The Growing Trend of English Lyrics in Korean Indie Music: Why Is It Happening?

kpop indie songs

Edited by Han Sung Soo
Translated by Hana Lee

kpop indie songs

Over the past few years, the Korean indie music scene has been continuously expanding across a wide range of genres, including folk, rock, electronic, and hip-hop. While the majority of music produced by Korean indie musicians has traditionally been written in Korean, there has been a noticeable trend in recent years where more and more artists are incorporating English lyrics into their music.

Why do Korean musicians choose to write their lyrics in English?

Korean indie musicians write songs in English for both musical and market reasons. While Korean indie music has devoted fans in Korea and other Asian countries, creating music in English helps artists connect with non-Korean speaking fans on a deeper level.

Another reason for Korean indie musicians to create music in English is to enter the Western market, which is the mainstream of world music. The Korean music industry is currently gaining worldwide attention and recognition, and many indie musicians see this as a great opportunity to make their first forays into this highly coveted market. By creating music in English, artists can reach a wider audience and potentially open the door to the Western music market.

From a musical perspective, it is because the pronunciation structure of Korean and English creates a more enriching work environment for musicians. The unique rhythm created by each language allows musicians to make new attempts with different beats and pitches when singing, giving them the opportunity to try new things. By singing in a different language, musicians can explore other genres and express themselves in new ways.

However, making music in a language other than one’s mother tongue is a big challenge. Even for artists who are fluent in English, singing in English is difficult. Balancing various elements such as pronunciation, intonation, and expression is essential to creating convincing English songs.

Korean indie musicians face yet another hurdle in the form of cultural differences. Crafting music that remains faithful to the distinctive sound of Korean indie while also captivating Western listeners is no easy feat. Given the consumption patterns in the Western music industry, it requires an extremely nuanced approach to make the unique style of Korean indie music shine through. This often demands that artists demonstrate skills outside of their usual wheelhouse.

The expectation is that Korean music created with English lyrics will help establish a more secure position for Korean music in the global music industry over the long run.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the list of Korean songs written in English:

blah – Candy For You

Yerin Baek – Square


ADOY – Wonder

Standing Egg – Ironic

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