This May, Rolling Stone India is proud to present The K-Music Spotlight Issue. We’re dedicating the entire month to the Korean music industry and its various facets by choosing some incredible artists who are pioneers in their fields to be our cover stars. With a total of seven covers (one main and six digital), each musician will represent a different pillar of the industry and their unique take on the subject. This has never been done before and the issue is the first of its kind in the world.
Curated by our Assistant Editor Riddhi Chakraborty, Senior Writer Debashree Dutta, Staff Writer Divyansha Dongre and Digital Strategist Oysmita Majumder, the May 2022 issue will feature a massive roster of Korean musicians, including those outside the sphere of K-pop. According to Rolling Stone India, the six pillars that are most integral to the Korean music experience include Concept, Performance, Production, Fashion, Hip-Hop/R&B and Rock, and we did our best to bring you perspectives on each category from the artists themselves.
One artist, an all-rounder, will grace the main cover while six more artists will each receive a digital cover and pages within the printed issue. The K-Music Spotlight Issue also features interviews with various other artists in each section and discussions about their growth and contribution within their respective fields. In addition to musicians, we spoke to the people behind-the-scenes, the individuals who built the bones of the industry– producers, songwriters, stylists, makeup artists and choreographers. We also took a deep dive into the business side of things to better understand the roles of publicists, event companies, concert production, A&R and marketing, bringing the total number of names participating in this project to over 30.
After months of discussions, Rolling Stone India chose South Korean sensation Kang Daniel as our May 2022 cover star. In addition to being the CEO of his own company, Kang is a songwriter, actor, dancer, singer and rapper, making him a unique and powerful artist who perfectly represents the Korean music industry’s drive, dedication, emotion, and attention to detail. The K-Music Spotlight Issue was designed around Kang and the core values he believes in as an artist.
Leading our Fashion segment is South Korean pop icon Sunmi. She’s famous for her unique fashion sense and retro pop music, taking on the roll of producer, singer-songwriter and vocalist within her work. Her brand of artistry is known as ‘Sunmi-pop’ since she often experiments with disco, funk, Eighties synth pop and electro-pop. Fashion plays a key role in all of Sunmi’s music video concepts as she uses styling, makeup and clothing to depict otherworldly imagery and symbolism.
Bang Yongguk is our Production cover star. Formerly the leader of pioneering boy group B.A.P, Bang is a rapper, singer-songwriter and producer. He’s known for honest lyricism, deep baritone voice and fierce hip-hop persona. He often writes and produces music for other Korean artists and is a filmmaker, directing his own music videos and creating documentaries. He is revered as one of the first artists in K-pop to fight for the right to produce his own music.
No one fuses Rock and metal in K-pop better than Dreamcatcher. Composed of members JiU, SuA, Siyeon, Handong, Yoohyeon, Dami, and Gahyeon, the septet have consistently reinvented their artistry through the power of rock. While the industry may have just acknowledged the renaissance of the genre, Dreamcatcher had made the genre their signature sound nearly half a decade back, making them the face of rock in K-pop.
P1Harmony leads the Performance section of the issue. Composed of Jongseob, Theo, Soul, Jiung, Intak, and Keeho, the Fourth Generation boy band are rapidly ascending the stairs to global pop dominance. Celebrated for their powerful stages and choreographed routines, the group roots their discography in pop, hip-hop and R&B to narrate stories of perseverance, teamwork, and confidence.
For our Concept cover, we turned to (G)I-DLE. Comprising Soyeon, Minnie, Yuqi, Miyeon and Shuhua, they are one of the leading girl groups in the Fourth Generation of K-pop and are known for their eclectic artistry. Their stage presence is particularly powerful and they constantly challenge themselves by experimenting with new genres, concepts and live performances. The quintet are also involved in their own production and songwriting with leader Soyeon holding credits on nearly every single track.
Last but certainly not least, BIBI will represent the Hip-Hop and R&B side of the industry. Although she just debuted in 2019, BIBI is one of the strongest names in Korean R&B after she caught the world’s attention thanks to her alternative style and bold attitude. She stands out because of her dark lyricism and experimental music videos, unafraid to delve into topics like mental health, toxic relationships and individuality.
Some of the other artists who will be featured in the issue include: singer-songwriter and producer BamBam, singer-songwriter and producer Suran, rapper and producer Ravi of VIXX, singer-songwriter Holland, alternative band Glen Check, rapper, songwriter and producer Do Hanse of Victon, rock band Rolling Quartz, singer-songwriter and producer Junny and many, many more.
Join as as over the month of May, we reveal in-depth conversations with each artist, website-exclusive interviews, exclusive photo and video content, livestreams and more.
Rolling Stone India Annual Collectors Edition: The K-Music Spotlight Issue will be available for purchase in both digital and physical form. Watch this space for more information.
Cover stories and curation by Riddhi Chakraborty, Divyansha Dongre, Debashree Dutta and Oysmita Majumder. Promotional artwork by Palak Joshi.