[WEBINAR] BTS and Beyond
April 21, 2021 ㅡ As a part of the Leo Gala Series to promote Korean culture and celebrate its beauty beyond the facade, Asia Society Korea and Asia Society Southern California co-hosted a live webinar with three distinguished panelists: Jae Chong, a producer, artist, and APAC Music Industry executive, Tamar Herman, senior culture reporter at South China Morning Post, and Youngdae Kim (Ph.D.), music critic and ethnomusicologist. They shared their thoughts about the record-shattering success of global K-pop superstars like BTS and Blackpink, the expanding influence of South Korean soft power, and beyond. The conversation was moderated by Bernie Cho, president of DFSB Kollective and music entertainment executive himself.
About the Guest Speakers
Jae Chong is an Asian superproducer with over 70 million albums sold worldwide. He's written and produced hit singles for Mando-Pop supernovas like Coco Lee and A-mei, and several K-Pop stars who are household names in Asia like Kim Gun Mo and JYJ. Jae Chong whose work as a musician and producer is well known in the Asian music scene, has written and produced for many artists such as L.A. Boyz, Stanley Huang, Shin Hwa, Aziatix, Royal Pirates, Hyun-A, etc.
Chong's professional music career started in Los Angeles during the early 1990s, producing local rap groups such as Baby G, The Funky Few, and Soul Selection. He is one of the three members of the group, Solid (as well as the writer and producer), which was the first R&B group in South Korea with record sales exceeding 4 million. Chong then shifted his focus to the Asian music scene by writing and producing songs for various artists in Asia. He went on to write and produce for many international artists like Coco Lee, Kim Gun-mo, Shin Seung-hun, Stanley Huang and L.A. Boyz.
In 2003 he also took part in launching the first hip hop entertainment company in Taiwan, MACHI Entertainment. He was also the first Korean American ever to be nominated for the Best Producer of the Year at the Golden Melody Awards and won various awards for albums, two of which were Stanley Huang and Nicky Lee who won the Best Male Artist of the Year award at the 2005 and 2006 Golden Melody Awards respectively. In 2010, he helped coordinate the collaboration project between JYJ, Kanye West, and Rodney Jerkins. In 2011, he founded the hip-hop/R&B group Aziatix.
Tamar Herman joined the South China Morning Post (SCMP) in 2020 after years of covering K-pop and related content for outlets such as Billboard, Forbes, and NBC News. She released her first book, “BTS: Blood, Sweat & Tears,” in August 2020, and can be seen in the K-pop episode of Vox’s Explained on Netflix.
She is a managing editor and co-founder of Kultscene, a website dedicated to creating unique content for fans of the Korean entertainment industry. She is also a regular contributor to numerous other media outlets such as The Hollywood Reporter, Vulture, and The Village Voice. Between 2014 and 2015, Tamar worked at NBC 4 New York as the early AM news show production assistant, producing weekly segments aimed at local communities.
Tamar earned her BA in East Asian Studies with a focus on Korean culture, entertainment and business practices from the Macaulay Honors College, CUNY. Her minors were History, Korean and Business and Liberal Arts (BALA). She is proficient in Korean and Hebrew.
Youngdae Kim is a music critic and ethnomusicologist, who serves as a member of the Selection Committee for the Korean Music Awards. Kim holds a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Washington, Seattle.
Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, he moved to Seattle in 2007 where he has been studying music while closely observing American pop music trends and the development of global K-pop sensation for over a decade.
Kim has contributed his critical articles to both Korean and American media outlets, including Vulture, MTV, and the Hankyoreh, and appeared on numerous TV shows, podcasts, and public/academic lectures.
He is the author of multiple publications in Korea, including BTS The Review: The Comprehensive Look at the Music of BTS and Korean Hip-hop: The Footprints of its Passion.
About the Moderator
Bernie Cho is the President of DFSB Kollective, a Seoul-based Artist & Label Services agency that specializes in providing digital media, marketing, and distribution solutions to 600+ Korean Pop music artists. As more K-Pop acts aspire to go independent and international, DFSB Kollective collaborates with artists and their management companies to devise customized strategies that directly connect them to their local and global fans.
Since 2009, the agency has successfully produced numerous K-Pop concerts and showcases in North America, Asia, and Europe as well as secured #1 Apple iTunes Music chart debuts for various K-Pop albums in the US, Canada, Japan, Korea, Greater China, Southeast Asia, Australasia, and Europe. In order to raise the recognition of Korean music internationally, DFSB Kollective is a member of Merlin Network (global digital music rights agency for world's leading independent labels) and an official Korean content provider for Apple iTunes Music, Spotify, Amazon, YouTube Music, Deezer, Pandora, iHeart Radio, Facebook, TikTok, Tencent Music Entertainment, NetEase Cloud Music, KKBox, AWA, JioSaavn, Boomplay, Anghami, and Yandex. As one of the first and foremost K-Pop music exporters, DFSB Kollective and its artists have been featured speakers/performers at top international music industry events (CMJ, CMW, SXSW, Coachella, The Great Escape, Glastonbury, Summer Sonic, Music Matters, MusicBiz, MIDEM) and profiled in leading international media outlets (BBC, Billboard, Bloomberg, CNN, Discovery, E!, Forbes, Monocle, MTV, Musically, Newsweek, New York Times, NPR, Pitchfork, Spin, Time, YouTube Originals, Wall Street Journal).
Prior to founding DFSB Kollective, Bernie served as the Head of MTV Korea’s Digital Media Production and worked for nearly 2 decades in the Korean music TV industry as a Creative Planner, Program Producer, and Show Host. He has earned a BA from Dartmouth College in Government/Asian Studies and has graduated from the UCLA Anderson School of Management (Executive Entertainment & Media Program) and the Vancouver Film School (Foundation Film Program).
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