I bet all of you are dying to know how I got into this wonderful world of k-pop. Well it’s kind of a long story that could be told in a couple sentences. Weird, right? So first off, you should know that I’m a Korean adoptee, which means that I was adopted at the age of 17 months from Suwon, South Korea. I grew up in a white family but also had an older brother who was also adopted from Korea and a little sister with similar roots. Our family was typically white. We never had kimchi or japchae. We rarely had rice and when we did, it was usually with fish sticks.
Years later, I turned 8 and finally was old enough to attend a Korean Adoptee camp called KAP Camp. At this camp, we learned about Korean culture, language, foods, and much more. My first year, I think, we learned a Korean song from an old k-pop idol named Lee Seung Chul, called “Don’t Say Goodbye”. Time went on and after a few years, we watched My Sassy Girl. This pattern kept up until I was about 13. Then the camp was shut down because not enough people were attending.
Fast forward another 4 years and I am in middle school, hanging out with my friends, when one of them says this Korean girl really likes me. I believe him, of course, being gullible me at the time. So I email her. Yes, email was huge back then. She emailed me back and we shortly after became best friends. As time went on, she decided to show me some of her music, which again was k-pop. She showed me BoA’s “Atlantis Princess”, “Listen to My Heart”, and “Every Heart”. I fell in love instantly.
After that, I looked up and downloaded BoA wherever I could. I became addicted to her and that was pretty much my first exposure to k-pop. I didn’t pursue it much beyond BoA. Although I did shortly after get into Ayumi Hamasaki, a j-pop singer, and downloaded all of her albums as well.
Around the age of 18, I found my roots again and started listening to k-pop again and found Girls’ Generation. They were cute, catchy, and addictive. The album that I most remember from that period of time was Oh! I loved songs like “Oh!”, “Genie”, “Show Show Show”, “Gee” and “Be Happy”. I found myself delving deep into the obsession once again, but soon after I went on my LDS mission.
My mission was to serve for 2 years in the Philippines Cauayan Mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I came to love the people of the Philippines and all things Filipino, however, since Sandara Park grew up in the Philippines, and was a k-pop star, her group 2NE1, made it huge in the Philippines. I served my mission from 2009-2011, so this erupted right when I arrived and right when they debuted. I remember the first song I heard from them was “Fire” and then “I Don’t Care”. On my own, I discovered, “Lonely”, “In the Club”, and “Let’s Go Party”.
When I returned home, I didn’t think anything of k-pop. It would pop up every once and a while, but nothing stuck. I went about listening to my rock music and going to school. Earlier this year, however, I was in the hospital due to a brain tumor and spent some time at home with nothing to do. I decided to watch YouTube, as many of us do when we have nothing to do. I spent hours watching videos of software reviews, phone reviews, etc. Then, I came across this video:
From there I found Simon and Martina, and then onto JREKML, and Dylan Jacob, and so many more. I fell in love with k-pop again. I saw on JREKML, Jre was doing a review of the k-pop amino app and I downloaded it and my life hasn’t been the same since. I love the app and use it every day.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my rant about how I personally got into k-pop. It was a random journey of things that I had no clue would eventually get me stuck in this fandom. I’m enjoying my stay and don’t plan on leaving anytime soon. Doesn’t matter if I wanted to, I wouldn’t ever be able to. Now that I’m sucked in, I’m stuck. Thanks for reading. Comment down below your k-pop story.
Like I've mentioned before, music has no language barriers, it knows no language. I want to dedicate this section of my website to reviewing in any way, shape or form other languages of music. This includes Jpop, Mandopop, OPM, Vpop, Latin music, Russian, German, American, Venezuelan, you name it. If you think it's worth giving a listen, I'll listen to it and give you a review.