10 K-pop Songs Co-Produced And Written By Popular Western Artists
With the widening reach of K-pop, it isn’t surprising to see Western artists reaching out to popular K-pop groups for a music collaboration. While we all like to see our favorite Western singers and K-pop idols perform together in one multi-cultural bop, many K-pop collaborations see Western artists taking a more behind-the-scenes role through songwriting, production, or music arrangement. In fact, some of the popular K-pop songs we’ve ever heard include a few big names in the Western music scene in their credits. If you’re a fan of the likes of Charli XCX, Ed Sheeran, and Bazzi, read on to see which K-pop song they’ve participated in as songwriters or producers:
“Make It Right” – BTS
Globally famous Korean boy group BTS already have quite a number of collabs with Western musicians. Just recently, one of the members, Suga who also goes by his solo alias Agust D, enlisted singer Max as featured vocals in his second mixtape, D-2. Aside from featuring on their tracks, famous Western artists have also lent their songwriting magic to the group, including British pop star Ed Sheeran.
The “Shape of You” singer sent over a song for the Korean boy group to tinker with, which eventually ended up as the song “Make It Right.” If you give it a listen, you might just hear Sheeran’s musical influence in the song.
“Cherry Bomb” – NCT 127
NCT 127, a sub-unit of K-pop group NCT, is known for many bops, one of which is “Cherry Bomb.” The explosive 2017 track is one of the group’s most played songs on Spotify and was even included by Billboard in their list of Best K-pop Songs of 2017. SM Entertainment, the agency behind NCT, enlisted R&B singer Bazzi (credited as Andrew Bazzi) as one of the track's songwriters. Bazzi is well known for his tracks "Mine" and "Paradise." Aside from NCT 127, he's also participated in the production process of "We Go Up," one of the songs of another NCT sub-unit called NCT Dream.
“Love Shot” – EXO
Bazzi's songwriting work for SM Entertainment does not end with NCT. He's also been credited in tracks by another widely popular group under the same agency, EXO. Bazzi also took part in making "Love Shot," one of EXO's most successful tracks after topping Billboard's charts for three consecutive weeks.
“Lucifer” – SHINee
SM Entertainment's collaboration with Western artists doesn't stop there. Another successful boy group under SM Entertainment, SHINee, partly has Bebe Rexha to thank for their song "Lucifer." In 2019, nine years after the song's release, Bebe took to Twitter to share a backstory about how the K-pop song came to be.
“Dream Glow” – BTS
In 2019, BTS World, a mobile game following the storyline of BTS' road to success, was released. The game featured original soundtracks performed by the group themselves together with various Western artists. One of the tracks was "Dream Glow," a sub-unit song performed by the group's vocalists Jin, Jimin, and Jungkook featuring Charli XCX. It's a dreamy EDM-like track with an interesting backstory.
Upon the release of the song, Charli XCX shared that "Dream Glow" initially started out as a song called "Glow" which she'd written four or five years prior to its release. The original lyrics were about "falling in love with someone at a club," but after introducing the track to BTS, they reworked it to revolve around the theme of chasing dreams, which Charli "liked a lot."
“Doctor Pepper” – CL
CL is best known as the leader and rapper of 2NE1, one of K-pop's most popular groups under YG Entertainment. In 2015, CL embarked on a solo project in the US. One of the songs she dropped was "Doctor Pepper," which was produced by American DJ Diplo.
“Knock Out” – GD & T.O.P.
Diplo also had collabs with other artists under YG Entertainment. One was with BIGBANG's rapping duo G-Dragon and T.O.P., who formed a sub-unit in 2010 called GD & T.O.P. They released their first self-titled album which included "Knock Out," a song produced by the American DJ.
“Girls Like Us” – TWICE
In 2019, the JYPE girl group TWICE released their seventh EP called Fancy You, which was listed on Billboard's 25 Greatest K-pop Albums of the 2010s. One of the songs in the EP is called "Girls Like Us" which credited Charli XCX as one of the collaborators for music and arrangement.
“3 2 1” – SHINee
A notable boy band crossover happened in 2013 when members of popular American boy band Big Time Rush co-wrote a song for one of South Korea's own widely admired boy band, SHINee. The song was released as a Japanese single and was co-written by BTR members Kendall Schmidt, Carlos Pena, and James Maslow. Here's member Carlos promoting the K-pop boy group's song.
“When I’m Alone” – f(x)
In 2015, K-pop girl group f(x), after the departure of the late Sulli from the group, released what would be their last album as a group called 4 Walls. One of the songs in the electropop album, "When I'm Alone," was written by Carly Rae Jepsen supposedly for her own album Emotion before eventually getting picked up and repurposed by f(x)'s music label SM Entertainment.
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"Today, I Won"
I always caught feelings for someone, and hoped so much that one day there could a thing between the two of us. I'm usually the one that makes the effort to buy and/or make cute gifts, chats them every other day, and stays up all night with him.
When I was 16, my childhood crush suddenly came back into my life. We'd constantly send updates to each other, recommend favorite songs and talk even the most random things. He'd even text me as early as 6 to just greet me good morning almost everyday. I hoped so much that when I confessed, he suddenly stopped talking to me.
For short, he ghosted me. Those 6 months I spent talking to him, allotting my time for him, and staying up until 3 am for him - all gone in a simple confession. Although I had a few crushes before him, he's the only one that got me in real pain. It was the kind of pain that I never thought I'd experience. It was the kind of pain that I couldn't believe.
After 7 years (it happened back in 2017), I thought he came back into my life to stay, but I guess he's just one of the guys who distanced. I felt a complete loser that time. But during this quarantine, everything was different. I caught feelings for someone else, but he treated me with the best kindness yet.
It happened at 2 am, May 30, 2020, when I impulsively confessed my feelings through messaging him. After saying my feelings, he responded with genuine and kind words. We both even complimented each other. Although the feelings didn't reciprocate, I still found a connection that can't be replaced with any guy.
To my 16 year old self, here I am, 18 and happy. You may have felt that time was the biggest regret and loss, but I'm here to tell you, we won. Today, I won.
Why our high school barkada is the best?
Remembering our high school years entails quite a lot reminiscing of the things we all been through when we were younger. You’ve experience a lot of new things during those 4 wonderful years and did most of them with the few people you consider your barkada. And through a series of all the lunch breaks you had together, the walks you took on the way home, and taking the same classes, you never thought you’d survive, you have made your life’s greatest friends.
Here are some of the reasons why your high school barkada is the best:
1. You figured out early teenage life together. The transition one have undergone from being a kid to a teenager wasn’t easy. For a moment you are not sure whether you should have played with your friends during recess or you should have just sat down and ate your food because you were too old for games. But whatever it is you chose to do, having friends who were as clueless as you make everything feel easier because you know, deep down, you’d figure things out eventually. You just need good company.
2. They were with you during your “jeje“ days. I bet you have pictures taken with Camera360 and Retrica. You also have pictures edited using Pizap with embarrassing captions and you somehow kept some of them so you could have something to post online during their birthdays.
3. They know all your exes. They will never EVER forget the name of an ex-boyfriend, an ex-fling, an ex-crush, and an almost you had. They will remind you of your every questionable love decision but you’ll just laugh anyway while saying “Past is past”.
4. They never judge you. They have welcomed you to their lives when you thought jelly shoes and checkered polos were the bomb! They were quick to have told your teachers that you were not feeling well so you could go home when you really just needed to poop. You tell them every embarrassing story you have and were fine with it.
5. You can always count on them. From the moment you first fell in love and the moment you first had your heart broken, they were with you. They were with you the moment you lost a parent and at moments when you thought you had nothing. Through every break-up and breakthrough, they were there to be your support system.
6. They are your family. Your high school friend’s family is your own family’s extension. Their parents are like your own. Don’t you feel a little kilig whenever your friend’s parents call you “anak”? And then eventually calling them mama and papa became so natural? I felt that, all the time.
7. They will always be your home. They are your place of refuge and security, the place who offers you their hands when you feel lost and the place you run to when you need saving. No matter how much time and distance separate you, they will be the one’s that you always long for and they are the one’s that you will always return to.
You're gonna bend and break and then at some point in your life, you feel like you don't want to fall in love again.
Not because you're no longer capable of loving but because you're so afraid to get hurt again that you don't want to take a risk anymore. And you're gonna wake up one day and realize that you're not the same person as you were yesterday. The heart aches, heartbreaks, frustration, you'll see, those will transform your whole being into something better.
Honey, move forward. Let go off all the things that are not meant for you. Let go of all the people who hurt you and take you for granted. Don't be stuck feeling miserable.
And don't turn that love into hate when you resent someone for hurting you or for breaking your heart. Just wish them well and let them go. Welcome the possibility of a beautiful love that will come your way. You're worthy of love that you keep on giving to other people. Keep that in mind.
I wish you well and all the happiness. You deserve it.
Here we are — with rough hands entwined, damned hearts at peace, broken souls resting with ease —savoring each passing moment before we part ways...hoping things will turn out to be okay. Here we are — standing still, keeping our earnest desire and ardent passion for each other at bay — hoping the Universe will finally grant us of the day that we no longer have to pretend... that things will no longer have to end.
Here we are — with crooked smiles, lingering touch that will last for a while -- gathering all the remaining courage to set each other free. Wishing for the day that our hearts will no longer have to worry. Here we are letting each other go. Even though we both know that the future is uncertain. Even though we're unsure if our paths will cross once again.