Majors and Minors: Dean, ‘Pilseung Korea’ with Andy

This is Andy Cheigh, a first-year from Seoul, South Korea. Andy plans to major in computer science, and he took part in his high school choir for three years as a tenor. His favorite food is noodles! Andy shared what today’s music scene in Korea looks like.

Haruka (H): What’s pop music in Korea like? What genre, and which artist, is most popular right now?

Andy (A): Since 3 years or so ago, Korean people have gotten really into rap. There’s also pop, but only certain K-pop groups are famous, and the general trend leans toward rap and hip-hop today. Dean is the most popular singer right now. “Half Moon” is one of his more famous songs, and so is “21.

Many of the internationally well-known K-pop groups are now in their 20s, so they’re getting older and therefore are becoming less popular. There are younger [pop] artists, but there are so many [more artists to compete with nowadays] that it’s harder to get famous.

H: What’s traditional Korean music like?

A: K-pop is what represents Korean music right now. Of course, there was more traditional music, but they have become much less a part of the musical scene today.

H: Is there a tune that everyone in Korea knows?

A: There’s a song called “Oh! Pilseung Korea,” a song that was sung widely during the 2002 FIFA World Cup, hosted jointly by Korea and Japan.Gangnam Style” (2012) and songs by the artist Psy … are also really well known in Korea. Psy had been popular in Korea for around 10 years before he released “Gangnam Style” and became known worldwide.  

H: Does modern music incorporate more traditional styles?

A: Koreans have their own taste in music for sure, but I don’t think it’s based on traditional styles. Modern taste is influenced by American music.

H: Is music in Seoul distinct from that of the rest of the country?

A: No. Since Korea is a small country, people tend to listen to the same music.

H: How, if in any way, do you find Korean music different from other music you’ve encountered?

A: Koreans tend to like slow ballads for some reason, while recently in the US there are a lot of faster songs.

Andy himself enjoys listening to both Korean and American music. He shared his own musical taste.

H: Do you listen to music from Korea a lot?

A: Yes!

H: What’s your favorite genre of music?

A: Ballad and rock are my favorite genres. My favorite American artist is Bruno Mars, and my favorite song is “Too Good to Say Goodbye” (2016).

H: Have you grown up knowing American music?

A: Yeah. A lot of Koreans listen to American music.

H: When did you start getting into American music?

A: I started listening to American music in middle school, when I stayed with a host family in California.

H: What’s been your favorite song at Tufts?

A: I’ve heard that “T-U-F-T-S” song [“Tuftonia’s Day”] a lot.