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Profile Of A K-Pop Fan: Why Rainbow Is The Only Korean Group 31-Year-Old Tommy Christopher Of North Carolina Still Cares About

By Staff Writer | June 23, 2015 12:38 PM EDT


NAME: Tommy Christopher

AGE: 31

HOME: Asheville, North Carolina

CURRENTLY: working at a local toy store

K-POP CREDENTIALS: "I actually became such a fan that I opened Rainbow's official international fansite, Visual Glow," Christopher said. "Rainbow member Jisook follows me on Twitter and I've had my gifts for her used in tutorials on her official blog. Some people might find me a little crazy, but I'm determined to win Jisook's heart one day."

INTRO TO K-POP: "I actually have been following Asian music since I was 15 years old, when I discovered the Japanese singer Mai Kuraki," Christopher said. "Shortly after that, I decided to branch out and give K-pop a chance. The first group that I discovered in Korea was the girl group Sugar. Over the years, I became interested in other groups, such as SS501 and Girls' Generation. It wasn't too long after that that I began to cover K-pop news for websites, where I wrote original content about the genre. Everything I wrote was [exclusive coverage] entirely from scratch. It was a lot of fun."

CULTURAL MISUNDERSTANDINGS: "In my country, people easily write off K-pop," Christopher said. "They think that the music and vocals are weak, too cutesy, et cetera. Many people really do not have an open mind, even though, truthfully, K-pop singers are talented and should be given a chance to shine, no matter their race or gender."


WHY RAINBOW: "Rainbow is my favorite group, and today they are really the only K-pop group that I still follow," Christopher said. "I first found out about Rainbow's members in 2007 through a news article, but it wasn't until they started appearing in SS501 music videos that I started to follow them as trainees. I would describe Rainbow as different from other groups because they are not afraid to show their true selves to fans. They do not care if they look silly. They are all about having fun, being honest and open and connecting with fans to make people's days brighter. Rainbow are known as social network idols, because they spend a lot of time on social media sites and share a lot about their personal lives with fans."



WHY ROY KIM: "Roy Kim is the cousin of Rainbow member Yoon Hye, and that is why I originally became interested in him," Christopher explained, revealing how his love of Rainbow helped him discover new talent. "[Because of that relationship] I cheered for him during his appearances on Superstar K, but after he released original music I fell in love with his voice and musical style. After I moved from New Jersey to North Carolina, I found out that Roy Kim actually used to live in my city before he went on Superstar K."


AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT: "I feel K-pop has become too competitive and focused on wins [on South Korean weekly TV music competitions]," Tommy Christopher continued. "The genre is set up with this survival of the fittest mentality, so fans interpret it that way. It's hard enough for idols to debut and manage their lives with their grueling schedules, so this... probably just puts even further stress on the idols. I agree that sales are important, but I also feel that music should be appreciated for what it is. Music shows should focus more on appreciating artists' performances, rather than focusing on who wins the most awards...I personally believe that you should enjoy what you like and you shouldn't let others define what you like. Whatever makes you happy, should matter to you. Music is about brightening your day and lifting your spirits, so let the artists perform and achieve that goal without the extra unnecessary stress. Each performance is beautiful, artists pour their hearts into it and that should be the true focus. [Idols] are humans too. Rainbow leader Jae Kyung once called the award an 'embarrassment prize,' because once someone wins, every other performer that day is forgotten. I agree with that."

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Tagged :  Profile of a K-Pop Fan, tommy christopher, Rainbow


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