Over a swirling, disco-tinged techno beat, the group bring their signature echoing vocals to the funky track, which feels like the soundtrack to an '80s adventure flick. 

"Lost in Space" is the first taste of Foster The People's forthcoming fourth studio album, Paradise State of Mind, which will arrive Aug. 16. If the lead single is any indication — along with frontman Mark Foster's tease that the album started "as a case study of the late Seventies crossover between disco, funk, gospel, jazz, and all those sounds" — fans are in for quite the psychedelic ride.

Arooj Aftab — 'Night Reign'

Arooj Aftab landed on the scene with the exquisitely blue Vulture Prince, which bridged modern jazz and folk idioms with what she calls "heritage material" from Pakistan and South Asia. The album's pandemic-era success threatened to box her in, though; Aftab is a funny, well-rounded cat who's crazy about pop music, too. Crucially, the guest-stuffed Night Reign shows many more sides of this GRAMMY-winning artist — her sound is still instantly recognizable, but has a more iridescent tint — a well-roundedness. By the strength of songs like "Raat Ki Rani" and "Whiskey," and the patina of guests like Moor Mother and Vijay Iyer, this Reign is for the long haul.

Learn More: Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer & Shahzad Ismaily On New Album Love In Exile, Improvisation Versus Co-Construction And The Primacy Of The Pulse

Willie Nelson — 'The Border'

By some counts, Willie Nelson has released more than 150 albums — try and let that soak in. The Red Headed Stranger tends to crank out a Buddy Cannon-produced album or two per year in his autumn years, each with a slight conceptual tilt: bluegrass, family matters, tributes to Harlan Howard or the Great American Songbook. Earthy, muted The Border is another helping of the good stuff — this time homing in on songwriters like Rodney Crowell ("The Border"), Shawn Camp ("Made in Texas") and Mike Reid ("Nobody Knows Me Like You.") Elsewhere, Nelson-Cannon originals like "What If I'm Out of My Mind" and "How Much Does It Cost" fold it all into the 12-time GRAMMY winner's manifold musical universe.

Explore More: Listen To's Outlaw Country Playlist: 32 Songs From Honky Tonk Heroes Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard & More


South Korean boy band ATEEZ last released new material with late 2023's The World EP.Fin: Will. Now, they're bringing the K-pop fire once again with their 10th mini-album, GOLDEN HOUR  Part.1.

Released in a rainbow of physical editions, the release was teased by a short clip for "WORK," where ATEEZ pans for gold like old prospectors in an off-kilter desert scene, then proceeds to throw the mother of all parties. As for the rest of GOLDEN HOUR, they bring flavors of reggaeton ("Blind), wavy R&B ("Empty Box") and reggae ("Shaboom") — further displaying their versatility as a group, and setting an exciting stage for Part.2.

Learn More: Inside The GRAMMY Museum's ATEEZ & Xikers Pop-Up: 5 Things We Learned

Ayra Starr — 'The Year I Turned 21'

Beninese-Nigerian singer and GRAMMY nominee for Best African Music Performance Ayra Starr pays homage to the big two-one with her second album, The Year I Turned 21, which she's been teasing all month. We've seen the crimson, windswept cover art; we've soaked up the 14 track titles, which reveal collaborations with the likes of ASAKE, Anitta, Coco Jones, and Giveon. Now, after small tastes in singles "Commas,""Rhythm & Blues" and "Santa" (with Rvssian and Rauw Alejandro), we can behold what the "Rush" star has called "excellent, sonically amazing" and "unique, because I've been evolving sonically."

Watch: Ayra Starr’s Most Essential “Item” On The Road Is Her Brother | Herbal Tea & White Sofas

Adam Lambert — "LUBE" & "WET DREAM"

The "American Idol" and Queen + Adam Lambert star is turning heads — for very good reason. He's going to release AFTERS, a new EP of house music and an unflinching exploration of queerness and sex-positivity. "I throw many house parties and my aim was to create a soundtrack inspired by wild nights, giving a voice to our communities' hedonistic desires and exploits," Lambert explained in a press release.

The first two singles, "LUBE" and "WET DREAM," achieve exactly that. From the pulsing beat of "LUBE" (along with the "Move your body like I do" demand of the chorus) to the racing melody of "WET DREAM," it's clear AFTERS will bring listeners straight to a sweaty dance floor — right where Lambert wants them.

Wallows Talk New Album Model, "Entering Uncharted Territory" With World Tour & That Unexpected Sabrina Carpenter Cover

ATEEZ perform at Coachella Weekend 1

Photo: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images for Coachella


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, assembled a list of all the K-pop concerts and events happening in the next few months below.


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."


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."


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 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.


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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AAPI Month Playlist 2024 Hero
(From left) ATEEZ, YOASOBI, Peggy Gou, Kanon of Atarashi Gakko!, Diljit Dosanjh, Laufey

Photos: KQ Entertainment; KATO SHUMPEI; Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images; Medios y Media/Getty Images; Presley Ann/Getty Images for Coachella; Lauren Kim


Leap Into AAPI Month 2024 With A Playlist Featuring Laufey, Diljit Dosanjh, & Peggy Gou

Celebrate AAPI artists this May with a genre-spanning playlist spotlighting festival headliners and up-and-coming musicians. From Korean hip-hop to Icelandic jazz-pop, listen to some of the most exciting artists from the Asian diaspora.

GRAMMYs/May 1, 2024 - 02:47 pm

With spring just around the corner, it’s time to welcome AAPI Month in full blossom. From rising musical artists to inspiring community leaders, it’s essential to recognize AAPI members of the artistic world and their achievements.

While AAPI Month is a U.S. holiday, the Recording Academy takes a global approach in celebrating artists and creators from across the Asian and Asian American diaspora. This aligns with the Recording Academy's growing mission to expand its reach on a global scale and celebrate international creators outside of the U.S.  

Musicians of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander heritage have not only helped establish the music industry, but have transformed it. From Diljit Dosanjh being the first artist to play a Coachella set entirely in Punjabi to Laufey winning a GRAMMY for her jazz-inspired pop, AAPI artists continue to influence music by both honoring tradition and reshaping modern standards.

It’s thrilling to see AAPI musicians continue to take centerstage — from Atarashi Gakko! to Tiger JK’s memorable sets at Coachella, to surprise appearances from Olivia Rodrigo, Dominic Fike, and Towa Bird. As festival season gets underway, examples of the AAPI starpower from every corner of the world abound.

As one of many ways to celebrate AAPI Month, listen to the playlist below — as a reminder to give AAPI musicians not just their May flowers, but their flowers all year-round!

(From left): Sunmi, Taeyeon, BoA, Chung Ha, Ailee

Photo: All images by The Chosunilbo JNS/Imazins via Getty Images except Sunmi (Han Myung-Gu/WireImage) and Ailee (JTBC PLUS/Imazins via Getty Images


15 K-Pop Soloists To Know: Chung Ha, Taeyeon, BIBI & More

Women in K-pop are consistently creating new paradigms in the genre. From BoA to Sunmi, CL and Lee Hyori, get to know 15 trailblazing K-pop solo artists who have broken the mold.

GRAMMYs/Mar 18, 2024 - 01:09 pm

In the music video for her 2018 single "Woman," BoA, the "Queen of K-pop," enters the scene walking upside down. Poised and commanding, BoA's posture conveys a majestic confidence — she's dauntless and defying gravity. 

"No comparing, I shine just as I am/ I'm beautiful enough/To be a woman," she sings in the opening verse. "In a stylish and modern picture/ I'm enjoying this adventure/ A true woman.

It's a galvanizing anthem of self-love, encouraging women to own their identities and practice sorority to encourage change. BoA's message resonates deeply, especially considering the ways the K-pop industry often places rigid standards and limitations on its female artists. 

BoA is just one of a handful of K-pop soloists who are taking the rains of their artistry and motivating others to do the same. These artists are shattering the glass ceiling, establishing music labels, and consistently breaking records to create new paradigms in K-pop. 

In celebration of Women's History Month, get to know 15 inspiring K-pop soloists who are revolutionizing the K-pop landscape.

Explore The Sounds Of K-Pop


Contemporary K-pop cannot be considered without BoA's cultural influence. Entering the industry at only 13 years old, the artist born Kwon Bo-ah debuted in September 2000 under the wing of SM Entertainment with the album ID; Peace B

She forged ahead in Japan's music market, breaking barriers — especially if we consider the fragile diplomatic relationship between both countries — and making history as the first Korean artist to reign at No.1 in the Oricon Charts.

She also became one of the first Korean artists to venture into the American market, releasing her debut English single, "Eat You Up," in 2008 and starring in the film Make Your Move. By the time of her seventh Korean album, Only One, BoA was wielding creative control over her oeuvre and was creating her own compositions.

Her performance was also unique. The choreography of "Only One" is a staple piece in her repertoire, as it includes a section where she dances with a partner, and some of the magnetic performers in K-pop — SHINee's Taemin, Eunhyuk from Super Junior, Hwang Minhyun, TVXQ's Yunho, Ten from NCT and WayV, to name a few — have shared the stage with her.

It's a combative spirit, an overflowing versatility, superb dancing skills and a honeyed voice that makes BoA a complete artist. In perfect alignment with Women's History Month, BoA will deliver her next project March 26.


If you want to understand IU's impact in the Korean music industry, check the South Korean charts. Chances are, when IU has a project, she will be immovable at the top with not just one song, but several. 

The world first met IU (real name Lee Ji-eun) at age 15 with her debut mini-album, Lost and Found, and its titular song, "Lost Child," a striking ballad built on yearning. IU's popularity only increased, as did praise for her unique vocal technique and artistic range. So, when she dropped her prismatic third studio album in 2013, Modern Times, it was clear that IU had grown into an unstoppable force. At the same time, she flourished as an actress, embodying complex characters that displayed her histrionic capability. 

IU welcomed her 30s with a revamped mindset, understanding that it's best to enjoy life unrestrained. Her latest EP, The Winning (released on Feb. 20), symbolizes this passage. To the delight of her international fans, she recently embarked on her first world tour, which will wrap up in the U.S. with six-sold out concerts.


Timeless and graceful are just a couple of words that could describe Kim Taeyeon, once the best-selling female K-pop soloist and the leader of the history-making act, Girls' Generation. Her powerful, yet heartwarming voice naturally adapts to any composition while always maintaining its character.

In 2007, Taeyeon debuted as a member of Girls' Generation, a girl group who were key players in the diffusion of the Hallyu Wave (the cultural torrent that globalized the South Korean entertainment industry). Her star began to burn even brighter with the release of her first EP, I, in 2015. Subsequent releases, such as her studio debut album My Voice, her fourth Korean EP What Do I Call You, and her third studio album INVU, cemented her status as one of the greatest singers in the K-pop sphere. 

At the end of 2023, Taeyeon released her fifth mini-album, To.X, its title track conveying sentiments of breaking away from a waning and toxic relationship.


Younha's career has been a process of rapid movements. Once ignored by South Korean agencies who deemed her not "pretty enough," she subverted expectations by achieving mainstream recognition in both South Korea and Japan. Her weapons? Her piano, an unwavering determination and her songwriting mastery.

Raised by artist parents, Younha's love for music was present from an early age. After several rejections, she tried her luck in Japan, a decision that brought her an impressive outcome; she was even called the "Oricon Comet" for cracking the top spots of the Japanese chart. Back in her home country, she also broke into the Top 10 on local music charts with songs like "Unacceptable" and a re-imagined version of "Umbrella," featuring Tablo from Epik High.

Though not everything has been smooth-sailing for Younha, as she had to face a legal battle with her former label. Still, the storm passed. In 2022, Younha released the viral hit "Event Horizon," a touching composition that dominated the Circle Digital Chart, South Korea’s most notable music ranking.

Lee Hyori

Lee Hyori debuted in 1998 as the leader of the Fink.L, a first-gen girl group. But by 2003, Lee Hyori's name was everywhere in South Korea. That summer, she debuted as a soloist with Stylish…, led by the R&B-infused track "10 minutes." The record, along with her sensual and magnetic stage presence, propelled her popularity and trailblazer status.

Lee Hyori is the architect of her discography. She employed her own compositions and lyrics prominently in her last two productions: 2015's Monochrome and 2017's Black. Both releases were more developed and riskier musically, flirting with different genres without losing cohesion.

Following the success of Stylish…, Hyori also began branching out into acting, TV hosting and guest appearances in variety shows. 

Uhm Junghwa

Uhm Junghwa has created a long-standing queendom of brilliance. Over three decades, she has developed a chameleonic identity that easily navigates and dominates different genres and forms.

Her first steps in the music industry could be considered lukewarm to some extent, but she experienced a boost with the release of her second studio album, Uhm Jung Hwa 2. Uhm Junghwa early shared her sensual image in the music video for lead single, "Sad Expectation," and has continued expanding throughout the years. Other singles, such as "Rose of Betrayal," a dance-heavy number that calls out a treacherous lover, and the mega-hit "Invitation," reinforced this artistic direction. 

By 2010, her impact in the Korean entertainment industry was undeniable, as she built a prosperous acting career and as a soloist. While thyroid cancer prompted her to put suspensive dots on her music ventures, she made a triumphant comeback in 2017 with her tenth full-length album, The Cloud Dream Of The Nine. 


Born Lee Chaerin, "The Baddest Female" CL first rose to prominence during K-pop's second generation as the leader and main rapper of the celebrated quartet 2NE1. Rounded out by Dara, Minzy and Park Bom, 2NE1 shifted the perception about women in K-pop with bold and empowering tunes. 

While still promoting with her group, CL also stepped into the solo spotlight in 2013. Her spirited single, "The Baddest Female," confidently declared, "I'm a queen bee, I'm the heroine."

She later released "Hello Bitches" and "Lifted," the latter being her debut single in the United States. But in 2017, 2NE1 disbanded and CL remained under YG Entertainment until 2019. In a power move, CL founded her own entertainment company called Very Cherry in 2020, aiming to reclaim her solo career that stalled due to mismanagements from both her American and Korean representatives. To much expectation, CL finally dropped her first studio album, Alpha, in 2021. 


Sunmi's creative lexicon is synonymous with daydreaming, immersing listeners to her eclectic soundworld developed over two decades. Her first steps were taken as part of Wonder Girls, the first Korean act to break into Billboard's Hot 100, before reaching an eventual hiatus in 2010 to focus on her education. 

Sunmi continued honing her skills stealthily until 2013, when she debuted solo with the digital single "24 Hours." The song, later included in the haunting 2014 EP Full Moon, illustrated Sunmi's evolution into a more mature and captivating artist.

She would also return to Wonder Girls in 2015 for their final chapter and celebrated full-length album Reboot, and the digital singles "Why So Lonely'' and "Draw Me." When the group dissolved in 2017, Sunmi signed with MAKEUS Entertainment and soon dropped "Gashina," an eccentric and vivacious record.

Always the innovator, Sunmi shapeshifted again with a template called "Sunmi-pop." She works with throwback inspirations, taking sonic textures mostly from the '80s, and combining them with modern pop to bring vivid compositions. Take, for example, the scintillating instrumental or "Siren," or "ppporappippam" and all its synth-pop thrill. With Sunmi, we never know what to expect, and yet, once a new release unveils, we can't help but conclude, "it is very her." 

Jung Eunji

Jung Eunji is one of the most gifted vocalists in the K-pop industry with a wide-ranging tessitura. A member of Apink, one of the few active second generation girl groups, Eunji went solo in 2016. Her debut  EP, Dream, is a tender and melancholic production that contrasts with Apink's glimmering beats.

She refined this particular style on mini-albums The Space and Hyehwa, which were filled with a subtle hopefulness. Her most recent solo offering, Log, was a remake album released in November 2022. 

Eunji has been focused on other aspects of her artistry beyond music. She earned a special place in people's hearts with her stellar performance in the television drama "Reply 1997," where she played an avid K-pop fan named Sung Shiwon. The role would mark a before and an after in Eunji's career, as she received critical acclaim and bagged several awards.


With the goal of making music her profession, Denver-born Ailee moved South Korea in 2010. Her rich, warm vocal stylings were noticed almost immediately, landing her a record deal with YMC Entertainment, where she began preparing her debut as soloist with the single "Heaven." Just as she bewitched her recruiters, Ailee's talent percolated through the ears of listeners who eagerly embraced her music. Because listening to her sing is feeling the heart invaded with a myriad of emotions simultaneously.

Over the years, she has lent her voice to soundtracks of famous South Korean dramas and collaborated with an impressive roster of artists. Her discography currently stands at six EPs and four studio albums (including 2022's Amy, recorded entirely in English), most productions received awards that highlighted her vocal abilities.


"I hope I won't be like a diva," singer/songwriter Heize said in an interview, referring to her never losing touch with reality and always being humble. It's fitting, as she exudes an irresistible genuineness while inhabiting a duality of voice. When she raps, her tone hardens without losing its glacé, and her singing is mellifluous.

Heize was a semifinalist on the second season of famous reality rap show "Unpretty Rapstar" and earned popularity for her unique artistry. Treating "her songs as a diary," Heize's lyrics often detail love stories with distinct endings. She also has contributed to soundtracks of popular South Korean dramas, including "You Are Cold" from the Netflix-helmed series "It's Ok Not To Be Ok" and "Round and Round" from "Goblin: The Lonely and Great God." Heize is currently signed under P Nation, a music label founded by K-pop legend Psy

Yerin Baek

Known for her evocative voice and raw lyricism, Yerin Baek entered the spotlight in 2007 by participating in the reality show "Amazing Contest Star King," which led her to sign with the industry juggernaut JYP Entertainment. There, she trained for seven years prior to her debut as one-half of the K-pop duo 15& alongside Jimin Park.

In 2015, Yerin Baek released her first mini album EP, Frank, succeeded by a string of digital singles, collaborations with other Korean artists, and soundtrack features, including the ballad "Here I Am Again" from the popular Korean drama, "Crash Landing On You." Shortly after revealing Our Love Is Great, her second EP, in March 2019, Yerin Baek left JYP Entertainment and established her label Blue Vinyl, which also houses Baek's rock band The Volunteers. 

There are few women in K-pop at the helm of their own company, which allows Yerin Baek more agency over her craft. Without her image controlled or suppressed, she has an extensive artistic freedom rare for female musicians.

Lee Hi

Lee Hi has embraced the limelight since her teenage years, enticing listeners with her soulful vocals. At 16, she placed second on the televised competition, "K-pop Star 1,"  and shortly after, she joined the ranks of YG Entertainment (home to BLACKPINK). Her debut was a jazz-infused single, "1, 2, 3, 4." 

Lee Hi's work comes at a steady but selective pace, with productions typically arriving in two or three years intervals. Her debut album, First Love, arrived in 2013, and her second studio album, Seoulite, followed three years later under YG's subsidiary HIGHGRND. 

The sophomore effort was led by "Breathe," a poignant ballad written and composed by SHINee's Jonghyun. The track reached the No.1 on the South Korean charts, and Lee Hi would perform it at the 32nd Golden Disk Awards as a tribute for Jonghyun, who passed away in November 2017. 

In 2019, Lee Hi released her first EP, 24°C, the last project of her career backed by YG Entertainment, before moving to the R&B label AOMG that same year. 

Chung Ha

An alum of the extinct reality competition "Produce 101" and former member of the popular yet temporary girl group I.O.I, Chung Ha has enchanted the K-pop world with her beautiful stage presence since day one. 

Following I.O.I's disbandment at the beginning of 2017, she took a leap of faith by choosing to be a soloist instead of joining another group — and debuted with her first mini-album, Hands on Me. But ChungHa's watershed moment arrived with "Roller Coaster," the lead single from her second EP Offset, where she sings about an electrifying love. 

Her first full-length album, Querencia, was diverse, even releasing a duet with Puerto Rican singer Guaynaa called "Demente," completely sung in Spanish. In 2022, she released her second LP, Bare and Rare, before parting ways with her then-agency MNH Entertainment.

What followed was a quiet period where she pondered about her next move. In a guest appearance at MBC's "Point of Omniscient Interfere," ChungHa confessed she considered studying abroad and staying away from industry due to burnout. But following the advice of Korean American rapper Jay Park, she ended up signing with his label More Vision. After almost two years, she released the single album EENIE MEENIE in March 2024, its title track featuring ATEEZ's Hongjoong.


The youngest member of this list at 25, BIBI is a rising star in Korean music known for her nonchalant poise and carefree musicality. Emerging outside the borders of K-pop's training system, her songwriting skills caught the attention of the Korean hip-hop legend Yoon Mirae, who recruited her to be part of Tiger JK's label Feel Ghood Music. 

BIBI's catalog — two extended plays and one full-length — is peppered with existential tales of love and afflictions, and she doesn't shy away from speaking her mind. It's a formula that has resonated with local and global listeners, who fall for the charm of her authenticity. At the tail end of 2023, BIBI joined forces with Becky G to release the provocative, multilingual collaboration, "Amigos," and most recently, her single "Bam Yang Gang" swept the South Korean Charts.

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