The secret to every successful artist is resilience, international record producer and DJ TOKiMONSTA or Jennifer Lee, shares during her recent visit to Manila last July 11. Lee had an intimate discussion with a handful of aspiring young musicians and producers at 20:20 Nightclub in Chino Roces, Makati City. She then performed a live DJ set as Tokimonsta at the nearby XX XX.
Of Korean descent, Jennifer Lee was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She was classically trained as a pianist and began creating beats during her time in college in the University of California Irvine. In 2010, Lee got invited to London for the Red Bull Music Academy, a global music institution committed to fostering creativity in music.
Career as TOKiMONSTA
Since then, she made her own brand as TOKiMONSTA and released a string of successful albums. Watch this beautiful music video of her song “I Wish I Could” below:
Lee mentions that her creative process in making music goes hand-in-hand with total vulnerability: that kind where you show a part of yourself that’s not inhibited.
“You’re making the music as an expression of yourself and your own creativity. And it’s very vulnerable. You’re sharing some part of yourself that’s expressive.”
But she says that this vulnerability brings about a lot of risks as you express yourself in a way that shows everyone something different: being unique and having a unique sound. This big risk is something she’s willing to take so she can make music that can be enjoyed by everyone, “When you go to different countries and you see that people are resonating with your music, that means they resonate with a very deep side of you. I’m really humbled by it. And I get to see people also enjoy the music that I make and the shows that I perform. It’s a shared experience by all these different cultures. You start to see this commonality between everyone.”
And in as much as how the creation of music is important, so is putting one’s music out there for the world to hear. In order to do this, Lee cites that social media which wasn’t available to people twenty years ago (which was all about record labels) could be used a great avenue for self-promotion. Promoting yourself, thus becoming a lifestyle brand in-and-of-your own body of work is an important aspect to surviving as a successful musician in the 21st century.
“Music has become a lifestyle brand. You as an artist aren’t just the music that you make. You’re your music, you’re your personality, taste in artwork, preferences, you share so much of yourself (on social media).”
Challenges as TOKiMONSTA
As a female Asian-American artist in her genre dominated by males, Lee’s career as TOKiMONSTA has been filled with a number of challenges. Eventually, she made music that went up to the standard of her male peers that earned respect for her in the industry. Lee said, “As an Asian female, I want to show that I’m making decisions. I want to be normal. I want to make music on the same level for everyone else.”
The biggest challenge for Lee, however, was returning to the stage after her battle with Moya Moya disease, a neurological disease that required Lee to undergo two surgeries that temporary impaired her ability to communicate and make music. Lee mentioned that the most challenging part happened emotionally and mentally: after isolating herself from everyone for two months, she had social anxiety and became very sensitive. She says, “To go from not seeing everyone for a while, to a very traumatic experience, to playing in front of 20,000 people at Coachella, it’s quite a big schism to cross.”
TOKiMONSTA: “Resilience is everything”
As the topic of her battle with the disease was opened, she gave the best piece of advice to the budding artists in the audience, that the secret of every successful artist is resilience.
“Resilience is everything. If you’re not resilient, every blow is going to hit you so much harder. A lot of it isn’t always awesome. The circumstances of our environment, the county that we live in, the people we’re around, it’s not always going to be great. At the same time, there are tons of things that are amazing. It’s not easy, but it’s finding that inner power in yourself – that confidence and that drive. But understand it’s okay to feel all these emotions. But you can’t hold on to them. You can’t sulk.”
By combining her passion for creating musical experiences to her “never give up” attitude, Jennifer Lee/TOKiMONSTA has become one of the most widely respected acts in her genre. As an alumni of the Red Bull Music Academy, Lee continues to travel all over the world to share her music and her knowledge with the next generation of producers.
“My number one advice for anyone is to be yourself. Be unique. Hear your own voice. Just be yourself. Don’t be like everyone else. Everyone else already exists. You want to set yourself apart. You want to be someone with some level of integrity.”
This post is in collaboration with Centaur Marketing.
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Having been an avid fan & translator of Korean variety shows for more than a decade now, I’ve always wondered how it would look like if the Philippines followed the Korean TV show format. And now I would come to see it fulfilled through TV5’s AJA AJA TAYO!, the first Korean-Filipino variety show in the Philippines.
AJA AJA TAYO! is composed of Korean-Filipino individuals (writers, directors, producers, etc.) who teamed up to present a fresh television show tailor made for the taste of Korean-Filipino citizens, K-Pop fanatics, Korean culture lovers, and variety game show enthusiasts. It is a one (1) hour variety challenge game show featuring two teams competing against each other in every episode. One cycle consists 6 games, which will then be divided into two (2) episodes. Each game has a corresponding point in which the teams can earn if they win.
Aja Aja Tayo! Press & Media Launch
Last July 16, I had the chance to attend the Press & Media Launch of Aja Aja Tayo held at Johnny B Good. Before the start of the launch, tonight’s performers had a rehearsal and mic check. Buffet dinner was also served while we interact with various personalities in the industry.
To officially start the launch, the hosts, KA Antonio and Korean-national Paul, entered the stage. They then called in Mr. Charles Kim, the CEO of ShowBT Philippines to give his remarks. Kim said that although Aja Aja Tayo is the first ever show displaying the collaboration between the Philippines and South Korea, “the true collaboration would be the heart natured by the two countries”. Here, he proceeded to explain the composition of the show Aja Aja Tayo.
Kim also talked about ShowBT Philippines’ future plans for the show, “We plan to keep working on Season 2, 3, then 4, and more. We’re also in talks with a Korean broadcasting company called SBS to have a Philippine version of the Korean variety show called Fantastic Duo”.
The fixed cast was then called onstage for their greetings: Wilma Dassent, the fixed Captain for Aja Aja Tayo; and one of the show’s hosts, Steena Koo.
Along with the fixed cast, Mr. Robbie Jung, head of the entertainment firm ShowBT was also called onstage. I felt Mr. Jung looked familiar but it was not until I searched for him on Google that I realized he was actually Jung Sunghan, a former Korean comedian who was part of the popular gag trio called “Cult Triple” (now called Cultwo composed of the remaining two members: Jung Chanwoo and Kim Taegyun). I was most ecstatic to meet him because I have watched a few shows where he featured in before and I was so curious of how he has been since he left the spotlight and ventured to a new challenge.
Here, Jung talked about his love for the Philippines and the Philippine entertainment, “The Philippine land is so lovely, so many talents, and so many opportunities”. He mentioned that he hopes for Aja Aja Tayo to be a bridge for Korean artists who wanted to visit the Philippines to be introduced to Filipinos in a way that has never been done before.
Followed by this is the official dance of Aja Aja Tayo performed by SB19, an upcoming boy group produced by ShowBT. SB19 is composed of five Filipino boys who received rigorous training just like actual K-pop idols. The group is to debut next month. Check out more of SB19’s photos below during their performance in the mini concert.
The launch is ended by a celebratory toast for the launch of Aja Aja Tayo headed by the Mr. Jung. After going down from the stage, Jung went around, clicked glasses, and interacted with everyone in the hall.
Of course, I took this chance to talk to Mr. Jung: I talked to him in Korean and I told him I knew him as the Jung Sunghan and he was really surpised haha. When he asked how I knew Korean, I told him I translate Korean shows and also study in Yonsei University, he replied with amusement, “OoohhhHHH smart, smart”. Hence, this amusing photo I took with him.
ShowBT Mini Concert: SB19 and BNF
After the launch, the mini-concert of the artists of ShowBT Philippines started. Fans who were lined up outside were brought in to give support to the artists. The mini-concert started with a performance of one of the fixed casts, Steena Koo who sang a Filipino song. Next is a performance by stage actress, singer, and dancer of Korean descent, Adie Hong.
Earning loud cheers from their fellow Filipinos, SB19 went back onstage to perform their songs. It was mentioned earlier that the group was trained like actual K-pop idols and I was able to recognize that they got trained that way. Specially with how they sang continuously without going off pitch or getting out of breath even while dancing. Even the way they danced, the choreography, the execution, and the knife-like synchronization between the members, one can really see that they were trained like K-pop idols.
And finally, the much-awaited group, BNF went onstage. The three members of BNF are actually originally part of K-pop group ‘OFFROAD’. Viewers of Produce 101 Season 2 might be familiar with the two other members of OFFROAD, Jeong Dongsu and Kim Namhyung. Now, the remaining three members Daewon, Harang, and Habin compose the group ‘BNF’ pronounced as Benefit (베네핏) and debuted just this April 20, 2018.
Mr. Robbie Jung mentioned earlier his hopes for BNF to have more interaction with FIlipinos, “I want BNF to have more opportunities to be starting point of exchange in cultures between the Philippines and Korea”. Thus, BNF is the first K-pop idols group featured in Aja Aja Tayo! to be shown on the first two episodes. As guests in Aja Aja Tayo! the youngest member of BNF, Harang, mentioned how filming the show was for them, “We had so much fun during filming. I believe that just like us, the viewers will also have a fun time watching the broadcast”.
When I got home, BNF’s song was still stuck on my head so I opened my MelOn app and looked for their song. Apparently, this is their debut song titled ‘꽃잎이 되어’ (Become Petals). I searched online and realized there was still no English translation for the lyrics of the song so as a bonus for this post and for the fans of BNF, I went ahead and translated the lyrics for BNF’s ‘Become Petals’. Please give full credits when taking out.
BNF(베네핏) – ‘Become Petals’ (꽃잎이 되어)
English Translations by Janine Anne
어느 봄날 흩날리는 꽃잎들처럼
(Like petals fluttering on a certain spring day)
살며시 너의 두 볼에 닿을 수 있다면
(If only I can gently brush against your two cheeks)
비라도 오는 날이면 우산 건넬까
(Even if it is a raining day, I wondered, shall I bring out my umbrella)
한참 고민도 많이 했잖아
(I had quite a lot of concerns/worries)
한 번을 만나 천 번을 설레고
(We meet once and my heart flutters a thousand times)
웃어도 내가 웃는 게 아냐
(Even when I smile, I am not really smiling)
(I say ‘It’s love’ then laugh and look back. Even if I have regrets)
수 없이 지난 시간은 항상 널 향해 있어
(Countlessly, all previous moments were always towards you)
한번만 단 한번만 이런 날 기억 해 줄래
(Once, just once. Will you please remember this kind of day)
난 꽃잎이 되어 니 곁에 날아 갈래
(I’ll become petals and fly right by your side)
우연히 마주친 눈빛 잊어버릴까
(Will our glances that met coincidentally be forgotten)
밤새 한숨도 못자고 나 이러고 있어
(All night, I can’t even have any sleep; I am like this)
꽃바람처럼 살며시 다가가고 싶어
(Just like the floral breeze, I want to approach you gently)
혹시 니가 놀랠까봐 그래
(It’s because you might get surprised)
떨리는 가슴 애써 감춰 봐도
(Even if I work hard to conceal my trembling heart)
너 앞에 그런 게 다 잘 안돼
(Being like that in front of you don’t work well)
우리는 만나서 수없이 많이 엇갈려가지만
(We meet and we might have many countless conflicts but)
언젠가 사랑이라 말할 누군가를 만나게 된다는
(Believing that we will meet someone someday that can say ‘it’s love’)
알 수 없는 믿음에 또 다시 누굴 만나서
(With an unknown faith, meeting someone again)
늘 마지막처럼 우리 애쓰며 사랑 했잖아
(Always feeling like it’s the last, we worked hard loving each other)
사랑이다 사랑이다 사랑이다
(It’s love, It’s love, It’s love)
한번만 단 한번만 이런 날 기억 해 줄래
(Once, just once. Will you please remember this kind of day)
난 꽃잎이 되어 니 곁에 날아 간다
(I’ll become petals, I’m going to fly right by your side)
Watch BNF’s ‘Become Petals’ Music Video here:
Aja Aja Tayo! Launch: PRIZES & GIFTS
After all the performances, Mr. Robbie Jung joined BNF and the hosts onstage to start a game with the audience. Three lucky fans were called onstage to have the chance to interact with the BNF members. In this segment, we were introduced to the Aja Aja Tayo! girl wearing a hanbok, the traditional Korean costume, who is the mascot and prize-bearer of the show.
There were also raffle draws consisting of items from the sponsors. I was shocked when my name was called onstage to receive a prize (a face mist from Mulbit-mi). So in the end, I went home with two Aja Aja Tayo! paper bags: one was the freebie I got as part of the press & media team, and the other from the raffle draw. The Aja Aja Tayo! press & media launch ended with all the fixed cast, the hosts of the event, and all the performers from the mini-concert dancing the Aja Aja Tayo! dance onstage together with the audience.
July 21: Aja Aja Tayo first episode
The pilot episode of Aja Aja Tayo! was broadcast on July 21 (Saturday) at TV5. Of course, after being curious of how the show would turn out, I tuned in to the first episode. The teams for the episode were led by Wilma Dassent and radio DJ Mr. Fu. Team Wilma consisted of artists: BNF Harang, Ella Cruz, Xander Ford, and Kim Molina. While the team led by Mr. Fu consisted of artists: BNF D1 (Daewon), BNF Habin, Chanel Morales, and Kiray.
After each of the cast was introduced, they had a Dance Time, just like in Korean variety shows. The cast then changed into their team outfits and started playing games. There were four games played for the first episode: ‘Pilipit Dila’ or tounge twister, ‘Mag Inarte Ka’ or charades, ‘Karga Limbo’ or limbo rock, and a preview of ‘Chicken Lang Game: Human Sabong’ to be continued on the next episode. The following episode to be broadcast next week will be composed of the same cast but more games, which I expect to be more fun than the first one based on the preview.
What I noticed is that it follows the concept of the old Korean variety show, X-Man. X-man also divided the cast into two teams led by Team Captains, and had to compete with each other through various games. For avid fans of Korean variety shows, it could definitely be felt that Aja Aja Tayo! is produced by Korean individuals through the captions (specially the familiar fonts used), special CG effects, background music, editing, and showing various reactions of the audience and cast.
Korean variety shows have a very special place in my heart because it is through them that I got immersed deeply into the Korean culture. Twelve years ago, I was looking for random funny videos then I came across the show X-Man. Because of this, I started learning the Korean language and then a year after, I started translating and subbing Korean shows such as We Got Married, Star Golden Bell, Family Outing, and many more. I was still on high school then and during that time, the Korean Wave was not yet very popular here in the Philippines. I remember my high school classmates used to tease me and wonder why I was so into everything Korean.
Fast-forward to the present time, now, some of these classmates have been asking me to teach them Korean. How times have changed haha. Never did I imagine that the Korean Wave would become this big in the Philippines: everyone is in love with the Korean culture from K-pop to K-dramas even up to Korean cosmetics and makeup. What is left is the rise of Korean variety shows here: there is definitely a demand as a lot Filipinos watch Running Man or 1 Night 2 Days or Return of the Superman. Add to that the Filipino adaptation of Mnet’s I Can See Your Voice, which is enjoyed by many Filipinos.
The entrance of Aja Aja Tayo! to the Philippine market, I believe, is what is needed to give that push for the demand for Korean variety shows. With the aid of the Korean producers and staff, the Philippine entertainment will have a chance to create and showcase something new after being stuck with the same kind of TV format for more than decades. It is natural that Filipinos may find Aja Aja Tayo! awkward at first because of the unfamiliar format but I hope we realize the potential that this kind of format can bring, both to our entertainment industry and to our culture as a whole. I am very hopeful that Aja Aja Tayo! will bring forth tighter relations between Koreans and Filipinos, and I look forward to all kinds of new entertainment the show will bring in the future.
Catch Aja Aja Tayo! on TV5 every Saturdays from 11:30AM to 12:30PM. Follow the show’s social media accounts below:
This was actually my first official event as a //blogger// so I’m very happy to have been invited by Mr. Benjo Madrigal for the launch of the show. Thank you so much for reading, I filmed some videos which I’ll upload next time once I get back my laptop which is currently being repaired *fingers crossed*.
Did you watch the first episode of Aja Aja Tayo? What do you think of the concept of the show? Do you think this kind of format will survive in the Philippine entertainment industry? I’d love to listen to your feedback so let me know on the comments below!
“Nung araw kay tamis ng ating buhay, Puno ng saya at ng kulay, Di mauulit muli (Our life was once so sweet, Full of happiness and color, Can never be repeated again).” Perfectly embodying the song’s themes of love, loss, and words left unspoken, the Di Na Muli music video immortalizes the beautiful yet bittersweet love story of the late father of Philippine Theater lighting Teodoro “Teddy” Hilado and his wife Rosky Balahadia Hilado.
Di Na Muli was written in 2016 by long-time friends Jazz Nicolas and Wally Acolola. They entered the song into the 5th Philippine Popular (PhilPop) Music Festival, performed by The Itchyworms, where it won the grand prize. Now, in 2018, the song has been given new life in the official soundtrack of the hit film Sid & Aya (Not A Love Story) (Viva Films, starring Dingdong Dantes and Anne Curtis, directed by Irene Villamor).
At the time frame in between Philpop and Sid & Aya, The Itchyworms seeked to immortalize the song. The result came out this June 2018 in a music video directed by Paolo Abella and Juno Oebanda. After The Itchyworms won the grand prize, Oebanda called the band and expressed his desire to do a music video, “I felt the song written by Jazz Nicolas and Wally Acolola was so powerful it needed a proper one.”
WHO IS THE LADY IN THE VIDEO
Rosky Balahadia Hilado,…
Di Na Muli music video: Story
The theme of the music video came like a light bulb to Oebanda on 2016 near the first death anniversary of his uncle, Teddy Hilado. Teddy who was the first technical and lighting director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and the Bayanihan Dance Group met the love of his life, Rosky who was one of the principal dancers of the Bayanihan at the CCP. Oebanda presented the plot to the Worms who then liked it, and they proceeded to talk to the CCP to film in and around the theater. Teddy, being one of CCP’s pioneers led to the easy granting of the venue for the music video.
This was how the CCP became the setting of the music video, at the very place where their love story started: Teddy designing the lights over dances that Rosky did on stage. Oebanda shares, “Rosky comes back to the CCP stage after more than 20 years and reminisces how and where her love story with Teddy started.”
At the place which remains to be the living proof of their love story, Rosky reminisces the love of her life. Oebanda says, “Rosky takes over and owns the song, how she walked, how she smiled, how she cried and how she gracefully danced were all real emotions.”
As Oebanda was guiding her with instructions, Rosky whispers to him with a smile accompanied with tears in her eyes, “I haven’t been on this stage for more than 20 years.” To which he replied, “TIta this last sequence is where you will dance with Tito Teddy, dance with the light Tita, dance with Tito Teddy”. What happened next astounded him and will then be the highlight of the video: Rosky starts dancing with the light with the grace of a woman dancing with her love again.
The music video ends with a beautiful scene of Rosky basked in the limelight. The scene is made more special as the lighting execution was done by Shakira Villa Symes who for a time was mentored by Teddy Hilado himself.
“Di Na Muli – is a gem of a song that comes around not too often. It’s a song that becomes yours, you own it.” –Juno Oebanda, Director
The Di Na Muli music video has gone beyond the themes and meaning of the song. The beautiful lyrics of the song, the wonderful rendition by The Itchyworms, and this video that came to immortalize the undying love between Teddy and Rosky Hilado, Di Na Muli has perfectly encapsulated the rawest emotions that love can bring.
Want to watch how this beautiful love story is immortalized all captured within the hallowed halls of the CCP? Watch the Di Na Muli music video by The Itchyworms below:
Translated by @janinekwon_. Please take out with full credits.
“Python HD Challenge (ft. A First)”
“I’m Scared” (JR)
“(My) Soul, where are you?” (Ren)
My friend’s suffering/pain is
NU’EST W’s Bangkok Story has not ended yet. This place is ‘Sampran Riverside’ where one can experience the traditional Thai culture. In this place, they left ‘Yeong-Go memes’ (slang for funny scenes that will cause suffering forever).
First, wherever they go, their popularity is exploding. Even at this place which is 3 hours away from Bangkok city, the fans came. Even from a far, they made an effort just to capture NU’EST W.
NU’EST W did their best to learn the traditional culture. It is for the sake of giving a special gift for Thai fans. They also tried playing instruments themselves. They also challenged doing a traditional dance.
“Thailand dance, challenge!”
“I have the feel, right?” (Ren)
“Focused Mode” (Aron)
“(You’re) Doing well?” (Baekho)
Now it’s time to see the handcraft skills of NU’EST W. Using dried coconut leaves, they completed making mobiles. Although the weather was hot, they were so focused in making their handicraft.
“Following Ren” (Baekho)
“I made it well, right?” (JR)
“How about mine?” (Baekho)
This is the final course. They enjoyed the Thai traditional dance and martial arts. With the perfect body movements, the members also fell for it. At that moment, the NU’EST W members went down towards the stage.
“Let’s dance together”
“I’m shy, though..” (Baekho)
NU’EST W’s Bangkok experience is up until here only. For a while, they experienced a healing time. The ‘Suffering memes’ are now stopping! We reveal the A-cut photos filmed in Bangkok.
“NU’EST W on June 25” (
“Will release a new album!”
“Even just a day faster” (
“We want to run towards you”
“At the time when we have to repay the love (we received) from LOVEs” (
“We‘ll make the greatest gift for you”
“Because I can meet LOVEs,” (
“My heart is overflowing”
Translated by @janinekwon_. Please take out with full credits.
The most wonderful time of the year for everyone is the holiday season of Christmas and New Year. This is the same case for K-pop (as well as K-Drama/K-Variety) fans as the holiday season means the season for year-end award shows where all idol groups/actors/entertainers gather, provide us with breathtaking (and oftentimes surprising) performances, and get awarded for their performances for the year.
This is also probably the reason I choose to travel to Korea at the end of the year (despite the dreadful cold weather of the winter season). I have been attending/watching these award shows for three years now, ever since I was an exchange student in Korea University last 2014. So for all fans who are planning to visit Korea and want to see Korean artists, I recommend you to watch the year-end awards (if you don’t have tickets, you may just watch the Red Carpet instead) instead of buying concert tickets for just one idol group. Plus, they’re free.
I couldn’t find any other information online on how these events happen (I believe there isn’t one even until now so I decided to post one hehe) so the first time I decided to watch one, I just went to the venue (which was the 2014 MBC Drama Awards) without any idea at all what to do. And I was so shocked at how close I was to so many A-List actors and actresses as I watched them trot down the red carpet, greet fans at the sidelines, and pose for the various journalists there to take their pictures.
So, to help out all fans out there, I have decided to compile my know-how in attending these events.
What are the Year-End Award Shows?
True to its name, these shows happen at the end of the year usually between December 21 to December 31. The three major broadcasting companies (SBS, MBC, and SBS) each host the three kinds of award shows: Music Awards/Festival (for idol groups and musicians), Drama Awards (for actors and actresses), and Entertainment Awards (for variety shows, comedians, and entertainers).
SBS has recently created the SBS Awards Festival (SAF) which happens for an entire week while the three award shows happen. Fans can take part in the SAF (through a lottery which I was lucky to get picked to attend last 2015) where you can participate in the booths of every SBS program, join games and experience being in the program, and win special prizes (like autographed CDs or tickets for the award shows). There are also live performances of K-pop artists for each day of the festival, the day I went I got to see performances of Ben and Rose Motel. Fans (Korean and International) may apply in SBS’s website (around November) to have a chance to get in the festival.
GUIDE TO WATCHING THE RED CARPET
- Find the details of the award shows online
The first thing you need is to research when and where the award shows will take place. Usually, the details go out as early as November that year to as late as the first week of December. What I do is I simply google the name of the broadcasting company, the certain award show I want to watch, and the year (example: KBS Music Awards 2017).
Luckily, these details are readily available because of fan cafes/blogs who post them as soon as the broadcasting companies release the details.You may also visit each of the broadcasting companies’ websites (I have provided the links for you, just click on each of them): SBS, KBS, MBC. They usually make a big banner on their websites for the award shows indicating the date and venue, but you would need to be able to read Korean for this.
SBS, however, has an English option in their website to cater to their international viewers, and like I said earlier, visit their website by November and apply for the lottery to get in the SBS Awards Festival.
Prioritize which events to go to
The downside for these events is that they usually coincide with each other. And the events are far away from each other so you won’t be able to attend one and run to the next one. So after confirming the details, you would have to choose which artists you would really like to see.
TIP: The red carpet for the Drama Awards are usually the closest to the fans, you get to see (and somewhat interact) with the actors and actresses more closely than you will with K-pop idols in the Music Awards.
- Go to the event early
The shows usually start at 8PM (Korean time), meaning the show gets broadcasted live by that time. And since the show starts with the red carpet, the artists also arrive around that time. Some artists even arrive earlier (like around 30 mins before the start of the show). So in order to have enough time to look around the red carpet venue (or find tickets to get inside, too), and find the best position to stay in, you really need to arrive early. You would also need enough time to find the actual venue if you aren’t familiar with the location yet.
Arrive at least 3 hours (but of course, the earlier the better because expect fansites to be there taking pictures, too), find the best location, and standby until the start of the event.
- Wear high heels or bring a stool
I cannot stress this enough. Korean fans do not just arrive early, they are also very much prepared. Imagine my shock when I first started watching a concert in Korea: I was on the 4th row standing and thought I had a pretty good view when the fans in front of me started bringing out their stools and became a foot taller than they were (which was already tall to begin with).
So if you’re not that blessed with tall genes, you have to do everything you can to make yourself taller and have better view. Do note though that if you’re already in front, you don’t have to do this because it would just make the people behind you suffer. And I warn you, Korean fans are not afraid to shout at you lmao they even shouted at the reporters (who were just doing their jobs to take pictures of the artists) because they were blocking their view of the oppas.
- Bring a monopod/selfie stick, and extra battery pack (or powerbank)
Let’s say you arrived to the event late, and you can’t see anything aside from the back of the heads of the fans in front of you. The best way you’d be able to see (and capture) whatever is happening in the red carpet is to watch it from your phone or camera, which you’ll only be able to effectively do through the help of a monopod or selfie stick. If you don’t have one, you may purchase one in Korea for 10,000 won or less; it’s everywhere from Myeongdong to Hongdae to every Daiso out there.
Also, do note that on the red carpet, the artists usually don’t arrive right after each other. Therefore, expect idle moments where you have to wait for the next artist to arrive. So through the help of a selfie stick with your phone in the air, you’d get to rest your hands and anticipate if the next artist has already arrived. Don’t forget to bring an extra battery pack as well or a powerbank because I’m pretty sure your phone and camera would be drained of its battery with all the waiting you have to do.
- Be ready to get pushed (A LOT)
Like I have been continuously stressing, fangirls could get really wild. I can’t count how many times I have been pushed and stepped on (my foot, I mean) by Korean fangirls during concerts and events like these. This is the why whenever I attend concerts in my home country, I tend to be in the very front row as I have already been prepared by the wildest fans out there lmao.
But yes, prepare yourself physically and mentally for this, especially if you’re in a place with a good view. The fans would push you to be in your current position, but no matter what happens, do your best to stay in your place. I actually almost got into a fight when I was watching the red carpet of the 2015 SBS Drama Awards: these Korean high school girls kept on pushing me but I did my best to not to be pushed (lol because dude no one can stop me from seeing Yoo Ah In) so they started shouting at me in Korean. But I pretended I couldn’t understand them and started speaking English instead. With that, they stopped talking to me and kept on cursing me quietly instead (which I understood but oh well hahaha).
- Choose your place carefully
This is the reason you have to arrive at the event early. You have to consider a lot of aspects in choosing where to stay in watching the red carpet. You may opt to go outdoors (usually by the entrance of the building location): a pro for this is you get to see the artists go out of their cars and see them longer than when you are inside, however, you would have to endure the cold weather. This is usually the case for MBC and KBS Drama Awards as these shows are held in the building of the respective broadcasting companies they belong to, so fans can only watch the red carpet outside and wouldn’t be able to get in.
The best I have been to is the 2014 KBS Drama Awards Red Carpet because of the wide area outside the KBS building (yes, the one with a lot of stairs you see in the opening of 1N2D), so I was able to run from the red carpet entrance to the place where the artists get interviewed by the reporters, and back. As for SBS, all three of its award shows (and even the SBS Awards Festival) usually get held at COEX Mall in Gangnam which is a big mall and convention hall. Here, you may opt to stay indoors instead of waiting outside the mall entrance. Inside, there are three places you may choose to be in: the left side of the actual red carpet, the right side, and the side where the artists get interviewed.
On 2015, I have been staying on the left side and I actually had very good view but I kept on thinking how the fans from the right side have better view especially the ones who are on the side of the interview section. When I watched the 2016 SBS Music Awards, I decided to stay on the side of the interview section but it was a bad idea because although I was on the 2nd row, I ended up not seeing anything (same as all the other fans who were with me) because the journalists (who even had ladders and stool prepared) appeared and blocked our entire view. Good thing I was able to transfer immediately to the right side of the red carpet before the major artists arrive. So when choosing your place, take this into consideration.
GUIDE TO ACTUALLY WATCHING AN AWARD SHOW LIVE
Applying for or buying a ticket
Music Awards are the easiest shows to get in to, actually I’ve only been to these shows so far. This is because Drama and Entertainment Shows are more intimate and formal (as you can see with the minimal fans’ shouts and cheers in these shows) than the Music Award shows. MBC, KBS, and SBS usually post signups of tickets for the Award Shows for fans on their websites but you would need the help of a Korean friend for this because: first, it is written purely in Korean (except SBS who has a foreigner-friendly option), and more importantly, you need to have a Korean phone number/address. Also, do note that there is a really small chance of getting picked because of the large amount of fans that sign up every year.
So your last retort is to buy from scalpers. You may search who are selling online beforehand through Twitter by searching #양도표 (which literally means “giving away a ticket”) and making a tweet with the name of the award shows. This was my tweet last December for the 2016 SBS Music Awards because I was this desperate to watch BigBang and SECHSKIES live lol:
But you would need to negotiate in Korean for this since you would be talking with Koreans, and you’re not sure if you’re talking to a scammer or not. Some people actually messaged me and were selling me tickets for 400,000 to 700,000 KRW (400 to 700 USD) which is a crazy price for tickets that they got for free in the first place.
If you really want to watch an event, I suggest you go early to the event location instead and wait for the scalpers to appear. Usually, scalpers are scattered (literally, some would sell discreetly and some sell the tickets right in front of the guards) outside the event venue during the day itself. Prices are within 50,000 to 100,000 KRW (50~100 USD), which I wouldn’t mind paying, to be honest, because you’d get to see at least 10 artists perform anyway. My friends and I actually got our tickets for the 2015 KBS Music Awards from a scalper outside the event for 50,000 KRW each. And yes, they approach foreigners with a higher price. So I suggest you bring a Korean friend, or if you don’t have one, wear a mask. Or just do anything to conceal being a foreigner, and speak confidently in Korean.
So that’s it for now! If you have further questions (like what to say to scalpers and other important stuff), don’t hesitate to comment them below and I’ll do my best to be of help! 🙂