6 Underrated Korean Artists You’ll Love If You Like Dean
R&B newcomer Dean catapulted to fame almost overnight, collaborating with heavyweight artists like Crush and Zico months before he dropped his first EP. Although his debut as a solo artist is recent, Dean spent years making a name for himself as a writer and composer behind the scenes. So, it definitely comes as no surprise that his own music is just as great as the tunes he’s written for others.
Now that Dean has graduated from underrated status, check out six talented Korean artists you should definitely keep an eye on in the future.
Ven is like the perfect mix of Zion.T and Dean, but completely refreshing and mesmerizing in his own unique way. He’s the underrated slow jam king you haven’t been giving nearly enough of your love, and you’ll wish you never took so long to discover him once you hear his tunes.
Ven doesn’t have music videos for his songs just yet, but you don’t need them. His music speaks for itself. Listen to the slow and sensuous “On Your Body” featuring Beenzino below.
Here’s another incredible track from that EP worth listening to, titled “Zzom” and featuring rapper Odee. This one is a bit more upbeat, but it still has that same provocative sound Ven’s so great at.
Hopefully Ven releases another EP soon. Until then, we can keep marveling in the artistry of this one.
One of JYP’s longest trainees and arguably the label’s biggest hidden gem, G. Soul debuted as a solo artist in 2015 after spending 15 years as a trainee. His cool, pleasant voice is both a product of natural talent and his lengthy trainee period, and he already has tons of singles under his sleeve.
“Love Me Again” couples G. Soul’s gentle vocals with an equally soft melody on piano. Listen to the way his voice cascades in this Live & Direct performance of the single below. It’s so beautiful you might cry, so have tissues on hand just in case.
More recently, G. Soul dropped chill single “Where Do We Go From Here” and the upbeat alternative “Far, Far Away.” Check out the music video for the latter below.
You probably heard Babylon’s smooth vocals on Zico’s hit single “Boys and Girls” last year, or maybe on the chorus of Yankie’s “Cheers” with Beenzino and Gaeko. If you haven’t, then get ready to fall head over heels for his gentle, unrivaled vocal color. He’s spent the last year making a name for himself with countless collaboration tracks, but make no mistake: he can definitely carry a song on his own.
Check out his sultry debut track “Pray” below to get a taste of the amazing music you’ve been missing out on.
And if that isn’t enough, listen to his recent release “Between Us (U & Me)” featuring Dok2.
He’s also collaborated with HA:TFELT, if you want to hear how incredible his voice sounds in a laidback duet. (Spoiler alert: He still sounds amazing.)
LiVii, like Hoody and Satbyeol, is one of the many highly underrated female R&B artists in the music scene. Not only does she have a crazy amazing fashion sense, but she also has exceptional vocals that pair well with her one-of-a-kind R&B singles. She’s released a slew of covers, from Omarion’s “Post To Be” to Kid Ink’s “Body Language.” Listen to her original upbeat track “C’mon” below.
Her most recent single “Luna” is a bit more laidback, and it has an addictive vibey sound that’s sure to be your go-to chill summer track. Give it a listen below.
OFFONOFF is a duo part of the Club Eskimo crew with Dean, and they’re also signed to Tablo’s HIGHGRND label. OFFONOFF makes chill and ethereal songs — the type of music you turn on late at night and get lost in your thoughts to. It’s the perfect complement to Dean’s sound, while still original enough to stand on its own.
Their music videos are also pretty artistic. Check out the music video for “blu” below.
“Cloud” is another chill tune, but a bit more upbeat than “blu.” Take a listen to that below.
We should talk about NiiHWA more. Once you hear his voice, you’ll understand why. NiiHWA has been in the Korean R&B scene since 2014, dropping slow jams like “All Night Long” and even brash tracks like “Go Hard” where he shows off his rap skills.
He’s also no stranger to collaborations. You can hear his voice on Yoon Se Yun’s groovy “Middle School Sick” with Jay Park. Veteran female duo As One even features on NiiHWA’s own track “Say Yes,” which you can check out below.
But if you really want to hear the vocal acrobatics NiiHWA is capable of, you have to listen to “Gravity.” Just the opening few seconds will instantly convert you into a NiiHWA fan. Check it out below and see for yourself.
Who’s your new favorite artist from this list? Let us know in the comments below!
brookenicole is a creative writer with a huge love for K-pop and an even bigger love for playlist creation. You can find her on Twitter here.