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Korean pop’s recent surge onto the international market is far from an overnight phenomenon. The endless chains of idol stars from the land of the morning calm are intensely trained products of the nation’s top entertainment labels.
At the very forefront of this battle frontier of idol groups fighting for supremacy, S.M. Entertainment, founded by singer-turned-music-mogul Soo Man Lee, administers more than half of k-pop’s most popular singers. While the label is responsible for popularizing boy bands like TVXQ, Super Junior, and SHINee that earn screeching cries from female fans in Bangkok to Paris, they’re far from whom we’re checking for.
Then there's Girls’ Generation—S.M. Entertainment’s record-breaking 9-piece girl group. Since its debut in 2007, the band has raked in numerous prestigious awards, and sweetly crooned infectious chart-topping singles (“Gee,” “Genie,” and “Run Devil Run”) that were stupidly addictive enough to stay afloat on top of music countdowns for months.
After dominating music charts, television variety programs, and advertisements (appearing in ads for soft drinks, water filters, fast food chains, clothing, computer games etc.) in their native Korea, the female version of the Wu-Tang went on to garner a similar success in the world’s second biggest music market—Japan.
Thanks to the Internet, and few of S.M.’s senior artists (BoA and TVXQ!) previously paving successful paths, Girls’ Generation’s 2011 debut was greeted with tremendous success. Dropping bombs on Japan’s Oricon Chart with the self-titled debut shooting to number one, and its single (a Japanese version of “Gee”) going double platinum, stateside music powerhouse Interscope decided to get a piece of the action. On November 19, Girls’ Generation will release its U.S. maxi single through Interscope, thus, officially setting off its American debut.
Over the years, Complex has documented Girls’ Generation’s sparkling rise. When S.M. Entertainment held a three-hour-long concert at Madison Square Garden late last month, we had to get down with our favorite k-pop group for a talk. Despite their crammed press junket, Complex was granted to meet all nine members for a discussion pertaining to stardom, men, and a small commentary we previously made, which didn’t sit too well with the Korean public.
(Note : This Interview is very long and it's really worth to read it )
Interview by Jaeki Cho (@JaekiCho)