We all know that English is a huge influence on K-pop artists and their subsequent songs and lyrics. Many K-pop songs have English titles or include an easy-to-remember English phrase in the chorus. With the expansion of K-pop around the globe, one of the biggest markets that entertainment companies now want to tap into is Latin America. As a result, we are starting to hear more Spanish in K-pop and see the important influence these regions are beginning to have on the Korean entertainment community.
Super Junior for example, a group with a massive, dedicated fan base in Latin America, has made a concentrated effort to appeal to those Spanish-speaking fans by releasing songs and music videos such as “Mamacita.” Even in their sub-units like Super Junior M and D&E, they have used short Spanish phrases and names in their lyrics. Newer groups like GFriend are also trying to appeal to these fans with songs like “Me Gustas Tu.”
We have all seen this recent influence of Spanish on K-pop culture, but did you know that many artists have performed songs completely in Spanish? Others have also done their own Korean covers of Spanish songs. Whether you speak Spanish or not, you are sure to enjoy these “9 Gorgeous Spanish Songs by K-Pop Artists.”
To be honest, “Music Bank” in Mexico City had some of the best live performances I’ve ever heard. I was privileged to be there in person and was absolutely blown away by Ailee‘s powerful, clear vocals. Even though I watch a lot of her performances on TV, I was truly stunned by the perfect quality of her voice when singing live. When she sang this beautiful Spanish song, the audience was extremely moved by her nearly-flawless Spanish accent and the emotion she poured into this beautiful song!
Lunafly is one of the most well-known groups for doing Spanish covers. Their smooth vocals sound amazing on Spanish lyrics! In this video, they sing a very popular song by the Mexican band Reik. Although the Lunafly members are the ones who are fans of Reik’s songs, these Mexican singers are actually good friends with another K-pop group, MBLAQ! The two groups even united onstage to perform this song together during MBLAQ’s Mexico City concert. Unfortunately though, there are only fancams available of this amazing moment. Check out Lunafly’s beautiful version instead.
Growing up in Los Angeles, California, Lena Park (also known as Park Jung Hyun) was exposed to a variety of different cultures, including the large Latino culture present in Los Angeles. Perhaps it is due to this upbringing that she had an interest in remaking one of the most popular Mexican songs in current pop culture. Working with her arranger and lyricist, the soulful singer made a Korean version of the song “Mientes” by the mega-popular Mexican band Camila. She even came to the Americas to record the song in an effort to have an authentic, Latino flavor. It is stated that, “During this process, Park Jung Hyun was praised by the local performers and staff for her emotions and an arrangement that they claimed surpassed the original.”
Another amazing performance from “Music Bank” in Mexico City, this song gave us a chance to see an amazing collaboration between several wonderful artists. Yoseob of BEAST, Sunggyu of Infinite, and Youngjae of B.A.P. sang this gorgeous song by Mexican artists Jesse & Joy. In addition to the really lovely vocals from the three artists, it proved to be a special performance since it is an emotional song for so many of the fans. If for no other reason though, you should watch this video to see the sexy, steamy looks Youngjae gives the fans. Evidently, he was totally feeling this song and so were the fans!
It takes a brave man to cover a song made famous by the amazingly-talented Spanish singer and songwriter, Alejandro Sanz. However, SHINee‘s Jonghyun delivers such an amazing, powerful performance of this song that it totally rivals the raw emotion of the original. Translating the lyrics into Korean (but keeping an occasional word in Spanish), Jonghyun still gives the song a distinct Spanish flair with both the arrangement and his soaring vocals. Generally, I always think the original performance is best, but with this unforgettable performance by Jonghyun, I personally believe he takes the song to new levels.
U-KISS has a really large fan base in several different Latin American countries. For a special, televised concert they held in Mexico City, the boys translated one of their own songs, “Dear My Friend,” into Spanish and performed it as a surprise for fans. I’m not sure why, but it seems like K-pop artists tend to have really great Spanish accents! The Spanish lyrics of this song were not easy to sing, but the guys had obviously spent a lot of time practicing- a fact which really touched their fans. Several of the members even tackled fast rap-verses in Spanish.
Another amazing cover by Ailee, this is one of the most popular Spanish covers to ever be recorded by a K-pop artist. With her gorgeous vocals, excellent accent, Latin-inspired dance moves, and outgoing personality, Ailee is a true entertainer with this lively version of the popular 1940s song by Mexican artist Consuelo Velazquez. Without a doubt, Spanish-speaking fans would love to hear Ailee record even more covers of Spanish songs. Her powerful vocals and emotion-filled singing is exactly what makes so many Spanish artists popular.
With a group like Lunafly, it’s impossible to only list one of their Spanish songs. Not only have they done gorgeous covers of songs by popular Spanish artists, these talented idols became the first K-pop group to release an album entirely in Spanish. Due to their love of the Spanish language and their popularity in Spanish-speaking countries, they released the album “Hermosos Recuerdos” in 2015. One of the most popular tracks on the album was this beautiful song, “A Ti.”
In the opinion of many fans (including myself), this is the greatest cover of a Spanish song by any K-pop artist. Another fantastic song and arrangement from “Music Bank” in Mexico, EXO-K touched the entire audience with this beautiful performance of the popular song recorded by artist Luis Miguel, “Sabor a Mi.” Their hard-work was evident in their lovely Spanish accents and their smooth vocals really captured the essence of the emotional, romantic lyrics. Not to mention, Chanyeol’s amazing guitar skills brought a unique flavor to the song which far surpassed other arrangements. For our final song on the list, this cover is an absolute must!
Whether it’s covers of Spanish songs like the ones listed above, or just Spanish-influenced songs like Lee Hyori‘s “Amor Mio,” Mighty Mouth‘s “Fiesta,” or even Taecyeon‘s “Traicion,” it is obvious that the K-pop industry is becoming more and more fascinated with the Spanish language and culture. Some people believe it is just a natural response to the demand and popularity of K-pop music in Spanish-speaking countries. Others believe it is due in part to the influence of popular, Western artists such as Shakira and Pitbull. Whatever the reason, most fans can agree that it is bringing out a new flavor and sound that was not previously found in K-pop.
Out of all these songs, which one was your favorite? What other Spanish songs would you like to hear covered by K-pop artists? Let us know in the comment section below!
lee1086 is a Soompi writer who lives for music, playing the piano, and Eunsihae. Apart from her love for Super Junior, she is also a fan of 3rd Wave Music, BIGBANG, EXO, SHINEE, BTS, and more. When she is not watching the latest K-Drama or obsessing over the perfection of Lee Donghae, she is busy at church or hanging out with her family and friends.