At the top of the month, right before the 2018 Winter Olympics kicked off in PyeongChang, South Korea, we published an artist guide to all the amazing Korean musical acts who performed at the opening ceremony Friday, February 9. Turns out—the closing ceremony will be even bigger and better, and we want you to know all about the incredible K-Pop acts taking the stage at the event, Sunday, February 25. Don’t you love musical discovery? I fucking love musical discovery.
We say “all the incredible acts,” but at the time of publishing, only two artists have been announced to perform—mega-massive boy band EXO, and CL, formerly of the K-Pop girl group 2NE1. If you’ve ever even touched the K-Pop world, you know these names. If you don’t, well, hey, don’t sweat it, we’re here to help!
You can catch the ceremony live on NBC, when it airs at 6 a.m. EDT (prepare yourselves, east coasters!) on Sunday. Until then, get to know my buds EXO and CL:
If you’ve dabbled in the boy band realm of K-Pop at all, you’re probably at least familiar with the name EXO. The group currently boasts nine members and they’ve been in the game since 2012—that’s nothing to scoff at, considering K-Pop predilection toward a rotating cast of members (artists can, and often do, age out. EXO is no exception.) They formed in Seoul, South Korea but are of South Korean and Chinese backgrounds, something that makes them stand out in the genre. Oh, and EXO has broken the Billboard 200 a few times—a feat for any non-U.S./Canadian/U.K. artists, let alone a non-English speaking one—and continue to break down the pop industry’s walls.
CL, South Korea’s Rihanna! Okay, she’s so much more than that (and that’s not RiRi shade, either. I don’t have a death sentence.) CL is a South Korean singer-songwriter and rapper, formerly of the K-Pop girl group 2NE1, possibly the best known K-Pop girl group, ever. And honestly, she should be the biggest goddamn pop star in the world, but I digress.
In October 2014, CL revealed that she signed Scooter Braun as her manager, the same guy responsible for the success of Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. In 2015, she released “Hey Bitches,” a super M.I.A.-inspired hip-hop/pop English debut that shows real promise for her oft-delayed and super-anticipated (by me) English-language album. Check her out at the closing ceremony, become obsessed.