K-pop sensation SuperM hosted a packed concert at the Eagle Bank Arena on Sunday, Nov. 17. This newest Korean pop and hip-hop boy band sold out all the seats at the GMU stadium: among the spectators were many excited Jefferson students.
The atmosphere within the stadium was excited and loud as the seven members of the band burst into the stage, accompanied by spinning lights, rising smoke, and of course, blaring pop music. Ten thousand fans filled the stands, many raising lightsticks that bounced to the beat. The first notes of I Can’t Stand the Rain were drowned out by unending cheering.
The SuperM concert at GMU was only one stop on the boy band’s ‘We Are The Future’ North American tour. Though SuperM only debuted this fall, they have been phenomenally successful. The idol group made history as the second K-pop group to have released a best-selling album in the US, according to Billboard 200.
Part of their success can be attributed to their experience; most of the members are veteran musicians and had already gained attention for their previous work. SM entertainment, SuperM’s record label and music production company, tried a bold new tactic of pulling together the star members of their most successful bands, creating an engaging new image for the company: Mark (NCT 127), Kai (EXO), Taeyong (NCT 127), Taemin (SHINee), Lucas (WayV, NCT), Baekhyun (EXO), and Ten (WayV, NCT).
K-pop music, including the songs performed at Eagle Bank Arena, has gained popularity all around the world, including among many students at Jefferson. Junior Anoushka Sarkar became interested in Korean pop and hip hop last April when she listened to Blood, Sweat, and Tears sung by BTS, another popular K-pop band. Although she became a fan only months ago, she has followed SuperM since their inception. For Sarkar, her favorite K-pop bands can be a source of inspiration for her own art and music.
“I’ve drawn a lot of my favorite idols, and I’ve also tried to play some of my favorite hip hop songs on the piano,” Sarkar said.
However, Sarkar does note that it can be challenging not to get caught up in the music, which can sometimes pull her focus away from academics. “Sometimes, I just binge-watch the music videos instead of doing homework,” Sarkar said.
Yet, for these Jefferson students, there is often an upside to being a K-pop fan.
“Since the beginning of junior year I haven’t listened to K-pop as much because I often found myself getting distracted, but it’s a good stress reliever whenever I feel overwhelmed by the work. TJ definitely has a lot more people who listen to K-pop and it is easier finding people with common interests,” junior Marian Qian said.
As Qian, Sarkar, and their friends, juniors Yaeun Chung, Connie Ryu, Veronica Wong, Rhea Premanand, and Sahana Ramesh went to the concert together, Qian and Sarkar recognize one final benefit being a K-pop fan has earned them – a community.
“I always hear about people who are embarrassed to say they’re K-pop fans, but in my DNA class, we’re all K-pop fans, so we all went together to the concert,” Sarkar said.