In Seoul 2017, I was one of 55 thousand people who filled into the concert hall, already clapping and cheering. I was walking down to my seat, I had chills all over my body and the feeling of butterflies all over my stomach, being in a place I only dreamed about being in, my first Blackpink concert.
Blackpink is one of the most successful groups in K-pop history. While fans clamour for more music from the group, they enjoy what they see as the true friendship among the members.
YG’s marketing strategy gives Blackpink only one release a year while other groups have a minimum of two to three releases a year including a full album. While this lead Blackpink to an impressive 1.2 million albums sold internationally and locally, their fans are disappointed with their limited output of only one full album and two mini albums.
Still, YG must be satisfied. Blackpink has sold more albums than any other K-pop girl group in only 4 years. In April 2019, Blackpink made history by being the first K-pop act to perform at Coachella. The first K-pop group to reach one billion views on their music video, now having three music videos over one billion views is Blackpink. Lifting the female community, they hold the records for being the most subscribed female artist group and second most subscribed music artists on YouTube.
But even with their popularity, they thought no one would cheer for them on stage in Coachella. In the Netflix documentary, Blackpink Light up the Sky, Blackpink member Rosé says, “Usually, a Blackpink tour is filled with fans who come to watch us, but people who come to Coachella are just people who love music in general. We were worried that not many people would walk up to our show.”
Blackpink first started in 2016, in the company, YG Entertainment, with the songs called “Whistle” and “Boombayah”, performed by four girls: Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa.
During Jisoo’s trainee days she got scouted in SM Entertainment at a YG Concert, where she turned their offer down, since she was satisfied with her current company. Nayeon from Twice, and Seulgi from Red Velvet, were two of her remarkably close friends during her trainee days and to this day. Aside from being an idol and an actor, Jisoo also starred at Inkigayo, which is a music broadcast, as an MC in 2017-2018. In August 2020, YG confirmed that Jisoo would be acting in a drama called ‘Snowdrop’ and now she is the most followed Korean actor on Instagram.
Jennie is called the Human Chanel and Human Gucci for constantly wearing expensive clothes, but her immense talent was recognized even during her trainee days. Jennie had been very musically inclined from her childhood when she learned how to play the piano, flute and the guitar. She has two delightful dogs named Kai and Kuma. She apparently has a type because she also dated a guy named Kai, a south Korean singer from Exo. However, in the Korean entertainment industry, dating is prohibited, and members of the public expressed their disapproval. The couple officially called it over after a month after going public.
As a child, Rosé enjoyed singing while playing the guitar or the piano until midnight, so when her father saw the YG audition advertised in a magazine, he suggested she try out. She was the only one who passed the audition that day. Having a background of being a cheerleader but never actually dancing, she was incredibly surprised to make it in. “I didn’t even know that I was even qualified. If you ask a 16-year-old for the first time, it’s the funniest thing.
Finally, she got to be a main vocalist and lead dancer. She is known for her incredibly unique voice and slim waist. In an interview, she was asked if she were a guy, who in the group would she date. She replied with, “Jennie, because she makes really good kimchi fried rice.”
Lisa is the first foreign artist of her company, and is representing her country, Thailand. Lisa was born in Buriram and moved to Bangkok, Thailand, at age three where she joined a dance team named Wee Za Cool with the Thai member of Got7. Her stepfather, Marco Brueschweiler, is a famous swiss chef in Thailand. Originally, her name was Pranpriya Manoban, but after a fortune telling, her name changed to Lalisa Manoban, which means “the girl who is praised.”
Lisa has more talents than just singing and dancing, she can also speak Korean, Thai, Japanese, English and Basic Chinese. Being a non-Korean trainee was hard for her as she got a lot of discrimination for being a south east Asian, but with her unique face, she was featured as one of the top ten in the TC Candler “The 100 Most Beautiful Faces” three years in a row.
After all their challenging work, they formed one extraordinarily strong group. In a few years, they will disband if they don’t sign a new contract. But as they said in the documentary they would still want to be together.
“In ten years, hopefully we will still be Blackpink.”
Cover Image: YG Entertainment