Every now and then our world throws up an indisputable global person who commands being worshipped on a scale like no other before them: think Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson, for instance, usually from the Western hemisphere. However, the South Korean performer, PSY, is truly in a class of his own on so many levels - especially being an Asian dominating the western market. PSY has already made history on the world stage with his Gangnam Style singing and dancing, a name based on the district in which he was born.
Not only has he smashed all Internet records with his video, especially the viewing figures currently standing at well over one billion, but he has also become bosom buddies with United Nations Secretary General, and fellow compatriot, Ban Ki Moon, who has been astounded at PSY’s ‘global reach’ and wants to work with him to reach the youth positively.
On the face of it, PSY’s success could be seen as a one-off, a flash in the pan, because even he admits that he doesn’t know how he can top Gangnam Style, so he can only go downhill from now in his eyes. But I would disagree. His videos are frankly mesmeric and addictive, and he is clearly a very canny and outstanding performer. He knows how to fire up the crowds, to get the right response, and not to take himself too seriously, while hiding a shrewd personality and acumen for what works, and what doesn’t. Look at how he is working that enormous crowd at the summer concert. Incredible!
But what do you know about him? These 10 facts should shed some light on this fascinating and enigmatic man.
PSY working the vast crowds at a live summer concert in Korea.
Published on Aug 29, 2012 | #24 on the YouTube 100
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10 Facts about PSY
1. Real name: Park Jae-sang (born 31 December 1977 in the Gangnam District) 35 years old.
2. A singer, songwriter, record producer, rapper and dancer, among other talents.
3. Not liked by his early teachers because he used to play the class clown and distract the students when he was at middle school.
4. PSY’s early influence came from Queen and their song, Bohemian Rhapsody, when he was 15 years old. That concert footage he saw ‘sparked his love of music’.
5. Though he was sent to Boston University by his father, he left it to study music instead at Berklee College of Music, but did not get any qualification from there either, returning to Korea empty handed, but determined to break into the music business.
6. His song lyrics have always been risqué. First album made in 2001 which led him into trouble with the Korean authorities for ‘inappropriate content’. He was also fined for it.
7. His blunt song lyrics led to most of his output being restricted to the over-19 buying public in South Korea, deemed not suitable for families.
8. Real global fame started July 2012 when he released his sixth album, and the song, Gangnam Style, was picked up by western broadcasting networks, later replacing Justin Beiber’s song at the top of the iTunes chart in August.
9. November 2012 and Gangnam Style became the most viewed video in Youtube history, reaching one billion views less than a month later.
10. PSY’s video has spawned over 35,000 imitations and parodies, earning him over $8 million dollars in 2012.
Clearly, PSY will be around for quite a while, especially as an inspiration for other musicians, even if his fame diminishes somewhat.