You’ve heard of K-pop. You’ve heard of K-rock. You’ve heard of K-R&B. Now get ready for K-country, aka Kountry. Korean music has been around since the beginning of time, and Koreans have appreciated how their own music has evolved, ranging from the catchy beats of trot music to the now ever-so-popular pop music. Country music was never really a big hit in Korean music, but now is a prime time for Korea’s famous artistes to explore the wonders of country music.
Country music is considerably prominent, especially in USA. After all, who could forget our favourite country-turned-pop singers Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus? These two artistes opened up a new generation of country listeners back in the late 2000s before creating pop music. Everyone remembers “Hoedown Throwdown” and “Teardrops on My Guitar”— iconic songs of the 2000s that no one will ever forget.
Furthermore, country is the most popular genre in USA, which overtook classic rock. Country artistes are also gaining more recognition in the music industry, and one example would be Kacey Musgraves winning Album of the Year at the Grammys 2019, beating out artistes such as Drake and Post Malone.
Country is also already merging with other genres to create new types of country music as well as to appeal to newer audiences. Singers like Shania Twain and The Lacs have created country-pop and country-hip hop respectively. By combining different genres, country gains a boost in popularity from the younger generation. Adding on, country is now popular in general. It is “meme-able” content, evident in the iconic “yee-girl juice” challenge on tik-tok, the fashion, “Old Town Road”, as well as the phrases and accents which are loved by all— yeehaw!
Now, this begs the question: why should Korean artistes explore country? Firstly, it shows versatility in an artiste. K-pop already draws influence from Western music, especially hip-hop and EDM, so why not country— a genre that never fails to make people smile? Moving on, K-pop has always been accused of having the “same sound” by non K-pop listeners, so for K-country to become more prominent would show that not all Korean music sounds the same, and maybe even convert these haters into lovers of K-pop.
Secondly, sincerity. Most country listeners would know that the best country songs come from the heart, and this lines up with the lyrics of most Korean artistes. Considering the fact that BTS have proven to be sincere in the lyrics they write, country music is a great genre for them to express such heartfelt and earnest feelings to their fans. Got7 and Day6 have also conveyed their feelings through their lyrics, and country music — which comes from the heart — will be able to amplify those emotions and sincerity.
Not to mention, these artistes enjoy exploring different genres of music, so why not country? Imagine Dean’s soulful voice mixed with the candidness that comes with country music— I don’t know about you, but that would definitely make me swoon and fall for Dean even further. After all, R&B is already a very soulful genre, and with country— a genre that focuses on vulnerability of one, Dean’s emotions would definitely be exhibited.
Lastly, country music brings about entertainment. Back in 2013, 2Yoon debuted with country-influenced song and music video titled “24/7”. The song was catchy and definitely put a smile on my face the more I listened to it. Similarly, Super Junior’s music video for “Mamacita” also showed the members in a country-like, Western setting. It brought E.L.F.s a great amount of joy as it was fun and comedic. The comedy value that comes with country easily overshadows overly serious music videos, and who doesn’t want a good laugh every once in awhile?
Country music always proves to provide the best bops all year round, and if more artistes started to expand their circle and explore the realm of country, they will definitely be a well-rounded artiste in everyone’s eyes. Country music can also help to bridge the gap between Korean music and Western music, bringing about a more cohesive and united world.
Stan K-Country. Stan Kountry.
(Billboard, YouTube    Images via Disney, SM Entertainment, Joombas Co., JYP Entertainment)