Monday, October 29, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Brown Eyed Girls

Background and Career:
Brown Eyed Girls, also known as B.E.G., is a South Korean band under the Nega Network label. They originally debuted as an R&B vocal group, but has branched off and they have experimented with other types of music since then. The group comprises of four members: Jea, Miryo, Narsha, and Ga-In. Before officially debuting, the girls held small concerts under the name "Crescendo".

On March 2, 2006 after spending several years in vocal training, the girls officially debuted as "Brown Eyed Girls" with their first album Your Story. The album did well critically, but did not have the same success commercially. They then re-released the album to include "Hold the Line" and received further popularity as the song became a hit. However the group still had to face hard times as their second album followed the first in commercial disappointment as it was released around the same time as the "Wonder Girls" hit "Tell Me".

Then in 2008 the girls had made a breakthrough as they branched off from their R&B ballads to take on a lighter sound. Their mini-album L.O.V.E. became an instant hit and garnered the girls attention as it became their first #1 song.

Further success awaited the girls as their second mini album "My Style". The retro-pop sound became a big hit among k-pop fans and the girls rose to the position of being one of the top girl groups.  In 2011 they, like many other K-pop groups, expanded their promotions to Japan with "Sign". In the last few years, B.E.G. branched off to explore to explore other different genres and has had tremendous success. Now, the girls are going into different areas such as acting and working on solo promotions as well. 

Member profiles

Jea (제아) the leader of B.E.G. was born on September 18, 1981 with the birth name of Kim Hyo Jin. Before B.E.G., she was in a group called "3point" and was recording songs for drama soundtracks. She is the one responsible for the creation and selection of members for B.E.G. She is one of the main vocals for the group.

Narsha (나르샤) was born on December 28, 1981 with the birth name Park Hyo Jin. She was recruited by Jea to become one of the main vocals for B.E.G. Jea chose her because they had been school mates before and Jea had remembered Narsha as an incredible singer. After debuting with B.E.G., she gained popularity and the nick name "adult-dol" from her variety show appearances. In 2010 she started her solo activities with her first solo single "I'm in Love", a slow acoustic song.

Ga-In (가인) was born on September 20, 1987 with the birth name Son Ga-In. She is the youngest member and was recruited to be in B.E.G. after getting cut from the auditions for a reality show called "Let's Coke Play! Battle Shinhwa!". She was found crying in the bathroom by composer Ahn Jung Hoon who recommended her to audition for B.E.G.  Now, she is the most well known member because of her appearances on "We Got Married" and "All My Love" beside 2AM's Jo Kwon. In 2010, Ga-in came out with her solo album "Step 2/4" with the title song "Irreversible". The song earned her a win on Inkigayo, a popular South Korean Music Show.

Miryo (미료) was born on November 2, 1983 with the birth name Jo Mi Hae. Miryo was a well known rapper even before getting recruited for B.E.G. She was the main rapper in the group "The Honey Family". Jea was aware of her ability and recruited her to be in B.E.G.  She was also the first to be recruited into the group. She had recently released a solo mini album titled "MIRYO aka JOHONEY" with the title track "Dirty".

Music Recommendations:

"Hold the Line" is B.E.G.'s first hit. It is fun, playful, and catchy with its flirty lyrics and funky beat. The girls showed off their cute and silly side with this MV which makes it really fun to watch.

It was no surprised that "I Got Fooled By You" became another hit for them, their vocals here are so powerful and just beautiful. I love the jazzy sound and the incorporation of Miryo's rap, because this is the type of song that I wouldn't expect to have a rap.  However, it fitted in perfectly with the song.

"LOVE" is a lighthearted and fun song.  The song is a mix of pop and R&B. It's like a crossroad in their changing of genres; it still posses the R&B sound, but it also has a lighter synthetic pop beat. The MV is nice, simple, and really lets their charismatic personalities shine through. This song is ridiculously catchy and I have had this song stuck in my head after only a few listens.

"Abracadabra" is an electro-pop song that has become one of the iconic songs of k-pop. I wasn't too fond of the song at first, but it eventually grew on me. This is a very different sound for B.E.G., as they had shed their previous image and sound completely.

"Sixth Sense" is undoubtedly the strongest and most powerful B.E.G. song.  Everything about this song gives off a sense of strength. The girl's vocals and especially the high notes at the end gives me goosebumps every time I listen.

Personal Thoughts:
B.E.G. has always been one of my favorite girl groups and perhaps my first K-pop girl group that I had fallen in love with. In K-pop, there are countless girl groups and new ones that debut every year, but despite the rough competition, B.E.G. manages to stand out like a shining diamond. B.E.G. is not a mainstream K-pop group for all the right reasons. Being older than many of the teen idols today, they're able to break the normal idol image. The girls provide a different, more mature sound and look to K-pop. They also go above and beyond with their involvement in music by constantly exploring and experimenting with different genres, and their solid vocals and performance skills is just the cherry on top of an amazing band. What makes me really respect and love B.E.G. is their passion for music and modest personalities. Their live performances are bursting with charisma and energy. Just one look and its easy to tell that they are truly passionate about their music.

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