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This is who I am so I just wanna be true to myself(I'm gonna make it happen, who says there can't be girls on top?)
(That's just the way I like it, don't wanna be somebody else)
If you could understand, why it's never enough
—Boa, "Girls On Top"
Boa is an immensely successful Korean pop star who has been branded "The Korean Britney" by her fans and the media alike. She is most well known for her catchy music as well as her crazy dance skills and her ability to sing live decently while doing said dancing. She has sold upwards of 25 million albums in Asia alone and is only rivaled by Hikaru Utada and Ayumi Hamasaki in terms of overall album sales.
Born Kwon Boa on November 20, 1986, she was raised in the Gyeonggi-do province of South Korea and initially had no interest in pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. That all changed when she was scouted by Korean entertainment company SME at a talent search that she accompanied her brother to. SME saw what they were looking for in the then 11-year-old Boa; a young star who would allow Korea to break into the fickle and often closed-off entertainment industries in both Japan and in the United States. After two years of training she released her debut effort, titled ID; Peace B. The album was a success and paved the way for her to pursue a career in the Japanese music industry. Two years after her Korean debut she released her debut Japanese album, Listen To My Heart. The album was a success and Boa quickly became one of the premiere pop idols of Japan, being the first non-Japanese Asian singer to have two million-selling albums in Japan (Valenti and her best-of album Best Of Soul). She also went on to become one of only two artists in Japan to top the Oricon weekly album charts six consecutive times (the other artist being Ayumi Hamasaki).
In 2009 SME decided that it was finally time to break into the U.S. market; they chose Boa as the flagship artist for their new American label. Boa collaborated with high-profile producers such as Bloodshy & Avant and Sean Garrett during the recording process. She released her English-speaking debut in 2009 to less-than-stellar reviews and even worse sales; the album stalled on the Billboard charts and was unable to sell even 10,000 copies. The three singles from the album became minor hits on Billboard's Club Airplay charts but it soon became apparent that Boa's stateside debut was a bust.
Boa returned to Japan to release her seventh Japanese studio album Identity in 2010; the album didn't fare much better on the charts than her English album did though. However, she experienced a slight resurgence in her career when it was announced that she would release her first album of Korean music in five years later that fall. Hurricane Venus went on to spawn a number one hit with the title track and would go on to be the highest-selling album from a solo artist that year.
Although her first attempt at success in the American music market didn't go that well, it seems like Boa may be getting another shot at fame, thanks in large part to the growing presence of K-Pop in the U.S. She is currently slated to appear in a dance-themed movie titled COBU 3D in 2012 and a new English-speaking album is rumored to be in the works if all goes well.
- Korean Discography:
- ID; Peace B (2000)
- Jumping Into The World/Don't Start Now (Mini-Album) (2001)
- No. 1 (2002)
- Miracle (Mini-Album) (2002)
- Atlantis Princess (2003)
- Shine We Are! (2003)
- My Name (2004)
- Girls On Top (2005)
- Hurricane Venus (2010)
- Japanese Discography:
- Listen To My Heart (2002)
- Valenti (2003)
- Love & Honesty (2004)
- Outgrow (2006)
- Made In Twenty (2007)
- The Face (2008)
- Identity (2010)
- English Discography:
- Boa (2009)
- Compilation Albums:
- K-Pop Selection (2004)
- Best Of Soul (2005)
- Best & USA (2009)
- Remix Albums:
- Peace B. Remixes (2002)
- Next World (2003)
- Album Title Drop: Almost all of her studio albums except for her self-titled album.
- Auto-Tune: A lot of her latest music utilizes it frequently, especially her English album and Hurricane Venus.
- Bare Your Midriff: She's got a pretty nice tummy although she doesn't show it off quite as much as she did in the beginning of her career.
- Be Yourself: The entire message behind the English version of "Girls On Top."
- Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: She's been all three at one point or another.
- Career Resurrection: She experienced one in 2010 with the release of her album Hurricane Venus. Her last two albums in other territories tanked pretty badly, so it goes without saying that she needed a win.
- Child Prodigy: She quickly gained notoriety for her slick dancing skills. It didn't hurt that she could carry a tune decently while pulling off most of that mad choreography.
- Darker and Edgier: It could be said that My Name was the album that marked her transition into a more mature sound and direction in Korea, while in Japan it would probably be Outgrow. Then of course there's her English album, which is basically about sex and dancing.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Quite a few of her songs qualify.
- Disney Acid Sequence: The music video for "Hurricane Venus.".
- Double Entendre: Whether it's intended or not, "Girls On Top" definitely applies.
- Dye Hard: Her hair's been black, brunette, blonde, and red throughout her career.
- Epic Riff: "Hurricane Venus," "Dangerous," "Let Me," "Eat You Up," and "Energetic," to name just a few.
- Europop: She's worked with Bloodshy & Avant and Henrik Jonback...doesn't get much more Europop than that.
- Everything's Better with Sparkles: The "Hurricane Venus" video.
- Everythings Funkier With Disco: You can definitely hear its influence in some of her J-Pop albums.
- Excited Episode Title: "Shine We Are!" and "Bump Bump!" At least as far as her singles go.
- Former Child Star: It's how she was discovered; however, unlike most child stars she hasn't really had a break in her career since she began.
- Fun with Acronyms: Boa is also a backronym for "Beat of Angel."
- She had issues with this when she began to promote her English debut...she quickly found out that Boa also stood for Bank of America...she was rather annoyed.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Girls On Top" and all of the implications it brings with it.
- Genre Roulette: She's dabbled in R, hip-hop, bubblegum pop, dance-pop, electropop and adult contemporary...sometimes all on the same album.
- Girl-On-Girl Is Hot: Check out the cover of her Best & USA album.
- Godiva Hair: The Best & USA cover and the video for "Eat You Up."
- Good Bad Girl: She comes off so mild-mannered and polite in interviews, but her music is an entirely different story. Couple that with her dancing and she definitely fits this trope.
- Gratuitous English: Boa, like so many other Asian pop stars, is very guilty of this trope, whether it be her Korean music or her Japanese music. It even crosses over into her English debut as there are a couply of oddly-worded parts throughout.
- Grief Song: "Implode."
- Hotter and Sexier: The videos for "I Did It For Love" and "Game."
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: At 5'2" Boa is pretty petite, so a lot of the time she's dwarfed by her male dancers.
- Intercourse with You: Almost all of the songs from the English album.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: A lot of the styles she's worn for her latest albums and videos are really awesome.
- Improbable Age: By the age of 24 she's sold 20 million albums in Asia alone. She's conquered Korea and Japan and it's highly likely that she's going to make a splash in the U.S. once moviegoers get a load of her in COBU 3D. She's pretty amazing.
- In Da Club: Quite a bit of her music but especially her English debut. The music video for "Energetic" even features a dance-off in a club.
- Japanese Pop Music: One of a few foreign acts to actually become very successful in the Japanese music industry; she has had three million-seller albums, several multi-platinum awards, several gold awards, and numerous hit singles on the Oricon charts.
- Les Yay: The album cover for Best & USA.
- Let's Duet: With Koda Kumi for "The Meaning Of Peace," "The Love Bug" with M-Flo, and "I Did It For Love" with Sean Garrett may be considered a duet. Also with 三浦大知 (Daichi Miura) on "Possibility",
- Lighter and Softer: Pretty much all of her ballads, with special shout-outs to "Mamoritai~White Wishes" and "Implode."
- Loudness War: More so on her later releases, like Hurricane Venus and her English-speaking album.
- Mood Whiplash: From Hurricane Venus. The pumping electropop track "Let Me" seques into the GINORMOUS Tear Jerker "Implode." A little unsettling when you're jamming one minute and then bawling your eyes out the next.
- Motor Mouth: "Let Me" is sung in pretty rapid-fire style.
- New Sound Album: She's done this a few times, but it's most notable on her English-speaking debut. She went from fluffy, innocuous J-Pop to harder-edged electropop beats.
- Nice Hat: She's rocking a pretty crazy chapeau on the cover of her Hurricane Venus album.
- Nostalgia Filter: When she released Hurricane Venus several of her older fans lamented that they missed the R&B/Hip-Hop days of her early Korean music.
- Obsession Song: "Eat You Up" and of course, "Obsessed." Duh.
- Old Shame: When giving an interview for a U.S. website during promotion for her Boa she seemed genuinely embarrassed when the interviewer showed a clip of her "Valenti" video.
- The Patriarch: Boa mentions her father in "Our Love: To My Parents" from her Made In Twenty album.
- Pimped-Out Dress: The feathery dress from the "Hurricane Venus" video definitely applies.
- Playing to The Fetishes: Her skin-tight leather getup in the "I Did It For Love" video.
- Record Producer: She's worked with Henrik Jonback quite a bit in the last few years.
- The Rival: Depends on the territory you're in. If it's Korea then fans like to pit her against Lee Hyori, another popular K-Pop singer. In her heyday in Japan she was compared to the likes of J-Pop royalty such as Utada Hikaru and Ayumi Hamasaki so much that she was considered one of the "Big Three" in Japan along with the other two aforementioned ladies.
- Scenery Porn: The videos for "Hurricane Venus" and "I Did It For Love" definitely apply. They're just purdy.
- She Is All Grown Up: Spent the better part of half a decade trying to invoke this trope and seems to have done so successfully.
- Signature Song: "Girls On Top," "Valenti" and "Meri Kuri" are some of her best known hits.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Officially Boa's name is stylized so that the "A" is capitalized due to the fact that 1) her Korean name is Kwon Bo A, Bo+A is Boa and 2) it's a backronym.
- Spiritual Successor: She is often called "The Korean Britney" due to her catchy songs and killer dancing.
- Her backup dancers (both American and Asian) have called her "The Korean Janet Jackson" because of her dancing as well.
- Stage Name: She goes by Boa when on stage.
- The One That Got Away: "Implode." Oh GOD, "Implode."
- The Stoic: She pretty much keeps to herself and doesn't have much to say good or bad about her contemporaries.
- Surreal Music Video: "Hurricane Venus."
- Tear Jerker: "Implode." You can tell it's going to be a heartbreaking song without even knowing the words...but once you do know what she's singing about it gets worse. Anybody who's ever unwillingly lost someone they still loved, whether it be through a breakup or from death will be hard-pressed not to be in tears by the end of the song.
- Teen Idol: During the first half of her career she was trope personified, but the latter half has shown a lot of growth both musically and image-wise.
- Uncanny Valley Makeup: Checkout the black and white checkerboard eye shadow she used for her Hurricane Venus album cover!
- What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The video for "Hurricane Venus" features a feather-clad Boa entrapped in a cage while several men dressed in red-feathered jackets fly at her cage and seemingly attack it. Cut to the occasional non-sequitur dance segment and yeah, that's pretty much the vid. I don't get.
- Woman Scorned: "Did Ya."