The Foreign Idols Re-defining "Korean" Pop

by Michelle Li

K-pop has evolved throughout the years and now with even more exposure internationally. I mean look at BTS, they were nominated for a Grammy 😱! 

As the popularity of K-Pop grows, the more international love each group receives, and the more foreigners dream of becoming a K-Pop star themselves! Look at the likes of Blackpink’s Lisa, Twice’s Sana, or even Chenle from NCT (the list can go on and on 💕). There are A LOT of other international idols who have worked their way to the top as K-Pop idols. And with that, comes respect from all of us, even inspiring more and more culturally diverse individuals to land a spot in the K-Pop industry. Rumours say that now we’re even getting groups that have even less Korean members in the team or none at all!  

DR Music

Black Swan is a group that debuted in 2020, making the headlines for being the first K-Pop group to have the first Senalgalese member, Fatou, onboard. Having Fatou as a member amazed many K-Pop fans both national and international. Many times, groups had members that were non-Korean Asians, or half-white, half-asian. Yet, this was the first time to ever see anyone in the industry, purely outside the Asian ethnicity. It’s awesome to see that South Korea has slowly become more accepting of cultural diversity, especially within the Korean entertainment industry. Watch this MV of Black Swan’s Tonight to see Fatou’s killer-rap in action.


The K-pop boy group, EXP Edition debuted with ‘Feel Like This’ in 2017. This group was the first-ever K-pop boy band with all American members. That’s right, NO Korean members at all! None of the members of EXP Edition are of Korean heritage or even speak Korean. Nonetheless, they had the talent as gorgeous singers and dancers and ultimately, the potential and charming personalities that got them through auditions to be in EXP Edition. Of course, being the first all-American K-pop boy group made them stand out. What other K-pop groups are NOT Korean, but American? and caught the attention of the fans. This attention has also given them the opportunity to be on Korean variety shows and even Korean music shows, gaining more of the public’s interest. And I have to say their newest song is not bad! Click the link to take a look at their ‘Stress’ music video below and let us know your thoughts.

FrontRow Records

Although there are controversies about EXP Edition and whether they can actually be called a “K-Pop” group, I would like to believe so. I mean, they sing in Korean, their songs are produced in Korea, and they are based in Korea as well! But what would you say to a group based outside of Korea? Kaachi is the first European-based K-pop group formed in 2020 with their debut single ‘Your Turn’ by FrontRow Records. They originally debuted in a four-member group, in which the majority of the members were a part of the London-based K-pop dance cover group ‘UJJN.’ Their debut was faced with mixed reviews by Koreans and even international K-pop fans. However, it caught everyone’s interest, as of now, their MV has almost 14 million views ( 😲). Do you think Kaachi is considered a “K-pop” group? Watch what Koreans have to say about Kaachi here:

It’s great that the Korean entertainment industry is becoming more culturally diverse. These K-pop groups bring something fresh that we haven’t seen before and I’m sure they have inspired a lot of us to break stereotypes because it leads to success! What do you guys think of the culturally diverse, the so-called "K-pop" groups?

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