September 22, 2012 10:55 AM EDT
'Dress Classy, Dance Cheesy!'
These are the four words that are currently rocking the world and Psy is behind those very words.
Recently, Koreans around the world - whether you're studying abroad or a Korean immigrant - have been watching Psy and on more than one occasion, they found themselves feeling choked up with emotion that rose from somewhere inside. One SBS Washington reporter said that he felt those very words and is reporting as such.
I'm not an exception. As Psy does more interviews with media outlets, his words just seem to be getting bigger and more meaningful. It's amazing to see that Americans are really into him and finally accepting something that is not from their culture, which means a lot for many immigrants and students studying abroad. It definitely has the ability to bring tears to your eyes.
Psy is, first and foremost, a singer. However, he has so far touched the lives of so many with not just his songs but with his whole body.
Recently, SPIN released an article dissecting 10 things you didn't know about Psy and the K-Pop culture.
The important thing to note here is that he is still staying humble. He has recently thanked CNN for being one of the first media outlets to talk about him and the song. He also thanked the Korean fans for giving him a second chance and allowing him this new opportunity.
On September 14th, Psy appeared on NBC TODAY Show and put on a great performance very early in the morning in the middle of Manhattan, at Rockefeller Center and made sure to make a tribute to Korea and the fans. In between dancing, he said, "Hey guys, you're f*cking awesome" in Korean, touching the hearts and inspiring the Koreans there that day.
While the whole world is going nuts over his 200 million views on YouTube, #11 rank on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, #1 rank on iTunes, Psy is still saying that it's beginner's luck and that he's still just starting out.
He also openly requested for the lifeguards who lost their job after parodying his music video, to get their job back. Many fans of the video and of Psy protested outside of El Monte's city hall and requested that they be given their jobs back.
Everything he does is now world news.
One of the many reasons that Americans love "Gangnam Style" and Psy is because of his stage presence. As the press keeps saying, many Hollywood stars and world-famous artists are vying to meet him but he is still making sure that the credits go to other people and is always remembering to stay thankful for the way he got here.
It makes you wonder, "Many Korean stars are doing really well in places like Japan but why is it that we're not feeling the same kind of pride as we do with Psy?"
That's not true. Many Korean-Japanese immigrants said that when the Hallyu wave started coming into Japan and their culture, the Japanese started treating Korean people better, when they used to look at them like outsiders and treat them as such. Even so, there have never been an artist that made you feel so strongly and be so proud about something.
That's probably because no star that ever made it in Japan and other places thanked the Korean fans for embracing his faults and problems and confessing to the Japanese media about what he went through and how he's still a new artist.
For the past couple of years, when insiders meet Japanese reporters or other industry professionals, many of them talk very badly about Korean stars. Many reporters complain that it's incredibly hard to do any kind of interview with them and in order to take pictures, the talk of money is always first. They all criticize the Korean stars for only thinking about money.
These criticisms definitely have ground, even though some of them do exaggerate. Though it is true that many of these overseas trips involve contracts and money, it's easy to see how this could be true from the Japanese point of view.
However, for Psy, wherever he goes and whoever he meets, you can tell immediately that he's incredibly human and that he is here because of his effort.
He doesn't care about social status and that's why wherever he goes, he can speak his mind and he doesn't have anything to be ashamed of. Even his exclamation in Korean on the TODAY show is one of these things. His Korean exclamation at the VMAs is another great example. He wasn't afraid to express his opinions in his own way. Perhaps that's why Koreans love him and the world adores him.
He clearly works himself to death on stage, covered in sweat everytime. Almost all of his concerts over the summer always sold out and it has been labeled as one of the concerts to go to every year. This translated very well to overseas stages and performances and the plus side is, he always stayed humble.
Many Hallyu stars immediately ask for money for any appearances, press conferences and interviews, and it makes sense on many levels. However, it should be within a certain limit. Their attitude should not be, "You invited us because you liked us so you should pay however much we want," which is what it seems to be nowadays.
On September 12th, Psy showed up at a club in Koreatown with Scooter Braun and Usher. He didn't act like a star and made sure to say hi to all the fans. He told everyone that Scooter loves Korean girls, which sent the crowd in a frenzy. He introduced Usher like it was no big deal. He then says, "I'm the only singer that you don't have to pay to take pictures, so click away!"
This is incredibly different from other Hallyu stars who are ready to pounce on any fan that takes pictures at the events and searches everything they own. They aren't hesitant to take legal action for a simple photo, requiring fines and other sorts of payment.
There has never been any Korean star who went to an international market and continued to try and appeal to the Korean base that he started off with.
There are even talks that some Japanese media outlets have been pressured by Korean management companies to ensure that there are no negative articles about the Hallyu wave, which seems incredibly outrageous. They were told that if they did business with companies that did, they might suffer great hindrances to their future reporting.
How would it have worked if it was Psy? He probably wouldn't have cared. However, he's one of the few Korean celebrities who has received a complete pummeling from the Korean media for his problems with the army service, with marijuana possession and DUIs. He suffered a lot of obstacles in his career and even had to go to the army twice.
However, he never blamed anyone but thanked fans for allowing him to return. Not in Korea but in the US.
Most people would want to hide their previous mistakes and especially so if you're a public figure. He's someone who lives on popularity but his past, which could be detrimental, is not something that he's willing to hide. He accepts it as part of what got him there and how his fans who accepted him for all of that have ultimately gotten him there.
This is probably why Psy's success here is extra touching. It's not because of any management efforts with media or any kind of back door dealings. It's all because of him, his personality and the way he carries himself in the public eye. He seems incredibly human, down-to-earth and someone he can chat to. He also will never forget where he came from and what he went through, a celebrity who puts humanity before money.
Perhaps other Hallyu stars, who claim to be famous around the world, should learn from Psy and his business model.