Sweden's latest music export : K-pop. And for country's songwriters, feeding the Korean industry is a lucrative new niche.

Swedes have long been in demand among American pop stars, but they are increasingly becoming a force in K-pop.

Swedes have long been go-to figures for North American pop stars - with songwriters like Max Martin and Shell-back producing or co-writing tracks for Katy Perry. Taylor Swift, the Weeknd and others - but Swedish musicians are now becoming a force in K-pop, too.

When the Swedish songwriter Ellen Berg first heard K-pop track, in 2013, her reaction was typical of many Western listeners : ''What the hell is this?'' she recalled thinking.

Berg, 31, was studying at Musik-makarna - a songwriting academy north of Stockholm - and her class had been asked to write a Korean hit.

To get the aspiring songwriters in the mood, the students listened to '' I Got a Boy '' by Girls' Generation, a wildly popular K-pop girl group. ''It's one of the craziest K-pop songs ever,'' Berg said recently by phone. The track includes raps, bursts of high-speed dance music and even a verse in the style of a rock ballad. ''It's really five-different songs in one,'' Berg said.

The class was given a week to write something like it. ''It didn't go very well,'' Berg said.

Eight years later, Berg has certainly improved her K-pop songwriting abilities : She is now one of dozens of Swedish musicians who make a living exclusively from writing tracks for the genre. She has contributed to a hit for the pop juggernaut BTS, as well as to wildly successful tracks by groups like Red Velvet and Itzy.

Berg is signed to EKKO, a Korea based music publisher with studios in Stockholm, where Berg works alongside Moa Carlebecker, a sought-after K-pop songwriter better known  by her stage name, Cazzi Opeia.

The two musicians [ who collaborate under the name Sunshine ] also regularly write with another duo -Ludvig Evers and Jonathan Gusmark, who call themselves Moonshine - based in a studio next door. Seven other Swedish songwriters who work on K-pop tracks have studios in the same building.

Berg, Carlebecker, Evers and Gusmark first worked together in 2017 on '' Peek-a-Boo,'' a Red Velvet track that Berg likened to an Old ''Scooby-Doo'' episode or a trip to a haunted house. '' Peek-a-Boo '' has since been streamed more than 217 million times on YouTube.

EKKO is not the only company pumping out K-pop in Stockholm. Cosmos, a publisher, has seven songwriters working full time on K-pop tracks, Peo'Nylen its creative director, wrote in an email.

The Kennel, another songwriting company, employs 14 K-pop writers, said Iggy Strange Dahl, one of its founders.

K-pop may seem like a recent phenomenon to Western music fans who caught on with the rise of BTS, but Korean record labels have been seeking out European songwriters since the late 1990s in a bid for global success, said Michael Fuhr, a German academic who wrote a book about K-pop.

''They had Max Marin productions in mind,'' he said, adding that the first successful European K-pop writers were actually Finish and Norwegian, not Swedish.

Songwriters of many nationalities are trying to make K-pop hits, Fuhr said, attracted in part by the fact that Koreans actually buy CDs, so there is a lot of money to be made.

SM Entertainment, a Korean entertainment conglomerate, says on its website that it works with 864 songwriters worldwide, including 451 across Europe and 210 in North America.

Fuhr said that many K-pop hits were written at songwriting ''camps'' organized by record labels or publishers who invite musicians from around the world. Over several days, songwriters work in teams to create new songs. [American pop songs are also commonly written this way.]

Carlebecker said in a video interview that she became hooked on K-pop when she first heard it, in 2016.

As a child, she loved the Spice Girls '' I had all the posters. I had all the CDs '' - so K-pop instantly felt familiar, with its multitude of girl and boy groups in which each member has a defined personality.

The publishing continues. The World Students Society thanks author Alex Mashall.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!