If you’ve listened to any Asian pop music in the last ten years, you’ve probably heard of Korean superstar BoA. This 22-year-old style icon is a veteran of the music industry, but recently debuted in the States with her American self-titled album, “BoA.” She has the career, voice, looks, and moves, and Chictopia recently found out that she has the sweet personality to boot! Read on to find out exactly how BoA feels about debuting anew, and how she uses fashion to express herself on and off the stage.
Tell us a little bit about your music career thus far.
I debuted in Korea when I was 13. Soon afterward, I went to Japan at 14 to seriously pursue a music career there. I began my career in the US last year with a single called “Eat You Up”, and in March, I released an album titled “BoA.”
Please tell us about your new US album. How is it different and similar from other albums that you’ve introduced in Asia?
I really focused on Dance Pop and upbeat music. It’s music for the clubs, but different than what you’d hear in an Asian club. In my American album, we played around with different beats, and rhythms so it was really different from my past albums even if all of my albums are considered “Dance Pop.”
How do you feel about starting from scratch in the US when you have such huge success in Asia? What were your expectations before you debuted in the US?
I am not going to lie, I felt insecure; the idea of debuting in another country seemed like such a huge challenge! But now that I look back, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made. The hardest part was overcoming the language barrier. I was able to work with talented producers like Brian Kennedy and Sean Garette, which was a huge change from my past work. Overall, I think my American debut was definitely worth it and I’m so grateful for my American fans!
Do you miss anything in Asia?
I thought I would but being in LA makes the transition so much easier! I go to K-town quite often.)
You’re a great singer but also a great performer. In your opinion, how do the clothes you wear on stage relate to self-expression? Are they an important part of your performance?
Since my music focuses on Dance Pop, performance is very important. I often choose to wear sneakers or low heels so I can dance and perform better for my audience. But I am aware of trends and fashion [laughs]. I try to make up for my shoe restrictions with lots of accessories or “weird” leggings so I can express myself.
In the “Eat You Up” video, you are wearing “drop crotch” pants. Do you usually choose your outfits? If so where do you get your inspirations? How do you react when people say you are a trendsetter?
That is actually one of my favorite parts — choosing my own outfit. I actually put a lot of thought into it because I don’t want to just look like a slave to all the trends. I research and look through magazines and think about what would look good while still allowing me to perform well. Not an easy process, but still enjoyable. I did get made fun of for drop crotch pants, though. Maybe I’m too fashion-forward. Haha, whatever.
Describe a typical day for BoA.
When I take the day off, which I haven’t recently, I love to play with my dog Pama. He’s the sweetest dog ever! Then I usually watch movies, and of course go shopping. When I was in New York recently I went to TopShop several times. It’s definitely a new favorite of mine!
Do you have favorite fashion designer? What would be a BoA-ish outfit/fashion?
My style isn’t very girly or frilly — I like things that are more androgynous. I like to put on a simple outfit and then pile on a lot of accessories. As far as favorite fashion designers go, I really like Rick Owens for his fabulous leather jackets.
What kind of accessories do you like to wear? What do accessories add to an outfit?
I tend to like heavier and more boy-ish jewelry. In general though, my rule for accessories is that I only buy it if I love it at first sight. A couple of days ago, I went to H&M and stocked up on a bunch of accessories. They have great styles there for reasonable prices!
Do you admire any Asian or American celebrities’ fashion sense?
I haven’t really watched Asian TV since I came to the states, but I really like Lady Gaga’s style. She is so courageous! I don’t know if I can pull off half of her outfits! Mainly because I like pants too much.
How are the Asian audiences different from the US audiences?
Surprisingly, they’re not that different. I always feel lots of energy and passion for music from the audience wherever I’m performing. Music is kind of a universal language, so I think if you just enjoy the music and the audience, you won’t find it too different.
Your music has lots of color and you wear a variety of outfits from elegant dresses to sexy tight outfits. Do you have any memorable or favorite outfits?
My style varies according to the type of song — it all depends on the music. In Asia, I had quite a few slow songs, so I got to wear more dresses and be more girly. Recently, in my “I did it for Love” video, I wore super skin-tight clothes. It was… different. But I actually prefer more comfortable clothes like in “Eat you up,” since it’s more like my personal style.
Lastly, recommend Chictopians a song from your US album and a song from your Asian albums.
Of course! I would like to recommend “Energetic” which is my newest US single. It’s a fun and upbeat song that you and your friends can dance to. I also recommend “Eien” from my latest Japanese single album.
Also check out BoA’s music video for “I Did it for Love,” one of her most popular singles.