In South Korea’s thriving entertainment industry, it’s rare for a relatively unknown singer to get the opportunity to record a song for a Korean drama soundtrack (OST). But when that happens, says K-pop composer Seo Gi-jun, music lovers discover new voices.
From singer Punch, whose collaboration ‘Stay With Me’ with EXO band member Chanyeol shot off the charts following the popularity of 2016’s hit drama ‘Goblin’, to artist Gaho, who became famous after singing ”Start Over” for ”Itaewon Class”, K-dramas have breathed new life into the careers of many musicians.
“There are instances where an OST has helped boost a singer’s popularity. ‘Goblin’ contributed to the popularity of the song sung by Punch and Chanyeol. Also, Gaho rose to fame after the success of ‘Itaewon Class’,” the South Korean music composer told PTI, through an interpreter, during a group interview held at the Korea Press Center. here.
It’s rare for up-and-coming artists to end up being part of an OST since these songs are mostly sung by top singers, Seo added.
“K-drama OSTs help many relatively unknown singers gain popularity. But, you must also understand that it is difficult for many singers who are not famous to have the opportunity to sing a song for an OST. It’s very rare because these songs usually go to singers who are already famous,” he said.
As much as an OST is a subset of a show, it’s a very independent entity and you don’t have to be a K-drama fan to enjoy its album.
Along with stellar performances from the ensemble cast and taut narration, hit K-dramas such as ”Crash Landing On You”, ”Descendents of the Sun”, ”Search: WWW”, ”Hospital Playlist”, ”Something in the Rain” and ”One Spring Night” owe their popularity to the original songs that moved the plot forward.
A hit OST has a significant impact on the popularity of a Korean drama, admitted Seo, who debuted in 2012 with Japanese singer Koda Kumi’s song “Love Technique.”
“People generally think drama is more important, and OSTs follow the popularity of drama. For me, as a composer, an OST is more important,” he added.
What songs are to Indian films, OSTs are to Korean dramas.
“Usually Korean movies don’t have an OST. They have original sound (background score) but no songs,’ said the composer, whose credits include ”Last Goodbye” sung by brother-sister duo Akum and Jung In ”Actually I’m’ ‘ from the 2015 Korean drama series ” ‘Yong-pal”.
Seo, who has been involved in writing and arranging about 80 songs, said a producer doesn’t know when and where the next work might come from.
”One difficult thing about being a composer is that this job has no schedule. Usually customers just request songs whenever they want. Often they ask ‘Can you do a song by next week?’ This is normal practice in Seoul,” he said.
Just as much hard work goes into creating an OST as it does for a regular, flashy K-pop song. However, there are budgetary constraints.
“(Production of) A song in an OST costs less than a K-pop song. Usually, it’s between 1 million and 1.5 million won (Rs 90,000 or so), that is, if we exclude the money paid to the composer,” he added.
It is interesting to see how Seo, who did not like to study as a child, also teaches music at Baekseok Art University in South Korea.
“(Growing up) I focused on music and started studying music in college and that’s been my career so far,” he said.
Seo recently established a company called Gangnam Indie Records and is expanding the scope of music production here in South Korea.
When asked what his next future project might be, the musician replied, “Maybe I’ll record another OST next week.”
(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)