[TIMES Magazine] Trend Alert: K-Pop Meets Country Music (and New Jersey)

On these shores, Korean pop music—more popularly known as K-Pop—is perhaps most identified with the club-ready electronic beats and slickly tuxedoed look of global phenomenon (and newly crowned “King of YouTube”PSY. So why is K-Pop duo 2YOON heel-toeing in a barnyard in their new video? Why are they wearing overalls? Why is there a saloon in the background? And more important: what’s with their new K-Pop-goes-country sound?

Country music and K-Pop may seem like strange bedfellows right now, but musicians and producers are betting that this unlikely union could yield the next chart-busting hit. Meaning: we could start hearing American-music influences in one of the world’s most popular and dynamic pop genres.

In a recent interview with TIME, 2YOON’s Gayoon (who, seemingly inspired by Dr. Seuss, shares the stage with a partner named Jiyoon) explains that the duo listened to country music before recording their first album, Harvest Moon, released in January. Artists like Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift, they thought, seemed to have something that was missing from the music they made as members of the girl group 4minute (from which 2YOON splintered). “Country music is very easy listening and very relaxed,” she says, through a translator, noting that K-pop music and dance are much more regimented.

More than that, both found something fresh in contemporary country music. The sound “was unfamiliar to the Korean audience,” says Gayoon. “We were the first to mix country and K-pop. It was a brand-new genre.” A genre they—as the newly formed 2YOON—hoped would differentiate themselves in an already crowded market. “It was time for us to show a different side,” says Jiyoon.

Original Article: TIMES Magazine

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