HONG KONG -- Asian Agent founder and chief Danny Lee has proposed a vision of applying the so-called “K-pop formula” to the global music industry to give it a boost.
“I believe that we will see the growth of not just K-pop but pop music as a whole. And that is what we are excited about,” Lee said at this year’s RISE conference in Hong Kong last week.
Asian Agent founder and chief Danny Lee
As an example, Lee said the idea to record three versions of “Mr. Nice Guy,” the recent single album of Wengie, came from K-pop’s priority on localization. “One version was released in English, one in Tagalog and another in Taglish, which is a hybrid of English and Tagalog,” he explained. Tagalog is the first language spoken by a quarter of the population of the Philippines.
As a result, “Mr. Nice Guy” has topped multiple music charts in the Philippines.
Responding to questions about Wengie not having a Korean ethnic background despite being promoted as a K-pop artist, Lee argued that you don’t always have to be Korean or speak fluent Korean.
“There are a lot of people who are going to say (if you want to do K-pop) you have to be Korean or speak fluent Korean. But look at Lisa from Blackpink. Sure, she speaks Korean, but she’s from Thailand” he told The Investor. “Wengie is Chinese Australian, but her first YouTube videos were K-pop dance covers and K-pop English rewrites, so it’s more about the promotion of the culture and understanding the design and function behind it.”
He also noted that he made sure that Wengie’s songs contain some elements of K-pop by collaborating with Korean music producers.
“Melanie Fontana and David Amber are both my clients. David is the producer of “Yes or Yes” and “Heart Shaker” while Melanie writes for BTS. So, you can probably hear in the melody, some elements of Twice and BTS,” he said.
Asian Agent was established in 2016 by Lee, who has been promoting Korean entertainment company YG’s artist Blackpink in the US. He also has experience managing western pop artists including Will.i.am, The Black Eyed Peas and Afrojack. Currently, his firm mainly focuses on promoting eastern talents in the west.
By Song Seung-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)