4 Songs By Korean Artists That Were Heavily Influenced By Other World Cultures

In a publication titled “What Is the K in K-Pop? South Korean Popular Music, the Culture Industry, and National Identity“, the author, John Lie, quotes SM Entertainment founder Lee SooMan saying that black music is the base of K-Pop. The K-Pop pioneer stated that Korea has “best consumed black music in Asia”, and that they “made K-Pop based on black music.” 

However, there are songs by Korean artists that are heavily influenced by the music of other cultures around the world as well. Here are 4 of them!

1. LOONA – ‘PTT (Paint the Town)’ 

‘PTT (Paint the Town)’ is all about redefining oneself while breaking norms and having no regard for what others think of you. In an online showcase for the release of their new mini-album at the time, “&”, JinSoul said that the title track, ‘PTT (Paint the Town)’, is “reminiscent of a scene from a Bollywood movie” and that it has “a lot of elements of Indian music.” She definitely wasn’t wrong about this! Some of the elements that she was referring to include the tabla drums and the Indian flute. If it weren’t for the song being sung in Korean, it could sound like something straight from Bollywood. The addictive hip-hop and EDM track also won LOONA their second win, rightfully so!



“Bolo” is a Nigerian slang word that means “fool.” In a Naver News Q&A, PENOMECO revealed that he gave the song the name that it has because it’s about a girl who hasn’t realized his feelings, like a fool. 

The West African influence in this song is quite undeniable, as it sounds much like something an Afrobeats artist would release. PENOMECO even wrote lyrics in Igbo, a Nigerian language. He’s actually stated that his inspiration is Burna Boy, a Nigerian singer and rapper who is among the most successful African artists


3. TWICE – ‘Alcohol-Free’

‘Alcohol-Free’ is about being drunk from someone’s love, rather than alcohol, hence the title of the song. It’s a bossa nova track with strong tropical summer vibes. In case you aren’t familiar with what bossa nova is, it means “new trend” in Portuguese and it’s a style of samba from Brazil that emphasizes melody more than percussion.


4. ChungHa & Guaynaa – ‘Demente’

‘Demente’, which translates to “crazy” or “insane” in Spanish, tells a story of a lover whose feelings aren’t returned to them by the person they love. It uses a reggaeton beat and is much more Latin-pop than it is K-Pop. Despite most of the song’s lyrics already being in Spanish, ChungHa also released a Spanish version of the song.

‘Demente”s release marked the first Latin and K-Pop collab for a female Korean soloist and the fully Spanish song to be released by a Korean artist. To help her achieve this, she took Spanish lessons and received coaching throughout the recording of the song from her friend who’s fluent in Spanish.


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