These Aussies Are Killing It In K-Pop

Meet the Australians making it big in the Korean music industry.

If you don't know the names of these Aussie superstars, well, perhaps you haven't been paying enough attention. That's ok, you can start right now. There's a bunch of homegrown talent making waves in the Korean music industry – and through it, breaking into other huge markets like America. Here are some of the Aussie legends who should be on your radar...

Bang Chan and Felix from Stray Kids

If you've ever seen clips going viral of K-Pop boys joking around in very thick Aussie accents, they were Bang Chan and Felix from Stray Kids.

Bang Chan is the 23-year-old leader of the boy group, and he also raps, sings, dances, and produces and writes music. Also known as Christopher Bang, he was actually born in Seoul, but moved to Sydney when he was young. At just 13 he joined K-Pop label JYP Entertainment after a successful audition in Australia, and he moved back to Seoul, where he spent the next seven years in training.

During this time, in 2016, he formed a hip-hop group called 3RACHA with future Stray Kids members Changbin and Han. They released three EPs throughout 2017, and continued to release music as a subunit even after Stray Kids were formed through a survival reality show in 2018.

Felix, meanwhile, is 20 years old and a dancer, rapper, vocalist, and songwriter for Stray Kids. Born and raised in Sydney, Felix (full name Felix Lee) moved to Seoul as a teenager to train with JYP. He was a trainee for less than a year before being cast on the reality show that would form Stray Kids. While he was initially eliminated from the show, he was brought back before the series ended, enabling him to debut with the group in 2018.

As a group, Stray Kids have released eight EPs, two compilation albums, and a studio album called Go Live, which came out in 2020.

Stray Kids have had or appeared on several reality shows since their debut, and in 2019, Felix hosted the music show Pops in Seoul. Bang Chan also created his own live streamed series, "Chan's Room", in 2019, and still does the show on a regular (usually weekly) basis on streaming app V Live.

Rosé from BLACKPINK

Rosé is a vocalist and songwriter, and one of the four members of the biggest K-Pop girl group in the world, BLACKPINK. While she was born in New Zealand, Rosé – whose full name is Roseanne Park – grew up in Melbourne. She was only 15 when she attended an Australian audition for K-Pop label YG Entertainment and was successful. Within months, she had moved to Seoul, where she spent four years as a trainee. In 2012 she was featured on G-Dragon's song "Without You" , and four years later she made her official debut with BLACKPINK.

Since then, the group have released two studio albums (one being the Japanese compilation "Blackpink in your area"), three live albums, three EPs and a bunch of singles and single albums – including collaborations with Western artists like Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, and Dua Lipa. They toured the world and made history when they performed at Coachella, and also featured in a Netflix documentary about their journey, called Blackpink: Light Up the Sky.

Recently, Rosé released her first solo single album, R, which features two songs, "Gone" and "On the Ground", both of which Rosé co-wrote. With a keen interest in fashion, she is also a Yves Saint Laurent ambassador.

Jake from Enhypen

Jake Sim is a rookie on the K-Pop scene but already drawing fans around the world. In 2019, aged 16, he moved to Seoul from his hometown of Brisbane after successfully attending an Australian audition for Big Hit Entertainment. He was a trainee for nine months before taking part in reality survival show I-LAND in 2020. The show was a platform to form a new boy group under Belift Lab, a joint venture between entertainment labels Big Hit and CJ ENM. Jake came in third in global voting, cementing his spot in the final group, Enhypen.

Enhypen officially debuted two months after the show's finale, in November 2020, with an EP Border: Day One and the lead single "Given-Taken". The group have their own reality show called Enhypen & Hi on YouTube.

DPR +IAN

DPR +IAN, real name Christian Yu, isn't strictly K-Pop anymore, but that is where the talented artist got his start. The Sydney-born star, now 30, moved to Seoul when he was 18 to pursue a career in music. Four years later, in 2012, he debuted using the stage name Rome in the boy group C-Clown. They released four mini albums before they disbanded in 2015.

From there, Christian founded and became the director and chief editor of Dream Perfect Regime (DPR), a collective of multi-genre music and video artists. He has directed several music videos for other artists, including fellow DPR member DPR LIVE, as well as iKon's Bobby and Big Bang's Taeyang. He also appeared in CL's "+5 Star+" music video and has collaborated with brands like Adidas.

In 2020, he collaborated on an EP called DPR Archives with DPR LIVE and DPR CREAM, and he also released two solo singles "So Beautiful" and "No Blueberries". Both singles are on his debut solo EP Moodswings In This Order (MITO), which he released on March 12 2021.  He wrote or co-wrote all tracks on the album.

Written by Jenna Guillaume, an entertainment journalist and author of YA rom-coms What I Like About Me and You Were Made For Me. Follow her at @jennaguillaume.

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