+the scene

Articles

Who’s Who at SXSW's Korea Spotlight Line-up!
Written by Kalia Kornegay
 
With South By Southwest, the annual conference-festival hybrid dedicated to all things entertainment, right around the corner, now is the perfect time to familiarize yourself with the talent set to perform at this year’s annual Korea Spotlight. Formerly known as "K-Pop Night Out", this showcase during the SXSW Music Festival has some of South Korea’s biggest acts hitting the stage. Whether you’re new to the latest rise in Korean music or a seasoned veteran who needs a refresher, here’s all you need to know about the talent slated to hit the stage in Austin!
 
 
Lee Hi
If you’re looking for soulful vocals mixed with the perfect amount of power and personality, you’ll find all that and more with soloist Lee Hi. After debuting at the age of 16 with the funky pop hit “1, 2, 3, 4”, Lee Hi has completely grown into her unique R&B sound. The singer is only the second artist to attend SXSW from mega-label YG Entertainment and is known for her mind-blowing vocals. Her most recent album, Seoulite, was released in 2016 through YG’s sub-label HIGHGRND under the guidance of former label head Tablo (who, with his rap trio Epik High, was the first YG act to perform at SXSW) with ballad “Breathe” and the more upbeat “My Star” being the standout tracks.
 
 
 
SXSW Schedule:
THE BELMONT
March 16, 2018
12:10am-12:50am
 
 
KARD
KARD is everything you could ever want in a dream K-Pop group. The quartet is currently the industry’s only co-ed group, with members BM, J-Seph, Somin, and Jiwoo, and is known for their tropical house sound. While their official debut was with the track “Hola Hola”, released July of last year, the group already had several singles and world tours across North America, Europe, and South America under their belts. The group has yet to release an album, but their wide array of singles, synchronized choreography skills, and their talent for covering pop hits will make this performance one to remember.
 
 
 
SXSW Schedule:
THE BELMONT
March 16, 2018
1:00am-1:50am
 
 
CIFIKA
The underground indie artist will be stopping by the festival during her 20-city U.S. tour (which, by the way, is the longest tour by a Korean-born act, like, ever) bringing her unique and soothing falsetto with her. CIFIKA amassed a following through Soundcloud with her 2016 EP Intelligentsia and has been steadily rising in the Korean underground scene as a fresh take on futuristic, experimental sounds. The artist writes all of her own lyrics, in addition to producing, mastering, and mixing everything she puts out. With her tour kicking off in Seattle and another EP titled PRISM dropping last week, it’s safe to say she’s got a lot in store for her U.S. music festival debut.
 
 
 
SXSW Schedule:
THE BELMONT
March 16, 2018
11:10pm-11:50pm
 
 
DPR LIVE
This up-and-coming rapper should definitely be on your radar if you’re looking for a refreshing sound in the rap genre. The artist made waves in 2016 with his verse on the “Eung Freestyle” cypher (you probably saw it as a YouTube ad) and spent the following year promoting his debut album Coming To You Live before releasing follow-up album Her in December. His smooth delivery, mixed with the addictive instrumentals from labelmate and producer DPR Cream, makes every song of his an instant fave. This appearance marks the musician’s first performance in America, and, hopefully, it won’t be his last.
 
 
 
SXSW Schedule:
THE BELMONT
March 16, 2018
9:20pm-10:00pm
 
 
Junoflo
Following legendary rap group MFBTY’s appearance at last year’s SXSW, Feel Ghood Music will be sending their labelmate Junoflo to Austin this year. The Los Angeles-born-and-raised rapper made his debut into the Korean hip-hop scene in 2015 on the rap survival show "Show Me the Money 5". While he didn’t win that season, he returned for last year's "SMTM" Season 6 (this time making it to the Top 6 before being eliminated) and featured on collaborative hit “Life is a Gamble” featuring other season contestants. Since his success with the show, he’s released a single titled “Static” and featured on pop superstar BoA’s latest mini-album. As one of the only rappers on the line-up, Junoflo is another fresh voice to get familiar with.
 
 
 
SXSW Schedule:
THE BELMONT
March 16, 2018
8:30pm-9:10pm
 
 
Crush
Joining Lee Hi as another big name in the Korean R&B wave, Crush has been releasing hit after soulful hit since 2014’s debut album Crush on You. While he has yet to release another full album, his roster of singles is extensive and features collabs with huge K-Pop acts like Taeyeon, Zico, and Zion.T. He can also be heard on DPR LIVE’s debut album featuring on the romantic “Laputa”. Whether you’re looking for something to play on a melodramatic night in (go with “Sofa”), getting ready for a night out (“Oasis” for this one), or just need an upbeat jam to round out the day (“SKIP” and “Don’t Be Shy” for sure), Crush has something for everyone.
 
 
 
SXSW Schedule:
THE BELMONT
March 16, 2018
10:10pm-10:50pm
 
 
Say Sue Me
Unlike any of their fellow Korea Spotlight performers, Say Sue Me is an indie-rock quartet that debuted in 2013 with the album We’ve Sobered Up. The band’s sound has been described by many as a perfect mix of surf, indie, and rock mixed with lead singer and lyricist Sumi Choi’s soothing vocals. The other members include Kim Byungkyu on guitar and backing vocals, Jaeyoung Ha on bass, and Chang Won on drums. Following the group’s signing with London-based label Damnably, they will be releasing an album titled When We Were Together in April of this year. In the presence of more hip-hop and pop-based acts, Say Sue Me is sure to stand out.
 
 
 
SXSW Schedule:
INTERNATIONAL DAY STAGE AUSTIN CONVENTION CENTER
March 15, 2018
12:00pm-12:40pm

THE BELMONT
March 16, 2018
7:30pm-8:10pm

ESTHER'S FOLLIES
March 17, 2018
1:00am-1:50am
 
 
(Image via KARD/YouTube)
 
- Kalia Kornegay, YH Contributing Writer