Our favorite K-Pop idols love to suggest songs and artists that are their current music obsessions, and often times their recommendations are comprised of up-and-coming indie artists that are brimming with talent and promise! With so much time in quarantine, you can now brush up on some of the most popular up-and-coming Korean artists, so that when they inevitably blow up, you can say you were there listening first! Here are 7 Korean artists that are actively on the rise to keep an eye out for in 2021!
7. Choi Jungyoon
Choi Jungyoon is the definition of an up-and-coming artist, however, we find her to show an insane amount of promise! Jungyoon has a refreshing vocal, interesting approach to music composition, and excellent songwriting skills, making her the indie artist to look out for. We love her simple, yet effective retro sound that involves a sort of synth-based city pop style! Being a novice to the industry has given Jungyoon a lot of freedom, as she's explored and experimented with genres from pop to folk. We're excited to keep an eye on Jungyoon to see what fresh sounds she can bring to the music scene in the next year!
6. Paul Kim
Paul Kim is a singer-songwriter who actually made his debut in 2014. Though, as of late, Paul has gained a lot of traction by expanding his musical scope. His biggest musical successes so far comprise of "Every Day, Every Moment" and "Rain" - songs that came out in 2018. His latest releases and performances have garnered the attention of idols and K-Pop fans quickly! Paul's lush vocals and rich composition is a must-listen!
CHEEZE is a four-piece band that actually formed over a decade ago, however, as of late, CHEEZE has been thrust in the forefront of the mainstream music industry in SK. Led by their frontwoman, Dalchong, CHEEZE has returned after a short break with fun, yet poignant music. Dalchong's signature sweet singing voice has given CHEEZE a fascinating soundscape to play with that juxtaposes warmth and cynicism. CHEEZE is the longest-running artist on this list.
The name 'Jannabi" comes from 'year of the monkey' in archaic Korean! In fact, all 5 musicians in the band were born in the year of the monkey, giving way to the band's animal-inspired stage name! Jannabi, unlike the other artists on this list, has a vintage sound that is reminiscent of alternative music from decades past. The band also employs vivid imagery, poetic lyrics, and a distinct stage presence. Jannabi is a change-up from the over-the-top K-Pop sound and is a refreshing change of pace for K-Pop fans looking to diversify their understanding of Korean music!
BIBI captured the attention of Tiger JK and Yoon Mirae before she even debuted on SoundCloud. BIBI, unlike the other artists on this list, hones in serious skill in singing, rapping, and songwriting! BIBI has a unique stage presence and musical ability that has allowed her to reach a wider audience through TV competition show, "The Fan". Many K-Pop fans have started to see BIBI pop up here and there as special features for songs, but her latest work was songwriting and lyric-writing for TWICE's "More & More". BIBI is a must-follow for the upcoming year.
Dvwn has a characteristic indie SoundCloud sound with a sensitive vocal and ethereal sound in all his music. He wrote and composed multiple self-written tracks in 2017 that garnered the attention of none other than K-Pop alum, Zico, who offered Dvwn a place in Zico's label, KOZ Entertainment. Under Zico's guidance, Dvwn, whose stage name is inspired by the time of day, is honing in on his sensual vocals, falsettos, and tones. For fans of slower ballads and r&b tracks, Dvwn is the artist for you!
1. Se So Neon
Se So Neon is actually a trio band! Composed of vocalist/guitarist Hwang Soyoon, bassist Park Hyunjin, and drummer U Su, this indie band has brought a unique soundscape to the forefront of alternative music since 2016. Se So Neon has won Rookie of the Year and Best Rock Song at the Korean Music Awards, yet is now gaining significant traction out of the domestic soundscape. BTS ARMY may be familiar with the name "Se So Neon", as RM recently recommended Se So Neon on his official YouTube playlist! Se So Neon has a mellow, yet flexible sound that can suit a variety of music styles.
Which of these up-and-comers is your favorite? Share with us in the comments below!