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K-Pop Artists to Listen to if You Love BTS and Blackpink

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This Sunday, the American Music Awards will be held (in-person!) at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, and K-pop superstars BTS are (rightfully) nominated in three categories. As the South Korean boy band and its female counterpart, Blackpink, have definitively inserted K-pop into U.S. mainstream music, it looks like the Korean wave (aka “hallyu”) won’t be going away anytime soon. It may only be a matter of time before we start seeing other K-pop artists capture American audiences—here’s hoping!—so let’s ride it, shall we? Whether you’re already familiar with K-pop and are looking for new artists to stan, or are just hoping to expand your knowledge of the ever-growing phenomenon but don’t know where to start, here are some rising and established K-pop artists to listen to now.

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Members: JiU, SuA, Siyeon, Handong, Yoohyeon, Dami, Gahyeon

Debuted: January 2017

If you’re looking for something different from your standard K-pop fare, you’ll want to check out Dreamcatcher, a seven-member girl group with a goth-inspired concept and a unique punk rock-meets-metal sound. Their otherworldly music videos feature complex storylines with occult themes and phantasmagoric images that transport viewers to literal dream worlds—just like their name suggests. Though the septet’s 2017 mini album, Prequel, debuted at #5 on the Billboard World Albums chart and reached the top spot on the US iTunes K-pop Top 100 chart, the group really took off in 2018 with the release of their single “Full Moon,” which landed Dreamcatcher the #1 spot on Billboard’s Next Big Sound chart. Their songs often deal with issues such as cyberbullying, hate speech, loneliness, and more real talk.


Debuted: June 2017

Singer, songwriter, dancer, choreographer, Chungha is a K-pop phenom who can do it all. Her mesmerizing dances, powerful charisma, and silky vocals have propelled her to become one of today’s top female K-pop solo artists. Born in South Korea but raised in Texas, Chungha originally debuted as a member of the K-pop girl group I.O.I before launching her solo career in 2017. After being named Rookie of the Year at the 2018 Seoul Music Awards, Chungha released hit after hit over the next few years, including her 2019 single “Gotta Go,” which was included on Billboard’s “The 100 Greatest K-Pop Songs of the 2010s” list. Her 2021 debut solo album Querencia showcases her musical versatility with an array of styles ranging from house to reggaeton to grime, and includes the Spanish-language track “Demente,” which marks the first Latin/K-pop collaboration by a female K-pop solo artist. Just check out any one of her music videos, and you’ll quickly see why this fierce one-woman powerhouse was named one of Spotify’s top female K-pop artists in 2020.

The Boyz

Members: Sangyeon, Jacob, Younghoon, Hyunjae, Juyeon, Kevin, New, Q, Ju Haknyeon, Sunwoo, Eric

Debuted: December 2017

We’re hardly exaggerating when we say that these guys are on another level—their talent is simply off the charts. Take, for example, their music videos for “The Stealer” or “Maverick.” Despite being part of an 11-piece group, each member has standout vocals, impressive acrobatic abilities, and unique, heart-stopping visuals that all somehow meld seamlessly together to create truly jaw-dropping performances. Although The Boyz have been releasing hit singles for several years, they were thrust into the global spotlight when their mind-blowing performance on the K-pop reality competition show Road to Kingdom set social media ablaze and even got international media talking. With their wickedly insane dance moves that don’t seem humanly possible, it’s easy to see why they won first place on the show that year (just look at the priceless reactions on the other contestants’ faces!). It’s no wonder they’re rapidly becoming one of the most popular K-pop groups, winning accolades upon accolades at multiple music award shows across Asia.


Members: Dongheon, Hoyoung, Minchan, Gyehyeon, Yeonho, Yongseung, Kangmin

Debuted: January 2019

The second boy band repped by Jellyfish Entertainment after VIXX debuted in 2012, Verivery is known for their perfectly synchronized choreography, as evidenced by their performances on Road to Kingdom. The group, whose name derives from a combination of the Latin term “veri” (meaning “truth”) and the English word “very,” has topped Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales chart twice (first in 2020 with their song “G.B.T.B.,” then earlier this year with “Get Away”), making them only the fourth K-pop boy group to ever do so. Their high-octane tracks and fantastical music videos often present intricate storylines rife with symbolism, enticing audiences to search for deeper meanings as they try to piece together what’s unfolding in the Verivery universe. The multi-talented group also produces some of their own music videos (such as this one) and is set to embark on their first U.S. tour next month.


Members: Woong, Donghyun, Woojin, Daehwi

Debuted: May 2019

Since their 2019 debut, the K-pop male quartet AB6IX have nabbed plenty of rising star and best new artist nods. Their clean-cut image and boyish charm go hand-in-hand with their upbeat pop sound, energetic dance moves, and smooth yet powerful vocals—all of which blend perfectly together to create a small yet versatile K-pop boy band. AB6IX have done remixes with Lizzo (for her hit “Truth Hurts”) and Why Don’t We (for their song “Fallin’ (Adrenaline)” and have recently become more involved in writing and producing their own music, too. Back in April, the boys also made a cameo appearance on the TBS series Chad, starring Nasim Pedrad.


Debuted: December 2014

Suran has collaborated with some of South Korea’s leading artists, including BTS’s Suga, Mamamoo’s Hwasa, Heize, Crush, and many others. Her unique, ethereal vocals can be heard on soundtracks for various K-dramas, such as Strong Girl Bong-soon and Abyss. Earlier this year, the singer launched her own independent label S-TASY and released two singles to mark a fresh start on her journey as an artist. “I have been working hard toward completing my next album,” she tells ELLE.com. “I’m sure I will never stop.”


Members: Heeseung, Jay, Jake, Sunghoon, Sunoo, Jungwon, Ni-ki

Debuted: November 2020

Enhypen is a seven-member boy band formed through I-Land, a 2020 reality competition program held by Belift Lab, a joint venture between CJ E&M and Hybe Corporation (previously Big Hit Entertainment and the home of K-pop powerhouse BTS). Prior to their debut, they had already built up a massive global fanbase thanks to social media, enabling their first mini album Border: Day One to debut at #1 on Korean charts (and some international ones too). Enhypen immediately took the K-pop world by storm with their highly-anticipated debut and, in less than a year, quickly established themselves as one of K-pop’s fastest-rising idol groups. Their first full-length album, Dimension: Dilemma, was released just last month and has already reached #1 on the Billboard World Albums Chart. With mesmerizing choreography, flawless harmonies, and fun personalities to match, Enhypen is a K-pop group that should definitely be on your radar.


Members: Sihyeon, E:U, Mia, Onda, Aisha, Yiren

Debuted: March 2019

Dubbed a “monster rookie group” because of their immediate success, Everglow burst onto the K-pop scene in 2019 with their debut track “Bon Bon Chocolat,” which reached #5 on the Billboard World Digital Song Sales chart. They quickly followed up with a slew of other hits, including “Adios,” “Dun Dun,” “La Di Da,” and “First”—all of which have also charted in the top 5 on Billboard. The sextet is best known for energetic and catchy anthems about female empowerment. Their lavish music videos are a pure feast for the eyes, showcasing the group’s striking visuals and fierce choreography, sometimes complemented by Hollywood-caliber CGI. Not only are these ladies incredibly gifted singers and dancers, but they’re also willing to use their influence and talent for good. In August 2021, Everglow partnered with UNICEF for its “Promise Campaign” to support children in need across the globe, launching their single “Promise” as well as a dance challenge to raise awareness and funding for the campaign. Everglow’s upcoming mini album, Return of the Girl, will drop on Dec. 1. Mark your calendars.


Members: Solar, Moonbyul, Wheein, Hwasa

Debuted: June 2014

One of K-pop’s most iconic girl groups, Mamamoo have been cranking out hit after hit over the past eight years—in fact, practically every song they’ve ever released seems to have become an instant earworm with Korean and international K-pop fans alike. Their splashy 2014 debut, “Mr. Ambiguous”—still considered to be one of K-pop’s most successful debuts ever—introduced audiences to the group’s retro, jazzy, and R&B vibes, along with each member’s astounding vocal abilities. In 2016, the quartet headlined SXSW’s K-Pop Night Out and sold out their first solo concert in one minute—a trend that continued for many of their subsequent concerts. Over the years, as Mamamoo began experimenting with different sounds, their songs and albums consistently landed on multiple Billboard charts. In 2019 they cemented their status as one of the industry’s best female acts by winning the K-pop competition show Queendom, which saw the group outperform other top female K-pop artists. In addition to their achievements as a collective, the ladies of Mamamoo have all launched successful solo careers as well, proving that each member is a leading lady in her own right.

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