Singer BoA, Asian Star 08-22-2005 14:07

Her popularity just keeps getting stronger in China, Japan and Southeast Asia. South Korean pop sensation BoA is among the latest that country has served up to the music loving masses. Since her debut at the age of 14, BoA has conquered charts and hearts across the region. She has talents not only on stage, but the South Korean starlet is fluent in Japanese and English. That along with her beauty and maturity has made her an influential force in the teen market across Asia. In today's The List -- we turn the spotlight on sensation -- BoA.

What does an idol need today to shine on the international entertainment scene?

A knack for languages, clued into what's happening now, and a sensitivity to cultural differences help.

Born in South Korea, forged as a star in Japan, and spreading her wings across Asia, BoA is ready to take on the world.

Star ready to shine in South Korea

Born in 1986, BoA was spotted at a singing contest in her home country.

An agent was searching for a next generation star. He picked her up and inserted her into the Japanese market.

It was a daring move that paid off.

BoA's debut album was the dazzling "ID: Peace B."

Launched in August 2000, it tells adults not to get too paranoid about their children, growing up in the tech-heavy reality of modern youth.

At just 14, BoA was an instant hit.

Stardom was matched by critical success.

BoA won a batch of music awards, including Rookie of the Year award in M. net TV's music video festival in November 2000, and Rookie of the Year at KMTV's annual music awards that same year.

Forged star into real artist in Japan

Another secret to BoA's huge success has been an image scrupulously shaped for success in the overseas market.

Her agent banked on a lack of singing talent in Japan who could also dance.

When BoA debuted there, her smooth moves on stage were the perfect complement to an abundance of singling talent.

Young Japanese discovered something missing from the domestic scene.

The Japanese lable, Avex, teamed up with South Korea's SM records to launch BoA to a new peak in her blossoming career.

A string of singles and commercials ensured her image was everywhere.

In 2002, BoA's album "Listen to My Heart" shot straight to Number One on the Oricon chart in Japan. It stayed there for two weeks, selling a million copies along the way.

No South Korean, or Asian artist had ever achieved this in Japan before.

But that turned out to be just the beginning.

In the following years, BoA's output was phenomenal as she pumped out an album every two to three months:

April 2002, second album in Japan "No.1"

August 2002, album "Valenti"

September 2002, album "Miracle"

March 2003, album "8 Films & More"

May 2003, album "Atlantis Princess"

August 2003, album "Next World"

January 2004, album "Love & Honesty"

June 2004, album "My Name"

August 2004, album "My Name -- BoA" Taiwan version

September 2004, single "Quincy"

For Japanese fans, April the 5th 2003 was an unforgettable date, as BoA came to Japan with "BoA 1st Live Tour Valenti".

She was just 16, but BoA performed like a veteran. Her youth coupled with her confidence mesmerized the audience.

She presented 18 songs, including the single "Shine We Are," leaving her fans spellbound.

The road to become a world star

BoA turned 19 this year. Her latest album is her fifth, "Girls on Top." It delivers the voices of women contesting male supremacy. [how is this posssible, given how many albums are listed above?]

As soon as the album hit the stores, it swept to the top of the charts. Another hit, and another million albums sold in Japan.

She's been dubbed the "Britney Spears of Asian pop," as she's moved from young girl to young woman.

The hair, the make-up, the taste for traditional South Korean clothes all on display on the cover of her latest album. Perhaps this is the BoA, even she has been waiting for.

South Korean Singer BOA said, "Girls on Top' is about women's pride and men. That's what the music portrays. I chose the songs very carefully, even writing three of them."

BoA is no doubt a lucky artist. She had her chance and she took it. She used the Internet to spread her smile and voice across Asia and beyond. She has a huge fan base in Asia, and broader international success seems only a matter of time. For all that, BoA is real. She talks about her music as a bridge and comfort, something for everyone. Today, BoA is focusing on writing lyrics and composing. Perhaps it's the natural next step for women who knows herself, knows success, knows stardom, but wants much much more.


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