2017 was quite a year for K-pop. From climbing Billboard charts to trending worldwide on Twitter, K-pop was unstoppable! Will world domination be next on that list? For these 15 artists, we definitely think so! Check out our nominees for this year’s Artist of the Year below.
Releasing hit after hit, TWICE bopped to the top in 2017! TWICE’s first studio album “Twicetagram” became the fastest-selling album by a K-pop girl group (since 2002), when they reached 100,000 unit sales within three days of the album’s release. “Twicetagram” also placed No.19 on Billboard’s 20 Best K-pop Albums of 2017. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, TWICE became the first female K-pop artists to top both of Billboard’s World Charts.
Their achievements weren’t just limited to Korea. In Japan, “#Twice” charted at No. 2 on the Oricon Daily Album Chart, as well as the Oricon Weekly Album Chart. TWICE was also selected as one of the winners of the 2017 Oricon Queen Award.
- Gaon Chart Music Awards: Song of the Year in April for “Cheer Up” and in October for “TT”
- Golden Disc Award: Digital Daesang and Digital Bonsang for “Cheer Up”; Digital Bonsang for “Knock, Knock”; Digital Bonsang for “Twicetagram”; CeCi Asian Icon Award
- Melon Music Awards: Best Dance – Female for “Knock, Knock”; Top 10 Artists
- Mnet Asian Music Awards: Song of the Year and Best Dance Performance – Female Group for “Signal”
From their fun and fruity “Red Flavor” to their more edgy (but equally catchy) “Peek-A-Boo,” these girls were everywhere this year! Not only did they have their first solo concert in 2017, but Red Velvet also had their first showcase in Japan as well. “The Red Summer” was their third album to chart No. 1 on Billboard’s World Albums chart. It also set the record for the most No.1 albums on the chart by a K-pop girl group.
This summer’s anthem, “Red Flavor,” was the first song from Red Velvet to top Gaon and their fifth song to sell over a million copies. “Peek-a-Boo” was also a mega hit: it peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s World Digital Songs chart.
And last, but not least, the fandom was finally named! Red Velvet revealed their fanclub name, ReVeluv, on the 1000th day anniversary of their debut.
- Golden Disc Awards: Ceci Asia Icon Award, Digital Bonsang for “Red Flavor”
- Melon Music Awards: Top 10 Artists
- Mnet Asian Music Awards: Best Female Group
- Seoul Music Awards: Bonsang Award
- Soribada Best K-Music Awards: Bonsang Award, Hallyu Icon Award
BTS had one of their best years yet! They ranked No. 5 on Forbes Korea Power Celebrity List, broke the Guinness World Record for most Twitter engagements for a music group, and was named by Time magazine as one of the “25 most influential people on the internet.” BTS also became the first K-pop group to enter the top 40 of Billboard’s Hot 100 with “Mic Drop.”
Of course, BTS’s impact didn’t just stop in Korea. They were invited to perform at the AMAs (which marked their US TV debut performance), and they also won the Billboard Music Award for Top Social Artist and a Shorty Award for Best in Music. Last, but not least, BTS is the only foreign artist to be certified double platinum in Japan. How’s that for a “mic drop”?
BTS also launched their fourth era, the “Love Yourself” series, this year, as well as a campaign with UNICEF called LOVE MYSELF. They rebranded as “Beyond the Scene” and collaborated with many American artists, like The Chainsmokers and Fall Out Boy.
- Melon Music Awards: Top 10 Artists, Global Artist, Song of the Year for “Spring Day,” Music Video Award for “Spring Day”
- Mnet Asian Music Awards: Best Music Video for “Spring Day” Artist of the Year, Best Asian Style in Hong Kong
- Golden Disc Awards: Disk Bonsang for “Wings,” “Spring Day” and “Love Yourself: Her,” Global K-pop Artist Award, Disk Daesang and Disk Bonsang for “Love Yourself: Her”
- Seoul Music Awards: Bonsang Award, Best Male Dance Performance Award, Record of the Year (Album) for “Wings,” Best Music Video Award for “Blood, Sweat, & Tears.”
- Soribada Best K-Music Awards: Hallyu Star
IU has grown tremendously musically since she first debuted, and 2017 was her year to really show that off! She released her first full album, “Palette,” in four years, where she served as the primary lyricist and producer. This was also IU’s first album to debut atop the Billboard World Albums chart. She also starred in the hit TV Program “Hyori’s Home Stay.”
- Melon Music Awards: Top 10 Artists, Best Song Writer, Album of the Year for “Palette”
- Golden Disc Awards: Digital Daesang/ Song of the Year and Digital Bonsang for “Through the Night”
- Mnet Asian Music Award: Best Female Artist
These boys are “Really, Really” talented! “Fate Number For” entered and peaked at No. 2 on the Gaon Album Chart. This album also reached No.1 on the iTunes’s charts of 21 countries! They were also on “Youth Over Flowers,” where the the cast and crew of the show went the extra mile to keep it a surprise. Through thick and thin, these boys came out on top this year, and truly showed us what it meant to be a “WINNER”!
- Golden Disc Awards: Digital Bonsang for “Really Really”
- Melon Music Awards: Top 10 Artists
BLACKPINK in your area! These girls made a splash in Korea this year with their catchy single “As If It’s Our Last.” This single became the second most viewed music video in the first 24 hours by a Korean act on Youtube, and was the most viewed K-pop music video in 2017. “As If It’s Your Last” also debuted at No. 4 on the Gaon Digital Chart and peaked at No. 3. It also debuted at number one on Billboard World Digital Songs. Not many have accomplished what these girls have in this short of a span!
- Golden Disc Awards: New Artist of the Year, Digital Bonsang
- Seoul Music Awards: New Artist of the Year
Say the name! SEVENTEEN! Certainly, you’ll be hearing their names worldwide! Despite not having an official debut in Japan, their Japan concerts had about 50,000 people in attendance. “Teen, Age” also debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s World Albums chart. SEVENTEEN also went on their first world tour in 2017.
- Asia Artist Awards: Best Artist Award
- Golden disc Awards: Disc Bonsang for “Love Letter” and “Teen, Age”
- Mnet Asian Music Awards: Worldwide Favorite Artist, Best Dance Performance- Male Group for “Don’t Wanna Cry”
After all GFRIEND accomplished this past year, we can’t wait to see what they have in store for us this year! “The Awakening” debuted at No. 5 on Billboard’s World Album Chart. They also won “best Korean Act” of 2017 at MTV EMAs. These girls make their fandom “Buddy” proud!
- Golden Disc Award: Digital Bonsang for “Rough,” Best Female Group
- Melon Music Awards: 1theK Performance Award
- Seoul Music Awards: Bonsang Award
- Soribada Best K-Music Awards: Bonsang Award
EXO’s powerful performances this past year can’t be beat! “Ko Ko Bop” debuted at No. 1 on the Melon Digital Chart. “The War” debuted at No. 87 on the Billboard 200 chart, and No. 1 on the Billboard World Albums Chart. “The War” also recorded the highest first week sales of any K-pop album previously, with over 600,000 albums sold.
EXO was also the youngest K-pop act to hold a concert at the Seoul Olympic Stadium, and became the third idol group to chart at No. 1 on Gaon for four weeks. They also celebrated their 100th win on music shows this past year.
- Asia Artist Awards: Popularity Award, Fabulous Award, Daesang Award
- Golden Disc Awards: Ceci Asia Icon Award, Disk Bonsang and Disk Daesang for “Ex’Act,” Genie Popularity Award, Global Popularity Award, Disk Bonsang and Disk Daesang for “The War”
- Melon Music Awards: Artist of the Year, Top 10 Artists, Netizen Popularity Award, Best Male Dance for “Ko Ko Bop”
- Mnet Asian Music Awards: Mwave Global Fans Choice for “Ko Ko Bop,” Album of the Year for “The War”
- Seoul Music Awards: Bonsang Award, Fandom School Award, Daesang Award
- Soribada Best K-Music Awards: New Hallyu Popularity Award, Bonsang Award, Daesang Award
BIGBANG has been one of the defining artists of K-pop in the past 11 years they’ve been promoting. From record breaking to paving the way for the idol groups of now, BIGBANG is truly one of a kind. In 2017, they held their fifth Japanese dome tour, and this was the last activity they will participate as a group for a while, since most of the members will be enlisting in 2017.
Taeyang also announced his impeding marriage to Min Hyo Rin in 2017, and he, along with G-Dragon, will enlist this year. We wish them all the best in their individual activities!
- Golden Disc Awards: Digital Bonsang (Top 10 Digital Artist) for “FXXK It”
- Melon Music Awards: Top 10 Artists
Talent has another name – Wanna One! After showing off their explosive charisma on “Produce 101 Season 2,” each member that ranked in the top 11 was chosen to make up the group Wanna One. They became the first K-pop group to sell a million copies of their debut album. Wanna One was also chosen by Billboard as the Best New K-pop Act of 2017.
- Asia Artist Awards: Rookie Award, Super Rookie Samsung Pay Award
- Golden Disc Awards: New Artist of the Year
- Melon Music Awards: Best New Artists, Top 10 Artists, Kakao Hot Star Award
- Mnet Asian Music Awards: Best of Next Award, New New Male Artist, Best Male Group
- Soribada Best K-Music Awards: New Artist of the Year, Rising Hot Star Award
These veteran idols came back stronger than ever in 2017! After leaving Cube Entertainment and rebranding from BEAST to Highlight, they were not only able to avoid the “7th year curse,” but they successfully “debuted” again with “Can You Feel It?” They also had their “first” end of year solo concert as Highlight. Not bad for a “rookie” group!
With their killer vocals and unstoppable confidence, MAMAMOO had one of their best years yet! They set a new record on Melon for the girl group song with the most listeners in 24 hours. “Yes I Am” also charted No. 1 on the Melon real-time chart. The only direction these girls can go is up!
- Asia Artists Awards: Best Icon Award (singer Category)
- Golden Disc Awards: Digital Bonsang for “You’re the Best”
- Seoul Music Awards: Bonsang for “You’re the Best”
- Soribada: Bonsang
Only the sky is the limit for GOT7! In 2017, they wrapped up their mega successful “Flight Log” series. “Flight Log: The Arrival,” the third and final part to their “Flight Log” series, sold more than 300,000 copies. Since debut, these boys have continuously upped themselves every year, and we can’t wait to see what they have planned for us in 2018!
- Golden Disc Awards: Disc Bonsang for “Flight Log: Turbulence” and “Flight Log: Arrival”
- Global V LIVE Award: Global Artist Top 10, Best Worldwide Influencer
- Mnet Asian Music Awards: World Performer, 2017 Favorite KPOP Star
- Seoul Music Awards: Bonsang Award for “Flight Log: Turbulence”
Never say never! These idols embody the fruits of hard work and never giving up. Since their debut in 2012, NU’EST scored their first music show win with “Where You At.” While Minhyun is currently promoting with Wanna One, NU’EST is promoting as a subunit called NU’EST W, where the “W” in their name stands for “Wait.” They also released an OST for the Korean drama “Hwayugi,” which was their first OST since debut.
- Asia Artist Awards: Best Entertainer Award
- Golden Disc Award: Disk Bonsang for “W, Here”
- Mnet Asian Music Awards: Discovery of the Year
Hey Soompiers! Have you voted for Artist of the Year yet in the 13th Annual Soompi Awards? If not, check out the nominees below, and don’t forget to vote! Voting ends soon, at 12 p.m. KST on February 21!
mayme22’s favorite Bible verses at the moment are Psalm 8:3-4.