Korean pop group Exo aren’t your average boy band. Their well-mannered personality, preternaturally good looks and talents catapulted them into superstar status in Korea and across Asia.
Since 2013, they’re the first K-pop group to sell more than one million physical copies with each album, which earned them the title of quadruple million seller and best-selling Korean artist in 12 years, and have won more than 100 Korean music awards.
Tickets to their 4th concert Exo Planet #4 – The Elyxion, held at Seoul’s Gocheok Sky Dome last November, immediately sold out online, causing the ticketing partner’s server to shut down due to high traffic and demand.
Exo were even listed in The Guinness World Records - 2018 Edition for winning the most daesangs or grand prizes at the Mnet Asia Music Awards, and their newly released winter EP Universe took the second spot on Billboard’s World Albums chart for the first week of January. They’re no doubt making an impact in the K-pop scene and are undeniably one of South Korea’s hottest boy group.
Formed in 2011, Exo, derived from the word exoplanet, debuted in 2012 under one of Korea’s leading entertainment agencies, SM Entertainment, as a South Korean-Chinese boy band with a concept that included each member obtaining supernatural abilities.
The 12 members were equally separated into two subgroups, Exo-K and Exo-M, aimed at releasing the same music to Korean and Mandarin-speaking audiences in Korea and China.
Although three Chinese members parted ways from the band, the nine members — Suho, Chen, Baekhyun, Xiumin, Chanyeol, Lay, Kai, D.O. and Sehun — continued to climb the music charts, with hits like Call Me Baby, Monster, Lotto, Wolf Growl, Ko Ko Bop, Universe and many more, and win fans’ hearts with their solid teamwork, catchy music, impressive vocals, in-synch choreography and mesmerising teasers and music videos.
Apart from their group activities, most members have also pursued solo acts, starred in various television dramas, movies and theatre, and debuted as a sub-unit Exo-CBX featuring Chen, Baekhyun and Xiumin.
Exo have also been gaining wider presence on social media. Last year, they were the second most popular K-pop act mentioned on Tumblr. Their summer, electro-reggae hit Ko Ko Bop, from their fourth best-selling album, was the most-tweeted song and they were Twitter’s most popular celebrity that joined the social platform in 2017, according to Twitter’s year-end data.
Like all K-pop groups, the heartthrobs have a dedicated legion of fans, known as Exo-L or Exo-Love, across the globe and the UAE is no exception.
Proof of their popularity is the launch of their song Power as part of the Dubai Fountain repertoire on January 16. The upcoming event will mark the first time a Korean song has been added to the attraction’s soundtrack.
“We are very much delighted that our song Power has been chosen as the first Korean song ever to be played at The Dubai Fountain show,” the band said in a statement. “Not only is Power an uplifting song with a catchy beat, but also the lyrics talk about how one can become stronger through music that unites everyone into one. And all these go well with The Dubai Fountain itself where all Dubai visitors from all over the world gather in one spot to enjoy the show. We are looking forward to seeing the splendid fountain show with its first ever rendition of Power.”
Twenty-one-year-old Mechanical Engineering Student, Sara Ahmad Ahmad, who is the admin of the country’s first and official UAE Twitter fanbase for Exo called @EXOinUAE, was part of a group who started a campaign to get the Exo song played at the Dubai Fountain.
“A few months ago [during Exo’s 5th Anniversary] the admins had an idea of playing one of Exo’s song in The Dubai Fountain and we started contacting several companies and people who are responsible of the music played at the fountain,” says Ahmad.
“We were shocked and happy at the same time because finally our dream that we have been working on for months is coming true,” she adds.
After the announcement, it was the topic of discussion among Exo-Ls around the world on social media and were also satisfied with the choice of song.
“They [Exo-Ls] were admiring the beauty of The Dubai Fountain and loving the idea of Exo’s Power being the first Korean song to be played there,” Ahmad adds. “In addition to the Korean fans who were going crazy and wishing to visit Dubai just to witness the event.”
Despite Exo’s generous donations and continuous charitable work and hard work and passion towards their fans and music, Hend Jumah Al Ali, a 25-year-old admin of the Twitter fan account, says the major reason why she likes the K-pop group is because of “their love for Exo-L”.
“I also love that even though Exo are now one of the most successful groups, they are still as kind and humble as they were before fame or even more,” Al Ali adds. “I totally respect these boys.”
Don’t miss it!
Exo will be attending the premiere of their song Power at The Dubai Fountain on January 16. The event is scheduled to start at 5.30pm.
FIVE OTHER K-POP BANDS TO KNOW
Although South Korea may be the eighth-largest music market, Korean pop music has been zooming up the charts not only in Korea but around the world. From well-known K-pop bands to new emerging acts, here are the five biggest K-pop bands right now:
Formed under a small agency Big Hit Entertainment in 2013, the chart-topping seven-member K-pop boy group BTS was not an overnight success. Their large social media presence and socially conscious music make them a stand-out in the K-pop scene.
2. Wanna One
Hand-picked by viewers through Mnet’s 2017 reality show Produce 101, the rookie boy band have been experiencing immense popularity in South Korea, from winning awards to topping the Korean music charts with hits like Energetic and Beautiful.
Pledis Entertainment’s Seventeen is a 13-member multi-national boy band divided into three subunits: vocal, performance and hip-hop. They are creatively involved in the production and choreography of their tracks ever since their debut in 2015.
The nine members of K-pop girl group Twice, formed by JYP Entertainment in 2015, are known for their signature choreographies and upbeat, dance tracks such as TT, Knock Knock, Likey, Cheer Up, Signal, Heart Shaker and more.
5. Red Velvet
Girl group sensation Red Velvet, composed of five members — Irene, Wendy, Joy, Yeri and Seulgi — continue to rise to fame with their idiosyncratic sound and dual concept that sets them apart from other female K-pop groups.