Back in the first generation of K-Pop, most groups were made up solely of Korean members. Over the years, that trend has changed completely. These days, more and more groups are debuting with members from countries across Asia. In a new interview with AYO on YouTube, Shinsadong Tiger revealed why he decided to add three foreign members to his new girl group, TRI.BE.
TRI.BE debuted as a seven-member group earlier this year with “Da Loca.” Leader and main vocalist Songsun, lead vocalist and lead dancer Jinha, main rapper and main dancer Hyunbin, and lead rapper Soeun are all Korean.
Alongside them, the group also has three foreign members. Main visual Kelly is Taiwanese.
Vocalist Jia is also from Taiwan (“And she’s probably the smartest one,” says Songsun).
And maknae and co-main dancer Mire is Japanese.
When one AYO commented remarked, “In this era… it’s a trend to have at least one foreign member,” Shinsadong Tiger explained his decision to add three non-Korean members to TRI.BE.
“I put foreign members [in the group] because I had a target,” he revealed, going on to explain that he wanted to expand the group outside of South Korea. Co-managed by global music company Universal Music and signed to Republic Records in the U.S., TRI.BE already has a bright future ahead in the West.
However, on top of that, Shinsadong Tiger also wants the group to become popular in East Asia, including Chinese-speaking countries and Japan. “So, I needed members who can speak foreign languages,” says the producer. Kelly and Jia are fluent in Mandarin Chinese, while Mire is fluent in Japanese.
Shinsadong Tiger went on to clarify that it’s not that the Korean music market is small. As the brain behind major hits like T-ARA‘s “Bo Peep Bo Peep,” EXID‘s “Up & Down,” MOMOLAND‘s “BBOOM BBOOM,” and dozens more tracks, the producer has likely made a hefty sum from the Korean market. That said, he also noted that there are other markets where groups can earn more, and now, “there’s a precedent of pioneering.”
Alongside bringing in more money for agencies and producers, having foreign members in the group is also great for the Korean members according to Songsun. The TRI.BE leader explained that in this global era, having foreign members means they “don’t feel pressured when it comes to communication” with fans across the continent.