I was first introduced to K-pop by my secondary school boyfriend, so pure was our romance that a large amount of our relationship was spent sending each other music. I received K-pop recommendations and fell for Taeyang. Unfortunately, my interest in K-pop fizzled out along with our relationship, but I could never have predicted its evolution into a global phenomenon.
K-pop is a culture that originates from South Korea, it covers everything from film to television and fashion, yet the music is what has turned it from a small subculture to spawning groups that sell out the O2. At the time I was introduced to it, K-pop (as we know it now) was still in its infancy, rebranding itself by appealing to a younger, international audience. From Europe to Africa, anyone with internet access was able to join this growing community, unified by a love of catchy pop songs, intricate choreography and a cutesy effeminate fashion. It managed to fill the gap in the market for boy and girl bands with actual staying power and star quality, not seen since the nineties. On Tumblr, Twitter and several online forums, these groups were able to build a multinational fan base – affectionately called an army – who know just about every detail about their lives.