Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to review the Kpop super group that is quickly taking over the charts both domestically in the U.S and around the world. If you haven’t heard of SuperM then prepare to have your mind blown by this group of exceptionally talented vocalists, rappers, and dancers. SuperM is the brainchild of Kpop superpower SM Entertainment (home of legendary Korean pop acts such as: BoA, Super Junior, Girls Generation, SHINee, EXO, and many more artists who have broken music records and barriers time and time again), and legendary U.S. music label Capitol Music Group (which has served as home of hit making acts such as The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Katy Perry, The Beach Boys, Jennifer Lopez, Snoop Dogg, Coldplay, and many more). Through a joint project, these two music industry giants brought together 7 exceptional artists from across SM’s vast network of talent to create a group that is able to utilize all the training that Kpop artists are known to go through and thus combines the best aspects of the individual groups that make up this super group. Now that you know the game, let’s meet the players. Ready? Ok, let’s go!
In order of seniority, SuperM is comprised of: Taemin from the group SHINee, Baekhyun & Kai from the group EXO, Taeyong & Mark from NCT127, and Ten & Lucas from WayV. For those of you who are not already familiar with these very accomplished artists please allow me to give you a crash course. Taemin, Baekyun, & Ten serve as the group’s vocalists (although Ten also raps when needed), Kai, Taeyong, Mark, & Lucas are the group’s rappers, and as is expected in Kpop, all 7 artists dance with unbelievable precision and skill. You really have to hear these incredible artists to fully grasp just how spectacular their talent is but let me tell you that once you hear a Kpop vocalist or rapper you will truly understand why they spend 3, 5, sometimes even 9 + years practicing 10 + hours a day. It’s definitely a grueling system but the results speak for themselves when you hear the incredible notes these artists hit with ease, the singing range they all have, and the impeccable flow that their rapping has which seems to come out of them as naturally as breathing. I was fortunate enough to see SuperM at their 1st stop in Fort Worth, TX as they embark on their first tour across the U.S. & Canada (with possibly more dates to be added in countries later next year). So now let’s discuss the tour itself.
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Had so much fun Jopping last night with @superm! The performances were mind blowing so in conclusion we stan harder than ever before! @superm @lm_____ltm @tenlee_1001 @lucas_xx444 @zkdlin @baekhyunee_exo #Superm #superminfortworth #lucas #ten #taemin #baekhyun #kai #mark #taeyong #kpop #rap #music #fancam #exo #shinee #nctu #wayv #jopping
As I waited for the concert to begin the whole venue had a level of electricity and anticipation running through it like nothing I had ever seen. Kpop fans are known for their deep rooted love of their favorite artists, but this felt special. Although this group is new they are far from rookies in the industry. SHINee had their debut in 2008, EXO in 2012, NCT 127 in 2016, & WayV earlier this year in 2019 (although both Lucas & Ten had been previously featured on NCT U songs in 2017, which is another subunit group under the NCT umbrella just like NCT 127 and WayV are). Why is this important you ask? Well because not only do these groups bring along years of experience with them but also loyal fans that spread across the various groups. It was truly mind blowing and beautiful to see numerous fans with multiple lightsticks (a special light with a design unique to each group that fans use to wave during a Kpop concert that often changes light pattern via Bluetooth depending on the song playing) from each of the individual groups that make up SuperM as well as the SuperM lightstick. The group performed all the songs from their debut self-titled mini album including the uniquely powerful ‘I Can’t Stand The Rain’, the hip-hop fueled bop ‘Super Car’, the Hip Hop/R&B infused track ‘No Manners’ (which utilized a bonus stage with some of the best dancing of the night), & of course their title track the fun and powerful song ‘Jopping’ which immediately got the crowd screaming and singing along. Each of the members also performed solo songs which utilized their unique talents: Taemin’s solos ‘Danger’ & ‘Goodbye’ took advantage of his smooth R&B vocals, Baekyun’s solos ‘Betcha’ & ‘UN Village’ showed off his incredible vocal range, Kai’s solo ‘Confession’ utilized his unmatched showmanship and connection to his fans, Taeyong’s solo ‘GTA’ was the perfect marriage of his standout stage presence and natural rapping skills, Ten’s solos ‘Dream In A Dream’ and ‘New Heroes’ proved he not only brings an immense amount of vocal talent to the group but also a gift of dance that few artists ever obtain, Lucas’ solo (which is currently unreleased so we don’t know the official name of it) really showed off his fun personality that fans have been able to quickly and intensely connect to, and lastly Mark the group’s maknae (a term in Kpop for the youngest member of a group) truly proved why he won awards as the hardest working trainee during the years he trained under SM Entertainment with his unmatched skills as a rapper, dancer, and showman during his solo ‘Talk About’. Overall the night was full of dancing, bonding between new and older kpop fans, and a true appreciation of how 7 young men originally from 4 different countries (South Korea, Canada, China, & Thailand) were able to make this a truly special night by sharing their unmatched gifts with their fans. If you’ve never seen a Kpop concert first hand then I highly suggest SuperM or any of the groups that make up SuperM because believe me you have no idea just how talented a group of artists can be until you’ve seen the unmeasurable talent that lies within Kpop.
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Hey people of the internet!!! How is your Monday…I know everyone loves Monday!!! (you may now sarcastically laugh…ok that’s enough). On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we are going to recap what happened at the first ever ‘I Heart Music Awards’…and A LOT happened so let’s get started! Now normally I talk about the host in a separate section, but this award show didn’t really have a single host and instead focused on using several different presenters. I think Pitbull served as the host (I’m not sure if that’s official or not) because he gave a very short monologue at the top of the show (after his performance). He mainly joked about the LA Clipper scandal (which is an NBA team for those of you who don’t know anything about sports…#NoShame). That was about it for the hosting duties…so let’s get the awards (yay!).
Hip-Hop/R&B Song of the Year:
‘Pour it Out’ by Rihanna:
This was definitely a tough category, but if we’re being completely honest, it’s hard for Rihanna to lose anything. Why you ask? Well first of all she’s Rihanna which means she’s awesome, and secondly this year she’s had hit after hit from her latest album ‘Unapologetic’ (which charted at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart). So it’s easy to see why Rihanna deserved this award.
‘Timber’ by Pitbull feat. Ke$ha
‘Timber’ was performed at the top of the show (which I will speak about later…get excited!), and was certainly a crowd favorite. But, this is no surprise since it did chart at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart(as well as #1 on numerous other charts all over the world). Ke$ha also has a record of releasing numerous hit singles, so when you get two powerhouses together, you can’t expect anything else but collaboration gold.
‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus
Now if there is an artist who has had an intense year, it’s Miley. If you’ve ever listened to ‘Wrecking Ball’, then you know that the song is full of angst and sadness, and the perfect song to cry to while eating a tub of ice cream. I think that any song that can make you think this much definitely contains some AMAZING lyrics.
Best New Artist:
She’s 17, won two Grammys for her first single, which she co-wrote…yeah I would say that Lorde is the best new artist. She has also been able to make history in her home country of New Zealand by being the first solo act to get a debut single to chart #1 in the U.S. With all of this early success, I can only imagine what this young artist will achieve next.
Best Fan Army:
Rihanna (Rihanna’s Navy)
It’s no surprise that Rihanna won this award, because in order to have the success that she has had, you have to have a fiercely loyal fanbase. In her career thus far, Rihanna has been able to conquer music, movies, and has become a fashion icon for millions. ‘Rihanna’s Navy’ definitely came through on this one, and proved why they deserve this award.
With 3,803,044 VERY loyal instagram followers (and that’s just as of May 5, 2014), it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Austin took home this award. This talented young musician has been taking award shows (particularly fan voted award shows) by storm this year, and has proven that he is ready for a mainstream pop career. With the release of his debut album ‘The Secret’ expected to drop later this month, I definitely think that Austin needs to make sure he has plenty of room in his trophy case.
Young Influencer Award:
She’s stared in a hit all teen Broadway production, on two hit Nickelodeon TV shows, and has now made her mark on Pop/R&B music (even drawing comparisons to Mariah Carey…yeah that’s intense), so you would think that it would be no surprise that Ariana received this award. However, it’s not only her impossibly perfect talent that has influence her fans, but also the fact that Ariana has cultivated a very intense connection with them, and even admits to becoming friends with some her fans after meeting them on Twitter. With such a close connection to their idol, it’s no surprise that Ariana is a large influence on her fans.
Alternative Rock Song of the Year:
‘Demons’ by Imagine Dragons
Ever since this song dropped on October 22nd, 2013 it has controlled the airwaves, and has continued to launch alternative rock band Imagine Dragons into the spotlight. This band continues to prove that they can release hit after hit (they even won a Grammy last year for their song ‘Radioactive’), so it’s easy to see how ‘Demons’ had a great chance of becoming the mega hit it has become.
Song of the Year:
‘Stay’ by Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko
Do I really need to explain why this song won? If you own a radio then you know what a huge hit this has been for Rihanna and Mikky Ekko. This track has charted at #1 in numerous countries, and has been acclaimed by critics. Since this track followed up Rihanna’s very popular hit ‘Diamonds’, you know it had to be catchy, relatable, and still hold a bit of that edge that sets Rihanna apart from other radio artists. This song certainly delivers and also proves that Rihanna is more than capable of digging deep and delivering emotionally driven songs with truthfulness and passion.
Best Country Song:
Blake Shelton ‘Boys ‘Round Here’
Country superstar Blake Shelton has certainly had a huge hit with this track. It was a fun direction for Blake, but it also didn’t tray from the sound that has made his fans fall in love with him. The track reached #1 on the ‘U.S Billboard Country Airplay’, and was praised by critics for “taking a chance” with its’ sound.
EDM Song of the Year:
‘Wake Me Up’ by Avicii
If you didn’t know who this Swedish DJ/Producer was before, then you definitely knew who he was after the song was released on June 17th, 2013. This song not only launched Avicii, but also singer/songwriter Aloe Blacc (who co-wrote the track with Avicii). This song has definitely helped Avicii launch himself into the forefront of the rising EDM culture in mainstream music.
Until recently you may or not have known who this producer/singer/songwriter is but this year we all relieved a crash course in Pharrell 101. For nearly a decade, Pharrell has produced hits for artists such as: Gwen Stefani, Snoop Dogg, Nelly, Kanye West, Pitbull, Maroon 5, Fall Out Boy, Robin Thicke, Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, etc. Pharrell has been well known for years in the music industry, as an innovator due to his experimentation with different sounds, and his collaborations with artists from very diverse genres. Lately, Pharrell has taken his creativity to a new level, and is now also well known for his vocal ability and onstage showmanship (as well as his famous brown hat from the Grammys…you know which one). With such an established history and bright future, it is obvious that Pharrell will continue to make a lasting impression on the music industry.
Artist of the Year:
I think we’ve gone through all the reasons why Rihanna is the artist of the year. I mean with hit track after hit track, and the deep love of her fans, I don’t think that any other artist could have received this award.
Pitbull & G.R.L.:
Pitbull and American/British/Canadian girl group G.R.L. (which was formed by the ‘Pussycat Dolls’ mastermind Robin Antin), performed their new track ‘Wild Wild Love’. The members of G.R.L. wore cool black leather short shorts and some wore fun dresses. Pitbull wore a coral jacket with a peach shirt and white pants. The back screen displayed a brown sky, with small white clouds. The staging also included lots of flashing lights that got the crowd excited. As ‘Wild Wild Love’ ended, Pitbull began performing his hit track ‘Timber’. For this performance, dancers came out and added an energy boost to the already high energy performance. This was definitely a fun way to start the show.
Country superstar kept the energy high by performing his 200 hit ‘My Kinda Night’. Luke kept his outfit casual by wearing skinny jeans, a black t-shirt, and matching black baseball cap. His staging included lots if cool spotlights shooting out throughout the stage. Luke also brought his showmanship to the table by showing off fun dance moves, and interacting with the fans. He’s performance definitely made this our “kinda night”. Good job Luke!
Now if you own a radio and do not live under a rock, you know who Bastille is, and you’re guilty of car singing their hit ‘Pompeii’ one too many times( it’s ok we’ve all done it…and the song is definitely awesome enough to warrant that crazy look random strangers on the road give you as you’re driving). Bastille gave an amazing performance that included lots of cool flashing lights, and the lead singer assisting on the drums at different points of the song. The performance made an impression by being very memorable, and so intriguing that you couldn’t look away. I think that this performance proved that Bastille will become as famous as they want to be (yes it was THAT amazing!).
Ed Sheeran began his performance with an up tempo version of his 2012 (2011 in the U.K.) hit ‘The A Team’. The performance was shown via satellite from the ‘Hotel Cafe’ in Los Angeles, CA. He followed up this song with his newest hit ‘Sing’, which not only showed off his amazing vocal abilities, but also his guitar skills. It was a very fun performance to watch, and further cemented why Ed’s talent has been able to capture his fans’ hearts.
Ariana began her performance with her breakout hit ‘The Way’ (which you have DEFINITELY had hairbrush karaoke sessions too). Ariana came out wearing a black jazz with knee-high white go-go dancing style boots. She was accompanied by several male dancers who wore white shorts and black dress coats, enter background singers wore black dresses that matched Ariana dress except they wore black boots. The back screen had ‘Ariana’ written in large bright lights. As always, Ariana gave spectacular performance of ‘The Way’. She then changed into a sparkly black dress, her background singers wore black pants and white mid drifts, and her background dancers wore black shirts (some wore white shorts) and no shirts. After changing, Ariana sang her new hit song ‘Problem’, which of course she sang flawlessly, which warranted cheers from the crowd.
The most anticipated performance of the night was definitely the premiere of Michael Jackson’s debut single ‘Love Never Felt so Good’ off of his second posthumous (which means that it was released after his death) album ‘Xscape’. The track features Justin Timberlake, and was previously recorded by Johnny Mathis in 1984. The performance was really intricate, with numerous dancers who were dressed like Michael, and danced along with video of clips of Michael (which were shown on the back screens). Usher came out as the song began and danced along with the other dancers. It was really cool to see all of these talented dancers pay homage to Michael Jackson, and celebrate his work. The performance ended with a large poster falling over the screen, with the cover of Michael’s album on it. This was definitely the crowd favorite performance of the night.
Hip-Hop/Rap artist was up next with his track ‘California Love’. He wore a baseball cap, blue jeans, and a cool jacket. Before his performance he did a testimony about seeing a Dr. Dre and Tupac shoot a music video in his hometown of Compton, CA. His song gave off a very 80s meets Run DMC meets Will Smith vibe, and the performer was a lot of fun to watch.
30 Seconds to Mars:
30 Seconds to Mars performed their new song ‘City of Angels’ (I’ll give you one chance to guess which city the song is about…well go on take a guess…you know you know it). The performance included testimonies from celebrities and regular people trying to have a career in LA on the good and bad things about the city (these testimonies were also in the band’s music video for the song). The performance had a very haunting vibe about it, and ended with a superman impersonator saying, “Do I think I’ll make it in the industry? Only if I keep believing”.
Next Shakira performed her new song ‘Empire’. The staging was very elaborate and perfectly matched the vibe of the song. The back screen had images of leaves falling behind a black background that alternated between black, pink, and yellow. Then once the chorus hit, colored smoke was released. Shakiest certainly got really into her performance, which made the crowd go crazy for her. Shakira also brought a very rock and road vibe to her performance at one point, when he grabbed her mic stand, turned it upside down, and sang into it while holding the mic above her head. It was a very fun and unforgettable performance to watch.
Next up was Blake Shelton who performed his new track ‘Doing What She Likes’. The staging was very simple, with a back screen that changed colors from blue to yellow, with the image of a palm tree on the screen. Blake accompanied his band on the guitar, and definitely gave a fun performance that the audience just loved.
Arcade Fire performed their track ‘Normal Person’ (which was shown via video). Their performance included cool purple lights that lit up the stage, and the audience wearing cool foam fingers. This high energy performance was a lot of fun to watch, and continued the high energy trend that ruled the evening.
The last performance of the night was given by Pharrell Williams who did a medley of several of his hit tracks. He began his performance with his track ‘Come Get it Bae’ off of his album ‘GIRL’. The staging was definitely the most elaborate of the night, and included multiple stages, and numerous dancers who wore very futuristic ‘Jetsons’ style outfits. The next song that was performed was the 2013 hit ‘Blurred Lines’. While singing this song, Pharrell went into the area that the celebrities were sitting, and sang to them. The next song that was performed was another big hit from 2013 entitled ‘Get Lucky’. While this track played, the dancers went into a circle of mirrors and danced to the song. The finally song that was fine was ‘Happy’ (which was included in the ‘Despicable Me’ soundtrack, as well as ‘GIRL’). The dancers reemerge in letterman jackets, which have them a very 50s vibe, and was a nice finishing touch to an amazing number.
This award show also contained numerous testimonies from artists such as Iggy Azalea, Coldplay, John Legend, Lady Gaga, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pete Wentz of Fallout Boy, Adam Levine of Maroon 5, Rita Ora, and many more. the artists spoke about their experiences in LA, their first times encountering the city, and the lessons that they’ve learned from their failures and triumphs in the music business.