At the age of 22, BoA Kwon has already overwhelmed the Asian music industry, claiming top charts in Korea and six consecutive number-one albums on the Oricon charts of Japan.
Although there are some who are skeptical of Kwon’s entry into the American market this year, don’t let her small size fool you. She’s has been training to become an international superstar since the age of 11, from dancing and vocals to mastering Korean, Japanese, Chinese and English.
Kwon has been in the music industry since her debut at the age of 13 in 2001 with SM Entertainment. Her first American single, “Eat You Up,” was performed on MTViggy in New York, and a handful of lucky fans were able to hear “Look Who’s Talking” at the recent KIIS FM Jingle Ball concert.
Kwon is certainly crossing boundaries as one of the first female Asian artists to come over into the American music industry, bringing along her renowned hip-hop skills and vocal performances.
Although Kwon has just finished a performance in Korea and a new Japanese video for her single “Eien,” she graciously put time aside to answer a few questions about herself and her recent debut in America.
New University: You’ve described yourself as shy, but you’re highly recognized for your great charisma and confidence during a performance. How do you change as you appear on stage?
BoA Kwon: I started performing at a really young age, so I can just transform myself for the stage; it’s almost like turning a switch. I really get pumped up by my audience too, and I just have a lot of fun while I’m on stage.
New U: If you weren’t a singer or artist what would you be?
Kwon: I honestly can’t imagine my life any other way. I love what I do!
New U: Who is your hero?
Kwon: Michael Jackson! He has totally been my hero since I was young.
New U: Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Kwon: I see myself continuing my career. I’m really inspired by Madonna. I think it’s amazing that she’s still going strong with her career as an entertainer.
New U: How would you describe the image and sound of [the] BoA you are bringing into the U.S.?
Kwon: Fresh and funky. My upcoming album has a lot of new sounds – club music you can dance to and really high energy beats.
New U: You’ve just performed in Korea and are now working on an album in Japan. How do you keep your energy up amongst all the hard work and traveling you’ve been doing since you were 13 years old?
Kwon: Like I said before, I love my job. I really feel like music and performing give me the energy and drive to keep pushing myself.
New U: What are some of the name brands that you are wearing right now?
Kwon: Right now, I would say my favorite designers are Balenciaga, Neil Barrett and Helmut Lang. If you’ve seen some of my performances in the states or even the music video “Eat You Up,” I’ve worn a few pieces by them.
New U: One of the things you’re best known for is your dancing ability. What style of dancing do you have a preference for and how often do you practice in the studio?
Kwon: Dancing is such a major part of my life. I would describe my dancing style as hip-hop for the most part, but I’m always open to learning new stuff.
When I’m rehearsing for music videos or performances, I’ll be in the studio all day. When I’m not on schedule, I like to go out from time to time and see if I can catch some new moves at the clubs.
New U: What makes you different from many previous Asian artists that have been working toward crossing over into the American music industry?
Kwon: I’ve been working really hard to release an amazing album – working with so many talented people, and at the same time, I’m taking my time and enjoying myself while I’m here.
I’ve made a goal to become a pioneer for other artists who have dreams of crossing over, and I want to be the one who can pave the way for them.