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[Star of the Week] The Evolution of the Wild and Wacky Psy

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2012.08.05 12:00 Mwave Oh, MiJung Translation Credit : Stewart Ho

There really isn’t an individual who has changed as many times as Psy. He′s gone from wacky singer to an acclaimed creative musician.

He started off wacky. Wearing a sleeveless shirt he burst onto the scene taking a crude term and making it the Chinese character [鳥] and became a sensational individual. Singing of being dumped by a woman, Psy would later even have to enter the army again.


[Star of the Week] The Evolution of the Wild and Wacky Psy

But the present, Psy is an amusing fellow. His recent single Gangnam Style has created a sensation and inspired parodies. The Gangnam-born and raised Psy has made Gangnam a hot topic.

The sleeveless shirt-wearing Psy takes Gayo by storm

Psy’s emergence in itself was unforgettable. Those who saw his debut 2001 performance could not get over the shock. On the stage where beautiful and handsome singers mainly stood and performed was a chubby dancing guy which caught many off guard.

Having slicked his hair back and wearing a sleeveless shirt, nothing about him was predictable. Releasing his first album in January, by April he would win first place on a music show program.

Though debuting as a fun-loving club DJ-like image, Psy’s background couldn’t be more the opposite. His father is the president of DI, the large semiconductor company. Psy even studied music in America while his older sister is a food stylist. From this sort of a family was born Psy the singer.

[Star of the Week] The Evolution of the Wild and Wacky Psy


The unprecedented Korean military re-entry

The successful Psy would later become one of Korea’s first to have to re-enter the military. In military service alone, Psy has served 55 months.

From 2003 through November of 2005, Psy was granted special exemption as an active soldier and instead sent to the military’s computer software development department and finished his duties there. However, in May of 2007, prosecutors accused Psy of performing his duties poorly and he was subsequently investigated by the police.

When Psy was ordered to serve 20 months as an active soldier in 2007, he would file an administrative litigation against Korea’s Military Manpower Administration. An appeal to halt his conscription was also filed with the court.

Losing his appeal, Psy was eventually re-drafted into the military in December of that year. The incident marked a first in Korea’s history.

Despite having to re-enter, Psy made headlines for his hard work in the military and his bright and positive personality. A picture of a sweaty but smiling Psy in military uniform was snapped and he would later even win an award from the army chief of staff. Even after being discharged, he would donate the profits of his performances in front of the military to the military.

After returning to civilian society, Psy signed with YG and re-started his career.

[Star of the Week] The Evolution of the Wild and Wacky Psy

’Gangnam Style’ blows beyond Korea and attracts the attention of the world

Psy’s sixth album title song Gangnam Style exploded upon its arrival as it topped the online music charts before making it big abroad. Though most outside Korea wouldn’t know about Gangnam or the many Korean references in the song’s lyrics, the song made it big abroad.

The song racked up over 10 million views on YouTube in a short time span while a reaction video of two foreign girls laughing while watching the music video was also viewed some 250,000 times.

On August 1, the song was covered by popular American news site The Huffington Post and then reported on by CNN on August 2, and praised by a list of stars abroad including T-Pain, Robbie Williams, Josh Groban and more.

The fever behind Gangnam Style is showing no signs of slowing down in Korea as a string of parodies have begun being posted and drawing hits including Hongdae Style to Daegu Style. Gangnam Style continues to remain in first place in YouTube’s Korean music chart.

Gangnam Style parodies the Gangnam lifestyle and culture in the song. The dance is as eye-catching as the lyrics. Holding up one’s arms as though they are holding the reins of a horse, one then proceeds to stomp as though they are riding a horse in Gangnam Style’s ‘horse dance’.

Psy can be seen in his music video doing this dance on a duck boat on the Han river, at an amusement park, inside a sauna and more. The music video was all the more attention-grabbing for featuring stars such as Yoo Jae Suk, Noh Hong Chul, Hyuna and more.

Requests for interviews from press outlets abroad are lining up to get a chance to speak with Psy. In the end, Psy has proven it’s not just idol stars who become hallyu stars. It’s Psy’s turn now.

Reach reporter Oh MiJung on Twitter @isyutar!

Photo credit: YG Entertainment, Army magazine


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