OK, you’re gonna have to take this one with a grain of salt and not jump to conclusions…. But KoreAm has reported that Ailee and her team have been speaking with industry folks here, in the domestic US music market on some possible prospects.
YMC Entertainment confirmed the news, but remained cautious. “We canceled all of her music show stages and schedules for this week at last minute due to her meeting with a producing team overseas,” the agency said in a statement.
“If this project goes well and everything proceeds as planned, Ailee’s advancement into the States will gain speed. We are cautious to say anything with certainty as it is still in the beginning stages.”
Now, we’ve covered Ailee a fair bit before 2011, when she was an independent R&B/Pop star in the making out of the New Jersey/New York area (shoutout to MUzO). Then, we were ecstatic to see her head over to Korea and make a huge splash, and in the two years since, become a bonafide star over there and thus scaled back coverage as she became less of an “Asian-American” artist and more of a “Korean” one. But finally, if everything aligns just right, we may see things come full circle and have her take the big stage on her home soil. Of course this is all speculation and it may not lead to anything… but we can hope, right?
And here are 5 reasons why it just might be the perfect plan
- Language/Culture – Ailee is a fluent English speaker. She grew up in the NY/NJ area! Language will be no barrier yet she would likely still be marketed as a “K-Pop import”, making her marketable in multiple aspects. Utada had a similar benefit in the 2000s (JPOP wise), but I’d say Ailee is a more natural fit for the position. She is both K-Pop AND the girl next door.
- Attractiveness – Let’s be honest and admit that looks have a huge part to play in the industry. Of course Psy is an exception and not the rule but I’m going to venture out and say it’s harder for females to make it in the industry without being at least somewhat attractive. Ailee is certainly attractive.
- Experience – I’m going to make the argument that one of the biggest problems with prior attempts for Asian artists to break into the US is that the overseas music industry is a completely different animal from the US one. Se7en, Bi, the Wonder Girls, BoA, Girls Generation etc all had to rely on their management for direction in an unfamiliar world. Ailee has had a lot of experience trying to make it in the US before she went to Korea, and should have a pretty good idea of the ins and outs of both sides of the market.
- K-Pop – Let’s face it. Most of the country still doesn’t fully grasp the concept that K-Pop even exists. There was just no need for it to have crossed their minds. The Wonder Girls made it oh-so-mildly relevant, followed by Psy who was basically many folk’s first introduction to the international Pop world. But even Psy‘s ubiquitous “Gangnam Style” craze was short-lived and seems to have gone the way of the “Macarena”. But people are more aware of K-Pop than ever – it’s a real, tangible thing. So now may be the perfect time to introduce an artist who carries international appeal with a more relatable and sustainable product to the US market.
- Talent – Not to say those that came before Ailee weren’t talented, but I’d argue that in terms of a complete package, Ailee could possible be the strongest representative yet for an Asian star to make it in the states. She’s certainly among the top in terms of vocal talent, she ain’t too shabby on the dance floor, her musical style is relevant on a US domestic level and she does’t need any gimmicky videos, dances, or “the cheerleader effect” to succeed.
To sum it up? I, for one, think she’s the perfect candidate. As I said above, She is both K-Pop AND the girl next door – and that is a potentially incredible position to be in. And to be perfectly honest, it’s just a great narrative overall. An immensely talented young girl from Jersey doesn’t get the recognition she deserves (assuming partially because the industry wouldn’t know how to market an Asian-American), only to make a huge splash in her parent’s homeland, and then come right back and suddenly everyone else realizes what they were missing.
Keep in mind, this is all rumor-based. But I stand behind my thoughts. If Ailee and her company truly are looking for ways to debut in the states, they have my full support. She is the perfect person for the job.
We’re rooting for you, Ailee.
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