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Get to know the Korean artists turning up at SXSW 2018 and pull up

If you’re going to be attending SXSW 2018, you should drop by Korea’s Spotlight showcase to see some dope performances by these Korean artists.

Formerly know as K-Pop Night Out, Korea’s Spotlight is an annual showcases of talented Korean artists at SXSW.

Going on its sixth year, this rendition will feature showcases from R&B singer Crush, Pop star Lee Hi, indie band Hyukoh, k-pop group KARD, rapper DPR Live, electronic vocalist CIFIKA, and indie-rock Say Sue ME.

Whatever genre of music you’re a fan of, you’ll get to enjoy it at Korea’s Spotlight which takes place Friday, March 16th at the Belmont.


Crush, 24, is a R&B/hip-hop singer signed under Amoeba Culture, owned by Korean hip-hop duo, Gaeko and Choiza. He has an undeniably unique voice that draws the listener in. He’s also a member of the hip-hop crews Fanxy Child, Club Eskimo, and VV:D. In South Korea, many of the hip-hop artists are part of a larger “crew.”

These artists come together to collaborate and make projects together.

Crush made his debut with the single “Sometimes” in 2014. He then came out with the banger “Hug Me”, featuring rapper Gaeko. He then released his Crush on You album in June 2014. Then his Wanderlust EP October 2016.

His voice is also known in the TV industry in South Korea because he went on to record the OST (original soundtrack) “Beautiful” for one of the biggest TV shows (Guardian: The Lonely and Great God) that came out in 2016.

But he is popularly known now to be part of the Fanxy Child crew. Last year was a good one for them with a couple of their tracks  (“Fanxy Child”, “Paradise”, and “Bermuda Triangle”) becoming big hits.

The members are currently the “cool kidz” in Korea hip-hop. Crush always puts on a show, he’s definitely one to catch at SXSW.

“Sometimes” (feat. Gaeko)

“Fanxy Child” (Zico Feat. Crush, Dean & Penomeco)

“Bermuda Triangle” (Zico Feat. Crush & Dean)

Lee Hi

Lee Hi, 21, is a singer-songwriter signed to YG Entertainment, a record label that houses one of the biggest K-Pop groups Big Bang.

Lee Hi has a husky, yet soulful voice that almost seems bigger than her. In 2012, she became known after she won the runner-up of K-Pop Star Season 1. 

She released her debut single “1, 2, 3, 4”  afterwards and it went on to be number 1 on the Gaon Digital Chart. She released the single “Rose” the following year. This was also a big follow up to her first single. Lee Hi dropped her EP First Love, pt.1 2013. Then the Seoulite EP in 2016.

Her voice can’t be missed, even on collaborations with industry vets like rap group EPIK HIGH, rapper DOK2, and producer Code Kunst. She also recorded an OST for the 2016 TV show Moonlovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo.

I would highly encourage anyone to check out her stage at SXSW because she’s a delight to watch and she will definitely give you a show.

She’s never the one to lack stage presence or put out a weak show, which you can tell from all her live performances.

“1, 2, 3, 4”


Hyukoh is an indie rock quartet. They are signed to the independent sub-label HIGHGRND. They debuted with their 20 EP in 2014. But they were only really known in the underground music scene.

They blew up in Korea when they participated in the variety show Infinite Challenge Summer Music Festival. Members of Hyukoh are known for their quietness and keeping things simple.

Their one-word responses especially of the leader Oh Hyuk were refreshing to the audience, in contrast to the talkative hosts of the show.

After the show, their mini-second album 22 was in the top ten Billboard World Albums Chart 2015.“Wi Ing Wi Ing” (20) and “Comes and Goes” (22) are two of their most popular songs.

In November 2015, Oh Hyuk recorded an OST for the hit drama Reply 1988. The band has gone on to appear on festivals in Beijing and Shanghai. Their first full length album 23 was released April 2017.

They had their North America tour across seven cities last year. Even if you’re not a fan of indie rock, you should check them out at SXSW. Oh Hyuk’s voice is surprisingly captivating. You might just become a fan afterwards. 

“Comes and Goes”


Kard is a four-member K-Pop group signed to DSP Media. It consists of two women, Ji woo and Somin, and two men, B.M. and J.Seph.  

Before their official debut, they released their reggaeton-influenced singles “Oh Nana”, “Don’t Recall”, and “Rumor”, which all peaked within the top 10 of Billboard World Charts.

Then they made their official debut in Korea with the first EP Hola Hola July 2017.

You don’t get to see a lot of co-ed groups in South Korea. But this group has been able to maintain their success and large fan base within and outside of South Korea since their 2017 debut.

Before their official debut in South Korea, they toured the States and Latin America. They also performed at Kcon (annual Korean wave convention held around the world) USA 2017.

So if you’ve never heard or watched a K-Pop group, check them out at SXSW. They are definitely a good group for you to get introduced into the world of K-Pop.

“Don’t Recall”